DuckTales rewatch – Merit-Time Adventure

Rewatching DuckTales! Watching episodes in order, we can see several tropes being repeated. One of these is giant sea monsters, which have appeared in multiple previous episodes, and here’s another one in episode 40, “Merit-Time Adventure.”

Here’s what happens: One of ships in Scrooge’s fleet is destroyed by a sea monster. While Scrooge meets with the Coast Guard about the incident, his nephews, Webby, and Doofus are visiting the nearby docks to get a sailing merit badge, with Launchpad as their Woodchuck leader. Scrooge then spots a truck carrying some of his lost cargo. It’s been salvaged by Dogface Pete (played by go-to Disney villain Pete), and he got it all legally from the bottom of the ocean under salvage laws.

That night, the sea monster attacks another ship, and Scrooge and company witness it first-hand. Scrooge disguises himself as a grizzled old sailor to investigate Pete’s operation. His cover is blown when the sea monster attacks both him and Pete. The monster carries Scrooge out to sea. The next morning, the kids investigate while the coast guard docks all boats. The kids convince Launchpad to break the rules, as they all go to sea to try catch the monster with sea biscuits.

Scrooge wakes up in a chamber filled with all his and Pete’s stolen cargo. He discovers that Captain Quackenbill, who was sailing one of Scrooge’s own ships, is the one behind the sea monster attacks. Quackenbill is training the monster to go after Scrooge’s nephews. Pete shows up for the rescue, handing Scrooge a harpoon. Diving under the water, Scrooge discovers that the sea monster is really a sea monster-shaped submarine piloted by Quackenbill. After a lot of fighting, Scrooge nabs Quackenbill and hands him over the Coast Guard while Webby earns a merit badge.

Humbug: When disguised as one of Pete’s crew, Scrooge tries and fails to ride a bicycle. He says that of all the skills he’s learned over the years, riding a bicycle isn’t one of them.

Junior Woodchucks: In the last episode, “Working for Scales,” when Scrooge appears dead, the nephews fear he’s gone forever. In this one, when Scrooge appears to have died, their attitude is just, “We’ve got to find out what happened to him.”

Fasten your seatbelts: When he falls overboard, Launchpad says he can’t swim. But back in episode 5, “Too Much of a Gold Thing,” we saw him swimming when he fought that snake. Maybe he was just panicking.

Maid and maiden: Webby joins the Junior Woodchucks in this episode, and she pretty much has the main character arc in this one. She does all the reading while the boys goof off, and therefore she’s the one who saves the day at the end.

Do the doo: When Doofus refuses to leave Launchpad’s side during the sea monster fight, Launchpad says, “You may be a fool, Doofus, but you’re a loyal one.” To which Doofus replies, “That’s the nicest thing you ever said to me.”

Foul fowls: This is episode is written as a whodunit, so we don’t get to know much about Quakenbill. The whole fake sea monster plot is to scare away salvagers from the ocean floor, so he can get all that sweet salvage himself.

Reference row: This is the third of four appearances of Pete in DuckTales. Strange but true, Pete is Disney’s oldest continuing character, predating Mickey Mouse by three years (!). His first appearance was in 1925’s Alice Solves the Puzzle. He’s been a favorite of Disney animators over the years, so even when he’s not a main character he tends to show up in backgrounds. He’s still at it, currently a playable character in the Disney Magic Kingdoms mobile game.

Thoughts on this viewing: Here’s the thing – we just did a phony sea monster storyline a mere two episodes before this one! If we’re to view DuckTales as a single work, then we have to conclude that fake sea monsters are a relatively common thing in this world. Beyond that, this does have a lot of that fun Indiana Jones-type adventure, and it plays fair with the mystery plot. So it’s a well made episode but loses big points for lack of originality.

Next: Argo-not.

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Fantastic Friday – Back to school

Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. A new story arc begins in vol. 3 #51 legacy #480, while dragging all the ongoing subplots along with it. We’ve also got a little bit of a rotating door of creative teams for the next few issues before Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo take over. In this issue we still have Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Martin on scripts, joined by Karl Kesel as a third co-writer. Mark Bagley, one of Marvel’s top dogs thanks to Ultimate Spider-Man, takes over the art.

Gimmie a gimmick: The great Mike Wieringo makes his FF debut on the cover, and this is the first of four covers that make a single image when combined. This has been done before, but instead of left to right, these four covers connect from top to bottom.

We begin in 1942, for a mountain expedition by explorer Erik Jaggar. He and his team travel over snow-capped mountains only to come upon a green valley, which he calls “a great refuge from the storms.” He and his team find a grass-hut livin’ civilization where there are beautiful people, but also strange children with superhuman powers. Jaggar panics, pulls out his gun and opens fire. His men do the same, killing off the adults. As for the strange children, Jaggar orders his men to round up the children and take them back to Berlin… to meet the Fuhrer.

In New York in the present, Reed, pregnant Sue, and Franklin are driving upstate where Franklin is going to be enrolled in school. Reed does that thing where he alters his face, and he explains to Franklin the importance of having a secret identity. They arrive at the prestigious Stern Academy, which Reed and Sue describe as the Xavier School but without mutants, and Hogwarts but without magic. They meet school headmaster Carmine Stern, where Franklin is enrolled under the name “Richard Franklin.” On the ride back home, Reed and Sue discuss whether they’ve made the right decision, and Reed off-handedly mentions that he recently placed a defensive energy shield around the entire Earth (!).

The White House then contacts Reed saying that an unknown spacecraft has contacted the United Nations with permission to land, using the Fantastic Four’s “entry code.” Reed’s car transforms into a flying car (because of course it does) and takes off. In Manhattan, Ben, in his human form, is on a date with Kate O’Meara of Damage Control when he sees the approaching alien ship. Reed’s flying car zooms by, and Sue picks up Ben in a force field. Ben transforms into the Thing, and the three of them investigate the alien craft, now landed near the United Nations building. The ship opens, and out walks… the Inhumans!

Specifically, there are members of the Inhuman royal family, Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, Triton, and Gorgon (who, let’s not forget, once single-handedly defeated the Fantastic Four). Medusa speaks on Black Bolt’s behalf, saying he is the former king of their people, and the five of them have come to the U.N. seeking asylum. Before she can continue, a second spaceship appears and attacks. The enemy ship opens, and the Inhumans are attacked by villains named Sandorr’s Hunters, made up of Sandorr, Cordon, Mistur, Mud-ah, and Linga.

