“Remember that guy who worked at the Seaquarium? We decided to make him our guide as we searched the underground caves…”
Sue manages to buy herself some time by creating an invisible force bubble around herself. Reed struggles to escape the hospital he’s in as Johnny and Ben experience a flashback to the first adventure they had with the Monster/Creature from the Lost Lagoon. Back in the cave, the monster rescues a baffled and frightened Sue Storm. Reed finally escapes the hospital and runs into Johnny and Ben as they race to save Sue. They encounter and fight with the monster before Reed stops them, claiming he has the answer to the problem. Sue then emerges from the monster’s ship, smiling and waving at them. It is revealed that the Monster returned to earth because his female mate contracted an earth virus the last time they visited, and they needed some earth medicine to cure it. The monster and his mate leave.
The mystery generated by the last issue is unfortunately defrayed by the sheer illogicality of the characters’ motivations in this issue. The biggest problem for this story is that it turns out to be a complete rehash of the original story from issue 97, which Johnny recounts for Ben (who was actually there) in rather needless detail. Remembering that the conflict of their first meeting was all a big misunderstanding, and the ‘Monster’ only had altruistic motives at heart, why isn’t he afforded even the smallest benefit of a doubt?
Annoyingly, a character inconsistency is pointed out by one of the characters themselves. Ben laments the fact that he should have considered the Monster’s actions and not his appearance — which would have been a really good complexion to through on this story, to have Ben try to defend the obscure actions of an alien that is misunderstood by the rest of his team would have added an interesting shade to the group dynamic. Instead what we have is Reed, at some point, just ‘figuring it out’, as he’s been doing a fair amount of lately, just quietly solving things so that they can be quickly wrapped up in less than four pages.
These disappointments are added to those from the previous issue and make this storyline completely inconsequential to the wider Fantastic Four mythos, and very forgettable. The only positive thing to say here is that John Buscema has really grown comfortable with the characters, and his (generally pointless) action sequences are as fast and fluid as ever.