129. The Frightful Four — Plus One

Issue One Hundred and Twenty-Nine, December 1972

Issue One Hundred and Twenty-Nine, December 1972

“Well, I’ve made a decision — I’m going to join Crystal in the land of the Inhumans, permanently!

Reed and Ben are exhausted, returning from their previous adventure, when Johnny springs the information on the team that he is going to run off to the Inhuman’s city and marry the love of his life, Crystal. They try to stop him but Sue prevents them from interfering. Johnny makes it to the city of the Inhumans but his plane is attacked and he is captured and brought before Black Bolt. Meanwhile, the rest of the Fantastic Four receive a psychic summons from Agatha Harkness saying that she must leave on urgent business and that they have to pick up Franklin, which Sue does. Ben decides that he is going to pay a visit to his own girlfriend, Alicia Masters, but on the way he is attacked by the Frightful Four. Initially helped by Medusa, who has turned against her former teammates, another super-powered being called Thundra turns up to round out the new Frightful Four. With her aid, Ben and Medusa are defeated.129thinkingCOMMENTARY
129mustThis issue is a welcome return to form after an exceptionally disappointing run of stories. Roy Thomas is doing something interesting with the theme of gender empowerment. He’s already made movements towards making Sue a more proactive character but now the discussion can truly be described as thematic. In this issue Sue not only stands up to Reed and challenges him on the issue of his devotion to their child and their relationship, but there’s also some interesting interaction with Medusa saving Ben from the Frightful Four, but also being replaced by another woman. And Thundra herself gets a top-notch entrance: her entire team is on the verge of being defeated by one and a half members of the Fantastic Four and she completely turns the tide against them in just a couple pages. She completely dominates the scene and threatens her compatriots at the same time. That makes a total of three women in this issue who are completely uncompromising and refuse to be pushed around.

129beltSo on the one hand there are all of the most common elements of the typical Fantastic Four story (a squabble with Johnny who flies away, Ben leaving in a huff, a chance encounter with a group of bad guys), but there’s a new element in play here. It’s an element that is way past due to be included, but it’s being used in an interesting way.


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  1. Pingback: 133. Thundra At Dawn | Fantastic Four 1 by 1

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