The last time I did a comprehensive FF re-read I stopped with the last of the Kirby issues (or rather the first two of the four Romita issues that wrapped up the story). That brings me up to Fantastic Four #105. John Romita was as humble to take over Fantastic Four for the King in 1970 as he had been to take over Spider-Man from Steve Ditko in 1966. He didn't feel qualified in either case, as did his best to draw in their respective styles both times. Why Stan Lee didn't assign Joe Sinnott to ink I have no idea, but #103-105 were inked by John Verpoorten. 

#105 opens with the Thing, Johnny and Crystal enjoying some hot dogs from a street vendor, when suddenly the city is wracked by a series of explosions. Crystal unexpectedly collapses, and Johnny flies her back to the Baxter Building to seek Reed Richards' help. Meanwhile, Sue has been shopping and finds herself closer to the source of the mysterious explosions. She goes to the street to find Dr. Zoltan Rambow, a colleague of Reed's, pursuing an energy being.

Back at the Baxter Building, Reed has diagnosed Crystal as having an adverse reaction to the pollution she has no resistance to and says she must return to the Inhumans' Great Refuge or die. Reed has also discovered, in Crystal's DNA, what he thinks can be a cure to the thing's condition. Summoning Lockjaw, Crystal quickly says her goodbyes and departs immediately for the Great Refuge. Johhny flies off in frustration and soon comes upon his sister in conflict with the energy being. Sue cannot leave the conflict, but urges her brother to get Reed and Ben. Johnny returns to the Baxter Building only to find Reed at a critical juncture in his attempt to cure Ben.

CLIFFHANGER: Reed must choose between the life of his wife and that of his best friend.

It is widely accepted that Jack Kirby plotted most if not all of the Fantastic Four stories. I have generally come to the conclusion that if Stan Lee is credited with "script" that Jack Kirby provided the plot (or at least co-plotted). The credits for this issue list Stan Lee "story" and John Romita "illustration." #105 is one of the most densely-plotted and action-packed issues in a long time (the Sub-Mariner/Magneto conflict notwithstanding). Jack Kirby certainly didn't have anything to do with this issue. I think just because Stan Lee hadn't been regularly plotting Fantastic Four for some time doesn't mean he couldn't

Views: 3328

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

#189: (Reprints FF Annual #4.) When I first decided to accumulate a collection of FF backissues (or reprints), #189 was an issue I acquired long before got a copy of the actual first modern appearance of the original Human Torch. 

#190: "Album Issue" the cover proclaims. Uh, oh. The last time Marvel pulled that was in the middle of Jim Steranko's Captain America (but at least that time it was drawn by Jack Kirby). #190 is drawn by Sal Buscema, which wouldn't have been so bad, but "writer/editor" Marv Wolfman got Tony DeZuniga to ink him. Never one of my favorite inkers, DeZuniga is prominent in the concurrent run of Thor I'm also currently reading. I've gotten used to him there, but here he absolutely ruins Buscema's pencils. (IMO) At least the last time we saw Sal Buscema in these pages (#182-183) he was inked by Joe Sinnott.

The "story" (such as it is) consists of Ben reading to Alicia from the "diary" he's apparently been keeping since the early days of the FF. His entries (or at least those he shares with Alicia) consist entirely of when one member of the team or another temporarily quit for one reason or another. Alicia points out that they always got back together because they are really a family, but Ben counters that it's never been Reed who quit before. He then destroys his diary, which is probably just as well. 

NEXT: The long-delayed "Four No More!"

#190: Len Wein is back as writer/editor, George Perez and Joe Sinnott are back on art, and the story picks up where it left off at the nd of #188. It's moving day at the Baxter Building, and Reed is overseeing a squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents packing up the FF's equipment. Johnny talks about joining the racing circuit, Sue ahs been offered a movie, and the team go their separate ways. Reed calls them all back for one last hurrah, however, as the "S.H.I.E.L.D. agents" are actually the Plunderer and his men. After they have been dispatched, though, the FF again leave... for good?

There are only a couple of issues left in Len Wein's tenure as writer/editor, but in his introduction, he revealed where he had planned to go with the stories for the next year after the team split up: "For the first third of the year, I planned to do solo stories with each member of the team, advancing the stories of the other members through subplots; the second third of the year, I'd start teaming them up in mixed pairs, and, by the end of the year, the Fantastic Four would be together again."

There are two tpb collections of Fantastic Four Visionaries: George Perez, which comprise all of his issues from #164-192 plus annuals. If all you are interested in is George Perez, those would probably be fine, but if you're interested in the stories, MMW v17 would be a good one to have as it's nearly all Perez. (The previous volume was about half Perez.) 

With the FF broken up, at the end of this volume, that's a good time to take a little break.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

#190: "Album Issue" the cover proclaims. Uh, oh. The last time Marvel pulled that was in the middle of Jim Steranko's Captain America (but at least that time it was drawn by Jack Kirby). #190 is drawn by Sal Buscema, which wouldn't have been so bad, but "writer/editor" Marv Wolfman got Tony DeZuniga to ink him. Never one of my favorite inkers, DeZuniga is prominent in the concurrent run of Thor I'm also currently reading. I've gotten used to him there, but here he absolutely ruins Buscema's pencils. (IMO) At least the last time we saw Sal Buscema in these pages (#182-183) he was inked by Joe Sinnott.

