February 1982: Fantastic Four 242 – Or, contractors must love the FF

FF 242 - 00 FF 242 - 02

Synopsis: Fantastic Four 242 was written and drawn by John Byrne and opens with Terrax the Tamer flying towards Earth on an asteroid, seemingly fleeing his post as herald of Galactus. In Manhattan, the Fantastic Four are enjoying the winter season, Reed (Mr Fantastic) Richards, Sue (the Invisible Girl) Richards and their son Franklin are putting the christmas decorations away, also trying to prevent Franklin from destroying the room with a rocket he found, (Great parenting there Reed) Sue finds the time to complain about Reed’s practical thinking about using an artificial christmas tree.

FF 242 - 05 FF 242 - 06

In Central Park, Ben (the Thing) Grimm is having a brooding walk through the park, but is accosted by some muggers. He hands them to a police officer after putting them in a massive snowball and meets up with Alicia, while the police officer thinks that the only reason Ben has Alicia, is that she’s blind. Elsewhere, Johnny (Human Torch) Storm and his girlfriend Frankie (Nova, although I don’t know if she has that name yet) Raye, head to an off broadway theatre and see Frankie’s friend Julie acting but head out into the sky. A little while later, they get to the Baxter Building as Ben arrives, but also arriving is Terrax.

FF 242 - 09FF 242 - 11

Terrax attacks them, blaming the four, for his being a herald in the first place. He does well against them, till a certain Mr & Mrs Grimms bashful son decides to get a punch in. From one building, through another and into a third, it’s a hell of a punch. Terrax, not fancying another one of those, flies to the top of the twin towers (which adds a bitter sweet moment in the reading) and using his cosmic control over the ground, pulls the island of Manhattan into the sky, using an invisible forcefield.

FF 242 - 16 FF 242 - 17

Elsewhere in Queens, Peter (Spider-Man) Parker is alarmed by his spider-sense going off, Dr Don Blake see’s the disturbance in the air and slams his cane down, becoming the mighty Thor and on Long Island, Tony (Iron Man) Stark see’s what’s going on and heads out to investigate. Even Daredevil notices that the city isn’t as it should be.

FF 242 - 21 FF 242 - 22

While Thor and Iron Man help those stuck on the bridges and Spider-Man fails to get into Manhattan, the FF go into action. Sue puts an forcefield around the island, keeping the air in and anything else out, whilst Frankie stays with her, Reed, Johnny and Ben get into spacesuits and face Terrax, who puts forth his plan. He will send the island into space, killing all it’s inhabitants, unless the Fantastic Four destroy his pursuing master Galactus.


Notes: I am not going to be very objective here, I am a fan of the art and often the writing of John Byrne. He had in my mind three or four amazing runs of comics and this was one of them. The art is great, the time spent on subplots and character moments flesh out the story and his command of action was always great. This was at it’s time The Worlds Greatest Comic Magazine. Terrax never looked as good as when Byrne drew him and his battle with the FF was just done so well, especially as it ended. He thought he’d dealt with the Thing, but as he boasts that no one can stop him, he finds out the time, that’s right, Clobbering Time.

Galactus has often been over-used by Marvel, but by only having his spaceship seen, it gives it a great sense of anticipation. I could go on, but gushing about the FF when it’s good is best left to better people such as http://www.thefantasticast.com/


Next time: Beastmen in bar fight.


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