Monday, August 27, 2018

I honestly thought I had mentioned this character before, or more like Reed Richards had; since this bad guy was responsible for his and Doctor Doom's apparent deaths, and I seem to recall Reed saying they weren't ready to face him like eight million times. From 1996, Fantastic Four #408, "Unbeatable is My Foe!" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Dan Bulanadi.

Intent on recovering his master Doom, Kristoff has brought Reed, Sue, and Ben--and Namor and Lyja--to the distant future ruled by Hyperstorm. Reed had been trapped in the prehistoric past (possibly the Hyperborean age of old Conan!) and seemed both gunshy of facing him again, as well as depressed at the way his wife and family have seemingly moved on without him. Elsewhere, Nathaniel Richards and Zarrko the Tomorrow Man are fighting Hyperstorm's forces: Zarrko had been a time-travelling foe of Thor, like a low-rent version of Kang; but here Doctor Doom was inhabiting his body! For his part, Hyperstorm seems to know where all the pieces are on the board, and everything is going as planned, even if we're still not sure what that plan is or why he's doing it.

Back in the 20th century, the Human Torch has just gotten the news about Reed, and huffs over to Four Freedoms Plaza to have Ant-Man send him to the future with the time platform. Nathaniel also goes to join the heroes in battle against Hyperstorm's "Destructoid!" robots, leaving Zarrko/Doom to his own devices. With the Fantastic Four reunited--for the first time since Fantastic Four #381 in 1993--Nathaniel is able to coach Sue on how to use her force field powers to vibrate on the right chord to destroy the Destructoids. Reed is concerned about the dangers of that, and her power's relationship to hyperspace is mentioned, then mentioned again by Hyperstorm when he attacks Sue. Furious, Reed lets his fists do the thinking, as he throws down with Hyperstorm, who continues to act like he's got a secret, and still seems too powerful for the heroes to take...

Nearby, Doom has returned to his own body (or a body, that's a whole kettle of fish) leaving an unconscious Zarrko where he lay; and as Kristoff watches Doom rebuilds an old favorite: a variation of the machine he used to steal the Silver Surfer's power cosmic way back in Fantastic Four #57!

I didn't read this issue at the time, and I know it was nowhere near as long as I think, but it feels like Hyperstorm's plotline ran forever. Reed's actions could be interpreted as trauma, PTSD; but he also seems like he's just dying to get back into the lab and build something to beat Hyperstorm's ass. The letter's page also includes a Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation: Paid circulation, actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 97,624.


SallyP said...

Reed's actions could also be ascribed to his being an enormous jerk.

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Thoughts on Hyperstorm being the son of the DoFP Franklin and Rachel?
Weird choice, but DeFalco tried to make it work, much like his entire run.