“Then — when the carnage has ended — we will emerge — to take control of the helpless planet! And then I’ll no longer be the Monocle — I’ll be a king!”
A man posing as a news photographer reveals himself to the reader to be The Monocle, a man who intends to assassinate many world delegates at the U.N. building. Three members of the Fantastic Four, who are on guard duty, become the targets for the weapon concealed in his camera — a “neutrak ray”. Reed, Sue, and Ben are incapacitated by its results. Meanwhile, Johnny is with crystal confronting a stoic Medusa who has arrived to summon her home. Physically separating them both, she carries Crystal into an interdimensional portal. Arriving to help a regrouped FF, Johnny takes to the skies to patrol for the saboteur who promptly makes his presence known. Eventually Reed shows up to thwart The Monocle with an anti-neutrak ray. The Monocle makes an unsuccessful escape attempt.
This is an issue of pieces, and all of them are awkward and fit together badly. The Monocle, as he is realized here, does not have to be a bad villain. An assassin that looks like a member of the press he can go anywhere and his absurd, invisible ray of destruction (although why not?) allows for a lot of possibility. But his relentless train of interior thought is mind-numbing — a more accurate name for him would be The Monologue. He continually alludes to some sort of master plan that will make him king, as well as some manner of employers or, at least, sponsors, that have provided him with his equipment. But how he can get to king of the planet on the back of killing a crowd of international diplomats is out of the scope even of the very copious information that he relays to us. Moreover, he very unreasonably provokes the Fantastic Four into noticing that violent action is taking place when his disguise was perfect and there was no threat at all posed to him by them. For no reason, he just starts blasting away, drawing attention to himself, and giving Reed apparently ample time to analyze and address the manner of attack. You get the impression that this is a guy who on his way to rob a house would cross the street to punch a policeman.
And the ending has to be a contender for the most bizarrely portrayed ending ever — it positively borders on the surreal. The moment of the villain’s capture is not even seen, and none of the FF seems to be over curious about his motives or if he is part of a larger plot.
Similarly, the scene where Johnny and Crystal are separated is rather bewildering. There has been no lead-up to it in the previous issue, and if the reason for Crystal’s summons to rejoin the Inhuman Royal Family was made in a different title, it is not referenced anywhere in this one. We are unable to feel the real emotion of the scene because we are too busy trying to puzzle out why it even exists.