It’s a very tightly-packed issue this month, with many plots in play. The one that we start with, a break-in of the Baxter Building by The Sandman and The Wizard, is probably the least inspired. We don’t know what the motivation for this act is, although we assume it is probably simple mischievousness. In any case, their actions are not paid off in this issue since The Wizard is recaptured, and The Sandman absconds with an armload of Reed’s equipment.
The real interesting storyline is the secondary one – Dr Doom enticing the Silver Surfer to Latveria. There he manages to dupe the wide-eyed Surfer into thinking that he is a benevolent ruler, and even goads him into showing off a little. This all before he dons a special machinery and siphoning off the Surfer’s cosmic energy. He then takes to the skies on the Surfer’s surfboard and begins creating general havoc. There are now no almost limitations between Doom’s desire and his ability to enact it, and it’s morbidly fascinating to watch him begin to discover this. Here Doom is at last realizing the promise of his role as the Fantastic Four’s greatest nemesis. The scope of his plot is brilliantly imaginative for him, as a character, and the energy it adds to the story is as palpable as the kirby krackle that virtually drip off of Jack’s visuals. The image of Doom on the Surfer’s board is also one of the most dramatically charged of the entire series. There are two other plot threads in play in this issue. One of them is the continuing journey of Johnny, Wyatt, and Lockjaw as the massive, teleporting dog skips across the dimensions. This stop is one of the more enjoyable trips in which they narrowly avoid getting smushed by a stampede of enormous monsters.
The last plot thread is only a page and a half long, but really pays off. We have a brief scene with the Inhumans where we see Black Bolt recovering from his time spent in Mad Maximus’ machine in issue 54. Here it is revealed by Maximus that the until-now presumed mute Black Bolt is not mute at all, but only chooses not to speak. Why? We don’t know. The scene changes and we are left wondering what the next issue – and a cosmically charged Doctor Doom – have in store for the FF.