Friday, October 30, 2009

Fantastic Four Fridays: Skrull the Cowqueror

Our story begins with the Thing swimming menacingly towards an offshore oil rig. Say what? The Thing looks like he weights about 600 pounds and I'm going to guess that he wouldn't be able to keep his head above water. This might be very mysterious, except that we've already seen from the cover that aliens from outer space are probably behind it. In short order, we observe as Sue Storm steals a $10 million gem, the Torch ruins a fabulous statue, and Reed:

Why is the FF doing these terrible things? Oh, that's right:

The real FF is hiding out at a lodge in the woods. But the Army arrests them:

I'm guessing that Stan and Jack never heard of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military for internal police work. They imprison the FF in specially designed cells, but none of them are held captive for long. And they come up with a brilliant idea. If Johnny, as the Human Torch, destroys a rocket, the fake FF will assume he's one of them. And although it seems like a fairly ridiculous idea, it works:

Apparently the fake FF had some way they were going to destroy the missile with just the phony Reed and Sue, and it never occurred to them to wonder why the Torch showed up. So they take him back to their HQ, where the phony Torch is waiting. Fortunately Johnny has time to send out a signal flare, and the real FF has no trouble wiping out their fake counterparts. But there's still an invasion fleet of Skrulls just waiting for the defeat of the FF to conquer Earth. So the real FF pose as the Skrulls and head up to the mother ship, where they attempt to convince the commander that death and destruction await them:

Heheh, now that is pretty cool, a little plug for Marvel's monster mags of the time. They succeed in scaring away the invasion fleet, while insisting they must return to Earth to erase all evidence of their presence. But when they get back:

Well, at least this time it's the cops. They manage to convince the police to take them back to Reed's apartment, where the Skrulls are waiting:

Well, it might have been spawned on Earth back in the Hyborean Age. The FF round up those Skrulls again. They repent their ways and Reed decides to have them make one final change to their appearance, after which he hypnotizes them into forgetting their past:

One thing doesn't make sense here--well, okay, more than one thing--what happened to the fourth Skrull? I looked in the letters columns of the next few issues and didn't see any other mention of it. At one point in the story, Reed says that the fourth Skrull was on the mother ship, but that doesn't compute either, as on page 17 we hear that the FF defeated four Skrulls at Reed's apartment, and the entire FF goes up to the ship; wouldn't the commander notice that's five beings returning when only four went down?

Another note: In a subplot, the FF goes through the cosmic rays again on the return to Earth, and it results in the Thing reverting briefly into Ben Grimm again.

If you'd like to buy, there are several options: