Longbox Select: Fantastic Four #178

Okay, it is only the second week of the new Longbox Select series and I know I did the Thing last week. So, why am I doing Fantastic Four this week? Well, besides being some of the best stories out there. Next week, on new comic book day, it is the official return of Marvel’s first family to the comic book universe!

I don’t think I have met anybody more excited for the return of the Fantastic Four than myself. In fact, I petitioned for this for a long time with my #MakeFantasticFourGreatAgain #MFFGA campaign. So, as we get into this last week of waiting, I figure I should invest some posts to my favourite team and get everyone as excited as I am. So, here we go.

The Background-

One of the things that has made Fantastic Four great throughout the decades is their many friends and villains. I have selected a book that is cram-packed with bonus characters as the FF face off against the always bothersome Frightful Four. Thankfully, to help the team with this group of enemies the FF is joined by a few old friends, Tigra, Thundra, and the lovable Impossible Man.

And, who better to bring us this super-packed issue than a couple of legends in the field. Writing this book is the original successor to Stan Lee as Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Roy Thomas. Joining him is one of the most celebrated artists of the 1970-80’s with work on titles such as Crisis on Infinite Earths, New Teen Titans, and Avengers. The brilliantly talented, George Perez.

So, a slew of fun characters, an all-star creative team, this book sounds amazing. And what is more, is the surprise new member of the Frightful Four and his many secrets. Let’s get into it then.

The Cover-

George Perez is considered a master for a reason. These big splashes of action are just his style, and he always managed to make them bigger by adding an incredible amount of detail. Perez never shied away from anything, he never made a simple panel and put extreme care into every sketch. Whether it is a shot of a nobody, or a splash page full of action, Perez put the same amount of skill into everything he did.

The Story-

The Fantastic Four has been captured along with their good friends Tigra and Thundra. The Frightful Four have managed to snare them all in individual traps. Lead by The Wizard, Sandman, and Trapster have a new team member, Reed Richards. But, this is the evil Reed Richards of Counter Earth and his powers are a little different as he transforms into the incredible, unstoppable Brute.

The Frightful Four are holding the FF at ransom for a billion dollars. If New York City does not pay by 3 am they will be killed. Thankfully, there is a wildcard floating around at the same time, Impossible Man, who accidentally turns off the power which frees the heroes. Finally, the FF get their chance and they capitalize handily facing their foes. But, the Brute manages to take a de-powered Reed Richards and switches places with him, trapping the hero in the Negative Zone. And, now the team has a traitor in their midst.

The Review-

This is what the Fantastic Four is all about. Facing incredible odds, villains from other dimensions, battles with overpowered villains, and something always going wrong to set up the next book. It is pure fantastic fun. Going back to books like this, printed in 1977, gives you a chance to take in a full great story, but keeps you wanting to read more. This was before the change in comics when storylines began to stretch over multiple issues and you would be lost if you were not a regular reader. These books you can pick up casually and see what your favourite heroes are up to.

The Frightful Four always make for a great book. In more recent years, before the Fantastic Four books were pulled, the Frightful Four did not have the same juice they once had and were treated more like b-class villains. But, there was a time, like this book, when the Frightful Four could ruin everything. It would be awesome to see the new series bring this villainous team back to greatness.

Since I began collecting comic books these old Fantastic Four books were always my target. The original Marvel title held on to a magic of creativeness and originality for decades. Some of the industries greatest talents have put their energy into giving this team fantastic adventures every month. They are worth reading. These books deserve their dues. Without Fantastic Four we wouldn’t have a Marvel, and their long overdue return is something to be celebrated.

The Score-

8/10

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