FANTASTIC FOUR #242-244

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Franklin makes a rocket fly.  And that’s just a small part of this fantastic story.

Terrax the Tamer arrives in New York atop an asteroid and promply knocks Thing all the way to the basement, and then kidnaps Manhattan.

Naturally, many local heroes get upset and involved.  Spider-Man and Daredevil sideline themselves.

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The Avengers try to intervene, but are unsuccessful.

Which is also a nice way to explain why they’re not along for the ride through space with the rest of the FF.  Susan Storm shows an awesome display of power, and kudos to Byrne for elevating her power set, but keeping all of Manhattan in a bubble forcefield so that everyone there doesn’t die from lack of oxygen. 

Terrax brings his hostage city to his boss, Galactus, who is not amused.  Terrax thought G was in a hungry, weakened state, and was using the opportunity to betray and slay Galactus—and tried to get the FF to help him.

But…

Yeah, G wasn’t that weak after all.  He disempowers Terrax and promptly sets about eating Earth.

The Avengers arrive to help stop Galactus, and we finally get the all out brawl against the world eater that should have come years ago.  I mean, the dude wants to eat our planet—shouldn’t everyone rally and fight?

The Wasp gets inside his armor and tickles him for a bit.  Thor hits him with hammer lightning.  Even Dr. Strange leaves his house to help by using his mystic spells to give Galactus horrible visions…

…and then Reed and Thing administer the coup de grace…

Pow!  What a great use of their powers!  It’s like their version of the Fastball Special!

But, of course, Captain America and Reed’s compassion end up having them save Galactus.  This is (a) stupid because he’s a huge threat and (b) important because later Reed will be put on trial for doing this (and incidentally, in that trial, he takes full responsibility for the decision—he doesn’t throw Captain America under the bus).

Funny thing, though, they save him and he’s still hungry.  So Frankie Raye agrees to be his herald, and flies off into the cosmos, breaking Johnny’s heart.

There’s tons—TONS—of excellent character work here, as well as a constantly surprising, and innovative story.

And, there’s a Christmas tree!

Sue doesn’t appreciate it.

Finally, there’s several “prologs” at the end of the story.  In the first one, Reed buys the Baxter Building outright, so he never has to worry about a landlord again.

Then, we see Dr. Doom is plotting to kill them all.  Nothing new there, but it’s nice to have the promise of a Doom story coming soon.

And, finally, Franklin solves a Rubik’s Cube and blows up HERBIE.
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Every time Byrne includes HERBIE, he blows him up.

Creator: John Byrne
Grade: A+.  This is one of the best stories of the 1980s.
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.
FASTBALL SPECIAL, IRON MAN, THOR, SPIDER-MAN, FF, 1982, G, TERRAX, DAREDEVIL, CAPTIAN AMERICA, AVENGERS, WASP, FRANKLIN HAS POER, HERBIE

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