Wednesday, January 28, 2015

All Targets: Eliminated!

Wow! Who's this bruiser?

For the Fantastic Four's sake, let's hope he doesn't live up to his name!

Fantastic Four #184 finds the FF recovering from a life-or-death battle involving the Brute, who's the, er, brutish Reed Richards from Counter-Earth who disposed of the real Reed in the Negative Zone and sought to take his place on the team. Now, in the aftermath of the final battle that involved not only the Brute but also the mad Thinker, the four heroes struggle to put themselves back in order. But unknown to anyone, they're being targeted for elimination--and as this issue's cover suggests, things can't be good when "Eliminator" and "no mercy" are used in the same sentence.

The story first catches us up on how things stand with the team. Reed, having lost his stretching powers, has been taken to bed to rest from his ordeal, with Sue at his side. But his sleep is fitful, and he soon wakes up--to the distressing news that his son has been abducted by Agatha Harkness for reasons unknown.

The Thing, meanwhile, seeks a shortcut for disposing of the wreckage from a battle so severe that it's even left "Auntie" indisposed:

(You have no idea how many times I've wished I could do that on cleaning day.)

And speaking of the Thing--outside the Baxter Building, Tigra and Thundra, who had pitched in during the battle with the Thinker, are having words on that very subject:

(If you're waiting around for more developments in the "war" between these two, I'm afraid it never materialized.)

That leaves the Torch, whose flight is taking him right into the crosshairs:

With Johnny M.I.A., the team proceeds without him to Whisper Hill to investigate Franklin's disappearance. Granted, Whisper Hill often isn't the most inviting-looking of locations, given that there's usually a thunderstorm hovering around it--but today the area turns downright deadly for the three remaining members of the FF, as they, too, are targeted:

Even without Reed's stretchable body to help everyone in the freefall, Sue manages to get them all down safely. And as they make their way into the Harkness home, they find their fourth teammate already waiting for them--helplessly, that is:

Jeez, that's some buildup! With the exception of Johnny, the FF haven't even met their foe yet, and he sounds downright chilling. What exactly is rumbling toward them? Whatever you may say about the Eliminator, the fiend knows how to make an entrance.

Letterer Joe Rosen doesn't appear to have the same dynamic style as his brother, Sam, when it comes to splashing a sound effect across a panel--"KWA-VOOM!" should be exploding toward us as much as the Eliminator. Fortunately, the FF aren't intimidated by either, and Reed wants some answers about his son's whereabouts:

Come on--how do you think the Thing is going to answer this guy?

(Obviously Reed isn't as intuitive on the subject as you and I.)

The battle is then joined, though the Eliminator proves to be a fierce opponent. But the FF stop short in their attack. Perhaps because he no longer has anything to contribute in the super-powered department, and it's really only 3-to-1 odds against the Eliminator, Reed decides on another approach:

From all appearances, it looks like Reed came up with one lousy plan, doesn't it? But Reed, as always, is ten steps ahead of everyone else, and today that includes the Eliminator:

Reed only had that "with my final breath" crack from the Eliminator to tell him that the killer was going to self-destruct when his mission was completed--a heck of a leap for Reed to base a plan on, but you know Reed. As for the Eliminator, caught in his own countdown, he's about to find himself... oh, you know the word I was going to use, don't you?

They can, and he does.

Another sound effect that doesn't quite get us there--which may be a good thing after all, since a "kwa-va-voom" that isn't much of a "kwa-va-voom" gives the FF that much more of a chance to survive. (That, and Sue's force field.)

The team will later discover that it was the witches' coven of New Salem which sent the Eliminator to cover their tracks in abducting both Agatha and Franklin--which of course pointed the FF right to them. I don't know why witches would go to the trouble of creating a technology-based assassin, when they'd certainly have ways of taking the FF off the grid by more covert means. For that matter, they could have left well enough alone and simply stayed hidden in New Salem, since it was only Reed's analysis of the Eliminator's metallic "egg" which allowed the FF to track them.

Another Eliminator has never reappeared, which is too bad because it's far too cool a villain name to retire.

Fantastic Four #184

Script: Len Wein
Pencils: George Perez
Inks: Joe Sinnott
Letterer: Joe Rosen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Perez art here during this period of the F.F.! It made up for, what was in my opinion, sometimes uneven writing and plotting.
Still, it was a sad issue, for me, because it marked the end of the short-lived Tigra-Thundra-Ben Grimm-Impossible Man team-up, that was so funny, unpredictable, and dynamic that it could have (and should have) been stretched out for months.
The clash of personalities in that gang was highly entertaining.
Alright, I admit I'm a big Impy fan. Howzabout a post? mp

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