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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Oh, Hi! I didn't see you come in! A couple years ago on the Old Forum, I started a project of chronicling the whole of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby run of Fantastic Four, as I hadn't read most of it, and nevertheless considered it to be one of the high-points of the Silver Age of comics. And I got about half-way through that project since I was smack-dab in the middle of a long arc that was honestly kind of a slog and also that forum was flash-frozen in ash, like Pompeii.

And now that archeologists have uncovered those ash-covered ruins, why not get back into it! And since linking to the preserved remains of the forum is kind of frowned upon, I figured everyone could use a recap of 45-ish comic books. And the best way to do that is to read half of Tom Sciolis Fantastic Four: Grand Design.

But assuming you don't want to indirectly give money to Tom Scioli (and shame on you, if that's the case), here's me laying it out quick! You can sing along to the tune of "We Didn't Start the Fire". It wouldn't fit the meter or rhyme scheme or anything, but don't let that stop you!

  1. 4 Astronauts (Reed, Johnny, Sue and Ben) get hit by cosmic rays; and get stretchy, fiery, invisible and rocky. Decide to use their powers to save the earth, and immediately have to contend with the Moleman, a misanthropic recluse who commands prehistoric monsters
  2. Shapeshifting Skrulls attempt to frame the FF for various crimes in order to eliminate them as a prelude to an invasion, they are beaten with humiliating ease when Reed convinces them that comics are nature documentaries are were too scared to attack
  3. The FF get new costumes and a flying bathtub. A stage magician attempts to hypnotize his way into a life of crime like an evil Cris Angel; is never heard from again
  4. Johnny sets a homeless mans hair on fire then throws him in the sea. Turns out he's the king there so no harm/no foul. Namor swears vengeance/marriage on the FF
  5. Doctor Doom shows up, hates RIIIICHARDS, forces the FF to travel back in time to steal Blackbeards Treasure
  6. Doom and Namor team-up to throw the FFs apartment building into deep space, Namor ends the partnership and throws Doom into space, killing him for sure
  7. An alien abducts the FF to help save his planet from an impending apocalypse. They do so, but leave him to die because he was a jackass
  8. Ben meets Alicia, a blind lady and falls in love, her creepy step-dad The Puppet Master launches a complicated plan to kill the FF and take over the world, and is thrown out a window before he can do much
  9. Namor bankrolls a fake movie as a flimsy pretext to killing a cash-strapped FF in front of a paying audience.
  10. Doom comes back, destroys the fourth wall by threatening Jack Kirby and Stan Lee into luring Reed into a trap, uses magic to mind-swap him, and is discovered and shrunk into nothingness, killing him for sure.
  11. Reed reveals that his Fiance just happens to share a gender with Abe Lincolns mother, so stop complaining about how badly she's treated as a character. Also, The Impossible Man shows up and everyone ignores him until he leaves.
  12. The FF get a new less Bathtubby Fantasticar, everyone meets the Hulk for the first time when he's framed for elaborate sabotage. Fighting ensues.
  13. The FF go to the Moon, meet The Watcher for the first time, and an evil Russian Scientist The Red Ghost and his three trained apes do as well, also getting super powers.
  14. Puppetmaster recovers from falling out of a building and decides to take control of Namor and have him kill everyone. It doesn't work.
  15. Super analytical crime genius The Mad Thinker briefly has the team disband so he can steal their stuff, despite constructing The Awesome Android, he is thwarted because of the unexpected fact that mailman Willie Lumpkin can deactivate all of Reeds security devices.
  16. Doom tries to get revenge on the FF from the sub-atomic Microverse, but settles for just returning to his original size and escaping the FF
  17. Doom kidnaps Alicia Masters and threatens to... not free her until he gets a job in the Kennedy Administration. Sue throws him out a window, killing him for sure.
  18. The Skrulls try to conquer earth again with the aide of K'llrt The Super Skrull, Reed buries him under a mountain
  19. The FF travel back in time to the time of the Pharoahs in order to solve an anachronism; and discover that the pharoah Rama-Tut was actually a time-traveler who figured Ancient Egypt would be easy to conquer. They send him packing, back to the 30th century.
  20. The straight-up omnipotent Molecule Man appears and makes some comparatively mild ultimatums, considering his powers. Is thwarted because he's not terribly clever.

    (Annual#1) Namor finds his missing kingdom and declares war on the human race, the FF defeat him because him wanting to marry Sue is still considered a public embarassment to fishmen.

