Issue(s): Hulk #254
They essentially succeed, albeit with different powers than the FF.
Vector basically has telekinesis. Ironclad is super-strong with a steel body. Vapor can turn her body into poison gas. And X-Ray shoots radioactive energy.
Their powers become unstable and they fall apart by the end of this issue, but they'll be back.
Despite the overt copying of the FF (including a scene where Ironclad is goaded into agreeing to fly the plane to prove that he's not chicken)..
...these are some of Mantlo's more enduring creations.
In typical Bill Mantlo logic, they call themselves the U-Foes. Why? Because apparently Mantlo liked a song by Graham Parker called "Waiting for the UFOs".
The best scene in the book is in the beginning, where the Hulk asks the stars why he doesn't have any reliable friends, and when they don't respond, he tries to jump to them.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk starts this issue lamenting his lack of friends, so it should take place soon after Rick and Betty anger him in Hulk #253. It makes sense to me that he's now unconsciously heading back to his other group of friends, the Defenders (but we'll actually have him stop at the site of the gamma bomb explosion that turned him into the Hulk for Marvel Two-In-One annual #5 first). See the full rundown of Hulk's appearances for this year in my Considerations section for Defenders #88.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Despite the plethora of "alternate FFs" out there (Red Ghost and his Super Apes, the Frightful Four come to mind, sure there are others), I always liked the U-Foes and felt more could have been done with them. They have an eclectic variety of powers, fairly powerful, and an interesting mix of personalities/motivations.
The only thing I never understood is why Sal Buscema would design Vector's look to be so complex - who would want to draw that?
Posted by: Chris | June 16, 2012 7:24 PM
After 34 years you'd think the U-Foes would've faced off with the Fantastic Four at least once, but as far as I know the two teams have never met. Maybe some Marvel writer will go down that path someday...
Posted by: Gary Himes | June 5, 2014 8:42 PM
Gary, oddly enough the U-Foes showed up in Avengers the first issue AFTER Mr. Fantastic & Invisible Woman quit and the rest of the FF guest-starred.
Posted by: Robert | June 5, 2014 8:47 PM
I always liked the subtle bit where most oft he U-Foes were "synthetic," industrial equivalents of the FF's classical four elements: the Thing analogue is metallic, the Invisible Woman analogue is toxic gases, and the Human Torch equivalent is radiation. And then there's Vector, who...I dunno.
Posted by: Omar Karinduy | September 29, 2015 6:20 PM
@Chris Actually, on the splash page, Al Milgrom is given credit for designing the U-Foes costumes. It's interesting that the only Sal redesigned was Ironclad who got all smooth and shiny in 274.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 16, 2016 4:38 AM
I agree with Mantlo about the song....
Posted by: OrangeDuke | December 31, 2017 7:32 PM
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