Fantastic Four #347

Title: "Big Trouble on Little Earth!”

Writer: Walter Simonson 

Penciller: Arthur Adams

Inker: Art Thibert

Colors: Steve Buccellato

Editor: Ralph Macchio

A ship that’s falling apart tries to reach Earth. The ship is ablaze as it slides into its landing. A woman runs from the ship and announces that the core is about to blow. The ship explodes. The woman says that her ship is totally gone. She says that she is marooned, but that at least she is alive. She says that those whose betrayal forced her there will suffer for it.

At Four Freedoms Plaza, Franklin begs his mother to do it again. He slides down his mother’s invisible slide and lands in his father’s stretched out hands. Reed tells Franklin to take it easy and that if he missed catching him that he would be in real trouble. Sue says that Franklin just has as much faith in his father as his mother does. Reed says that he has decided that they are going to give Franklin back the power of his birthright.

In another area of the plaza, Alicia comes up behind Torch. She asks him what is the matter. She says that he has been home for three days and that he has hardly said a word. She says that she doesn’t need to be able to see to know that something is wrong. She asks why he won’t tell her. Torch thinks to himself that she is right, but wonders how he is supposed to tell his wife that he met a beautiful blue woman on their journey and that he can’t get her out of his mind. Torch’s hand heats up in frustration and he storms off.

In the gym, the rocky hided Ms. Marvel thinks to herself that it was so wonderful to be with Ben man to woman on the island, but that she is now doomed to wear a hideous shell that separates her from the man she loves. The human Ben Grimm walks in with flowers and tickets to the Desert Rose Band. Sharon tells Ben that is nice, but that she doesn’t think that she could face going out in public. Ben says that he understands, but that if she needs anything to just whistle and he will be there.

Near Mars, a ship full of Skrulls have re-entered the continuum. They have a negative trace of De’Lila’s ship and that her last known vectors indicate an Earth bound trajectory. The commander says to commence a wide spectrum energy scan and to concentrate on Earth. One of the men says that she probably thought that her ship’s smaller mass would let it phase in close to Earth without destroying her. The commander says that it won’t do her any good. He says that they almost got her once, and that this time they are going to put her down.

A beautiful dark haired woman walks up to the guard at the reception area of the Fantastic Four’s home and says that she would like to see them. The guard apologizes and says that the Fantastic Four don’t see anyone without an appointment. He says that he isn’t even sure they are there. The woman asks if he could phone up and see. The guard turns and calls. He tells Dr. Richards that there is a woman there to see them, but when the guard turns around he finds the woman gone.

Torch stands brooding wondering what he is going to do. He thinks about Nebula being so beautiful that it hurts him. He wonders if maybe she scrambled his brains when she took over his mind. He thinks that he doesn’t want to hurt Alicia, but that he can’t help what he is feeling. He says that he has to get her out of his mind. Torch turns and sees Nebula standing there. She tells Torch that he will never forget about her. She says that he is hers always and forever. Torch says that she can’t be there and that it is impossible. Nebula asks if he isn’t glad to see her. Nebula moves to kill Torch and says that all he has to do is pull away. She puts her hand on his neck and Torch is zapped. He falls to the floor.

Ben lays in bed thinking about Sharon. He says that she is taking being the Thing again hard. He decides that he will go and talk to Stretch after he and Sue are done playing with Franklin. He says that he doesn’t want to bother them when they are getting to see their kid for the first time in weeks. Alicia walks in and asks Ben if she can see him for a moment. Ben asks what is up. Alicia hugs Ben and says that something is wrong with Johnny. She says, “I don’t know where to turn, darling. I need some TLC, Ben dearest. Ben tells her to stop and tells her that she is married. Alicia says that it is true, but that sometimes you shouldn’t remind a girl. She puts her hand on Ben’s neck and zaps him unconscious.

