Thursday, January 29, 2015

Comics Rant: Fantastic Four #202

Fantastic Four #202
Written By Marv Wolfman
Pencils By John Buscema
Inks By Joe Sinnott
Colors By Janice Cohen

The fun just keeps on coming in this retro issue of Fantastic Four. Not only do we get Marvel’s First Family in this Bronze Age tale, we also get  Bronze Age Shell Head, Iron Man, too. It’s a tale called “Too many Iron Man’s.” Which could really just be totaled after how many damn re-boots the poor bastard's had to endure since “Heroes Reborn” or not. Shit, with a new (not so) Secret Wars heading this way in May, you can bet everyone will get a brand new #1. Before going away in eleven months time and starting all over again with what… guessed. A brand new #1! It’ll be fun (so says Marvel) and costly. (So say I!)

So Marv Wolfman and “Big” John Buscema bring us a tale of The Fantastic Four moving
all their stuff right back into the Baxter Building. With reduced rent as per issue #201. Turns out the owner had problems renting the place out. I mean who other than myself would want to live in a place that Dr. Doom might want to blow into space on a whim. I mean in my case I’d pretty much rent the place so he could come over for tea and cookies. But he’d most likely finish his tea and then thank me while throwing the teacup at my forehead.  That’s what he’d do if Mike Allred has his way.

So yeah, the FF are unpacking all their crap when Iron Man comes crashing through the window. Reed Richards tries to talk with Iron Man but Shell Head just ain’t having it. He beats up Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben then pulls some fancy crimson lever and the magnetic hooks hold the top five floors of the Baxter Building which house the Fantastic Four. With the FF on the streets Iron Man steals the top five floors and flies away. It’s still that time in the Marvel U. where Iron Man is still Tony Stark’s bodyguard, so the FF no doubt want to pay a visit to Stark's Long Island factory.  Makes sense to me.

Reed Richards and his threesome (sans Fantasticar) take the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) to see Tony Stark. Ben gets all angry at Stark and wants Stark to go get Iron Man. Reed wants to know why Iron Man attacked the Baxter Building. Stark's all like “ I’m Iron Man and I was using the bathroom all morning. How can this be?!!”  Tony changes to his Iron Man garb and proposes a team-up to get to the bottom of this Iron Man fake out. It’s a nice twist from the Marvel team-up as it’s been since Stan Lee dreamed it up. Instead of two heroes having a misunderstanding then teaming up, we get an impostor Iron Man causing havoc and then the real Iron Man teaming up with the FF. Good job, Wolfman and Buscema!

So thanks to some funky device that Reed cooks up in the Avengers Quinjet that Iron Man borrows from Stark, they follow the trail of the Baxter Building (the top half of it anyway) to a small island across the Atlantic Ocean. There the good guys come face to face with the fake Iron Man and his master… Quasimodo. He’s pretty much an old school Marvel bad guy and he created the Iron Man double to steal the Baxter Building so he can regain his ability to move. Turns out his last fight was with Hawkeye and Spider-Man and he was blasted into space and saw some freaky alien life form and wanted to be back with him. No matter what the cost.  So Iron Man faker and the real Shell Head fight where Quasimodo tries to use the Baxter Building's weapons to kill off the FF. Much like Marvel is trying to do now.

Stealing the power from the Baxter Building gives Quasimodo the ability to walk and fight. But he’s still no match for the Fantastic Four. So he leaves the fake Iron Man that he built to hold them off while Quasimodo steals the FF’s silo plane and rockets himself to the stars. Saying that the power to control the whole planet is calling him out there. Good job, FF. Let the one guy other than Dr. Doom that could enslave us all get away. And they call Reed Richards smart. Smrt, maybe. (TM Homer Simpson.) Oh, real Iron Man causes a power backlash that blows up fake Iron Man. The good guys shake hands and Iron Man helps Reed and Co. get the top five floors back to midtown Manhattan. Good for them. This issue had a nice twist on the Marvel team-up and had the great John Buscema back at the helm. Fun story, if somewhat off beat. Hey, that’s what makes up a good part of it’s charm. Good stuff.

-Tash Moore

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