Everyone fights! Sandorr reveals he’s a bounty hunter, here to capture the Inhumans. Although the baddies put a good fight, they’re not match for the combined power of both the Inhumans and the FF. Sandor orders his team to retreat, and they all do except for Mistur. In space, a military anti-alien defense satellite spots Sandorr’s fleeing ship and destroys it. A female soldier aboard the satellite says there is no denying what they all want, “fewer aliens among us.” Back in New York, Mistur tries to make his escape disguised as a human, but he’s caught by two Guardsmen, the armor-clad guards of super-prison the Vault, who shoot and kill Mistur.

Back at the new Baxter Building, Medusa and the Inhumans catch up on what’s been going on. In the recent Inhumans miniseries, the Inhuman royal family had been abducted by the Kree aliens to be used as assassins against rival aliens the Shi’ar. Black Bolt defeated the Kree, but was deposed as the Inhuman king because of his actions while under Kree command. Sandorr was one of many bounty hunters the Kree have sent after the Inhumans. Medusa fears they will have nowhere to go, but Reed tells her he contacted someone who can help. On cue, Crystal appears, courtesy of giant teleporting dog Lockjaw.

Crystal catches up with everyone, and she asks where Johnny is. This lets us cut to the desert, where Johnny is filming his big Hollywood movie, a Western based on the Rawhide Kid. Just as soon as we glimpse that subplot, we cut to the Vault, where Mistur is still alive. He informs the US military that Black Bolt attempted to kill the Shi’ar empress while under Kree control. He also tells them that he and his team are the only ones that know the Inhumans are on Earth. With that, the military woman seen on the satellite earlier orders the guards to kill Mistur, for real this time. There’s a close-up on the woman’s eye, revealing that she’s the beautiful young girl from the 1942 prologue.

To be continued!

Unstable molecule: What’s the deal with Reed and the Army building this planetwide anti-alien tech? Around this time in Marvel with had the Celestial Quest story in Avengers, and the already-mentioned Kree/Shi’ar war, but these weren’t outright alien invasions of Earth. Shortly after this issue, alien will attack Earth in a big way in X-treme X-Men, so I guess all these new defenses didn’t last.

Fade out: When visiting Stern Academy, Sue’s disguise to make her hair look shorter by turning part of it invisible. It’s a real “Clark Kent’s glasses” thing going on here.

Clobberin’ time: Ben met Kate O’Meara of Damage Control back in vol. 3 #37, and she was into him even before he had the ability to turn human.

Flame on: There’s NO mention of how Johnny’s powers have gone haywire and are dangerous. I guess we can assume that his red-and-yellow outfit from last issue keeps his powers in control and then also assume he’s wearing it under his Rawhide Kid costume. This is a lot of assumptions, though.

Fantastic fifth wheel: When speaking to police outside the U.N., Medusa invokes her Fantastic Four membership in hopes of gaining their trust.

What’s Crystal been up to? After returning to the Marvel Universe in Heroes Return, she helped set up a new Avengers team, after which she re-joined her Inhuman family and got back to work raising her daughter Luna. She was a main character in the 1998 and 2000 Inhumans miniseries.

Four and a half: It appear that Franklin will be living at Stern Academy for the time being. I tried to find whether the school is named after Marvel writer Roger Stern, but neither the Marvel Wiki nor the fan-made Marvel Appendix sites have entries about the school.  

Commercial break: Excuse me?

Trivia time: This is the first, last, and only appearance of Sandorr’s Hunters. You’d think Marvel would bring them back sometime to take the Guardians of the Galaxy. Sandorr appears to be an intelligent Brood alien (possible relative of Broo from the X-Men?). Cordon is a robot with unbreakable armor, Mistur is the shape-changer, Linga has stretching powers and a laser eye, and Mud-ar is the big musclebound bruiser.

Fantastic or frightful? This issue is mostly setting up the next few issues while continuing the ongoing subplots. The fight scene is a lot of fun, and the Inhumans are written well, easily reestablishing them as part of the Fantastic Four’s supporting cast.

Next: Democratic process.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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DuckTales rewatch – Working for Scales

Rewatching DuckTales! Episode 39, “Working for Scales,” is the fourth and final part of the “Cash as Cash Can” multi-parter, so the animators brought out all the stops with a floating city, airplane action, and huge piles of cash.

Here’s what happens: Scrooge and Glomgold are competing over the rights to sell the amazing glowing fruit of Macaroon, which could potentially replace the lightbulb. To do this, Macroon’s leader, the Grand Kishke, had decided that the two must physically weigh their fortunes on giant scales to determine who is most rich and successful duck. (I question whether this is how the economy actually works.) Glomgold is in Macroon, ready to go, while Scrooge is still retrieving his lost gold from the ocean floor. Glomgold has the Beagle Boys transported to Macaroon to help him prevent Scrooge from delivering.

Scrooge arrives hiding in the clouds, where the lost city of Atlantis (from the last episode) has been converted to a huge airship. Huey, Dewey and Louie search for the mythical treasure of Atlantis in hopes of helping win the contest. The Beagle Boys spot the floating island and pursue in three fighter jets. Gyro offers Launchpad a briefcase that unfolds into a tiny airplane, which he can fly to chase off the Beagle Boys.

In all action, Scrooge and Gyro go over the side of the floating city. Gyro saves them, and Launchpad while he’s at it, with his hankerchief parachutes. The nephews think Scrooge is dead (!) so they set out to win the contest in his place. They dump Scrooge’s gold on the scales. After some back-and-forth, Scrooge and Glomgold’s fortunes appear evenly matched. Then the boys find the Atlantis treasure adding it to the pile. This lets Scrooge win the contest. Further, it’s discovered that Glomgold’s secretly snuck lead bars in with his money to weigh it down. Our heroes are reunited as Glomgold walks off in shame.

Humbug: My thesis is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is Scrooge learning his family is more important than his money. I’m not sure whether this episode aligns with that. At the start of the episode he’s angry with the nephews for messing up the cloud machine. By the end, though, he doesn’t really apologize for his words, but merely thanks the boys for getting his money back. So maybe Scrooge is just a rich jerk.