  21. The FF splits up because what was Literally Hitler was shooting them with Hate Lasers and all racism is cured forever because he was punched in the face a whole bunch. Also Nick Fury makes his first non-flashback appearance.
  22. Sue gets new ACTUALLY GOOD superpowers in the form of telekinetic shields. Moleman tries to destroy the world again and is thwarted. Ben also decides to announce that it's CLOBBERING TIME when he punches someone.
  23. Doom returns and has... a confusing plan to send the FF into outer space with paint that leads to another universe? He falls into the telepaint himself, killing him for sure.
  24. A space baby shows up and is kidnapped by a gangster.
  25. The FF and Avengers team up to fight a rampaging Incredible Hulk
  26. The FF and Avengers conclude fighting a rampaging Incredible Hulk
  27. Namor tries to kidnap Sue in order to coerce her into going on one date with him, and she politely declines, Reed FREAKS THE HELL OUT and rampages his way through Atlantis.
  28. Puppet Master and Mad Thinker team up to trick the X-Men into fighting the FF. It doesn't work and soon both teams team up to fight two nerds.
  29. The Red Ghost tries to lure the FF to the moon to kill them, again. It doesn't work this time, either.
  30. Ben accidentally frees the evil wizard/huckster Diablo who proceeds to grift the entire world with magic potions that don't work. The UN holds a vote to decide whether or not he's a supervillain or just a con-man.

    Annual #2: Doom returns form space, reveals he's the king of Latveria and enacts his master plan of making the FF look like fools by getting them drunk at a state function. Is hypnotized into thinking it worked.

  31. Moleman shows up again, is beaten again. Sue gets a whack on the turnip severe enough that her brain-surgeon father has to break out of jail to perform an operation
  32. Super-Skrull comes back, disguises himself as Sues dad in order to further ruin his reputation... I guess? Dad sacrifices his life to save his daughter from a boobytrap the Skrulls left behind
  33. Nobody lets Namor know that they're secretly helping him fight Attuma; The Breaker of Oceans and his ridiculous Crab-Hat for reasons that aren't terribly clear.
  34. A rich guy tries to kill the FF to win a bet. Later he renounces capitalism because his son nearly died as a result
  35. Diablo returns, brings a mechanical Dragon-Man to life, but it's not actually evil and befriends Sue, and it drags Diablo into Empire State Universities on-campus bottomless lake. Later, Reed sets a date for his and Sues wedding.
  36. Evil counterpart to the FF, the Frightful Four show up, and do a surprisingly good job of nearly killing the team by throwing them out of windows while they were sleeping
  37. The FF travel to the Skrull homeworld to avenge Sue and Johnnys dad, and wind up killing the Skrull in charge of the invasion of Earth as a result.
  38. Frightful Four come back and attempt to kill the FF with a nuclear bomb; they survive but lose their powers
  39. A powerless FF has to contend with Doom returning and stealing all their stuff
  40. The FF team up with Daredevil in orde to try to get their powers back and defeat Doom, hiding in the Baxter Building, Ben resumes being a rock monster and he is having NONE of it, and nearly beats Doom entirely to death
  41. The Frightful Four use a brainwashing machine to make Ben evil, and he turns against the FF
  42. They use the machine on Johnny too, but it's a ruse on Johnnys part
  43. Reed does some emergency surgery on Bens brain to physically remove the Evil from it, and Ben is pretty ticked at being forced to fight his friends
And that's about where we left off, just before the arcs that made me want to chronicle this entire ruckus in the first place. Which I will get to as soon as I re-read the next issue.

STAY TUNED, TRUE BELIEVERS!
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Okay, here... we... start!



As you may be able to tell from the cover, this is one BIG OL' MESS of a crossover. One with the scale of a modern Event comic, just condensed down to 24 measly pages. 22 of which are wholly dedicated to Punches. Also, if you're reading along at home, I think I'd suggest the Essentials reprint; the colouring work isn't great and that brings the whole issue down, but, to be fair, there was a LOT to colour in here. Book is RICH with incident.

Anyway, it's finally Reed and Sues wedding day, and everybody who's anybody has been invited to the big event! Even quite a few people who aren't really anybody! Milly the Model and Patsy Walker (in her pre-Hellcat, post "Just Archie" days) are in attendance! Why, seemingly the only person NOT invited is Victor Von Doom! And while he takes that insult in stride (not like he hasn't tried to kill the Fantastic Four on nine non-consecutive occasions over the last three years. You'd need to make an RSVP *real* far in advance to get around that), he still plans on giving ol' Reed a memorable wedding day;

He's constructed an Emotion Charger ray which he will broadcast over the entire planet; causing everyone who is just a little evil to become completely obsessed with killing the Fantastic Four.

