Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Monarch Or The Mayhem?

From its cover, you'd think that Fantastic Four #259 is going to be a grand battle issue involving Tyros (formerly Terrax, the Tamer), the FF, and Doctor Doom:

But as the second part of a three-part story, it only brings us partway to what will be the story's climax. In Part One, we saw most if not all of the pieces laid in place, with Doom managing to restore to Tyros a portion of the cosmic power which he'd lost in his confrontation with Galactus and then pointing him in the direction of the FF. Part Two finally folds the Invisible Girl, the Thing, and the Human Torch into the story, as Tyros begins his mission of vengeance.

And what of Mister Fantastic? Where is Reed Richards while all of this is going down? So far, the story is keeping mum on it, so his whereabouts at this point will have to be listed as "unknown," at least for those of you who haven't read ahead. As far as the FF are concerned, things haven't yet progressed to the point of warranting his involvement.

Before things kick into high gear, the lives of the FF appear pretty mundane. Reed was last seen checking in on the injured Vision's status at Avengers Mansion. Sue is returning from Connecticut, where she's taking another stab at house-hunting. Ben is returning on an overseas flight; while the Human Torch is chilling in the loft he's moved into. But Tyros doesn't exactly strike us as the type who enacts his revenge at a leisurely pace--and so the Thing finds his taxi-cab suddenly sliced open and himself subsequently faced down by the one Doom has empowered to destroy them:

No, Tyros doesn't look like he can be reasoned with.
And no, the Thing doesn't intend to try.

And so the battle is on, with the Thing carried a good distance across town by a wave of rubble and impacting in a congested area. But his attack on Tyros has also made an impact, and its effect has emboldened the alien to an even greater degree:

Yet we know from Doom that Tyros's suit was meant to stave off the fatal effect of the energies now coursing through him--an effect that, with the partial shredding of the suit, is now accelerated. That may be a moot point as far as Tyros's mission is concerned, since his now unrestrained power may enable him to finish off the FF in a shorter time. And again, he has no intention of hesitating on that front.

Yet the Thing has managed to shoot up the FF emergency flare, which brings the Torch into action only to witness a startling scene:

Meanwhile, oblivious to all that's happening, Sue is still en route from Connecticut--but not for long, thanks to the appearance of a strange craft that intercepts her. And its design is soon recognized, as is the voice which finally confirms the identity of the one who has ensnared her:

It's certainly a battle on a different front that Doom has initiated with one of the FF. The question is: Why? We know of course of Doom's use of Tyros as a lethal catspaw who has already begun the planned attack against the FF--so why capture and confront Sue? The answer will come when Doom is ready to reveal it--but for now, all Sue knows is that the FF's deadliest enemy seems to be launching another attack against them, seemingly planning to pick them off one at a time. She doesn't intend to allow him to move on to anyone else:

Sue pushes all the right buttons with her foe, but she's ignorant of a deeper game Doom is playing here--one that for Doom amounts to an amusing diversion, but for Sue comes down to a wrenching choice:

Doom of course had no need to choreograph this little detour with Sue, since she would have eventually discovered or been summoned to the battle scene. We can only assume that this was a way for him to personally savor his upcoming victory over the team, a twist of the knife before Tyros completed his mission; otherwise, the FF would never have known who was ultimately responsible for their fall. And forcing Sue to make the only choice she could make had to be satisfying, a last bit of manipulation of his hated enemies before his handiwork destroyed them.

And so we're finally set to conclude this story, but with the addition of one last player. One who approaches the scene investigating an unrelated matter, but who will add an element of drama to the Fantastic Four's fight for survival as well as the fate of both Tyros and Doom:

And still no Reed Richards. Wherever he is, let's hope things are half as exciting.

Fantastic Four #259

Script, Pencils and Inks: John Byrne
Letterer: Jim Novak


Anonymous said...

Great story but unfortunately it's spoiled for me by the horrible new FF costumes - huge white collars, white gloves and white boots, yuk. But at least Sue's got her hair back.

Comicsfan said...

Those costumes were the result of the team's return from the Negative Zone (as well as the artist's whim), but I agree that their novelty wore off pretty quickly.

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