Junior Woodchucks: The nephews stand up to the Beagle Boys at the end, making a deal with them to save their lives, but actually tricking them into opening the Atlantis treasure vault.

Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad and his briefcase airplane don’t do much to stop the Beagle Boys, but he doesn’t quit. No matter what the Beagle Boys do, he pursues them.

Best brain: When searching for his hankerchief parachute, items in Gyro’s pockets include a tire pump, a yo-yo, a book, and an alarm clock.

Foul fowls: If we take those lead bars and the Atlantis treasure out of the equation, who really won this? At one point, some of Scrooge’s money ends up on Glomgold’s side, but then Glomgold adds some more he had in hiding. The results seem inconclusive to me.

The Beagle Boys in this episode are the classic trio of Big Time, Burger, and Bouncer.

Reference row: I can’t be certain, but I suspect that Launchpad’s briefcase-airplane is a reference to Little Nellie, James Bond’s teeny airplane from You Only Live Twice. In reality, Little Nellie was a Wallis WA-116 Agile Series 1 gyroplane.

Thoughts upon this viewing: Nothing in this episode makes any sense, from the idea of weighing all the money, to the logistics of a floating city, to why the glowing fruit was never seen again after this. But there’s a real sense of adventure to it all, and there’s a great concept in having an ancient city in the clouds that’s all yours to run around in.  

Next: The shape of duck water.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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Fantastic Friday: Nuff Said

Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. It’s issue #50 of volume 3 (legacy #479), so it’s hyped up as an anniversary issue, but it’s also part of a company-wide stunt that ended up not being much of a stunt.

 This is Fantastic Four’s “Nuff Said” issue. The deal here is that every Marvel comic this month was to publish a comic that was images only, with no dialogue or captions. For Fantastic Four #50, they did the stunt for only the first of four stories in the issue. It begins with a lot of horsing around as the FF meet in the kitchen for breakfast. Then Sue, who is again pregnant with her second child thanks to all the timeline-rewriting of the previous issue, goes to the doctor to check on baby, and She-Hulk joins her for moral support. As the doctor examines Sue, the “tac-tac-tac” sound effect appears, recalling the cosmic rays that originally gave the FF their powers.

Johnny and Namorita attend a party for Johnny’s movie (remember when he was acting in that movie?). A young woman tries to kiss Johnny, but her lips are burned. Namorita feels heat emanating from Johnny and a drink in his hand turns to steam. The idea here is that even with his special suit, his powers are still out of control. The “tac-tac-tac” effect is heard again. Cut to Ben, who is watching a chess game in Central Park. He flashes back to his early days as the Thing, when angry mobs chased him around the city. The flashback extends to Sue and Johnny, both learning to use their powers shortly after gaining them. Then we flash back even farther to the FF’s origin, getting bombarded by cosmic rays and crashing down to Earth with their powers.

Back in the present, Johnny’s party goes well, and we see that his movie is a Western called Blazing Star, and Johnny is playing the Rawhide Kid. Ben helps one of the chess guys win his game, and Sue uses her powers to let everyone see the baby, who is healthy. Sue, Ben, and Johnny confront Reed in his lab holding up a newspaper with their picture and the headline “Anniversary.” From that, we can interpret this is how they spent their anniversary of the day they got their powers. On the last page, Dr. Doom is all along, watching footage of the FF’s anniversary coverage. He taps his finger on the arm of his chair, making the “tac-tac-tac” noise.

The second story is a parody in the style of Marvel’s famously unfunny comedy series Not Brand Ecch. Various Marvel staffers play FF characters and their villains in an overly wacky look at how the comic is made.

The third story, “Eye of the Beholder,” Ben and Johnny are participating in a bachelor auction alongside Tony Stark. It’s hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, of all people. A beautiful woman bids on Johnny right away. Ben suspects no one will bid on him, but Sue, She-Hulk, and the Wasp are all in the audience, and they all bid on him. A mystery woman in a veil wins the bid with ten thousand dollars. Ben learns the veiled woman, Babs, keeps her face hidden because she suffers from psoriasis, and she was only bidding on behalf of her sister, not herself. Upon meeting the sister, Ben says he would rather go out with Babs. Johnny, meanwhile, learns that his date also bid on behalf of someone else, a woman badly burned in a fire, and she wants Johnny to help her get over her fear of flame. The next morning, Sue asks Ben and Johnny how their dates went, and they answer in unison, “I met the beautiful girl today!”

The fourth and final story has Ben and Johnny out shopping, looking for an anniversary gift for Reed and Sue. They get chased by groupies for a bit, and then sit on a bench while struggling to think of the perfect gift idea. They then spot a travel agency, and arrange an Alaskan cruise for the whole family. On the cruise, Reed pontificates about the science of the northern lights, but Sue shushes him with a kiss.

Unstable molecule: There’s a gag where Reed is working on a breakfast-making device, but it produces a small brown object that looks like a rock (or, perhaps, something a lot more gross). You’d think that this would be followed up on by the end of the story, but no.  

Fade out: Sue’s flashback has her preparing for a modeling shoot, or perhaps an acting gig. This isn’t something we saw her do in the early days, but I suppose it’s not out of the question.

Clobberin’ time: Ben transforms into a human during the breakfast scene, reminding us that he can do that now. But when he goes for a walk in Central Park, he’s back to being the rocky Thing. What to make of that?

Flame on: I think we’re to assume that Johnny’s red-and-yellow uniform is the one containing his out-of-control powers, replacing the bulky red armor from a few issues previous. Further, the Marvel Wiki conforms the third and fourth stories in this issue take place in the near future, sometime around issue 54-55, after the current subplots get wrapped.

Fantastic fifth wheel: She-Hulk’s presence in this one is just to remind us that she is still pals with the FF.

Four and a half: Franklin appears only the breakfast scene, eating with a teddy bear beside him. So much for portraying him as older now.

Our gal Val: Baby Valeria (though she’s not technically named that yet) has blue eyes and a full head of blonde hair. Those Storm genes, am I right?

Commercial break: Tiny, oddly-shaped DC-ROMs. There’s no way these things actually worked, right?