It's one of the immutable laws of comics, right up there with the Introduction Fight, that if Two Superheroes Get Married, There Will be Shenanigans

This all starts off relatively tamely (Puppet Master comes out of nowhere and tries to manipulate someone into killing Ben by shaking his poison-soaked hand. I can only assume that the hypnotized guy died shortly thereafter because his hand was completely coated in enough poison to kill a giant rock man on simple contact) and then escalates quickly. So it's a good thing that most of the guest-list is made up entirely of super-heroes!

Moleman and his Moleoids fight Ben and the X-Men!
Red Ghost and his Super Apes fight Reed and Dr. Strange!
Super-Skrull fights Thor!
HYDRA fights Daredevil!
Cobra, Executioner and Enchantress fight Captain America!
Mr. Hyde fights Hawkeye and Spider-Man!
Black Knight and Mandarin fight Angel!
Electro, Beetle, Mandarin and... a couple people I can't identify fight Iceman and Cyclops!
Iron Man fights the Awesome Android!
The Human Top fights Quicksilver

And also Daredevil steals a van loaded with a nuclear weapon from HYDRA and crashes it directly into Attumas face.

This is, by all accounts, a pretty memorable wedding day. I didn't even mention the people who appeared in a panel but didn't do much besides pose threateningly.

Eventually, right around the whole "guy causes an atomic vortex to destroy an invading army by accident" bit, one of the more conspicuous absences from the guest list appears and decides to give Reed his wedding gift a little early; as Uatu the Watcher appears and says "Look, if you want to rummage around my Garage and see if you can find something that will smooth things over a bit, I won't interfere". And so, Reed takes a look around and recognizes on sight alone what can only be a Sub-Atronic Time Displacer.

Which is a very lucky guess on Reeds part since at least one of those isn't a word.

Once Reed fires up the ol' Time-Displacer every single person getting rowdy on his wedding day is immediately sent back in time to relive the day again, except without getting mind-blasted by Dooms Emotion Amplifier for... what I am sure are very complicated, No-Prize winning reasons.

So, with the literal army of every super-criminal dealt with, the rest of the wedding proceeds as expected, with Reed and Sue smoochin' and saying "I do" and all that.

One final crisis shows up in the form of Jack and Stan trying to crash the wedding, but being escorted out by Nick Fury, upon whom they swear revenge.

Awwww. Happy Valumtimes, everybody.
 

Fredde

Let me rock you Chaugnar Faugn
I really loved the comedy of errors that ends with Daredevil unwittingly crashing the truck into Atuma's army. Like, he wasn't even aware that Atuma was there, and as far as we know, he never found out. Which is hilarious.

On the other hand, the final resolution with the time-displacement thingamajig is very confusing and unsatisfying.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
On the other hand, a time travelling deus-ex machina is about the only way this story could possibly resolve. Even by superhero wedding stories this one was a lot

Also, on the cover, Nick Fury is on there twice (possibly one is an LMD?) and I have no idea who the cowboy is.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I think my favourite non-Daredevil Drives a Car Into A Sea Monster Army moment is Quicksilver fighting the Human Top.

“The Human Top, I’ve heard of you!” lies Quicksilver, before decking him with a single punch.
 

Jeanie

(Fem or Gender Neutral)
Did I miss the issue where Reed deals with a Skrull Invasion by hypnotizing them into thinking they were cows?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
That was #2


Important world-building abounds in THE SKRULLS FROM OUTER SPACE!

Where we first learn that, ever since defeating (well, running away from) The Moleman in the last issue, the Fantastic Four have already become world famous superheroes. Which makes it very strange when suddenly the Fantastic FOur have turned criminal! The Thing demolishes an oil rig, Sue becomes a world-class jewel thief, Johnny melts down priceless works of art, and Reed causes a city-wide black out. Issue 2 seems like it's a bit early to make a "Everyone is acting out of character" issue, especially before any of these people have characterization, but the explanation is quickly revealed, it wasn't the Worlds Greatest Superhero Team commiting these crimes, it was a squad of alien spies; The Skrulls!

Like the Moleman before them, the Skrulls gradually became more and more sympathetic as the years wore on; they typically wind up taking the brunt of any cosmic disaster, and their species is nearly extinct. They just want to live on Earth because its one of the few planets that can safely support them. That being said they're still jerks, and had enough of a history of being jerks that they don't have too many friends anywhere in the galaxy. And it's a fair few years before anything particularly tragic happens to them, so they're just evil spies here. And also idiots.

