Friday, September 10, 2010

Fantastic Four #307

Fantastic Four #307- “Good-bye”
Cover Date/ Price: Oct 1987 $.75
Writer/ Artist- Steve Englehart/ John Buscema/ Joe Sinnott
Cover Tagline: “To Duel With Diablo”
Number of issues between last box pull: 10

What Happened: This fine looking issue starts with a trio of terrifically dressed travelers: Reed Richards, Sue Richards, and Franklin Richards as they get ready to depart from their lives as superheroes. It seems in the issues since I last read from “the box,” Reed and Sue have decided that it would be in the best interests of their young son to move to Connecticut and live a “normal” life.

As the Richards’ spend a few pages saying their goodbyes, we see that the Fantastic Four will continue on with some slight changes in membership. The new lineup will consist of Ben Grimm as the team leader, the Human Torch, the element controlling Inhuman known as Crystal, and the female powerhouse known as Ms. Marvel.

An unexpected lineup for sure, but it brings to mind a question: Which of these characters is the genius-level intellect that serves as a good replacement for Reed? The last time I checked, Crystal wasn’t very close to making her own ultimate nullifier…

Reed tells the Thing that he has earned the right to command the team, and Ben makes the former Mr. Fantastic promise that he won’t come back to save the day the first time the new team falters.

Meanwhile, Johnny flies off to go see his WIFE (I didn’t review that one, apparently…) Alicia Masters, and the two have a scintillating discussion about when the furniture for their apartment will arrive. I only mention it because it has some relevance later.

We cut to a scene at the hospital, where the super villain known as Diablo lies in head-to-toe bandages after being beaten in a near coma by Ms. Marvel last issue. While the doctors talk about the villains wounds, his thoughts reveal that he’s got another trick up his sleeve, well, actually another trick up his moustache.

Apparently Diablo keeps his magic potions all over his body, and he sucks on his moustache to give him a real pick-me-up (I don’t write em folks, I just read em…). The revived Diablo gives us a little history lesson about his life, and it turns out he is the master of Alchemy from a time long past. After he reminisces, he stands and swears revenge on Ms. Marvel…

We cut back to Johnny and Alicia’s love-nest, where the young man is startled by a loud crashing sound. It seems that an audio speaker has fallen into a glass table. Alicia feels embarrassed for breaking it, and swears the table wasn’t there a second ago (I guess her “radar sense” from issue #296 wore off). As Johnny uses his power to weld the glass back together, a purple monster emerges from the table! It turns out the table was possessed. Apparently the whole city is sharing this same wackiness, as the ground outside starts breaking apart and growing tentacles. Johnny decides this is a job for the Fantastic Four and rushes Alicia to safety at FF Plaza…

The new FF groups together, and Crystal realizes that the whole city transmuting could only be the work of the Diablo. As the team surveys the changes taking form, they see that the hospital where Diablo was staying has now taken the form of an old timey castle. As Ben and Ms. Marvel (who goes by the name Sharon Ventura at this point in comic continuity) attack the front door, Johnny and Crystal fly ahead to scout out what’s going on. While the Thing fights alongside the super strong Ms. Marvel, his thoughts reveal that an ongoing attraction for the red clad hottie. Distracted by her raucous attitude and taut bod, the Thing gets blindsided by one of Diablo’s monsters. Let this be a lesson, if you want to keep your head in the game, always hire an uggo to join your superteam instead of a stone cold fox…

We find Johnny and Crystal having similar luck, as the two former lovers argue with one another as they fight Diablo’s machinations inside the castle. Crystal is edgy because she is undergoing a rough patch in her own marriage, and Johnny is worried that she wants to impose upon his recent marriage to Alicia Masters. The two yell at each other some more, and Crystal runs off to face Diablo alone. Just then, Ben and Sharon break in, and the team joins up to face Diablo together.

The FF corner Diablo, and just as he is about to pull another potion from his moustache (So. Incredibly. Lame), Ms. Marvel grabs him and foils his dastardly plan. The big D gives up, and much like the ending to an episode of Scooby-Doo, he is quickly carted away by the authorities. If it wasn’t for those meddling superheroes….

We end the issue with the team chillaxin at FF Plaza (because that’s what people do there!), noting that they once they actually worked together like a team, Diablo didn’t stand a chance. You think most of these characters would have learned that lesson about 300 issues ago, but I guess it’s always nice for a refresher….

What I Thought: I honestly NEVER knew about this incarnation of the team, and that made it a total blast to read this issue. Although a lot of time is spent with Reed and Sue saying goodbye, there is an actually feeling that they’re leaving the team for a while. Of course, any real comics fan knows that a team member’s departure is going to be short lived, but it always livens things up to bring in some new blood for a while.