Trivia time: The “Nuff Said” event was something of a mixed bag. A lot of comics seem to have cheated their way through it. In Amazing Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk, they cheated by having characters read and communicate via text on screens. X-Treme X-Men apparently removed all the dialogue from the preexisting script, making for baffling reading. In Exiles and X-Statix, issues were devoted entirely to exploring weird dreamscapes. New X-Men had a character speak on the last page, and this issue of Fantastic Four only did it in one short story. The best of the bunch was the Punisher issue, in which Garth Ennis handed the writing duties over to artist Steve Dillon for a simple but effective story of the Punisher shooting up some crooks. Marvel included Dillon’s script in the back of the issue, and the entire thing is only 24 words long (!).

Fantastic or frightful? For an anniversary issue, with the word “anniversary” all over it, there’s not much going on here. It looks more like these four shorts are placeholders to work around the Nuff Said event, and then continue the story proper in the next issue. It’s a cute couple of stories, but that’s about it.

Next: Back to school.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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DuckTales rewatch – Aqua Ducks

Rewatching DuckTales! Time for another undersea episode in episode 38, “Aqua Ducks.” It’s part three of the five-part, oops I mean four-part storyline, “Cash as Cash Can.”

Here’s what happens: To score a lucrative deal, Scrooge must transport his entire fortune to the country of Macaroon where it will be physically weighed against Glomgold. After last issue’s misadventures in the previous episode, all of Scrooge’s gold ended up in the bottom of the ocean. This one begins with Scrooge, Launchpad, Gyro, and Doofus heading into the ocean in the Gold Digger, an undersea vessel of Gyro’s design.

The Gold Digger reaches the depths of the Marinara Trench, only to find the money gone. The team follows a metal detector toward a possible location of the gold, and a current sweeps them away to unexplored part of the ocean. There, they encounter “fish folk” who are Gillman types. They have whole underwater city. The fish folk accuse Scrooge and other surface folk of destroying their home with littering and pollution. They include Scrooge’s fortune among the litter. They sentence our heroes to work 400 years in the city dump.

Turns out the city dump is the lost city of Atlantis, where the four ducks are put to work as trashmen. They plan a jailbreak, but are stopped by the fish folks’ monster, Globzilla. Gyro comes up with an idea to create a fizzy drink in large enough quantity to float all of Atlantis to the surface, taking the money with it. Doofus, who has befriended local dolphins, recuits them to help. Launchpad and the dolphins lead the fish folk and Globzilla on a wild chase through Atlantis. The plan works, the fish folk end up Thanking Scrooge for taking away all their garbage.

Humbug: Scrooge describes himself as a “mega-quad-zillionaire.” Not sure what dollar amount that is, exactly.

Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad is disappointed this is an undersea mission and not a sky mission, so he submerses the Gold Digger by flinging it through the air and into the ocean, just so he can say he flew it.

Best brain: The first few minutes of the episode establish Gyro’s inventions of super-strong balloons and the fizzy drink, both of which come into play in act 3.

Do the doo: Doofus displays an ability to communicate with dolphins. At first he does this by squeaking a balloon to mimic dolphin sounds. But by the end of the episode, he and the dolphins are full-on speaking English to each other.

Foul fowls: We don’t see much of the fish folks’ leader, Master Malek. All he wants to punish surface dwellers for polluting the ocean.

Reference row: The myth of Atlantis apparently originated from the writings of Plato, where the sinking of Atlantis is believed by most to be an allegory. Atlantis sank, see, because it wasn’t as great as Plato’s great Republic. Others, however insist there was a real Atlantis Plato based his story on. The search for a real-life Atlantis, however, is considered more pseudoscience than science.

And yes, Globzilla is based on famed movie monster Godzilla.

Thoughts on this viewing: This is a fun episode as long as you don’t think about the logistics too much. (Like how do the fish folk speak English? Or how strong is that fizzy drink to lift an entire city? Or how did everyone withstand the deep ocean pressure? You know, things like that.) It’s also got a clear character arc, in how Scrooge at first thinks the other three in the group are idiots, but then appreciates their efforts by the end.

Next: “There’s that word again, heavy…”

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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Fantastic Friday: Baby back

Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. Another reality-twisting comes to an end in vol. 3 #49, legacy 478. This is when we say goodbye to Valeria, and we meet… Valeria?  

To recap, the godlike villain Abraxas (not the one from the Jesse Ventura movie) is on a killing spree across the multiverse, because he believes the only way to achieve perfection is in pure nothingness. The FF went on a cosmic quest across other universes to obtain the Ultimate Nullifier, which is powerful enough to destroy Abraxas. An alternate universe version of Johnny’s ex Frankie Raye a.k.a. Nova betrayed the FF and gave the Nullifier to Abraxas. This issue begins with him contemplating the Nullifier, saying, “And so it ends.”

The FF have reassembled atop the new Baxter Building, along with Franklin, displaced teenage Valeria, Roma the daughter of Merlin, and interdimensional royalty Saturnyne. Abraxas summons a whole bunch of alt-universe versions of Nova who surround the building. They reveal Johnny’s current girlfriend Namorita, who appears dead after Abraxas removed her ability to breath on land. The FF put up a fight, trying to battle their way through all the Novas to get the Nullifier away from Abraxas. Ben gets closest, only to get flung across the city by a single breath from Abraxas.

Reed is severely burned by the Novas, and he can sense alt-reality versions of himself dying elsewhere in the multiverse. Sue, Franklin, Valeria, and Saturnyne crowd around Reed, who is out of it. Franklin says he has to do something, something good and brave, something to make things right. Franklin and Valeria grasp hands and… WHAT is this look on Sue’s face?

Anyway, Franklin and Valeria grasp hands. Then… it happens. Franklin appears telepathically in Sue’s memories, reliving when she was pregnant with Reed and Sue’s second child, and the subsequent miscarriage. Franklin says this is the only other time she’s ever been this frightened. We then see Franklin with Roma in the otherworldy Haven, where Franklin has been attending school of sorts. He says Roma showed him something, that baby Sue thought was lost was not lost at all. Franklin “went back” and saved the baby. He saved her in another world, where she returned as the current Valeria. Franklin adds, “We’re all here together, Mom, for a reason.” Valeria tells Franklin to make a wish, adding “You know who we gotta bring back!” This is followed by an image of Eternity, screaming in pain, high above the Baxter Building.