The Skrull spies explain... to one another... that they're shape-shifting aliens with advanced technology, so mimicking the FF is easy-peasy, and once the only super-powered being on Earth are safely in jail for crimes they didn't commit, the Skrull invasion of Earth can begin. A plan that works wonderfully, as the army immediately finds and arrests the FF in a hunting lodge Reed has in upstate New York.

Just before that, we have the first of what would be endless arguments among the FF, with Ben calling out Johnny for being a Hothead, and also Reed for making him a monster, and Reed feeling bad and blaming himself for the cosmic ray bombardment.

And then they get arrested and thrown into specialized jail cells designed to hold super-powered people. Which they all break out of lickety split. Well, Reed, Ben and Johnny got specialized rooms designed to counteract their abilities that failed because the army underestimated how powerful they were. Sue was just put into a nicely furnished apartment building that she could just walk out of.

Reed figures that the best way to lure out the impostor FF is to act like criminals themselves, and hope that the actual criminals get confused. A plan that works beautifully, and which leads to Johnny Storm, hero and idol to millions of teens, wrecking a NASA rocket launch (Hopefully it wasn't the Apollo mission...) and which leads the Skrulls to miscount how many spies the had on Earth (I assume) and take him back to their lair).

The rest of the FF follows and a fight breaks out (Sue is less proactive than she appears on the cover, simply tripping a Skrull that was running past), that ends with the Skrulls captive, and terrified. And Reed gets an idea of how to drive off the invasion; he poses as one of the Skrull spies and travels to the mothership, where he declares the Earth to be un-invadeable; by showing the Skrull invasion leader issues of other Marvel comics.

Which establishes that there is a Marvel Comics within Marvel Comics, except that the fictional one presents dramatized accounts of stories ripped from the headlines. Which is quite possibly my single favorite piece of world building in the whole of the MCU (the other two is the existence of Damage Control, the insurance company that exists solely to handle superpower-related damage claim)

Reed convinces the SKrull leaders to leave the Earth alone, and that he'll stay behind to buy the invader fleet time to escape (which grants him a Skrull medal of valor) before returning to Earth (on the way back, Ben is belted by more Cosmic radiation, and briefly resumes being human, but changes back as soon as he notices he isn't a rock man any more, the first of many Ben-is-human-oh-wait-nope plot devices) and the captive Skrulls try to make a break for it, but are swiftly recaptured by the FF. This is mainly so that they can expose themselves to the police, and thus clear the FF of all criminal charges.

The lead Skrull begs for his life, and Reed makes a compromise with him, they'll be allowed to remain free on Earth if they change into cows, and let him hypnotize them into only ever believing that they were always cows.

Which they accept, because they have always, and I quote, "Hate being Skrulls".

Skrulls haven't heard much about Bovine University.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I don't think I posted this video on the old forum, but I wanted to share it here, specifically because of FF #40-43:


The gist is all right there, really. Vince Colletta was an inker whose work was mediocre, but he worked fast, and that was good enough for the editors at Marvel. This attitude towards expediency over expression would repeat itself when Marvel hired notorious tracer Greg Land. Heck, you can see the weakness right on the cover of FF #43: the dynamism of Kirby's art is diminished by Colletta's simple and lifeless inking.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next issue.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Honestly, I never minded Collettas work; and he apparently followed Jack to DC for Fourth World.

I mean, he's no Joe Sinnot, but... that's a high bar

I don't know enough about inking to continue this line of discussion any further
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)

In this issue, we learn that that the gentleman on the cover is named Gorgon in The Gentlemans Name... is GORGON! Which I will happily claim is one of my favorite Stan Lee comic titles, and also sets up one of the bigger corners of the Marvel universe.

This one picks up some time after the Annual, where Reed and Sue are married. How long isn't exactly clear, but it's apparently long enough that Ben and Johnny and utterly bored at all the supervillains they haven't been fighting and have been spending their time emasculating Reed for trying to help Sue with her housework.

He's making Sue do all the housework, incidentally. I'm not sure if that's a Reed is Terrible thing or a 1960s Were Terrible Thing, but either way, Reed apparently takes all the jibes to heart because this is the last time he's going to be nice to his newlywed wife for the foreseeable future.

They say the Honeymoon period is the roughest part of any marriage.

Bored of taking naps, and informing his brother-in-law that he's a cuck, Johnny decides to go on a date with his perpetually-off-panel girlfriend Dorie, but doesn't get too far because Johnny, as attentive as he usually is, doesn't notice that Medusa is hiding in the backseat of his car, pointing a gun at him!

