Fantastic Friday: Green goes blue

Re-reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. Remember when I said that the comics world really upped sex and violence during the ‘80s? We get a big dose of that in issue #275. She-Hulk has been an Avenger, she’s battled the Defenders, and she’s put away dozens of supervillains, but in this issue she must fight… porn.

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The issue begins with bare skin and lots of it, as She-Hulk is sunbathing on the roof of the Baxter Building, doing that thing where she undoes her bikini top while lying on her stomach. (Do women ever really do that?) A helicopter flies by, stirring up enough wind to blow away the bikini top, and a man inside the ‘copter snaps a photo of bare-chested She-Hulk. (The comic can only show so much, so it’s a little hard to tell what’s happening. Reading further in the story makes it more than clear.) She-Hulk jumps off the roof and grabs onto the helicopter for a few pages of dangling-from-a-helicopter-as-it-flies-wildly-over-the-city action. Wyatt Wingfoot shows up, also in his swimsuit, because he and She-Hulk were having some sort of suntan date. (Is that a thing?) He pursues the helicopter in a Fantasticar.

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The helicopter manages to throe She-Hulk off, flinging her into an office building. In classic comic book fashion, the bystanders conveniently provide exposition as to how She-Hulk recently joined the FF in the Thing’s absence. Wyatt catches up to She-Hulk and they take off, only to find the sky in New York littered with helicopters, as it is on any given day. She-Hulk won’t let the matter drop, saying, “I’m still a lawyer, and that makes me ten percent private eye!”

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The ‘copter has a sign on it for WXIT radio. She-Hulk calls the station in the guise of the FF’s lawyer, and learns the traffic copter’s home base is a private airfield outside the city. She-Hulk and Wyatt travel there and find the pilot. He doesn’t want to talk, saying the photographer promised him $1,000, but then he gives up the info when She-Hulk threatens to smash the ‘copter.blue4

We spend one page with Johnny and Alicia (who is secretly Lyja the Skrull in disguise) and… whoa! It’s the morning after, if you know what I mean. Johnny has mixed feelings about what they just did, but Alicia/Lyja says it was beautiful, and that they both wanted it to happen. They kiss.

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Back to She-Hulk, she has transformed back to her human Jennifer Walters self. She and Wyatt are in Times Square, which is depicted as the ultimate in filth and sleaze. The address leads them to the office of The Naked Truth, a dirty magazine published by T.J. Vance. He’s a real sleazeball, offering to take nude photos of Jennifer and making racist Native American comments about Wyatt. Jennifer demands that Vance relinquish the photos, but Vance argues that She-Hulk is a public figure who exposed herself in public, and that makes the photos public domain. Further, he says the photos are already at the printer, and the magazine has already pre-sold 9 million copies — and he has a safe full of cash right there in his office to prove it.

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If all this wasn’t uncomfortable enough, Vance then offers to hand over the photos if Jennifer will sleep with him. She says that although she’s normally against censorship, she’s heard enough. She transforms back into She-Hulk and crumples his safe up into big metal ball. Oh, and his toupee falls off, because what would this scenario be without a toupee gag?

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We cut to two weeks later, where Reed has a broken arm and Sue ominously speaks of a “gauntlet” they’ve recently been through. (The next couple issues will catch readers up on what happened.) She-Hulk is bummed because this is day the magazine hits the stands. Johnny shows up with the magazine, only to reveal that the printers didn’t know the photos were supposed to be of a green woman, so they color corrected them, making her look Caucasian skin-colored. She-Hulk is relieved, saying no one will be able to tell it’s her. (Seriously?) Johnny then makes a joke (or not?) about owning some green-tinted sunglasses, and She-Hulk chases after him for some old-fashioned the-FF-horsing-around-the-Baxter-Building fun.

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Unstable molecule/Fade out: Reed and Sue mention going to see Little Shop of Horrors. This would be the off-broadway show, before the Frank Oz-directed movie came out.

Flame on: Johnny’s coffee mug reads “Match Head” on it.

Fantastic fifth wheel: One thing I’ve always wondered about this issue: Is She-Hulk, with her invulnerable skin, able to get a suntan? Maybe she just likes being in the sun. Also note that in this issue she has a secret identity, when in previous issues she said she didn’t.

Four and a half: We’re told that Franklin is doing well after going through a horrifying experience during the two-week break, which, again, well get into next issue. Franklin is playing with action figures based on Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Magneto. His “4 1/2″ sweater makes a return.

The Alicia problem: The story goes that Lyja was supposed to infiltrate the FF, but had a change of heart when she fell in love with Johnny. I’d like to believe this issue is that change of heart, what with her reassurance of it being what they both want. It’s just less creepy that way.

Commercial break: Moto-Bot! With pull-back DYNO-DRIVE!

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Trivia time: This story was inspired by a sexy She-Hulk pin-up drawn by Kevin Nowlan, published in Marvel Fanfare #18. Nowlan is given a special “inspired by” credit in this issue.

A lot of people think sleazoid publisher Vance is based on Stan Lee, but I don’t see it. He looks way more like a Hefner/Guccione parody to me. The Marvel Wiki tells me Vance never returned after this issue, which is a shame. Just imagine Vance squaring off with J. Jonah Jameson.

Fantastic or frightful? I’m the last person to open a dialogue about gender politics (I’m still stuck in “How do I talk to girls?” mode), but I’m guessing this comic book is not considered a victory for feminism. It’s intended to be a lark, though, an excuse to have some fun before things get all dark and weird.

Next week: Things get all dark and weird.

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Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.

cine-high_v3

****

Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.

cine-high_v3

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About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH. amazon.com/dp/B00859NDJ8
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