172. Cry, The Bedeviled Planet

Fantastic Four 172 cover

Issue One Hundred and Seventy-Two, July 1976

“He’s here! I can hear his voice inside my head! Galactus!

The Fantastic Four are interrogating Gorr, the Golden Gorilla. As revealed last issue, he has come to warn them about Galactus’s imminent arrival. Gorr escapes and steals the Fantasticar, taking it back to his landed spaceship. The FF pursue him, following him into the ship, which suddenly takes off. Now in space, Gorr confronts them, disclosing that he intended to trap them and bring them to Counter-Earth, which is Galactus’s truly intended target.

Another confused and frankly uninspired issue. Not that there isn’t anything to enjoy. George Perez is a very able illustrator–he is able to make a very ridiculous character, Gorr, seem realistic and even menacing. He has also provided us with two very compelling double-page spreads. John Buscema’s name is intricately linked with this title, but Perez’s deserves equal recognition for his energy and dynamism–and likely would have if he hadn’t developed into an even more astounding artist into the years to come. Sue Storm also has a moment of protective aggression when Reed is threatened which is exciting and it’s a shame that these moments are so infrequent.Fantastic Four 172 Sue Storm

But there’s no getting around the issue that a great deal of this issue is recycled. Far beyond the fact that there is a full page recap of the last issue, as well as a three-page history of the High Evolutionary and the Counter-Earth, this is the third time that Galactus has appeared in the Fantastic Four since his introduction, and even his herald is a recycled character from Thor. Gorr stealing the Fantastic is an idea that was last seen only two issues ago–an event so strikingly unoriginal that even one of the characters in the story comments on it.

This is what the writing trade calls “Hanging a Lantern On It”.

The only truly original aspect of the story isn’t even that great. Why should Gorr have to trick the FF into helping? Why wouldn’t they do that anyway. It could be argued that Gorr, humanised as he has been, is still an animal at his genetic heart, his erratic actions in no way compel any main character into interesting or revealing action. It just makes them look like putzes.

Evaluation: 5/10

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