FANTASTIC FOUR #234 (1981)

IMG_0841What an interesting story!  I remember reading an interview with John Byrne once where he said he was trying to get back to the Lee/Kirby tradition of the FF during his time on the book.  Those first 100 issues of Fantastic Four emphasized incredible, sci-fi stories and rarely repeated a villain.  Every issue was a surprise—something new you’d never seen before.

This issue does exactly that.

The story is about L.R. “Skip” Collins, billed on the splash page as “the most powerful man who ever lived!” but we first seem him sitting, tired, on the corner of his bed in an unkempt room.  We see him go through his day-shaving, getting dressed, going to work, and everything about him is exceedingly average.  Byrne spends a full third of issue #234 on this exposition—the kind of slow, decompressed storytelling that simply doesn’t exist in Marvel books today.

Then, random earthquakes break out across Manhattan and the Fantastic Four struggle to save everyone.

Remember in John Byrne’s first attempt at doing both the writing and art chores for F4, how I noticed the team doing street work, except that Reed was too busy being brainy to mingle with the common folk?

Well, here Reed gets busy and gets involved.

Skip wants to help….

And he suddenly has the power to reverse the quakes, which he does, but the effort gives him partial amnesia.  He returns to go about his day, ignorant that he saved the city and not knowing he is the most powerful man in the world.

Creator: Byrne
Grade: B+

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

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