FANTASTIC FOUR #314-316 (1988)

IMG_1271Continuing from last issue, when the team saved Mole Man from certain death in tunnels underneath Project Pegasus, the team stumbles upon a “teleportation warp” that takes the group through a series of very weird adventures.

Belasco, who is kind of a devil-like dude who somehow figures into the Cat People who helped create Tigra (I confess to not fully understanding or caring about Belasco’s mythology), kidnaps Crystal for his bride.

The team goes to rescue her, but the Belasco story is essentially jettisoned when a dimensional storm breaks out, the team sees Dr. Strange having his adventures over in his own comic (Strange Tales), and they teleport away and this time find themselves face to face with Master Pandemonium.

Master Pandemonium is another demonic villain I don’t care about who is tied to Tigra’s origin.  And coincidentally, he was created by Steve Englehart, who also writes these issues of the FF.  Because he’s the only one who cares about Master Pandemonium.

IMG_1273

And guess who is trapped in the dimension with Master Pandemonium?  Morbius the living vampire!

Now there’s a sprawling recap of the history of these characters, followed by an appearance by Comet Man.  Yet another character nobody cares about.  Seeing a pattern here?  A taste for the esoteric?

Then they all go to the South Pole where they hook up with Shanna and Ka-Zar.  And Johnny and Alicia are reuinited.

I know the Savage Land was in the South Pole, but why would they still be there?  They like to run around with almost no clothes on.  Anyway, this all must happen before Evolutionary War, in which High Evolutionary reboots the Savage Land.  We do get an extensive recap of the history of the Savage Land, though.

Lots of history lessons in these issues.

If all that wasn’t enough, A.I.M. is also at the South Pole with an army of ice monsters, so there can be a big fight.

Oh, and remember the character work Steve Englehart had been doing–the good parts of this run?  It moves a little.  The blind Alicia begs to touch Thing’s newly mutated form, and his new gal Sharon Ventura looks on with a pissed off scowl while Crystal looks on with hope that Thing will reconnect with Alicia so that Johnny Storm will break up with her and be free to go back to Crystal.  Got all that?

Anyway, this arc continues.  (Have mercy!)  Ka-Zar shows the team to the source of the teleporters.  Guess who?

IMG_1288

Steve Englehart’s run started pretty good, but in these issues it’s completely disjointed, random, and off the rails.  The teleportation device basically allows him to have the team pop around without really finishing anything.

Creators: Steve Englehart and Keith Pollard
Grade: C-

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

Related Posts

About The Author