Franklin and Valeria float upward into space, as Valeria tells Franklin to show them why Roma was tending to Valeria “all these years in the heart of Eternity.” Eternity and his counterpart Infinity then appear in the sky, while debris and explosions happen all around New York. Then Galactus appears, and Valeria confirms that this is “our” Galactus, meaning the Marvel Universe’s Galactus. She says this is “the first Galactus,” and this is who Franklin was bringing back.

Abraxas still armed with the Ultimate Nullifier, confronts Galactus. Galactus says to Abraxas, “You hold nothing. You are nothing.” The Nullifier disappears, and Galactus says the Nullifier was a part of him all along. The Novas attack Galactus, but he blasts them all into skeletons. (Damn!) Reed conveniently recovers from his injuries, and Galactus hands him the Nullifier, saying, “This day can end only one way.” Reed says Abraxas never intended to fire the Nullifier, “for the very same reason I must!”

Turn the page and there’s a two-page spread of Eternity in pain as he seemingly breaks apart into pieces… of Eternity? Okay.   The next page is half blank, and then we return to the Baxter Building, where (mostly) everything is back to normal. Namorita is alive again, and she and Johnny reunite. The Watcher appears, and he has his memory back (he lost his memory at the start of this story arc). Franklin comments that Abraxas is gone, and so is Valeria. The Silver Surfer flies by, back to life after he was “permanently” killed in vol. 3 #46.

The Watcher explains (kind of) that the universe was just erased and then rebooted. (“A rebirth” is how he puts it.) He then says that Franklin used up the last of his cosmic power to help make this happen. Sue steps onto the building’s roof from below to reveal… she’s pregnant!

To be continued!

Unstable molecule: How did Reed recover so quickly from being burned? The comic doesn’t say, but we can recall from other issues that established the FF uniforms are fireproof, so Nova’s flames couldn’t have burned Reed that badly.

Fade out: In the flashback to Sue’s pregnancy the doctors on the scene are Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, and Michael Morbius, a.k.a. Morbius the Living Vampire. Look closely on the next page, and you can see the third doctor is Ben’s Uncle Jake.

Clobberin’ time: After the universe gets rebooted, Ben reappears on the FF’s roof and just says, “Huh.” I guess he’s been a member of the FF for so long that he has some sense of when a big cosmic event happened.

Flame on: There’s no mention of how Johnny’s powers have gone out of control in this issue. Previous issues established that he’s not currently wearing his special armor that lets him control his flame, yet there are several panels of him standing around in “flame off” mode. It’ll be a few more issues before his powers are canonically restored to normal.

Four and a half: Yes, Franklin’s reality-bending mutant powers will return, but not for a while. We’re entering his “ordinary human kid” years, and the powers won’t come back until the Dark Reign event.

Our gal Val: Let me see if I’ve got this straight. In this issue, Franklin reaches back in time to the birth of Reed and Sue’s second child. He time-displaces the baby into an alternate future where Sue is married to Dr. Doom. The girl is raised as Valeria Von Doom. As a teen, Valeria “time-dances” to the FF’s present to become a member of the family. And this was done so that Valeria could add her power to Franklin’s so Franklin could bring Galactus back to life to defeat Abraxas, after which Valeria was restored in the timeline back to being Reed and Sue’s unborn child. Is that it? I think that’s it.

Either way, this is last appearance of the Marvel Girl/Von Doom version of Valeria. Yes, she cameos in the recent Marvel Chris Claremont special, but that was yet another alternate timeline version of her.

I suppose this issue also the first appearance the “real” Valeria, although the birth won’t be for a few more issues.

Commercial break: Beyblade was huge that there were Beyblade ripoffs? Freakin’ Beyblade.

Trivia time: Not surprisingly, this is the final appearance of Abraxas. Considering more people associate that name with a cheesy Jesse Ventura movie and not Marvel Comics, I don’t think Marvel’s Abraxas will make a comeback anytime soon.

Who is this Infinity character? Just as Eternity is the living embodiment of all creation, Infinity is the living embodiment of all time. And the two of them are a couple, apparently.

Saturnyne and Roma are more or less done with Fantastic Four by this point as well, they will next appear in a Captain Britain story, with Saturnyne returning to her “Imperial Magestrix” villain status.

Other superheroes are briefly glimpsed during the battle include Spider-Man, Thor, Vision, Thor, the Rick Jones version of Captain Marvel, Swordsman, and Doc Spectrum from Squadron Supreme. But then the Marvel Wiki has to point out that these are – say it with me – alternate reality versions of these characters.

Fantastic or frightful? I don’t know. Going back and undoing the miscarriage still strikes me as being in horrible poor taste, but it’s a part of Marvel history now so there’s nothing more I can say or do about it. Then there’s Abraxas. For a cosmic, reality-ending threat, he never felt threatening. I suppose it’s because we only saw what happened after his attacks, but we never saw him actually use these powers on the page. For all this storyline’s importance, it feels like it’s been nothing but running around directionless. If you’re still reading along with me by this point, fear not – we’re ten issues away from the comic getting REALLY good again. As in, among the best it’s ever been.

Next: I’m speechless.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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DuckTales rewatch – A Whale of a Bad Time

Rewatching DuckTales! We’re back out on the ocean with an ice cream-eating sea monster in episode thirty-seven, “A Whale of a Bad Time,” part two of the “Catch as Cash Can” five-parter.

Here’s what happens: Scrooge and Glomgold are in competition for a lucrative contract in a faraway country of Macaroon. To win, they must each physically move their entire fortune to the country and have it weighed. As this episode begins, Scrooge’s nephews investigate strange goings-on in Scrooge’s new ice cream factory. They investigate, only to learn that Scrooge is using the company to ship the money overseas secretly.

