Monday, June 25, 2007

Fantastic Four #96. 1980.

Well, FF2 has been in the theaters for a few weeks, so it's high time we do some Fantastic Four content around here. So here we are, FF #96. Written by Archie Goodwin, Pencils by John Buscema, Inked by Joe Sinnott, and Lettered by Artie Simek. John Buscema, I've got a lot of comics from the late seventies/ early eighties by that guy. He stepped up when The King left Marvel and did a great job of blending in his own style in with Kirby's and pushed it to the next level. Look at that cover, even with the old school Marvel treatment cramping Buscema's style it's still pretty dope. And this was when they were still putting the title of the story on the covers, but it totally works in this case. The Alien...The Ally...And ARMAGEDDON! And whoa, the FF is going join forces with Doctor Doom? WTF! With an event that monumental, you've gotta have a good title and it's gotta be on the cover.

So it starts out that some dude called The Overmind busted his way into the Baxter building and zapped Reed Richards. A little backstory on The Overmind, it turns out he has "the force of a billion brains"; he somehow has the mind-power of an entire race and he's not afraid to use it. So while Reed is getting his ass handed to him (Yo, Reed! You got knocked the eff out!), the other three members of FF sit around and formulate a plan. What they end up with is not much of a plan, it's basically exactly what they always do, Ben and the Torch try the direct approach and end up getting smoked. Sue arrives and tries to surround The Overlord with one of her invisible force bubbles, but The Overmind ain't havin' none of that, and BA-DOM!, he busts through it and lays the smackdown on Grimm and Johnny, again.

So Sue checks in on Reed, but he's possessed by The Overlord and tries to strangle her. She takes off on her flying Segway (I'm not joking, check out the pic to the right) and leaves Ben and Torchie to continue to get their asses kicked by The Overmind. Reed chases her, but Sue gets her swerve on, Reed misses and ends up in the river. This is not one of Reed's better days. While she's flying through the city, she notices that people are going apeshit. They're rioting, robbing, and looting, you know, basically having a good old time. So she stops on to rest on some rocks and starts crying (I think this was back when she was still the Invisible Girl and she still cried a lot), when some old lady named Miss Harkness appears like Obi-Wan and tells Sue that she needs to go to the Dagobah system and train with Yoda, the Jedi Master that instructed her. Oh, wait a minute that totally didn't happen. What really happened is that she tells Sue that there's only one prescription for what's ailing her; and it's a healthy dose of Doom, baby. Doctor Doom.

With that info, Sue hops on her trusty Segway and crashes her way into Doom's building. This doesn't even faze Doom in the slightest. He's just cold lampin' in a chair, smoking a cigarette, and being completely awesome. That's why Doom is so cool, nothing surprises him. In fact, he's been watching the whole thing on the TV. He knows what's up. It takes a little convincing, but Doom agrees to help. It is officially ON, people!

They stop off at Reed's lab to pick something up and when finally get to the action, Ben and Johnny are just waking up from their ass kicking and they see Doom standing there in his B-Boy stance. So of course they want to battle him even though the Overmind is standing right there, totally ready to kick their butts again. Sue calms everyone down and gets them all on the same page. So they start attacking The Overmind and Doom hits him with his Psionic Refractor (Patent Pending) which turns The Overmind's mental bolts against himself. Oh snap, The Overmind's in trouble now! Basically it kinda just royally pisses off The Overmind and he starts cappin' on everyone. But, this is where Sue comes in. She forms a bubble around Doom so he can use the Refractor without getting hit by The Overmind's mental bolts. However, Reed is back, and he's pissed. He starts strangling Sue and without Sue's force bubble to protect Doom, the feedback is too much and the Refractor breaks (It's a prototype, dude, what did you expect?). This doesn't stop Doom from fighting though, he's a BFM, it takes a lot more than a weak mental bolt to take him out. So then The Overmind picks up the pace a little and he collapses. But he's still a BFM. Even when he collapses from exhaustion, he does it in a cool way. That's why he's Doom.

So what's gonna happen now? They have to stomach a humiliating loss and The Overmind has won, right? Well, hold on a second there cowboy, a comet comes outta nowhere and lands on Earth and it turns out that it's The Stranger. He takes The Overmind out behind the woodshed and beats him like a redheaded stepchild. Then he shrinks him down to the size of a mote of dust (just trust me on this one, a mote of dust is really, really small) and teleports him to a planet that's somewhere close to Barstow (aka, the middle of nowhere) so The Overmind can stay there and not bother anyone. Sucks to be The Overmind now, doesn't it? So, Deux ex machina ending, huh, Goodwin? Sigh. Way to go there pal.

Anyways, there is still the matter of Reed trying to squeeze the the life out of his betrothed. Lucky for her, he's somehow able to shake The Overmind's control and ends up feeling really, really, really tired. Doom wakes up and says he's outtie, but Johnny wants to throw down. Reed and Sue ask him why he's trippin', and they tell him to let Doom go, but Johnny's a hothead and takes off. For some reason, The Watcher shows up and tells them they did a good job and to keep up the good work (enlarge the pic to the left). He also tells them that The Stranger wouldn't have been able to find/defeat The Overmind if they hadn't made The Overmind use his full power. So that's good to know. Then Reed, Sue and Ben walk off into the sunset, and the status quo is maintained. The moral of this story is, like so many other comics from the eighties, the status quo must be maintained at all cost.

So to wrap things up, I've got a question for you, our readers. You, true believers, you will decide which comic will be reviewed next (and hopefully I'll be able to get it done sometime before the end of the week). Will it be What If #11 - "What If...The Fantastic Four All Had The Same Power?" Or will it be What If #15 - "What If...The Fantastic Four Had Lost The Trial Of Galactus?" You decide. Leave your vote in the comments section.


chris said...

One vote to rule them all: What If #15 - losing the Galactus trial thingie!

Tyler said...

Aw man, I re-read both of them the other night and that's the harder one to review. Oh well, I will comply with the overwhelming majority and get on that tonight.