FANTASTIC FOUR #261-262: The Trial of Reed Richards (1983-1984)


I read somewhere—can’t recall where—that Byrne created this storyline in response to Chris Claremont’s treatment of Phoenix in the Uncanny X-Men.

Byrne couldn’t believe that Jean Grey and the X-Men would never be held accountable by a galactic tribunal for all the damage and destruction she caused, so he had Galactus eat the Skrulls’ planet just weeks after Reed Richards spearheaded the fight to save Galactus’ life (in F4 #244).

The Watcher is his lawyer.

And Byrne himself is the court stenographer.  This was a nod to the Assistant Editors’ Month event.  Also check out the corner box on the cover.

The story is a little too compressed for my liking—I think it could have gone on several issues longer—but I understand that, particularly in the pre-Warren Ellis 1980s, people didn’t really read comic books for lectures on ethics.

Like so much of Byrne’s work, this book was ahead of its time.

Also, this was on the letters page:

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