I Married a Skrull

FANTASTIC FOUR #300, Marvel Comics, March 1987
There were two surprising things about Fantastic Four #300. First, it was a big, round number, but still only 24 pages. Maybe that shows you how much Marvel cared about its flagship title at this time. And second, the wedding was between playboy Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, and blind sculptress Alicia Masters. Alicia, old Marvel fans might remember, was the Thing's girlfriend since back in the 60s (she's blind - he's ugly as sin; she's a sculptor - he's made of rocks... it's a sitcom in the making). So what the hell happened?!?

Now, I usually like Roger Stern's writing, but this subplot about the Torch stealing the Thing's girlfriend was just the dumbest (started by John Byrne, but I would have abandoned it). I give props to Stern for having paparazzi trying to cover the wedding, but otherwise, it's a feeble twist on the "villain(s) crash the ceremony" story.

Well, when Alicia is the daughter of the Puppetmaster, it's not like you can avoid it. But they couldn't leave it at that. Four other villains make an appearance, and half of them feel obliged to recount their first encounters with the FF and swear revenge on the Torch.

So will it all end in tears? I dunno, but by page 15, all eyeballs are a-peein':
You can tell she's got her father's evil gene. I mean, hasn't Ben Grimm been through enough without her torturing him this way? Geez!

You know it's a Fantastic Four wedding because the priest gets all cosmic at some point: "Let us pray, most gracious and all-seeing Lord, at your command all things came to be... the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, the stars, the planets in their courses..." He forgot to mention the Negaverse, but regardless, that's some pretty progressive cosmology for the clergy. One disappointment is that I hardly know anyone at the wedding. Seems like the entire art world is on Alicia's side of the aisle, but not one superhero who wasn't a member of the FF could make it. Look:
Man, I wouldn't want to be sitting behind She-Hulk at a thing like this! Actually, I would. But in any case, no other superheroes were needed because the villains pussy out! Puppetmaster decides that he wants his daughter to be happy (all of a sudden), Doctor Doom sends flowers (FLOWERS OF DOOM!!!-- uhm no, just regular flowers), and as for the Wizard and the Mad Thinker, they were pussies regardless. I mean, any villain that names his mechanical creations "killer roboids" deserves to be called names.

The romantic match itself is a sham, though not quite on the order of the Storm/Black Panther wedding (yeah, the two characters from Africa, of course they knew each other... what a load!), and like the title says, they eventually had to undo it by making this Alicia a Skrull. Didn't wait for Secret Invasion either. They've been among us ALL THIS TIME!!! STEALING OUR HUSBANDS!!!

Still, a comic that features She-Hulk in a slip can't be all bad...
Bah, I've got a couple comics where she's topless. Sharks it is.


CaptainAverage said...

Oh c'mon, you have to give a little more credit to any comic that makes Ben Grimm look that adorable.

Siskoid said...

Note that I have nothing but the utmost respect for artist Sal Buscema.

rob! said...

wow, that's a bad cover, comic, and a poor way to celebrate the 300th issue of the FF!

Austin Gorton said...

So do you think Marvel will remember that Johnny married a Skrull infiltrator once Secret Invasion kicks into high gear? Or will this plot be "forgotten?"

Anonymous said...

Byrne handled Johnny dating Alicia with class, from what I remember. I don't know if he was planning to go so far as marry them, however.

That is an exceptionally crappy way to treat your flagship's 300th issue.

(I have become a huge fan of the underrated workhorse Sal Buscema in recent years, too...)

billjac said...

I never bought into the attraction between Johnny and Alicia; They hardly seem each-other's types. Byrne did handle it in a classy low-key style, but in retrospect I attribute that to the barely-there emotional relationships he wrote throughout his run.

On a side note, in an interview Byrne said that his original idea was for Johnny to have an affair with a married woman and later discover that her husband was disabled and feel bad about it. Then he realized that the FF had their very own disabled member, Ben, and decided to go that way with the story instead.

Finally, the retcon. I don't care much for DeFalco's run on FF in general, but I think a Skrull replacement is a relatively elegant way to undo the wedding that opens a lot of story possibilities. He squandered them at the time, but he's making good use of them in the MC2 timeline.

Austin Gorton said...

Yeah, as far as retcons go, "she was a Skrull" is pretty tidy and uncomplicated, and in my opinion, one of the better ways to go about something like that.

Which is why, if Marvel wants to use Secret Invasion to retcon away some of the bad characterization of the last few years, I'm far more ok with it than some.

Siskoid said...

Any similarities between the Colossal Boy/Yera pairing is strictly coincidental...

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This episode was one of the most emotive moments in the history of the comic books, I even had to admit I cried the first time I read it.
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