Sue quietly walks out of the room as Franklin sleeps. She says that though they were only gone a few days on Earth that subjectively they were away from home for weeks. She says that she just wanted to hold him and play with him and that Franklin took full advantage of it. Sue decides to go check the mail and pay a few bills. She turns and sees Namor and he asks her why she bothers. He tells her to forget this menial drudgery and to fly away on the wings of true love. Sue asks Namor what he is doing there and says that they heard he was saving the environment or something. Namor says that he will in good time, but that first he has a surprise for her. Namor puts his hands on Sue’s neck and zaps her unconscious. Alicia asks Sue what is going on. She says that isn’t Namor and that he would never harm Sue. Namor turns and punches Alicia. Namor says that he didn’t mean to be quite so brutal, but that they do what they must.

In the gym, Ms. Marvel tells Ben that she is sorry about the concert and thanks him for bringing her some tea. Ben says that she has to keep irrigated after a tough work out. He says that there is an extra kick in this cup that will work wonders. Suddenly Sharon drops unconscious to the floor. “Ben” thinks that he was worried that the disruptor wouldn’t penetrate her thick hide, but that a drugged drink works just as well.

In the Rad-D room, Reed is working. Sue comes up behind him and tells him that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. She says that they have been gone so long and asks if he thinks his work could wait just a little longer. He says that maybe just this once. He asks Sue what is on her hand. Sue tries to zap Reed, but he only gets a partial zap and is still conscious. Reed realizes that it isn’t really Sue, and that the intruder is using some sort of neural interface. Reed realizes that he has lost control of his body. “Sue” leaps on Reed and Reed figures that it must be a shape shifter since the likeness is too good. Sue says that she has to render him unconscious before he can summon aid. Reed realizes that “Sue” knows about the Rad-D and figures that she must be a telepath. He thinks that he has to alert the Avengers. The shape shifter manages to hang on even though Reed is trying to resist and zaps Reed unconscious. She says that she thought Reed would be the least of the Fantastic Four, but that she underestimated him. She says that it doesn’t matter anyway and that she has done in minutes what the Skrull empire has failed to accomplish for years. She says that Reed is pretty attractive and that it is too bad he noticed the disruptor or she might have had the time to enjoy themselves before she put him under.

On the outer reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere, the Skrulls begins a scan for Skrull mind-wave indices. The Skrulls on the ship find that there are dozens of Skrulls, and that the primary source is a single location in the ocean below. The commander says to cloak the ship and to take them down for a closer look. The ship descends on Monster Island. A landing party is sent out to search around. One of the landing party walks about knowing that they have been sent out because they are expendable. The other says that he didn’t hear that. He says that it can’t be De’Lila and that there is more than one of them . He says that the percentage of Skrull mind-wave similarity ranges from 73.36% to 94%. He wonders why there would be any Skrull readings anywhere on Earth. The two Skrulls scream as they see two enormous monsters fighting one another. They run back to the ship. Back on the ship the commander says to arm slave darts to target each of the creatures within range. He says to attach a remote mind scanner to each. He says that whatever these things are that they are going to help them locate De’Lila. The darts are fired and nine monsters are hit. The commander says to plot a teleport drop for each creature to scatter them across the planet and then to prepare to transport them. He says that they will program them all for maximum ferocity level. He says that they will increase the mental stress levels across the planet and then watch the scanners.

Beneath the surface, Mole Man demands to know why his hour of silent contemplation is being disturbed. One of his underlings tells Mole Man that a craft has landed on Monster Isle and that whoever it is has taken control of the inhabitants. Mole Man says that the dwellers there are under his protection. He says that whoever interferes with them does so at their peril. He says that he may let them live long enough to regret disturbing him.

“Sue” examines Reed’s equipment and says that it is all she hoped for and more. She says that there is no record of anything that will aid her in her search, but that the variety of super beings is more varied than anywhere in the known universe. She looks at images of Colossus, She-Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, Black Panther, and Jean Grey. She says that with the Fantastic Four’s computers that she will locate those that will help him achieve her destiny. She selects four and says that they should be sufficient for her purposes. An automatic monitor clicks on as the news is telling tales of giant monsters appearing around the world. The reporter says that the purpose of the monsters is a mystery, but “Sue” says that to her it sounds like her pursuers have arrived.