The next day, Scrooge gets upsetting news, that a sea monster (!) attacked the boat, devouring half of Scrooge’s fortune. This drives Scrooge to shout “A sea monster ate my ice cream!” repeatedly. He comes to his senses and embarks on a deep-sea expedition to recover the money. At sea, Scrooge runs into the U.S. Navy, who have taken possession of the crash site – and the money. The Navy apprehends Scrooge and the boys, conveniently on board Donald Duck’s ship. Donald’s commanding officer, Admiral Grimitz, tells Donald that a stolen experimental sub is really responsible for the theft. He orders Donald to keep Scrooge off his investigation, while also placing a tracking device on Donald.

Donald joins Scrooge and the family when transporting the second half of Scrooge’s cash across the ocean. They’re attacked by a giant killer whale, who swallows the money, along with Scrooge and Donald. Scrooge finds both boatloads of his money inside the whale, which is no whale, but the experimental sub, disguised as a whale. They meet Dr. Bluebottle, who stole the ship and who is working for Glomgold. Scrooge and Donald fight Bluebottle using all the sub’s weapons and gadgets. The Navy finds the sub and attacks. Scrooge and Donald disable the sub’s steering, just as the Navy hits it with a depth charge. To keep the sub from sinking, Scrooge has to dump all the money. The sub reaches the surface, Bluebottle is apprehended, and now Scrooge must come up with a way to retrieve his money from the deepest part of the ocean.

Humbug: This episode gave us the meme of Scrooge jumping up and down and repeating “A sea monster at my ice cream!” over and over. It’s one of the wackiest moments in this already wacky series.

Junior Woodchucks: An early scene has the three nephews taking a moment to introduce themselves, so we the audience can remember which is which. (For the record, Huey is in red, Dewey is in blue, and Louie is in green.)

Maid and maiden: Webby gets a running joke in which she keeps wanting to eat something but gets interrupted each time. Let the little girl eat something, already!

In the Navy: Admiral Grimitz has become pals with Donald Duck by this point, calling him “Donald” instead of “Seaman Duck,” and treating him like a valued member of the crew. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Foul fowls: Turns out Bluebottle is the one who designed the whale-sub, and he stole it because he was tired of his groundbreaking work done on top secret projects, and instead wanted fame and fortune for his work. Glomgold promises him all the magazine covers in return for attacking Scrooge.

Down in Duckburg: This is the first of two appearances for Scrooge’s timid personal accountant, Mr. Wilmpleman. He’ll be back in the episode “Dime Enough for Luck.” In later seasons, Wimpleman will be replaced by a new accountant, Fenton Crackshell, a.k.a. Gizmoduck.

HuntForRedOctober.JPG

Reference row: The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy was an overnight smash when published in 1984, and it must have been on everyone’s mind when working on this episode.

Thoughts upon this viewing: Another episode that can’t decide between comedy and action, with submarine battles mixed with the goofiest slapstick. I guess that’s what the cartoon duck show is, but I wonder if there could be a better balance between the jokes and thrills.

Next: Aquamarine.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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Fantastic Friday: Is that a universe in your pocket?

Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. In vol. 3 #48 legacy #477, we’re still lost in a quagmire of alternate universes, but the end is in sight.

We begin in Haven, at the center of the multiverse, where Franklin and time-displaced teenage Valeria are meeting with Roma, daughter of Merlin and self-proclaimed guardian of the multiverse. Also present is Saturnyne, an interdimensional evil queen, who was last seen worrying about Franklin’s potential reality-bending powers. I guess she came around because now she’s on Franklin’s side.

Roma gives the recap, explaining that godlike villain Abraxas (not the one from the Jesse Ventura movie) is on a killing spree throughout the multiverse. Each member of the Fantastic Four is in a different alternate reality in search of the Ultimate Nullifier, which can stop Abraxas. Sue is a doctor in “Atlanterra,” in which Atlantis is again attacking the surface world. Ben is in “Challengers of Doom,” where Dr. Doom leads his own version of the FF while Galactus attacks Russia. Reed is in “Five for the Future,” where is a 1930s-era adventurer leading a team of kooky characters.  Johnny, meanwhile, is in deep space, questing for the Nullifier alongside an alt-timeline version of his ex-girlfriend Frankie Raye a.k.a. Nova. Got all that?

Roma then offers more exposition, saying that there is a Galactus in every universe, and each universe’s Galactus is what kept Abraxas at bay. When the Marvel Universe’s Galactus died in the Galactus the Devourer miniseries, that opened the door for Abraxas to begin his mad killing spree. Further, Roma explains that the alt-universe versions of Johnny on the world Reed, Sue, and Ben are visiting each contain one piece of the Nullifier’s location in their psyche. All this and we’re just on page 3 of the comic.

In “Atlanterra,” Sue is in the role of a small-town doctor, and alt-Johnny arrives with a familiar-looking vagrant in need of medical aid. Sue recognizes him as the long-lost Namor the Submariner, just as he was in the original Fantastic Four #4. A splash of water in Namor’s face is all that’s needed for his memory to return. Sue and Johnny’s father, who is alive in this timeline, tries to convince Namor to stop the Atlantis invasion. Then Sue uses a device Reed gave her to search Johnny’s memory, giving her one-third of the Nullifier’s location.

In “Challengers of Doom,” Dr. Doom’s super-team – made up of him, Reed, Sue, and the Hulk – have taken Ben hostage in his human form. New York is being torn apart by that universe’s Galactus attacking. While the others deal with the crisis, Ben pulls Sue aside and says he has to find Johnny. Sue says Johnny is a movie star with a penthouse on the other side of the city. Ben transforms into the Thing and races across town. Ben finds Johnny in a depressed state and takes his memory.

In “Five for the Future,” Reed learns this universe’s Johnny is dead. Sue, who is an investigative reporter here, delivers the bad news. The Five prepare to deal with supervillain the Monocle, who has a zeppelin attached to the Chrysler Building, and is drawing energy from the entire city. Reed puts his worries about Johnny aside and uses his counterpart’s tech to lead an assault on the zeppelin. The heroes stop the Monocle and send the zeppelin flying to the nearest air force base. Later, Sue explains that she saw a light in Johnny’s eyes just before he died. This is enough, as Reed is able to scan Sue’s memories and gain the third clue to the Nullifier.

In space, Johnny has been gradually remembering his way to the Nullifier. (this is seemingly the same path he took through the cosmos during the original Galactus trilogy in issues 49-51.) He and Nova travel through a portal into an alien complex where the Nullifier awaits. Just as Johnny grabs hold of it, Nova proclaims “And now Abraxas has it!” She blasts Johnny with flame and takes the Nullifier.