That's what makes horse races. 

I've seen people complain that Tony de Zuñiga -- whom I do like, thanks to his work on Weird Western Tales and Jonah Hex -- overwhelmed John Buscema's pencils on various Conan stories. But "absolutely ruins" Sal Buscema? Sal Buscema's art is about as generic as can be, and needs all the help it can get. Just about every inker who put put their pen to his work made it better (except, of course, Vince Colletta). 

"I've seen people complain that Tony de Zuñiga... overwhelmed John Buscema's pencils... Sal Buscema's art is about as generic as can be, and needs all the help it can get."

"Overwhelm," yes; that's the word. I don't like de Zuñiga's inks over John Buscema, but John Buscema's pencils are strong enough I can still see them beneath the heavy inks. Over Sal Buscema's pencils, however, de Zuñiga's inks didn't help the pencils, they overwhelmed them. 

I agree his style was better suited to westerns than superheroes. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

#190: "Album Issue" the cover proclaims. Uh, oh. The last time Marvel pulled that was in the middle of Jim Steranko's Captain America (but at least that time it was drawn by Jack Kirby).

I never made the connection. The Captain America issue was also a retrospective fill-in, so it probably directly inspired this one. I note Kirby did the cover.

Looking over the covers, I see Kirby did #164's and was otherwise the main-cover-artist from the middle of Thomas's run to its end, Fantastic Four Annual #11/Fantastic Four #171 to #181 (but not #178, #179). He regularly did the Invaders covers for Thomas in the same period. After #190 he did one more, #200's.

Wolfman wrote a similar Spider-Man retrospective for Amazing Spider-Man #181, the start of his run on that title.

By the point you've reached Dave Cockrum was designing many of Marvel's covers. His last issue of X-Men from the period appeared the month of Fantastic Four #187.

Walt Simonson (from his introduction to MMW Thor v16) on Tony DeZuniga: "My only regret now is that tony is no longer around for me to thank. I didn't fully appreciate his finishes at the time, but i wouldn't mind telling him now that he did a fine job making me look good!" 

MMW v18 (#192-203 and Annuals #12-13):

With this volume we transition from the Len Wein era (#192-194) to the Marv Wolfman era (#195-203 and Annual #12), with art by Keith Pollard (#193-201, 202 and Annual #12). As the volume opens, Wein continues with his plan to have the team operate individually or in sub-sets for a while, but Wolfman's idea is to reunite the four as quickly as possible. Johnny is on the drag race circuit and his story reintroduces Wyatt Wingfoot (briefly) and his girlfriend (and racecar driver), Rebecca Rainbow. The Torch's villain is the Texas Twister (formerly seen auditioning for the Frightful Four).

Reed has been hired by Arthur Thornhill of Cynthian Associates at $20,000 a week... 20 times more than the Avengers' piddley little "stipend." (This is what I was setting up last week when I indicated a member of the FF ought to be pulling in six figures at least.) By the next issue, however, his pay has been reduced to a "mere" $1000 per day... still seven times what the Avengers offer. No explantion is given for this difference in pay, but I suspect the $20K number was offered to him as a consultant. (A consultant will generally receive more pay up front than an employee because the work is temporary.) But by the next issue he is said to be on salary at the more modest (but still reasonable) sum of $364K. I imagine some off-panel negotiations went on between issues when Reed indicated he was looking for something more permanent. 

Ben has been hired by NASA to test the new space shuttle, where he runs afoul of Darkoth (thought killed in #144), now revealed to be Desmond Pitt, Ben's old pal from his test pilot days. Diablo is puloing the strings, but Pitt was lured with promises of revenge against Dr. Doom, not Ben Grimm. Without the rest of the team, this sub-plot reads like an issue of Marvel Two-In-One without a guest star.

Sue is in Hollywood (with the Impossible Man), and #195 features a nice little team-up/reunion with the sub-Mariner.

The title of #192 is from the aphorism "He who soweth the wind shall reap the whirlwind", which the net tells me derives from Hosea 8:7.

The story builds on the bit from the earlier Twister's first appearance where he passes up the opportunity to join the Frightfuls because he's had a better offer elsewhere. Supermegamonkey says his employers were revealed to be SHIELD trying to recruit Johnny. I take it that was in Captain America.

I've long wondered if Rebecca was intended as a love interest for Wyatt or Johnny. Her first encounter with Johnny is a movie-style meet-cute.

Was this the first time Johnny was depicted as a racer?

In his early Strange Tales solo appearances he was depicted as a hot rod enthusiast, but I don't recall him ever racing professionally. (He will again in the Byrne are.) 

#196: Ben and Johnny join Sue in Hollywood, reuniting three of the Four only to be attacked by the Invincible Man. In the Invincible Man's only previous appearance, he was the Super Skrull masquerading as Franklin Storm, Sue and Johnny's father. This time, the Invincible Man's alter ego is none other than... Reed rRchards himself! There were plenty of hints for readers to figure out who was really behind the scheme, but plenty of red herrings to throw them off, too. In the end, the villain stands revealed as... DOCTOR DOOM!



Jeff of Earth-J said:

 DOCTOR DOOM!

I JUST read that one last week!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service