Hello and welcome back to another week here in Ye Olde School Café! This week, I’ll be presenting the conclusion to my look at Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four vol. 6! Last time we saw the emergence of a new foe that ended up doing something heroic, but then perishing in the end. After that, we were introduced to the Black Panther! At first, he attacked the team, but then after realizing they could hold their own, he backed off, and then told them about some trouble in Wakanda with a man named Klaw….
Just as the Fantastic Four are learning about this enemy of the Black Panther, an explosion rocks the compound, and T’Challa realizes that Klaw has come back for another shot at stealing some vibranium. As the Panther and the team get outside, they see that some kind of humongous creature is attacking the area, and that the military can’t do squat to stop it. Torch and Thing try their luck, but really have little effect on it. Then, as the team is attacking the beast, the Panther slips away and discovers the lair of the man responsible for this devious plan. Klaw immediately sees him, though, and unleashes his newest weapon. In place of his hand that was blown off from his previous encounter with the Black Panther, he now has a weapon that releases blasts of sound, coupled then with a machine that changes it into real life constructs that do his bidding. He creates a red panther and it tries to maul T’Challa. Outside, Thing is throwing down with an elephant construct. He then uses the beast’s own momentum against itself and sends it crashing to the ground. It disappears, and inside the lair of Klaw, Black Panther has thrown a wrench into the plans of Klaw by disabling the converter machine, thus destroying the constructs. The entire lair explodes, and the Black Panther and his new allies feel as if it’s all over. Indeed it isn’t, though, as Klaw is still alive, and he sees that his machine is still active, so he does something that seems insane. He jumps inside of the converter machine and begins glowing, pulsating, like the light on a fire engine.
The next issue shows the still trapped Inhumans trying to escape their dome prison. They fail even with the help of the Human Torch, who stole the Evil Eye from Prester John. Quite an interesting little story, and it is relevant even now if you’re reading Fraction and McKelvie’s Defenders. In the following issue (FF# 55), Reed and Sue are going out for the evening, so Ben decides to drop in on Alicia Masters (his on and off girlfriend). He shows up, but is furious because the Silver Surfer has paid her a visit, and he thinks she’s screwing around on him. Grimm immediately punches the Surfer out of the window, and the fight is on. Of course, the Surfer doesn’t understand why Grimm is angry, so he basically just defends himself. Eventually, Reed and Sue show up to stop Ben and find out what’s going on. After some quick explanations, The Surfer heads out, but then gives Ben flowers to give to Alicia on both of their behalves.
The next couple of issues feature the Inhumans and the dangerous Klaw, who has now returned as a living weapon composed of sound, and then The Mad Thinker and Quasimodo resurrect the original Human Torch (you know, the android). The real fun starts when the FF runs into the Sandman, and then halfway across the world, the Silver Surfer is greeted by a summons. It tells him that his presence is requested at the palace of Dr. Doom! Being slightly naive, the Surfer heads over to Doom’s castle and listens to his infinitely long speech. During said narrative, Doom is using his tech to analyze the Surfer’s board and other powers. As the Surfer is marveling at one of Doom’s inventions, Doom uses a device to not only trap the Surfer, but also drain his cosmic power and transfer it to himself.
In issue #58, Doom reveals to the FF that he has usurped the power of the Silver Surfer and he cannot be stopped. He then shows up at the FF’s HQ and starts to kick the crap out of Thing. He turns his attention to Reed and Sue. He easily defeats Sue, then has a brief struggle with Reed, but in the end, he subdues him, as well. The Human Torch arrives and can’t figure out what’s wrong with Ben, so he heads over to Reed’s lab to see what he can cook up. He finds out quickly that Reed and Sue aren’t going to be any help. Wyatt Wingfoot finds the device that Torch was thinking about using on Ben, and then uses it on his friend, and it frees him. He and Wyatt then make their way toward Doom. Torch is still trying to fight, but is clearly outmatched. Then Wyatt unleashes another of Reed’s inventions on Doom, and it creates a massive explosion that devastates the area. Doom rises from the ashes and Ben tries to attack again. Reed calls him off and tells him that they’re no match for Doom now that he has this power, and Doom scoffs at them, then leaves abruptly.
Later, everyone is back at the lab, trying to figure out how they are going to stop Doom. Speaking of Doom, he’s back at his castle, kicking around the Silver Surfer for some fun. Meanwhile, the Inhumans are still trapped inside the dome in the middle of nowhere, but finally, Black Bolt decides that even though it’s extremely dangerous, he’ll unleash the full power of his voice to try and set them free. He does just that, and shatters the dome into pieces. Black Bolt and his fellow Inhuman council decide it’s time to get in on the action on Earth, rather than standing by on the sidelines. As Doom is flying around the planet doing basically nothing more than abusing his new powers, Reed is in the lab creating a weapon to use against him. They then formulate a plan using this new weapon to stop Doom. The Torch goes after Doom, but proves to be little more than an annoyance. The rest of the team then enters the fray, and even the enigmatic Watcher notices and travels to Earth to oversee the battle. The team realizes that if they can separate Doom from the board, they can stop him. They basically keep him running around trying to catch them, until Sue is able to use her powers to knock him off the board, and then Reed uses the new device to sucker Dr. Doom into testing the limits of the Surfer’s cosmic power given to him by Galactus. Reed knows that Galactus told the Surfer that he had to remain on Earth or his power would disappear, so Reed uses a plane that flies by Doom (also sapping some of his cosmic power) and draws him into space. Doom’s powers are then nullified.
Well that’s it for this week, and I’ll be on vacation next weekend, and will return the following weekend! Between now and then, I’ll be brainstorming about what to spotlight next. See you next time!