“So, until you feel you can treat me as an equal, I’ve made up my mind! I’m taking little Franklin and I’m leaving! Leaving you — leaving the FF!”
With Ben and Medusa defeated, the Frightful Four, which now includes Thundra, move the attack to the Baxter Building where Reed is conducting experiments. Meanwhile, Johnny is in the Inhuman’s lands where he is being prevented from seeing Crystal by Black Bolt and the rest of the royal family. Escaping, he tracks Crystal down and confronts her. Back in New York, the Sandman defeats Reed and the Frightful Four move in. Machines start attacking them and they find that it is Sue Richards who is attacking them. The Frightful Four are able to defeat her as well after threatening to hurt Franklin who is sitting nearby. But Franklin uses apparent powers to awaken Ben Grimm who breaks out of the paste ring bindings and the rest of the team is also able to be freed and the Frightful Four are chased off. In the aftermath, Sue, angry at the way Reed has been treating her, leaves him and the Fantastic Four, taking Franklin with her.
Another above-par issue of the Fantastic Four, with two genuinely surprising twists. The first is a very short blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment where Franklin’s eyes sparkle as he brings The Thing back to consciousness. This is the first we’ve seen that Franklin might have powers, and although we’re unclear as to what that might be, the rest of the FF are completely unaware of them.
The second turnaround is Sue leaving Reed, which is completely rational. The writer, Roy Thomas, is being very clever and nuanced here in having Reed treat Sue exactly as he has done during the Lee/Kirby run, but making this the last straw for her. Reed’s behavior in the past has always been sexist and condescending and Sue has always laid down for it, but now she’s standing up to him. And Reed, even being made aware of what he’s doing, nonetheless feels unable to change. It’s a very human weakness that Reed displays, counterpointed by Sue’s strength. The leader of the FF reveals feet of clay, but a firm resolve to keep the team together after two members of the team have walked out in as many issues, leaving us to wonder what will happen next.
The character of Thundra also shows more than just one dimension in this issue as her own code of honor becomes incompatible with what The Wizard is asking her to do to the FF. It is a show of strength to have her walk out — she refuses to harm or even threaten children, and views combat against males as dishonorable, for they are the weaker sex as far as she is concerned.
And really, after this issue, it’s really hard not to see her point.