“Death to the traitorous Alphas! And to the filth they’ve dragged up with them!”
the Human Torch and Quicksilver agree to aid the gigantic Omega, if he will release Crystal, but when he fails to do so they aim to subdue him. Meanwhile, Reed, Ben, and Medusa land on the surface of the Inhuman city and speak to the royal family. Just then Omega breaks through, leading the Alpha Primitives in revolt. The Inhumans attack their former slaves, killing as many as they can in open war. Reed suspects that Maximus the Mad’s perpetual motion machine is the cause somehow and he attempts to destroy it. Just then Johnny, Quicksilver, and Crystal stop him. Waylaid, Reed assesses the situation and finds that for every Alpha Primitive that is killed, Omega grows bigger and stronger. Stretching his body across the battlefield, he halts the fighting, explaining the situation. Looking at Omega, the Inhuman’s recognize the product of their own hate. Chastised and ashamed, they stop fighting and the different factions leave the field of conflict. Afterwards, as a thanks, the Inhumans give the Fantastic Four new outfits, and Medusa requests to take Sue’s place on the team, ostensibly to learn more about the human world. Reed accepts. Finally, Crystal confronts Johnny and tells him that she loves Quicksilver now. They break up.
Roy Thomas’s writing in this issue is some of the best that the Fantastic Four has ever seen. This is a story which is intelligent, moral, and emotional.
Roy is obviously well-read and shows good craft. There is one overt Shakespeare quote, but also another hidden one. Although there is not any less dialogue than a Stan Lee FF comic, it is less on-the-nose, less of a nod and a wink to the reader, which draws us in more to the story. He also knows enough not to mix his metaphors, making Maximus the Mad still sound crazy, but also brilliant.
The story of the oppressed Alpha Primitives ends well. It is a story about a ruling class taking advantage of a race which they consider inferior to themselves. It a theme that has a lot of real-world parallels, but the story never stops being about the actual characters in the story so it doesn’t suffer from being contrived and preachy. And the non-violent ending is perfectly pitched. It doesn’t go on too long, and it stops just shy of being sappy, ending sooner than a story usually does, devoting the rest of the space to what could be called administrative storytelling — sweeping up the little odds and ends that have accrued in the last few issues.
One of these is the very poignant finish to the romantic saga between Johnny and Crystal. Johnny has spent the past twelve issues intermittently forgetting and pining for Crystal. This would lead anyone to question how deep his affections really lie and his actions in the last two issues could be most easily interpreted as blind territorialism, and this is indeed how Quicksilver treats him. And at the end Johnny makes light of Crystal’s break-up, saying that he already has a date with someone else, and in short playing the fickle and immature Johnny which we know so well from the previous 131 issues. But as Johnny turns to go away, and Ben starts needling him, we see what no one else in the fictional Marvel Universe sees, and that is that Johnny is crying.
Of historical noteworthiness, Medusa becomes the first of the official non-original members to be taken onto the team. There have been other stand-ins, but here she actually wears a ‘4’ on her outfit. Johnny gets a change as well, with a red and yellow variant FF outfit, in tribute, he says, after the original Human Torch’s color scheme.
All in all, this deserves the highest score. Although still very much of its time, it can’t be faulted or improved upon.