Spider-man swings through the city and is about to head home for the night. Suddenly his spider sense is tingling and he gets the feeling that someone is calling his name. He feels it getting stronger as he heads toward the East River. Spidey realizes that it is taking him to Four Freedoms Plaza. His sense is going nuts and he says that whatever it is must be really ugly.

Hulk stands next to Wolverine. He says that he isn’t going to ask Wolverine again. Wolverine says that Hulk is lucky that he is in a good mood tonight or else Hulk would be wearing his underwear around his ears by now. He repeats that he didn’t call Hulk there and that he doesn’t know what is going on. Spider-Man lands next to them and asks what they are doing in New York. Hulk and Wolverine simultaneously say that it is none of Spider-Man’s business. Wolverine says that he thought someone was calling his name, but that no one knows he is in town. He says that he followed it there. He says that it is the same for “Gruesome”, but that Hulk thinks he had something to do with it. The guard comes out and tells Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Hulk that Mrs. Richards said they would be out front and that she would like to talk to them. Hulk grabs the guard and says that he has to be kidding. He says that no one orders him around… “especially not some fresh faced kid just out of kindergarten!” Wolverine tells Hulk to chill out and that if it is the FF that it must be important. Hulk tells the guard that he doesn’t like people messing around inside his head. The guard says that Mrs. Richards is waiting upstairs and asks where the fourth one is. Spider-Man asks who else he was expecting. Ghost Rider zooms by them on his bike and rides up the side of the building. Hulk leaps up after him and Spider-Man swings up. Wolverine says, “#@*#!! Show-offs!” and gets on the elevator. He says that the next time he hears voices in his head that he is going to take a nap.

The doors open and Wolverine sees that the place is trashed. Spider-Man is pleading with Sue to get a hold of herself and tell them what happened. “Sue” says that she doesn’t know what happened for certain. She says that she was out shopping and came home to this and worse. She says that she used Reed’s mental alarm resonator to call for help, and that the four of them came. Hulk says that is tough, but that he is out of there, and that no one messes with his head. Sue tells Hulk to wait and says that there is something that she must show him. Ghost Rider tells Hulk that he may want to wait. He says that innocent blood has already been spilled or he wouldn’t be there. Sue says that Ghost Rider is more right than he knows. She opens the door and says that he was summoned there in response to the blood of her family. Inside are five bodies with sheets over their faces. Reed’s stretched out leg falls to the floor and Ms. Marvel’s rocky foot sticks out of her sheet. Hulk says that it isn’t possible. He asks if they are dead. Sue says that they are and that their killers still live. Spider-Man says that his sense was going crazy, but that he never thought it would be something like this. Spider-Man asks if they are the first to know. Sue says that they are and that she isn’t releasing the news of their deaths because it would cause their enemies to resurface and that they can’t afford that. She says that Reed was barely alive when she returned home. She says that before he died he warned her of a terrible threat against humanity. She says that the enemy has caused the Great Beasts of the Earth to rise up against mankind. She says that the monsters aren’t the real dangers . She say that the real danger, the killers of her family, are the ones driving the monsters against them. She says that if they aren’t found that millions of innocents will die too. Hulk asks how they are supposed to find them. Sue hands Spider-Man a sub-photonic spectro-analyzer and says that Reed was able to record the assassins’ energy configurations before he was overwhelmed. She says that where this energy originates is where the assassins will be found. She says that the device will find them, but that they are dangerous… even for the four of them. She says that they may not be able to stop them. Hulk says that he can stop anyone by himself. Ghost Rider says that there will be vengeance. Spider-Man says that it looks like he will be late for dinner tonight, and Wolverine says to call them the new FF.

First Family rating: 8.5 out of 10

Nice set up issue. De’Lila seems to have taken out the Fantastic Four fairly easily. I’m not sure how she got upstairs, but I guess that would be the easiest way to take them down. You also have to suspend disbelief a little that Wolverine doesn’t smell the difference in Sue, or that Spider-Man doesn’t sense danger from her. Love Adams’ art and my only complaint is that I hate the cheap paper this thing is printed on. The art is way too nice not to be preserved and displayed more clearly. 5 out of 5 for the art.

Review by The Leader

Pictures by Captain Nate