Characters Appearing: Franklin Richards, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing
Marvel Comics Presents #64-68 (Fantastic Four)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #64, Marvel Comics Presents #65, Marvel Comics Presents #66, Marvel Comics Presents #67 (Fantastic Four story only)
On his first night "off" (from what, i'm not sure)...
...Reed Richards builds a molecular rearranger and gets an unexpected result.
Reed subdues the creature and uses a helmet to communicate with him. He first recognizes a similarity in the creature, saying that it reminds him of himself.
The creature is from a distant planet that planned to colonize Earth, but only because they couldn't "see" that it was already occupied by humans. Reed finds a way to send it home.
This all happened at Sue and Reed's home in Connecticut. After his encounter with the alien, Reed decides to pack the device up and send it to FF headquarters.
Later, while Reed has taken Franklin into town, Sue Richards waits to be interviewed by someone from Omni Magazine. While waiting for the reporter to show up, she decides to remotely access the FF's computer systems. This is happening during a storm, and lighting strikes a power line while she's on the computer. This causes a robot replica of an older version of Sue (created by the Mad Thinker a while back) to wake up.
The robot goes to the Richardses' house in Connecticut. Sue passes out when she sees it.
So it's the robot that takes the interview.
The robot eventually figures it out...
...and, since it's imbued with Sue's personality, it disables itself and restores Sue's mind.
So now we can see the format of this story. We're going to have a Weird Happening with each member of the (original) FF. The Thing is next.
Reed calls Ben to warn him about Sue's experience, but right before he calls there's an explosion. Reed still is able to tell the Thing what happened, but then an alarm goes off indicating a rift in subspace, and then Reed is cut off.
The Thing investigates (yikes!)...
...and is attacked by the other replica androids.
But then a strange web-like form of energy knocks away the robots, and the Thing hears a cry for help. It's coming from this guy.
For the Human Torch's portion, Reed has contacted him and told him that something is going on at the FF's headquarters. The Torch is attacked by the replicoids when he enters.
The Torch manages to melt the robots.
Meanwhile, the alien, who calls himself the Exile, tries to explain to the Thing what's going on, but the Thing doesn't trust him.
The Exile became aware of Earth when Reed built his molecular rearranger, and since then he's been testing the FF to make sure they are "worthy". The fact that Reed didn't immediately attack the alien he encountered and the fact that Sue's personality showed that she was willing to sacrifice herself if necessary has proven that they are. But now he's had an accident and his powers are going out of control and causing explosions.
This is a five part story, so after the first four issues focused on the individual members, the whole team is able to get together for the final part.
Reed rigs up a device using heated-up vibranium (courtesy of Johnny) to absorb the impact of the Exile's explosions.
The Thing tries to hold the vibranium steady, and Sue creates a forcefield to protect the Exile. With a little improvising, it works...
...although no one is particularly pleased with the Exile when it's all over.
As usual, i find myself just kind of shrugging my shoulders at these Marvel Comics Presents stories. The story reminds us that the Fantastic Four exists and that they investigate Strange Happenings. And in that sense, it's successful as a very basic introduction to the team. But Walt Freaking Simonson was on the FF book at the time that this was being published. No one needed to be reminded that the FF existed. And in any event, this story was obviously drawn at an earlier time, given the state of the Thing and the Richardses. Was this a try-out for a replacement creative team during Steve Englehart's tumultuous run? Maybe a fill-in story that was re-purposed into a Marvel Comics Presents arc? I don't know, and i guess it shouldn't matter, but the fact that my primary question after reading this is "Why was it made?" shows how much i think of it.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Thing is in his pineapple form and Reed and Sue are living in Connecticut. The MCP put this between Fantastic Four #317-318.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I liked this story. I thought it was interesting that Reed Richards, rather than being his usual analytical self, actually lost his temper and totally read the riot act to that alien.
I also liked Tom Morgan's art. As I've said before, I find him an underrated talent who (usually) does good work. His style was well suited to rendering the Thing's "pineapple" form.
So is anyone familiar with writer Robert DeNatale? The name doesn't ring a bell.
Posted by: Ben Herman | August 6, 2015 11:42 PM
Robert DeNatale was an assistant editor on the Spider-Man titles earlier in the decade. Nowadays he's makin' movies.
Posted by: Tenzil | August 7, 2015 12:15 AM
Speaking of movies it's a drag it sounds like the new one is another blunder...GIVE THE RIGHTS BACK TO MARVEL STUDIOS!
Posted by: david banes | August 7, 2015 1:03 AM
DeNatale is credited as Robert on this story, but i should have listed him as Bob, since that's how he's been credited in the past. I've changed it now, and if you search for Bob DeNatale you'll find stories that where he's been assistant editor or writer.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 7, 2015 8:49 AM
Thank you for the clarification, fnord. I conducted some intensive, in-depth research (in other words, I used Google) and I located Bob DeNatale's official website...
Posted by: Ben Herman | August 7, 2015 1:17 PM
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