Medusa, as those of you with either long memories, or the wherewithal to find the previous recaps may recall, was NOT hauled off to jail with the rest of the Frightful Four in the last issue, as Johnny was sympathetic to her (or distracted by how attractive she is. Or didn't think a woman would have the wherewithal to be evil because it was the 1960s. Or possibly because he forgot what he was supposed to be doing. Hard to pin down why Johnny screws up sometimes), and she's spent the time that's passed hiding in New York as best she can because someone was on her trail.

Someone who makes his presence known by stomping the ground with enough force that it causes an earthquake;

This months new villain has some big shoes to fill!


This Gentleman's name is Gorgon, and much of his Whole Deal will be cleared up in the next couple of issues, so I won't both recapping it right now. What's immediately relevant is that he's of the same species as Medusa, does not identify as a human, and has the super-power of Really Strong Hooves instead of feet. Also, his only connection to the mythical gorgons is that he's associated with someone named Medusa.

I have also never been sure if he has horns or that's just his hat.

Anyhoo, Medusa knows that Gorgon is getting dangerously close to capturing her for some reason she keeps evading, because New York usually doesn't have this many tremors and she forces Johnny, at gunpoint to take her as far from the city as he can; and they wind up at the ESU Campus grounds. Which I suppose... must be up-state somewhere? Possibly disconnected from the ESU building?

Regardless, they park and Johnny briefly recaps what happened the last time he was at the Campus (met a mechanical dragon, buried it underwater, as you do) and Medusa continues to stress that she is fleeing for her life from a guy who makes earthquakes when he walks so she is REALLY not in the mood to recap old issues of Fantastic Four, no matter how eager Smilin' Stan is to cite his references. Johnny gets frustrated by this, and how evasive Medusa is about explaining why, exactly she's being chased by an hoof-guy and a fight breaks out between them; which lasts for about a moment before she just shoots him with the gun she was carrying.

Luckily it was a gun loaded with flame retardant gas, and not bullets. For when fire-fighters want to double-tap a house-fire in the head instead of using hoses, I guess.

While all this... err... armed carjacking is happening to Johnny, the rest of the FF have noticed that there's been a lot of tremors in New York, and they all seem to be coming from the feet of a goat-man, and head off to ask him to please stop demolishing midtown Manhattan. And Gorgon responds by... breaking Reeds arm by stepping on it, kicking Ben off a roof and stealing the FFs helicopter in order to better pursue Medusa.

The Gentleman named Gorgon is very goal oriented.

Gorgon finds Medusa standing over the unconscious body of Johnny which is pretty lucky for him, but that luck quickly turns when it turns out that the combination of Johnny Flaming On and Medusa shooting vacuum pellets all over the place was enough to rouse The Dragon Man from its hibernation under the ESU campus grounds, and IT immediately starts attacking everything in sight!

Johnny is no longer complaining about being bored!

Fortunately-ish, Dragon Man is mainly focused on attacking Gorgon; it recognizes that the totally unconscious Johnny is no threat and also Medusa reminds it just enough of Sue, who was kind to it, that she is something to be defended. From the narration, it's not clear if this is because it has pretty severe face-blindness, or it just has an affinity for people with nice haircuts.

At this point, things get a bit more confusing just from a narrative standpoint;

Dragonman, under the pretext of saving her, picks up Medusa and takes her back into the city, coincidentally landing on top of the Baxter Building, where Reed and Ben have just finished getting treated for their injuries. Gorgon and Johnny return to the Baxter Building, presumably because a big dragon is easy to pursue and in order to get reinforcements, respectively.

And, seeing a new supervillain, a big monster, and an escaped felon, a big old confusing fight breaks out, with everyone fighting everyone else. Eventually, Gorgon wins, by kicking Dragon Man down through the entire Baxter Building and presenting the FF with an ultimatum; he'd been holding back so far but if they don't give up Medusa to him, he'll stomp with enough force to turn Manhattan into a crater (a threat he proves capable of by kicking a building with enough force to flatten an entire warehouse district.

And Reed says "Okay, she's all yours" partly because it's... a pretty good threat considering how he doesn't even like Medusa for all the crimes she did, and also because Gorgon made an oblique referecne to he and Medusa being a different species and that got his attention.

And we need a cliffhanger so Dragon Man recovers form being kicked through a building and kidnaps Sue, remember that it was HER not the purple lady with hair-tentacles that was nice to him AND ALSO Gorgon decides to stomp the building their on apart just... y'know... because he can.

NEXT TIME: "Who's a Good Boy?!?"
 

Fredde

Let me rock you Chaugnar Faugn
From what I've seen of Gorgon, I don't think he's much of a gentleman at all!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)

Mostly just keeping things moving with Among Us Hide... The Inhumans!

