Marvel followed up the big 25th anniversary issue of the Fantastic Four (#296) with a new creative team: writer Roger Stern and artists John and Sal Buscema. Loving their work on the Avengers, I was excited to see their take on Marvel’s First Family.
Fantastic Four #297-298 featured the return of the Thing to the team’s line-up. Johnny, out of the blue, decides to propose to Alicia and she’s accepts. And of course, this really threw the Thing for quite a loop as he still had unresolved feelings for Alicia.
4 Freedoms Plaza was introduced in issue #299 as the team’s new headquarters built on the same lot where the
stood. Ben also decided, with some convincing from the She-Hulk, to stand beside Johnny at his wedding to Alicia. Baxter Building
Fantastic Four #300 was a regular-sized issue, probably due to the fact that issue #296 was a 64-page spectacular. This marriage issue turned out to be a pleasant read. As expected, the Puppet Master plots with the Wizard and the Mad Thinker to strike against the Fantastic Four. However, seeing that his daughter is happy, the Puppet Master decided to turn against his accomplices and foil his own plan.
Unfortunately, the Stern and Buscema run I had been excited about based on their amazing Avengers run came to an abrupt end after only four issues.
Roger Stern on his quick exit from the Fantastic Four (www.sterntalk.com, 3/22/04):
“It was partly office politics -- my editors changed in mid-run -- and partly because I couldn't get John Buscema excited about drawing the FF. And it was a full time job just trying to get him excited about the AVENGERS.”
In fact, John Buscema had grown rather tired of drawing super-heroes and Fantastic Four # 309 would be his last issue on the title.