Fantastic Four #178
Fantastic Four #178
A goofy and wonderful tangle of story from Roy Thomas, with spectacular art by George Perez, pretty much at the top of his game for Marvel. It’s all wrapped up in the bizarre continuity of counter-earth, where there is a Reed Richards who doesn’t stretch and who is a maniac — and also The Brute! (Jonathan Hickman was only five when this came out, so you can’t blame him). The Fantasic Four have been captured by the Frightful Four, and they’re all strapped to a crazy-looking windmill while the bad guys — led by Reed Richards’ double, who is in his underwear and smoking a pipe — decide what to do with them! Smash ‘em? Hold ‘em for ransom? Hey, why not both?
Cool action in the back half of the book, when the FF inevitably break loose and kick butt. Thundra and Tigra are here, too, because why not? The “Four” in Fantastic Four was always advisory, not a hard and fast rule. The good guys win and the evil Reed is ejected into the Negative Zone, but our good Reed can never stretch again. BUT WAIT, IT IS ALL A PLOY … it is the GOOD Reed that got shot into another dimension, while the evil version has pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. Why wasn’t I reading this book in 1977? It’s a gas!
- Script: Roy Thomas
- Pencils: George Perez
- Inks: Dave Hunt
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March Madness Super-Team Showdown Championship Match — Vote Now!
The voters have spoken (and in one case, a voter may have spoken many times).
The Championship round is set!
The voting from the semi-final looks decisive, but the numbers tell only half the tale:
- Avengers over Justice League 66/34
- Fantastic Four over X-Men 62/38
Now, it is true that the Avengers/Justice League match-up was never close. The Avengers opened with a big run and never looked back. But the Fantastic Four/X-Men tilt was within a few votes, either way, for much of the week, and in fact I had begun to expect a tie.
(Which might have led to the FF and the X-Men teaming up against the Avengers in the final round … but no matter!)
It was the weekend that told the tale, with the Fantastic Four surging out to an insurmountable lead, right about the same time that an avalanche of votes came in from the European country where I suspect Krackles has his secret headquarters. (No, it isn’t Latveria). Hey, there are no rules against stuffing the ballot box! I even encourage it, sort of.
Bottom line … the Fantastic Four ended up burying the Uncanny X-Men, and whether it was due to an outburst of Kirby phantasmagoria or a generational divide is a moot point. However agonizing a choice it might have been for my most dedicated readers, Marvel’s First Family is on to the Finals, to face Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — the Avengers!
Let’s look at how each team got here.
Coming in as a #2 seed, the Avengers haven’t been challenged in this tournament. They clobbered X-Force in the opening round, easily bested The Legion of Superheroes in the second, and blitzed the Justice League in the semi-finals. Whether it is because the Avengers have nearly all of Marvel’s hottest heroes, or they’re enjoying peak popularity because of the movies, or just because Scarlet Witch can take down Superman in a flash, the voters of Longbox Graveyard have left no doubt that they want to see the Avengers in the Final. And they are going to be tough to beat!
The Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four have surprised me at every stage of this tournament. I thought they were over-seeded as a #1, but the readers were right. While they haven’t had as easy a time of it as the Avengers, the Fantastic Four did make short work of the Metal Men in the opening round, and fended off a pesky Justice Society in the second. The X-Men looked like they would get the best of the FF in the semis, but Mutants Don’t Work Weekends, and the Fantastic Four are in the Finals. In this case, I think people are voting for the world-building and mythos of the Fantastic Four as much as the team itself … and that’s fine! Your voting criteria is your own!
And speaking of voting … the time has come. Only one team can win the Longbox Graveyard March Madness Super-Team Showdown. Cast your vote now (and if you are an Avengers fan, figure a way to vote many times, before Krackles deploys the Ultimate Nullifier again!)
World’s Greatest Comic Magazine vs. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!
Your vote(s) will tell the tale. Get ’em in by Sunday, April 1st (and no foolin’!). The winner of the tournament will be announced on Monday, April 2nd at 1:00 PM Pacific Time.
Thanks for all your hard work, great comments, and passionate advocacy throughout this tournament … and may the best team win!
(The comments section is open!)
“F” Is For …
… Fantastic Four! (1961)
There’s really only one choice here, though I’m not all that passionate about Marvel’s First Family. I respect the place this series holds in comics history (there is no Marvel without the Fantastic Four), and many of the Lee/Kirby stories are all-timers.
But the book didn’t fire my imagination as a kid, maybe because the mid-70s FF already felt like they spent all of their time looking backwards to greater days, or maybe because Reed Richards seemed more like my dad than some exciting Marvel hero I’d want to pal around with. I think the team has been scandalously abused by Marvel in recent years, and I look forward to their getting their due in some wonderful movie reboot … but, yeah, maybe I should have picked The Flash, instead.
All right, give me your best “F” books in the comments section!
- Frankenstein (1973)
- The Flash (1959)
- Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (2011)
Read more about The Fantastic Four at Longbox Graveyard:
- Fantastic Four Annuals #1-3
- How To Reboot The Fantastic Four
- Fantastic Four Gallery
- The Core of the Four
- Ten Years of Anti-Climax
Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!