About half this issue is just resolving the cliffhanger from the last issue; with Reed, Johnny and Ben on a collapsing building, Sue abducted by the Dragon Man and Gorgon having succeeded in his mission to abduct Medusa.

As for the first of those issues, well, they're a guy made of living rubber, a guy who can fly, and a super-strong rock man, so a measly collapsing building isn't that big of a deal. And it turns out that Sue managed to domesticate Dragon Man while in mid-flight.

And Dreamworks would have you believe it takes a whole movie to learn how to train a dragon.

Long and short is that in addition to being a married couple, Reed and Sue now have a pet. And this being Fantastic Four, it's a huge bio-mechanical gargoyle instead of a terrier.

While most of the FF is busy either repairing the damage the Baxter Building suffered from Gorgons pursuit, or else trying to housetrain Dragon Man, Johnny gets bored and decides to sulk around the inner-city.

Incidentally, while he's gone he doesn't get to witness Dragon Man getting a case of the zoomies and start wrasslin' with Ben, leading Reed to command Sue to go get a tranquilizer gun;

"Stop sounding like a wife and get me that gun, lady" screams Reed at his newly-wed bride.

I have seen true crime documentaries that send up fewer red flags than that.

Anyway, since he was away from the Baxter Building and all the evidence for an impending divorce hearing within, Johnny comes across a beautiful girl hiding alone in the shadow of a ruined building; which I infer to be one of the ones that Gorgon destroyed in the last issue. She responds to his approach by conjuring a blast of wind and flame.

"She was trying to get away from me-- I don't know why"

I can think of lots of reasons, Johnny. But, to be fair, she never met him yet so it is a strong reaction.

This element-controlling girl oddly calms down quickly when she sees Johnny flame-on, and identifies herself as Crystal, and leads and quickly leads him to a safe-house where the rest of her family has been hiding from humans, because her family isn't human.

In fact, you could call them...



INHUMAN!

Most of the Inhumans origin (baring a retcon or two) is laid out in the next couple of issues, but what's immediately clear is that they're an entire sub-species of human all of whom have pretty intense super-powers. And also they are NOT Mutants. Can not stress that enough. Totally different thing. From left to right we have; Gorgon (the gentleman who we met previously), Triton (fish-guy), Karnak (able to locate and destroy any weakness in anything he's presented with), Lockjaw (Teleporting Good Boy, absolute Unit), Blackbolt (we'll meet him shortly), Medusa (living Hair, we've met her already quite a few times, pay attention), Crystal (controls elements, as we just saw) and Maximus Boltagon The Mad (he's coming)

No idea who the kids are since I'm not really that deep into Inhumans lore.

Crystal is at delighted to show Johnny to the rest of the Inhumans, assuming he's another of their elusive clan who was hiding in the human world. The rest of the Inhumans are disinterested at best. Karnak sees Johnny reaching out to shake his hand, perceives the weakness in his posture, and immediately throws him over his shoulder, cementing his position as my favorite.

Right around this point, Gorgon and Medusa appear in the safehouse (I will assume they stopped the forceful abduction for some burgers) and recognize Johnny as being a member of the Fantastic Four and a threat to their safety.

Medusa points out that Johnny is terrible, but just in the sense that he's a complete goofus; not that he's actively evil. But the rest of the Inhumans can't risk it and decide to execute him. Johnny escapes the safehouse with his flame powers and alerts the rest of the FF to his location as the Inhumans have now escalated from being ungracious hosts, and using what is perhaps the least comfortable and safe looking vehicle I have ever seen; reach the Inhumans safehouse.

Wherein Karnak and Gorgon team up to throw an entire wall at them.

And of course, if an entire building collapsing didn't stop them earlier in this same issue, naturally some falling masonry wouldn't stop them now. But of course, their goal wasn't to kill the FF, just distract them. And exploding out of the ground beneath them comes the Inhuman King; Blackbolt!

UH OH!

Next Time: Quiet Riot
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The girl is Luna, Crystal's daughter with Quicksilver, and the boy is Ahura, the son of Black Bolt and Mesuda.
 

Fredde

Let me rock you Chaugnar Faugn
So who is everyone's favorite Kirby-created species/civilization of superhumans? The mutants? The inhumans? The asgardians? The eternals? The new gods?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I'd say the New Gods are the most fully realized, and the ones that suffered the most when Kirby wasn't the one with his hands on the wheel, but Asgardians are definitely the most fun
 

Olli

(he/him)
Eternals are definitely the least interesting of the bunch. I liked Inhumans better back in the old days before they started explaining the Inhumans' power with Terrigen (I don't know when this happened, but it feels like a soft retcon to me)?
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Terrigen was only introduced a couple years after the Inhumans themselves. The bigger retcon was when Infinity introduced the idea that anybody on Earth with distant Inhuman ancestry could be converted by the mists.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)

The Inhumans Saga shows no signs of slowing down with Those Who Would Destroy Us! And having just finished reading the issue, it's not abundantly clear who "those" is in reference to. Either way; great title. A+ work, Mr. Lee.

