Monday, April 18, 2011

1983 - Fantastic Four #258


Fantastic Four #258 “Interlude”
September 1983
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.

5 comments:

  1. YES! I also picked this up off the stand in 1983 - I was eight years old at the time - and it helped turned me into a major FF fan for life.

    Great, GREAT stuff.

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  2. I read the Mexican edition as a kid. This, along with Secret Wars, made me a Doom fan for life!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. This issue also has a special tie-in to the DR. STRANGE / DR. DOOM : TRIUMPH & TORMENT original graphic novel.

    The scene with Doom being given information from the peasant-girl about Strange needing a disciple/apprentice hooked right from the then-current issues of Doc's own title (wherein he was without an apprentice - after Clea left him and just about every mystic-wannabe was clamoring at his door) and would seque into the DS:DD; T&T GN.

    I remember an interview I had read with Roger Stern that Byrne and Stern were co-plotters of the GN (at least unofficially, as they had talks about the histories of the characters. They were two of the creators who felt that Strange was active before FF # 1, and that his and Doom's paths would have met in Tibet early on.)

    But that comment that DOOM says to himself after the peasant-girl scene (that he may one day need the abilities of Dr. Strange) was an intentional lead-in to the GN (which Stern was plotting at the time).

    Cool, huh?

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