I will say that in reality, a person probably wouldn’t assemble a team of exes to serve alongside them in their superheroic purposes. While it lends itself to drama for the readers, I’m just a little unsure that a group like this would work out. It’s almost too much of a forced soap opera spin, but at least in this instance I was kind of hooked.

Overall, this issue felt like a really entertaining Saturday morning cartoon. There are some interesting little character interactions, we get the villain’s backstory in a quickie flashback (which is great because I didn’t know anything about Diablo), and the “fight” is wrapped up in a neat little package. There’s even the whole “lesson” type epilogue, a la “Saved by the Bell.”

I haven’t looked ahead to see which issue is next from “the box,” but I hope it still features this team. While I don’t think I’ll ever stomach an FF team that features a full time aberration of the original lineup, I always like to see the rise and fall of these substitute teams. So until Diablo decides to shave off his moustache, vive le fantastique!

Hello Nurse!


  1. Lmao... okay wait, he sucked out a potion that he his mustache. Really? They couldn't come up with anything better than that eh?

    Also you using the phrases "Uggo" and "taut bod" really made my night. And I instantly thought of Animaniacs with Hellloooo Nurse! All in all this was a great review, and much like you I'm hoping this team is in the next issue. I wanna see if Ben makes a move on Ms. Sharon Marvel Ventura Pet Detective

  2. Yeah, if you take one thing from this comic, let it be that moment with the moustache. This may have been the most fun I've had reading one of these so far haha.

    I did a quick read of the next closest issue I have (#317) and it gets even more crazy! It's so crazy I don't think I can review it any coherent fashion.

    Well... spoiler alert... next issue is called "Finkle is Einhorn", so we definitely get more Sharon Ventura.

  3. Haha I loved that he went for ANOTHER potion, like really?! And even in jail, whats to stop him from using another unless they check his mustache with a fine toothed comb.

    Awesome, I can't wait haha. Finkle is Einhorn... is that some deep meaning I should understand because I'm completely lost by it.

  4. "Finkle is Einhorn" is an Ace Ventura thing. He finds out after he kissed his female boss, Finkle, that she used to be a man named Einhorn. He goes about setting his clothes on fire and crying in the shower. It's quite comical...

  5. :| Why the I not remember that?! I was thinking too much comics and not enough movies haha, I definitely should've gotten that. Man, I'm so outta the loop, I feel like X-Man now. :P

  6. Ah the weird old days... I will admit that I'm a bit bummed that you won't be reviewing Alicia and Johnny's marriage in FF #300, if only because I'm sure your review would have been over the top, laugh out loud funny. As for this line-up, I'm pretty sure Ben only put Crystal on the team to mess with Johnny(if you want to marry my girl, then I'll put your first love on the team!). I can remember them fighting over that(Johnny accusing Ben of trying to screw up his relationship, etc)and somehow(kind of)smoothing everything over in the end.

    As for this issue, I THINK I own it, but I'm not sure... As I read through your review, it seemed kind of familiar, but there were parts that I couldn't recall. Like Diablo and his AWESOME mustache trick! Say what you will, but that is the BEST use for that big ol' mustache of Diablo's I've ever heard of! Take THAT Super Mario! Anyway, looking forward to issue #317. I'm sure it'll be hilarious!

  7. Wow, sounds like there's more relationship drama in this incarnation of the team than in a Fleetwood Mac recording session. I knew Crystal was a member of the FF at one point (in fact, she might have been at several points), but I forgot about Ms. Marvel. And I certainly never thought the Thing would have, thing for her either!

    Also, I just came up with a new Fantastic Four drinking game, in which you take a drink every time Reed and/or Sue leaves the team. I bet a small stack of comics could get a person pretty messed up if they were playing that game!

  8. It's okay, JT, as long as your mind was on comics.

    X-Man- This story was pretty formulaic, so it probably sounds like a lot of other issues (except for the whole moustache thing).

    I'm on the fence about how (or if) I should review 317. I think the less background the better. I had to read it like 3 times to understand what the chracters were even talking about.

    Marc- I believe(and maybe Dan or X-Man will back me up) that Crystal was the first ever substitute FF member when Sue had Franklin way back in Lee/Kirby days.

    Your drinking game could definitely destroy a few livers. I have one that will kill all the players, where they drink whenever Reed acts like jerk to someone.

  9. Nice review. I just read this issue yesterday, as I'm making my way through my old FF's. I agree with you that it's cool seeing such a different FF lineup, though I realy wouldn't want this group long term. Reed needs to be i nthe FF, and the FF needs Reed. I thought the telling of Diablo's origin was pretty good, though getting the potion out of his mustache fairly ridiculous, though it was nice to see Sharon using her head. I thought it was interesting in the previous issue how Ben wasn't sure if he invited Crystal into the team because he thought she'd make a good member, or to get back at Johnny. His adding Ms Marvel to the team might be questionable too...