Anyway, no preamble this time; book doesn't even have a recap blurb trying to get you up to speed if you forgot what happened last time; the last issue ended with Blackbolt exploding through a wall to attack the FF, and this one opens with Blackbolt knocking Ben around like a pinball in panel 1.

Reed had the bright idea of just letting Ben fight Blackbolt solo, trying to get a handle on what kind of powers he has and to try to to escalate the fight against the Inhumans more than he has to. And this backfires because Blackbolt (real name: Blackgar Boltagon) just *completely* outclasses Ben and Johnny in terms of skill, speed and strength. This is basically the Fantastic Four fighting an SNK boss.

The other noteworthy thing which, in a real fight wouldn't be odd, but is completely bewildering in a comic book fight is that Blackbolt doesn't talk at all; he doesn't so much as grunt; he is just completely silent and humorless as he wrecks house.

While Black Bolt proceeds to... err... murder his best friend and brother-in-law, Reed makes a few observations; BBs overwhelming power seems to at least partly come from the design of his suit (I believe this was retconned away later) and damaging that little sproingy-thing on his head should limit his strength, and also the Inhumans are convinced that the FF are actually the villains and they fear someone they call "The Seeker".

Also, Triton is nearly killed when his clothing is damaged in the course of the fight and he's revealed to be a Fishman in a reverse-scuba suit, and he has to skeedaddle into the East River to avoid dying. Knowing what I do of the East River, this was probably a lateral move. Luckily, he doesn't spend much time in the river as he's immediately abducted by an unseen enemy.

While the Fantastic Four are busying being killed by the Inhumans, we cut back to the World Famous Baxter Building, which is currently being broken into by a masked figure (and his equally masked henchmen) who identifies himself as The Seeker, who is on the hunt for the Inhumans who have escaped their Great Refuge, and seeing the sleeping Dragon Man in Reeds lab, assume it is one they hadn't identified previously and haul it away.

Back at the fight, things finally start swinging the FFs way thanks to a combination of Ben damaging Black Bolts head-dealy causing his strength to rapidly wane, and Bens unbelievable endurance keeping him on his feet while BB exhausts himself beating on him; which is enough cause for the Inhumans to escape using Lockjaws teleportation.

The FF head back to the World Famous Baxter Building and see the signs of the break-in and track down the Seekers prison barge thanks to some Mad Science that Reed had laying around. And the Seeker is an honestly pretty gracious host (if condescending to mere humans), apologizing for busting up Reeds lab andoffering to return the Dragon Man to him, since it quickly became clear that it was a lifelike gargoyle robot and not an Inhuman, and he also offers up an explanation of the Inhumans origin.

Which, again, has been retconned since, but as is laid out here the Inhumans were an advanced, prehistoric race that evolved alongside humans, and their greatest achievement was the ability to manipulate their genes in order to bestow any kind of super-power or transformation they desired. But Humans, as it turns out, could breed way, WAY faster and primitive man managed to overwhelm the Inhumans with sheer numbers and forced them to live in the great refuge city of Attilan in the frozen north far from where humans could travel.

This is also basically exactly the origin of Cobra-La from G.I. Joe.

Anyway, as it would so happen, the Inhumans that the FF had encountered were members of the oldest most venerated family and should really know better than to break the Inhumans most sacred of laws; to not enter Human Society; and is tasked with apprehending them and bringing them back to Attilan to face justice.

And just then, Dragon man finally wakes up and reacts... poorly... to being shot with multiple tranquilizer darts and imprisoned in a spaceship and immediately breaks free, damaging the holding cell that Triton was imprisoned in after the Seeker fished him out of the river (Triton remarks that it's better to die free than face whatever's waiting for him at Attilan, implying something's up) and Reed panics because now Dragon Man is rampaging through New York and it may not be possible to ever tame him again!

And I guess he doesn't even bother trying because it'll be quite a while before Dragon Man is ever mentioned again.