Johnny, Nova, and Abraxas appear in Haven. (Does this mean the Nullifier was in Haven? It’s not clear.) Abraxas says this Nova is his herald, working for him all along. Abraxas explains that he seeks perfection, and perfection can only be achieved in nothingness, hence his goal to destroy all universes. Back on Earth, Reed, Sue, and Johnny return to the new Baxter Building, only for Abraxas to join them, with Franklin, Valeria, Johnny, Nova, and Saturnyne with him. Nova gives the Nullifier to Abraxas. He says now that he has it, there isn’t a soul all the combined universes who can stop him. The final panel is a closeup of Franklin as Abraxas repeats, “Not a soul…”

Unstable molecule: Although Reed initially could not use his stretching powers while in “Five for the Future,” in this issue he regains the power, saying that it merely took time for his body to adjust to being in another dimension.

Fade out: Such has such control of her powers that she can turn Namor’s facial hair invisible to confirm it’s really him, and she takes a look at his fishy internal organs while she’s at it (ew).

Clobberin’ time: In “Five for the Future,” Ben, a.k.a. Mr. Grim in this timeline, was the only one to make the FF’s spaceflight, and therefore is the only one to have his super-powers. He maintains his “It’s clobberin’ time!” catchphrase, however, so some things are a constant across the multiverse.

Flame on: If Johnny’s powers are out of control and he’s more powerful than ever, than how could Nova knock him unconscious with fire? I guess she a) took him by surprise, and b) she has the Power Cosmic, which gives her something of an edge.

Four and a half: They want to depict Franklin as being older and smarter during this time, but when he sees Johnny on a screen, he says “Hi Uncle Johnny” as if Johnny can hear him. Maybe he’s just kidding.

Our gal Val: This is pretty much it for teenage Valeria. She trades a few barbs with Roma at the start of the issue and doesn’t do anything beyond that. And yet, next issue we’ll learn that this whole Abraxas story has been about her all along.

Commercial break: They should’ve put those thumb guys on the ad.

Trivia time: The Marvel wiki lists this is the “apparent death” of Roma, and yes she does look a little corpse-like after Abraxas knocks her out. But she’ll back up and at ‘em next issue, and she’ll go on to be a recurring guest star in various X-Men comics after this.

Fantastic or frightful? The three-page exposition dump at the start of the issue is some dense reading, but it helps to have some grounding during all this craziness. The plot is a lot easier to follow than the previous couple of issues. Beyond that, we spend so little time in the other timelines that those stories have little time to breathe. And we’re building up to the big reveal about Valeria, but you wouldn’t know it because she’s just hanging out in the background. So, a mixed bag, I guess.

Next: Meet the new Val, same as the old Val.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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DuckTales rewatch – A Drain on the Economy

Rewatching DuckTales! Because the series was syndicated, episodes had to be stand-alones because the creators had no control over when or how they would air in each market. Episode 37, “A Drain on the Economy,” goes against this by being part one of a five-part serial, titled “Catch as Cash Can.”  

Here’s what happens: In the country of Macaroon, a glowing fruit called Firefly Fruit could potentially replace the lightbulb. The country’s leader, the Grand Kishki, has decided only the world’s wealthiest duck has the wherewithal to handle all business transactions regarding the fruit. Scoorge and Glomgold have been summoned to Macaroon to determine which of them is the wealthiest.

It’s determined that the two ducks’ fortunes can only be measured in weight (?), so Scrooge and Glomgold are given nine days to transport all their money in physical form from Duckburg to Macaroon. Glomgold busts the Beagle Boys from prison and offers them the resources to break into Scrooge’s money vault once and for all. The Beagle Boys round up all their cousins for a full-on battle-of-Helm’s-deep style assault on the money bin, fighting their way through Scrooge’s many security traps.

Scrooge drives off the Beagle Boys, but decides more security is needed before they return. He installs a giant cannon he calls “Bertha,” only for it to backfire and put cracks up and down the money bin. The Beagle Boys return and get inside more easily this time. Only a crack in the money bin’s floor has sucked the money all down into the city sewer. Huey, Dewey and Louie enter the crack and discover all the money has washed away.

The Beagle Boys obtain blueprints to the city sewer in pursuit of the money. They open a floodgate, washing the money to a nearby reservoir, taking the nephews with it.  Scrooge and the Beagle Boys fight for control of the city sewer plant, causing the boys and the money to take a wild ride through the sewer and ending up bursting though pipes in a fancy apartment. The Beagle Boys attack one last time, only for Scrooge to bury them under the weight of it. The cops arrest the Beagle Boys, and Scrooge mentions a “secret plan” to transport all the money to Macaroon.

Humbug: My thesis for this rewatch is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is about Scrooge learning his family is more important than his money. This episode goes way against that, with his constant refrain of “My money!” It’s only part one of five, though, so maybe he’ll turn around by the end.

Junior Woodchucks: The nephews are somehow able to know that every cent is accounted for when the find the money in the sewer. I guess they’re just that smart and capable.

Foul fowls: The main four Beagle Boys in this episode are Big Time, Baggy, Burger, and Bouncer.  Other Beagle Boys seen or mentioned are Boom-Boom, Banzai, Buckaroo, Beanball, Blitzkrieg, Bifocal, Bumpkin, Babyface, Butterball, and Bullseye.

Down in Duckburg: More questions are raised about the interior of the money bin. There are more offices on the lower floors, and long winding stairway, and even a fake vault to fool and entrap burglars.

This is the second appearance for the unnamed real estate agent character, having last been seen in “Magica’s Shadow War.”

Reference row: The Beagle Boys escape jail via a parade balloon, complete with a wisecrack about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The real-life Macy’s parade began as “Ragamuffin Day” in 1870, with a Thanksgiving-themed variation of trick-or-treating. This was converted into a parade in 1924, and the first balloons were in 1928. Disney’s own Mickey Mouse was introduced as a balloon in 1934. The parade became known worldwide after being featured in 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street, and NBC started televising it as a live event in 1954.

