Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fantastic Four #275

Fantastic Four #275-"The Naked Truth"
Cover Date: Feb 1985 Price $.60
Cover Quote: "Hey guys--what's big and green and has a staple in her navel?"
Writer/Artist -Johny Byrne

(Editor's note- this is pretty much a farce of a comic. Any unbelievable situations described by the reviewer are in fact true to the story, which is credited as Kevin Nowlan's idea.)

We begin this issue with a splash page of She-Hulk sunbathing on the top of the Baxter Building. While the Buxom beauty lies with a towel, jean shorts, and a smile, we cut to a sleazy photographer and his pilot friend circling the jade giantess in a helicopter. The chopper pulls in close, sending a large amount of wind the She -Hulk's way. Her towel goes flying, and the photog gets the money shot he hoped for. Wow, that's the craziest 2 pages ever in a FF comic. And they've seen some messed up stuff!

She-Hulk, feeling as if her privacy has been violated, retaliates by jumping on the chopper. As the pilot tries to shake his hanger-on, everyone's favorite Atlanta Brave single tear shedding Native American cliche Wyatt Wingfoot (who had rejected his role of Chief to live a life of adventure) emerges from the Baxter Building, scantily clad and looking for the She-Hulk. Apparently he was going to do some sunbathing himself, either that or her was doing a really excellent unarmored Peter Rasputin impression. Seeing the chopper situation, Wingfoot gets a small "Fantasti-speeder" (copyright me!) and gives chase.

In a really well-executed scene, the She-Hulk is thrown from the chopper and flies through a high rise office. Wyatt comes to her aid, and by the time they get their wits about them the copter is gone. The two head back to the Baxter Building and decide to fight this battle using not brawn, but the She-Hulk's superhuman ultra lawyer powers. Juris prudence away!!

The She Hulk calls the radio station that the copter belongs to (it was a Traffic Copter), asking if they could tell her where it touches down. The surprisingly forthright station manager gives her the name of the private airstrip, and advances the plot rather quickly for the 2 panels in which he appears. I don't know about you, but I usually have to make like 4 phone calls whenever I have errands to take care,of, and one of those calls ends up being with some guy in India who HAS to read from a script and pretend that he has no personality.

So Shulkie and Wyatt find the pilot, threaten him, and find out who bought the photos-a yet unnamed source. But from this scene we jump to Alicia Masters' apartment, where she is walking down the stairs with her Sinead O Connor haircut and no pants. Normally those two things could be excused by the fact that she's blind, but she appears to be doing the classic "walk of shame." Alicia is calling out for Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch, who is waiting with the "morning after" coffee at the bottom of the stairs. Alicia is the ex-girlfriend of the Thing, who is Johnny's best friend and teammate. The Thing at this point has not returned to the ranks of the FF because he's off having other adventures, and Johnny and Alicia have grown quite close in his absence.

Johnny tells Alicia he's sorry about last night feels like he took advantage of their friendship, she assures him that they're grown ups and they can do what and or who they want. Okay, she's more eloquent then that, but seeing these two together in this situation made me want to rip this issue to shreds. It was one of those moments where I felt like the Thing was really my friend, and I had to stand up for him...that's really dumb.

So back in the other sexually related plot thread, the She-Hulk is going to the place that bought her photos, but in her normal human form as Jennifer Walters. Wyatt accompanies Walters to serve as a bodyguard, and so he can score major brownie points. Walters, who resembles her cousin Bruce Banner quite a bit in her human form enters the offices of the tabloid known as "The Naked Truth" (a subsidiary of the Daily Bugle...ok, not really) , and asks for Mr. Vance.

Mr. Vance, who seems like a cross between Stan Lee and Larry Flynt, tells Walters that She-Hulk is a public figure and that she shouldn't have been sunbathing in public. Vance expounds upon the facts that the pictures are already printed, and that he already made a fortune, which he's keeping in a small safe in his office. Apparently the money went right to his head, because he couldn't resist telling that to his two guests. Jennifer Walters then turns into the She-Hulk, crumples the safe full of money into a ball, and hands it to Mr. Vance. Shulkie and Wyatt leave the office, knowing that at least they stopped the perv from getting his payment for the pics.

In the story's "epilog" (don't look at me, that's what it says), we are shown a scene 3 weeks later at the Baxter Building. A "business casual" Reed finds Sue and asks her is she's okay. Apparently something big happened, because Sue is looking in on her son Franklin and talking about the great distress they all just went through. I missed something I guess, but it has been a 6 issue gap between this issue and the last one I reviewed. Reed tells Sue that he's ready to go out and see "Little Shop of Horrors", and then sees that She-Hulk is depressed as well. He asks her what's up, and she tells them it's the past few days (What did I miss???), and that the magazine comes out. Just then, Johnny "worst friend ever" Storm flies in the window holding a copy of the mag.

Johnny shows She-Hulk the pictures, and to her delight, someone had color corrected her green skin to look more flesh colored, because they thought there was a defect in the original photo. Johnny tells She-Hulk that he needs the magazine back, because he has a pair of green tinted glasses in his room. The comic ends on the Torch flying to his room and the She-Hulk chasing him down. It's like something out a 80's sitcom. "Sit Ubu ,sit."

What I Thought: I saved my more sarcastic moments for this portion of the post, given the very ridiculous nature of the story to begin with. First of all, She-Hulk is green. Does she really need to tan her green skin? From the looks of it, Jennifer Walters is the one who needs a tan. And the end of the issue, with Johnny and his "green tinted glasses." Dude, it's a naked girl, shouldn't that be enough? I mean use a little imagination if the color is that big of an obstacle.

And Johnny and Alicia- look, I'm not a prude, and I'm not uninformed about Fantastic Four history. I know Johnny and Alicia have a big long relationship that turns into an even bigger storyline, but it was weird to see a Fantastic Four comic show "the morning after" for anyone but Reed and Sue. Even then, it's a really weird thought. It might just be me that feels that way, maybe I am a prude..... I am a prude.

Overall, this comic was fun. It was a good change of pace from the other stories. I think this is why Byrne was so great on this book, he put these characters in a lot of varied situations. I think what all writers/ artists strive for with the FF is the feeling like it's "family first", but the family could go anywhere, and most end up taking them to the Negative Zone ad nauseum. Despite it's soap opera elements, I can see that this issue never set out to take itself too seriously, so I won't even try to either. So until Johnny gets an imagination, vive le fantastique!


  1. Hilarious point about She-Hulk tanning. I just imagined her saying "Yeah, I'm green, but it's more a lime-green than forest-green. I'd better get some sun." I never liked the She-Hulk FF, so I missed out on these. Sorry, I missed John Byrne though.

  2. Great review, the Byrne issues were great. I'll never forget #299 when ben relates all his anguish over the Torch/Alicia romance to the She-Hulk. it's one of those touching human stories that is one of my favourite comics ever.