Fantastic Four #194
Plot By Len Wein & Keith Pollard
Written By Bill Mantlo
Pencils By Keith Pollard
Inks By Dave Hunt
Colors By George Roussos
Now, say it ain’t so. Tash Moore here and I must say that I’m having a blast reading these old issues of Fantastic Four. Great plotting and art is what comics are all about. The FF are truly Marvel’s First Family, but hey, just like every family, there’re problems that will happen. So if you’ve been keeping up with these rants you know that the Fantastic Four have pretty much broken up because Reed Richards lost his stretching powers. So Reed has broken up the team and everyone has gone their own ways. Johnny Storm is racing cars and this rant has The Thing working for NASA.
Our story continues with Diablo and the Death Demon teaming up to blow up the Solar Shuttle that Thing was piloting. The Death Demon doesn’t mean The Thing any harm, really. (With a name like that, I can see how people would misunderstand him.) So the Solar Shuttle is blown up and it’s power stolen by Diablo, who thinks it’s the end for Ben Grimm. The Thing’s shuttle came down to Earth, but he was blown clear and not killed. I never really understood how that works. Something gets blown up, but it totally throws you clear of ever being hurt. Okay, so my head doesn’t blow up (Like The Thing didn’t) whenever I come to a problem like this I’ll just chalk it up to Comic Book Logic. It’s the same logic that lets Barbra Gordon get away with being Batgirl or nobody being able to tell that Clark Kent is really Superman. Bah!
So The Death Demon is shown to be a slave to Diablo. Turns out Diablo and his master of Alchemy is the only one who can create a potion to keep him alive. That’s pretty much the only reason The Demon is hanging around as a lackey. The Thing finds out where Diablo is hold up from the sensors on his ship where the solar power is stolen from. The Thing breaks in and does what he and Thor do best. Why, that’s fight. Thing punches Diablo and The Death Demon. I’m pretty sure this dude might have punched a damn puppy. But that probably went down off panel. Yeah, that sounds about right.
So lots of action and you can bet, but we make a quick scene change to the West Coast, where the Invisible Girl is working as an actress. She’s then confronted by someone, but you’ll just have to wait for the next issue to find out just who she ran into. Back at NASA, Thing and the Death Demon fight. The Death Demon then reveals that he is The Thing’s long lost friend Desmond Pitt and he was tricked into betraying his country by Dr. Doom. This really gets under the orange rocky skin of Ben Grimm and he flips out. Kicking the crap out of Diablo and forcing him to flee. Ben also blows up the Solar Cannon that Diablo had been using. This seems to be a running theme of Bronze Age Comics. You can let the bad guy get away, that’s totally cool. But just make sure to blow up whatever weapon he might have been using. It’s not like he can get a new weapon!
The ending has the NASA guys showing up to give Ben Grimm a ride back to his on again off again girlfriend, Alicia Masters. He also tells them to make sure that Desmond Pitt not be called a traitor to his country and all that jazz. Huh. Who knew that all it took to have the U.S. Military to change the status of someone as a turncoat was to have a big, orange, rocky guy tell you so. Makes sense to me, folks. Make no mistake this was an action packed issue. I dug how at least the Thing cleared his friend's name, if nothing else. Plus props to Keith Pollard who does a great job with the art chores on this book. I always felt that Marvel had a ton of fantastic (Pun intended) storytellers. I say storytellers over artist because anybody can throw some panels together. But only a storyteller could put a book together like this and even without the words you can follow what the dilly-o is. Did I just say dilly-o? Why yes I did. Sure it dates me, but then again this issue shows that being dated can be a good thing. Be back here in about a week to find out what’s going on with Sue Richards on the West Coast. No word on if it’s Issac Pearlmutter coming to cancel this rant.