Thoughts on this viewing: The novelty of this five-parter is supposed to be figuring out the logistics of moving a massive pile of money from place to place. But the animation is inconsistent in visualizing this, with a huge mountain of gold coins in some shots and a small stack of bags with dollar signs in other shots. Beyond that, though, it’s an action-heavy episode with a lot of fun gags in and around the attack on the money bin.

Next: A whaling we will go.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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Fantastic Friday: Challenge of the super friends

Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. You want more alternate universes? We got more alternate universes! It’s vol. 3, #47, legacy #476.

Godlike supervillain Abraxas (no, not the one from the Jesse Ventura movie) is a killing spree across the multiverse, and he has now arrived on Earth. The FF and their allies have split up into teams to search for the Cosmic Nullifier, a weapon which can defeat Abraxas. This issue begins with Abraxas in NYC, where various alternate timelines are converging all at once, everything from World War III to Curly of the Three Stooges being elected mayor of New York. Abraxas enter the Baxter Building, where he briefly confronts time-displaced teenage Valeria. Valeria discovers that Namorita, Johnny’s current girlfriend and an Atlantean, has lost her ability to breathe out of water. Abraxas says Valeria and Namorita aren’t the ones he seeks, and that he will wait.

In space, Johnny and an alternate timeline version of Johnny’s ex-girlfriend Nova (a.k.a. Frankie Raye) search for the Nullifier. Nova says that while she may not be the same Nova he once knew, her feelings for him aren’t any less real.

Then things get weird. We get a series of one-panel glimpses of “what if” alternate timelines for the FF. Of particular note is a timeline in which Reed and Sue’s second child, a baby girl, had survived the miscarriage.

Then we cut to another alt-timeline where Sue is working as a doctor in a small seaside town, using her powers to diagnose and set broken bones. Johnny shows up at her door with an injured bum, who we the readers recognize as Namor the Submariner as he was back in Fantastic Four #4, as an amnesiac bum. He’s been injured before Sue can let him in, Atlantean warships come flying out of the ocean.  

Then we’re in yet another alt-timeline, a world the Marvel Wiki has labeled “Challengers of Doom.” Ben, coming from the Marvel Universe in search of the Nullifier, lands in an alternate New York where no one has ever heard of him. While he runs from a mob and some gun-happy cops, we the reader learn that this world’s most beloved superheroes are the Challengers of Doom, made up of Dr. Doom, Reed, Sue, and the Hulk. Doom goes on television and tells everyone that Galactus attacking Russia is a hoax. Ben transforms into his human form (he can do that during this time) and he goes to the Baxter Building, where Doom takes him hostage. Ben learns that Sue is his ex-wife in this timeline.

Then we cut yet ANOTHER freakin’ alternate timeline. The Marvel Wiki calls this one “Five for the Future.” Reed finds himself in a pre-WWII New York, as one of a group of heroic biplane pilots in conflict with a villain named the Monacle. Reed is joined by Mister Grim (who is Ben wearing a hood over his face) and his new teammates Mister Strange, Mister Feral, Mister Strange, and Mister Fixit. Sue shows up, revealing that she is an intrepid investigative reporter in this world. She tells Reed that her brother Johnny was recently killed by the Monacle.

Finally, we have scene set in Haven, one more alternate universe for the road, where Franklin and Valeria have traveled to meet with Roma, daughter of Merlin and guardian of the omniverse. With an image of Eternity (who is the living embodiment of all creation) behind her, Roma says, “If we do not act soon, all of time will be lost to us.”

To be continued!

Unstable molecule: Sorting out who is who among the Five for the Future was a little tricky. Reed is Doc Fantastic and Ben is Mr. Grim, obviously. Mister Strange is Dr. Strange, and Mister Feral is Beast from the X-Men. The other two took quite a bit of googling. Mister Fixit is not Bruce Banner (as the Hulk called himself “Mr. Fixit” for a while), but the villain-turned-hero the Fixer, later known as Techno. Mister Nelson is a buffed-up version of Foggy Nelson from Daredevil. Because Foggy’s real name is Franklin, some fans believe that this is a grown-up Franklin Richards, but it’s the Daredevil guy.

Fade out: It’s only referenced in one panel, but the Sue of the “Doctor Storm” timeline is the Marvel Universe Sue dropped into her alternate’s life, Quantum Leap-style.

Clobberin’ time: Ben escapes into the sewer to escape a crowd, in a reference to him doing the same thing in Fantastic Four #1.

Flame on: Johnny’s powers are still out of control, but he says he’s able to truly cut loose out in space with him and Nova around. (The previous issue explained that Johnny’s uniform is keeping him alive while in space.)

Four and a half: The last time we saw Franklin last issue, he was telling the FF that he had a prophetic dream about Abraxas. Next, he was playing a game at home before Abraxas arrived on Earth. Then, in this issue, he’s in Haven for a prearranged meeting with him, Roma, and (maybe?) Eternity. What cosmic odyssey did he go on between issues that we see?

Our gal Val: This is the beginning of the end for Valeria Von Doom, a.k.a. Marvel Girl. The reference to Reed and Sue’s second child surviving is a big clue as to how this storyline will end up.

Sue-per spy: The 2019 Invisible Woman miniseries established that Sue has had a double life as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent all this time. In this issue she can use her powers to diagnose and then set a broken bone. Could this be her spy training at work?

Commercial break: Lord of the Rings was a big deal in 2001. The toys were perhaps less of a big deal.

Trivia time: “Five for the Future” is an obvious tribute to classic pulp hero Doc Savage. Would you believe that Doc Savage is also a canonical Marvel character? Marvel published two short-lived Doc Savage comics, in 1972 and 1975, which were firmly set in the Marvel Universe. Savage also teamed up with the FF’s own Thing in Marvel Two-in-One #21 in 1976. Like Marvel’s Godzilla, Transformers, and Rom: Spaceknight, it’s unlikely that these will ever be reprinted due to legal issues.

Fantastic or frightful? I like alt-universe “what if” stories as much as anyone, but there’s such a thing as too much. Every few pages, or even panels, there’s another new timeline to follow, and it gets to be too much. Knowing how this storyline will wrap up, I wonder why we’re bothering with these certain-to-be-inconsequential what-ifs.

Next: Back to the (alternate) future.

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Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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