118. Thunder in the Ruins & What Mad World

Issue One Hundred and Eighteen, Jan 1972

Issue One Hundred and Eighteen, Jan 1972

“How can I fight the girl I love –? How?!

Story 1 – The Human Torch battles the fighter jets sent after him in the last issue and eventually makes his way to Crystal, who does not recognize him, still being under the control of Diablo. He tries repeatedly to bring her to her senses, but she rebuffs him, believing herself to be Ixchel, a South American goddess. Meanwhile, Diablo, with the aid of Lockjaw, abducts Terra Verde’s military leader General Robles and takes him back to his temple base. The rest of the Fantastic Four arrive on the scene just as Diablo’s potions start to wear off. Inside the temple, Diablo accidentally detonates his workstation in a kurfuffle with the General and this brings down the whole structure. Crystal meanwhile has come back to her senses and the FF depart, apparently victorious.

118whatmadStory 2 – The Thing and Lockjaw, fleeing the blast that would destroy the South American temple, fetch up in a dark Victorian street. They are accosted by a shadowed man who turns out to be a robot that looks just like Reed Richards. Breaking through a wall, they find more robots, but in a Medieval England setting, and then in a Wild West environment. Eventually they are confronted by another Thing who, it turns out, is actually the Reed Richards of the parallel universe that Ben Grimm and Lockjaw have stumbled onto. In this one, Ben is human and married to Sue and Reed has exiled himself on an island where he creates whimsical robots and environments for himself.

This is a fairly low-key finish to a fairly small story, but not terribly disappointing for all of that. The original set-up may have yielded more fruit — could Diablo not have spent a little more time integrating himself into the country of Terra Verde? Could he not have prepared more than five or six potions for his grand scheme? Could he not have gained more power and actually attacked Doctor Doom before he accidentally blew himself up? There could have been at least one more issue gained from this set-up, a little more drama and action. But it’s not a bad thing to have a small story.

118obliviousThe main criticism really is that the Fantastic Four don’t actually play a part in Diablo’s downfall. They manage to get in the way a little, but ultimately it’s clumsiness that destroys his plans. There would be worse endings — another of Reed’s magical machines would be one of those. But after all, it’s not greatly disappointing.

A little treat of the issue is the back-up feature. It a thin excuse for a little bit of smashing, but it reveals a fair amount of character as well and we get a look at what may have been if Reed and Ben had swapped fates, and we see that Reed may not have fared so well if he had been dealt Ben’s hand.


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