Fantastic Friday: Moon pie

Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. You want mayhem on the moon? Vol. 3 issue #14 has mayhem on the moon.

Recap: Ronan the Accuser returned to Earth, attacking the Fantastic Four on the eve of S.H.I.E.L.D. transporting three Kree criminals off Earth. Ronan forced Reed and Ben into surrendering by taking Sue and Johnny hostage. He then transported the team’s former headquarters of Four Freedoms Plaza onto the surface of the moon. Specifically, they’re in the Blue Area of the moon, where there is breathable air. The Blue Area also is home to an abandoned alien city, where FFP now stands.

This issue begins with Ronan bragging about how superior the Kree are to everyone else. We see Sue is only pretending to be unconscious, and attacks Ronan. Ronan doesn’t lose his grip on Johnny however, so Sue can’t attack him with full strength. This is an opening for Ben and Reed to join the fight. Ronan throws Johnny into space, so Reed has to stop and save him. Ronan is able to re-form his all-powerful hammer that was destroyed last issue, and he smashes Ben through the floor. Ronan then procures a tiny alien he calls a “mannequin” that attaches itself to Sue, which puts her under Ronan’s mind-control.

Then there’s an interlude, at a dive bar full of kooky creatures on an alien planet. A shadowy figure named Bounty walks through the door. There’s a huge gunfight in which Bounty kills everybody. A woman approaches Bounty with a job, to capture Alysande Stuart, a.k.a. Caledonia (the interdimensional swordswoman currently living with the FF).

Cut to the moon, where Ronan meets up with the three Kree prisoners and he names them his deputies. Nearby, Reed hides out with unconscious Johnny and unconscious NYPD officer Charlotte Jones, her did not die last issue. She mentions she’s worked with the X-Men in the past, and Reed looks for any tech he might have left behind in Four Freedoms Plaza, but the building has been cleared out.

 

In yet another part of the building, the three prisoners find Ben, and another fight breaks out. Ben beats them by brining the roof down on them. Reed and Charlotte, meanwhile, seek medical help for Johnny. Reed spots a recently-constructed facility at the edge of the Blue Area. The three of them head there. Except they don’t, because next is a bit where Reed, Ben, and Charlotte use the FF’s old robot receptionist Roberta in the Four Freedoms Plaza lobby to distract the criminals. (If all the building’s tech was cleared out, how is Roberta still there?) Johnny then wakes up and joins the fight. One of the criminals flies off with Johnny, so Reed and Ben do the old slingshot gag to send Ben flying into the sky to save Johnny.

With the prisoners defeated, Reed, Ben, Johnny, and Charlotte regroup. Reed says he’s managed to triangulate Ronan’s location (when did he do that?) and says Ronan is headed for the Watcher’s home, which is filled with alien so advanced it drives visitors to madness. We then catch up to Ronan and Sue outside the Watcher’s home, where Ronan makes a big speech about raiding the building and using the alien tech for the benefit of the Kree. Sue, still being mind-controlled, says, “Your will be done.”

To be continued!

Unstable molecule: When Reed discovers Charlotte’s X-Men uniform, he’s surprised to see it has restorative properties. But wait, Marvel continuity states that Reed provides the X-Men with unstable molecules for their uniforms. That must have been undone at some point in an X-Men comic, because Charlotte says her outfit is of alien origin.

Fade out: The mannequin alien is able to eat its way through Sue’s force fields. We’ve seen the Hulk shatter a force field, but this is the first time one is eaten.

Clobberin’ time: Ben uses his brain, not his fists, to defeat the Kree. He knows exactly where the room’s weakness is, so he can bring the ceiling down on them.

Flame on: The issue says Johnny is seriously injured, but he’s fine once he wakes up. He is able to subdue a Kree by keeping a consistent flame burning on the exterior of the Kree’s body armor.

Sue-per spy: The 2019 Invisible Woman miniseries revealed that Sue had a double life as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent the whole time. This issue states that Reed has had her sitting going through hours of training and research into how to defeat a Kree. Could that also have been part of her spy training?

Commercial break: It’s the Joe Kubert Cartooning School! This was the ‘90s comic book equivalent of all those YouTube Master Class ads.

Trivia time: We’ll learn next issue that the recently-build structure on the moon is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Starcore LunarBase. The Marvel Wiki says next issue is the LunarBase’s first appearance, but we see it in one panel in this issue.

The three Kree prisoners are named Cha-Mont, Clar-Roc, and Dor-Art (a combination of names of writer Chris Claremont, artist Salvador Larocca, inker Art Thibert, and editor Bobbie Chase). They’re members of the Lunatic Legion, leftover characters from a recent alien invasion story in Avengers.

The abandoned city in the Blue Area of the moon is simply named Blue City. It has a confusing history. The Blue Area was constructed by the Skrulls to experiment on the Kree. The Kree then built the Blue City. Later, the Skrulls returned all the Kree to their homeworld after a conflict with another Kree-born alien race called the Cotati, leaving Blue City abandoned ever since. (LAST-MINUTE EDIT: Writer Al Ewing obviously read the same Wiki page I did, because the recently-published Empyre: Avengers #0, Ewing retells this Kree/Skrull/Cotati/Blue Area story.)

Fantastic or frightful? It’s a classic all-they-do-is-fight issue, just barely moving the overall story along. The three prisoners aren’t much a threat, and don’t have personality, though. It’s always great to see the heroes thinking their way through a fight rather than just brawling, but that’s about it.

Next: Stark raving.

****

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

About Mac McEntire

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