Next Time: Come at the King
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
While the Fantastic Four are busying being killed by the Inhumans, we cut back to the World Famous Baxter Building, which is currently being broken into by a masked figure (and his equally masked henchmen) who identifies himself as The Seeker
🎼He's been searching low and hi-IIIIGH~
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)

The Fantastic Four kind of sit things out in one of those issues that feels like a stealth pilot for a different comic in... Beware the Hidden Land

Once again, wasting precious little time in set up, as this comic picks up immediately after the last one; with a panicked Dragon man rampaging through New York, and a captive Triton suffocating outside of water on the floor of the Seekers prison-ship. And the FF decide to divide their attention between the two problems; and Ben and Johnny go after Dragon Man. Johnny suddenly becoming clever and realizing that while Dragon Mans hide is fireproof, he can probably overheat as well as anyone, and just cranks up the temperture until it passes out from heatstroke. Ben, meanwhile, has a fight against Dragon Man in the background while Alicia sits in her apartment wondering what her boyfriend is up to. It's... honestly a really well choreographed fight).

Reed and Sue meanwhile deal with the dying Triton (who is insisting they let him die rather than return to Attilan), but they disregard a dying fishes dying wish and Sue uses her forcefield to make a fishbowl for him, all the while Reed is giving his newly wed wife encouragement by saying things like "Quit acting like a wife, a mans life it at stake!" and "do as I say, woman!"

I just want to stress that, canonically, this is the Nicest version of Reed Richards in the entire Multiverse.

The Seeker is much more appreciative because he would have looked like a real goober if he returned to his master without any of the missing Inhumans, then kicks Reed and Sue out of his ship. And other than Sue getting a haircut, the FF are now basically out of the comic; Reed places a tracking beacon on the Seekers ship and the FF pursue him to Attilan in the Fantasticar, since the story would have had a pretty unsatisfying ending otherwise. But otherwise, the rest of the issue is all about the Inhumans.

And speaking of the Inhumans, we didn't find out where Lockjaw teleported them to in the last issue, but it turns out it's Attilan itself; where we get a lot of implied backstory in a real short time; we find out that the ruler of the Inhumans (and the secret villain of this entire arc) is none other than Blackbolts throne-stealing brother; Maximus the Mad


As you may have ascertained from the name, or the image I chose to post just now, Maximus is not a terribly chill fella. Saying he's a mad scientist is accurate but a bit reductive; if a regular Mad Scientist is Daniel Day Lewis. Maximus is Nic Cage.

He's a consumate professional when it comes to being an Evil Brother and Evil Genius and he LOVES his job.

As soon as Maximus realizes that his Blackbolt and friends have reappeared in Attilan, he immediately sends his entire army of ape-like Alpha Primitives out to kill them, which leads to what is one of my favorite Kirby-isms; someone knocking out twenty guys with one punch. In fact, we get to see it a bunch of times as Karnak, Gorgon and Medusa ALSO get to knock out twenty guys with a single punch.

It's very cathartic.

And having just seen about a hundred giant gorilla-men getting beaten senseless over the course of a half-dozen panels, Maximus doesn't put up top much resistance when Black Bolt strolls up and just yanks the crown off his head before donning it himself like a stone-cold boss.

Right around this time, the FF finally arrive in Attilan and are a bit surprised that they *don't* have to fight an entire secret civilization of metahumans. A bridge they were on collapsed, but that was more shoddy workmanship than malicious intent. Reed and Blackbolt (with Medusa as a proxy) have a debate about whether or not the Inhumans should be hidden from the rest of the world, since Reed found them easily enough and the next group might not be as kind hearted (BB didn't hear how Reed was treating his wife apparently), all the while, nobody notices that Maximus has slunk out of the room.

The reason Max took the fact that his brother knocked him down and stole his hat in stride was because he had a fail-safe in place; in case his brother should happen to de-surp the throne and he'd need an excuse to prove to everybody who the SUPERIOR brother is, and the one who has the Inhumans' best interest at heart; he's built a doomsday device under Attilan itself capable of producing energy waves that are harmless to Inhumans but lethal to other hominids! Which he has just activated; causing its deadly rays to envelope the Earth!

WOW! THAT'S A HELL OF A CLIFFHANGER!

I have NO IDEA how things could escalate past that point!

Next Time: Here Comes a Big Boy
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I don't know when it is first revealed that Black Bolt's real name is Blackagar Boltagon but . . . *chef's kiss* its perfect.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
He learned a lesson from Victor Von Doom, and took it to heart; if your given name is cool enough you don’t need a supervillain name.

You hear that, Dr. Storm?

Im still disappointed in you!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I also appreciate that every issue so far has had Reed stop and insist that Inhumans are completely unrelated to Mutants.

Different thing all together.

Put mutants out of your head, this here is Inhuman Country.
 
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