Monday, March 16, 2015

I don't think this is my original copy, but this was one of my first Fantastic Four comics: from 1977, Fantastic Four #184, "Aftermath: the Eliminator!" Written and edited by Len Wein, pencils by George Perez, inks by Joe Sinnott.

After the Battle of the Baxter Building--the 17th Annual, if my count is right--the Reed Richards from Counter-Earth, the Brute, has been sucked into the Negative Zone. The Fantastic Four and recent hangers-on Thundra and Tigra are left to deal with the aftermath, as implied by the title, but may have bigger fish to fry: Agatha Harkness and Franklin Richards have gone missing, and Sue is trying to cover that up until Reed regains consciousness. Left with piles of wreckage, and the usual automated repair robots knocked out, everyone ditches out and leaves the Thing with the cleaning. As they leave, Thundra and Tigra have a bit of verbal sparring over the Thing; and the Human Torch is seemingly disintegrated by an unseen foe!

While Ben has a brief chat with the Impossible Man about movies, Reed wakes up, and Sue fills him in. Reed had lost his powers (and wouldn't regain them for a year or so!) and was a little reluctant to get back out there, but Sue won't let him slack off. After Ben clears up the wreckage by sweeping it under the proverbial rug (which would probably just dump it in the apartments underneath them) the three head out to Harkness's house on Whisper Hill, which seemed a pleasant enough place before but now looks like a creepy haunted house, possibly because Harkness isn't there to keep up the illusion. They are attacked by the same sniper that attacked the Torch, and the Fantasticar is shot down!

Finding the Torch in the house, which Reed describes as "darker than Victor Von Doom's soul in here," the Four is attacked by the Eliminator, a creepy, tall cyborg; who seems to have a ton of gadgets specifically for stopping the Four, although his primary mission is covering up any evidence of Agatha Harkness. Reed has a plan, but in short order Sue is disintegrated, and Reed gunned down before he can reach the Eliminator!

Ben is then beat to death by the Eliminator's pickax hand, and then the Torch is driven beyond nova and explodes. With the Fantastic Four dead, the Eliminator begins his final task: self-destructing, to blow up Whisper Hill! But, this was part of Reed's plan: Sue had merely gone invisible, then used her force field to protect the rest, and the Torch faked going nova. The Eliminator, attached to the floor by his "vacuum-vents," is left behind to explode, as the Four wonders what the next step in finding Harkness and Franklin will be...

I've had this issue for years, but have I ever read the next issues? I know I picked up the ones leading up to #200 a few years back. Something to keep an eye out for. Oddly, I think this, like a lot of my first Marvel comics, featured a completely disposable villain that may not have been seen again!


Dale Bagwell said...

Exactly how long did george Perez stay on the FF? A couple months? I don't think he stayed on too long.
I had #199 myself, right when the Kristoff clone was imbued with the FF's powers. Good stuff, especially when he turns into the Thing and just goes ape-shit!

The Eliminator looked way too good to just leave behind. Surely someone's had to have given him a cameo somewhere.

googum said...

I flipped through GCD for a second, and although he missed a few, Perez was in there through #192 or so? Sinnott may have been doing a bit more work finishing, though.

And I think the Eliminator was just a low-level goon for Nicholas Scratch, who already had the Salem's Seven. Both aren't as good as Eliminator, though.