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Flashback: Review of Fantastic Four 234 (September 1981) August 25, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, Flashback.
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In Flashback, LOTRKing reviews a random back issue (in many instances, one he hasn’t read before) and attempts to make sense of both the story and its place in Marvel history.

This is by far the best issue I have yet reviewed for Flashback. I’d like to say it is likely because it is a Fantastic Four issue, but very little of the story actually has to do with the FF. Instead, we are introduced to “The Man with the Power,” as the cover references him. Skip Collins is middle-aged man, living a very average life, in a typical mid-size town. What he doesn’t realize is that he has the power to change things just by willing them so. As we are introduced to the many “un-unique” facets of his life, we learn much about the character in a few short pages.

When his boss breaks Skip’s ordinary routine by sending him to NYC for a business meeting, he does some touring and eventually sees Reed and Sue in a crowd. As he trails them hoping for an autograph, he sees them rescue a girl from a condemned building, before all of NYC is hit with a major earthquake. In the face of this massive destruction, we see the reactions of all the characters (namely, the Four and Skip, who never actually meet).

As Reed comes to realize that the quake was global, and caused by something in outer space, he takes the Four off-Earth to investigate. Meanwhile, Skip, distraught over what has occurred, states “it never should have happened!” At this remark, the world-wide destruction rights itself, and all memory of the incident is lost. (Except for the FF, who are not on Earth and not affected.) As Skip slips back into his ordinary life, the FF discover the true source of the attack: Ego, the Living Planet! This brief outline may make the plot seem slightly cheesy, but a read through will show anything but. There is a reason that John Byrne’s run on FF was legendary, and this issue definitely serves as evidence.

I recently purchased the anthology Who Can Save Us Now? (as suggested on a blog I read), and being over half way through the book, I confess myself rather disappointed. Most of the stories are either just plain weird, or focus too much on matters I would rather have left out. This one issue and the story of Skip Collins are better than every story in that book I have read put together. If you ever come across this issue, I’d highly encourage reading it (along with 235, the cliffhanger is too good to leave part two untouched, not to mention 235 was an extremely enjoyable issue, even without the continuing story of Skip).

Next week: Amazing Spider-Man 284

-LOTRKing

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Comments»

1. Kid - May 8, 2011

This was my first Byrne FF – I soon acquired #232 & 233 and all of his subsequent issues. Classic stuff indeed.


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