Fantastic Four #258 “Interlude”
Writer/Penciler/Inker/Cover Artist: John Byrne
John Byrne was firing on all cylinders with this issue as he walks us through a day in the life of the Fantastic Four’s archenemy, Doctor Doom. In the space of 22 pages, Byrne gets you into Doom’s head and allows you to understand the man behind the mask as the different facets of his life reveal different things about him. It’s a tightly-written and plotted story, driven by Doom’s character who proves to be a statesman, a noble father-figure, and an obsessed and sly villain. Byrne’s portrait of Doom allows you to fear him and sympathize with him.
“Rivals... No one rivals Doom! NO ONE! Doom is supreme! There is no power on earth, no intellect in all creation to equal Mine! “
I recall picking up this issue from a convenience store for the tidy sum of $0.75 Canadian and how it blew me away. Despite the title on its cover, I didn’t feel cheated in the least that the Fantastic Four didn’t appear in it. Interestingly, it’s the only issue of the Fantastic Four, up until that point, that didn’t have an appearance by any of the Fantastic Four. There’s only a hint of the Fantastic Four in this issue and that has to do with the latest plan that Doom is setting into motion. And, that sub-plot takes over in Fantastic Four #259-260.
What blew me away in re-reading this wonderful, self-contained issue was how much Byrne crammed into this issue. Well fleshed out secondary characters, multiple plot lines and sub-plots, all in addition to a solid character study.