“Fantastic Four” by John Byrne – Part 2

The following focuses on material reprinted in the Fantastic Four Omnibus by John Byrne Volume 2, covering a wide variety of material related to Byrne’s work with that team’s characters. This article is part of a larger series of reviews focused on key Marvel Comics runs.

 

Introduction

The second half of John Byrne’s run on “Fantastic Four” was a definite change of pace for a number of reasons.  At the forefront was a rearrangement to the team’s line-up, with the Thing taking a lesser role and She-Hulk stepping in as a team member.  Oddly enough, She-Hulk was also a member of the Avengers at the time, but she still found time to help out the Fantastic Four.

At the same time, readers might notice that the Thing had already begun starring in his own solo series.  Marvel let much of his adventures move into that series, with Byrne writing “The Thing” but not drawing that book.  I didn’t find the absence of the Thing to be as jarring as I’d assumed I might though.  The addition of Wyatt Wingfoot and She-Hulk as major supporting characters made for a nice change of pace.

Another significant change was the team calling ‘quits’ to their public identities and moving out from the Baxter Building.  Stories then came out of those independent lives that the cast members began to lead.

Also, the “Secret Wars” events at Marvel would have profound impacts on the series.  Between those maxi-series being a catalyst for Ben’s departure from the team and the Beyonder’s frequent appearances during the release of “Secret Wars II,” the two event series were oddly high in readers’ minds during much of the second half of Byrne’s run.

Finally, Doom’s seeming vanquishment would be found to be not quite as permanent as one might have thought given that he appeared to be disintegrated.  He wasn’t the only major character to have a resurrection though, as Byrne would revisit and old friend and cause major repercussions for the X-Men books.

 

Series Summary & Commentary

 

Fun with Namor

Namor’s appearance at the beginning of “Fantastic Four” #260 paid off in a cross-over with “Alpha Flight.  Byrne was also writing and drawing the “X-Men” spin-off series “Alpha Flight” at this time and, with issue #4 of that series he had the Fantastic Four guest star.  In this tale, Sue took a break from finding her husband to travel to investigate a threat that Namor said was poisoning the waters around Atlantis.  It turned out to be an Alien ship that Alpha Flight was also investigating.

Eshu, the self-proclaimed ‘Master of the World,’ was hunting down Marrina.  In the end, Alpha flight’s leader Vindicator blasted up the ship’s control panels and Sue protected everyone as the ship ended up destroying itself while trying to escape.  This was a fairly conventional issue, playing against on the now familiar theme from Byrne of random aliens landing on a planet and stirring up trouble.

The Trial of Reed Richards

The mystery surrounding where Reed had disappeared was solved in issue #261’s “The Search for Reed Richards.”  One had to wonder what Sue was thinking with her brief interlude with Namor whilst Reed was still missing.  Even odder was her allowing him to kiss her goodbye after returning Sue home following their Alpha Flight adventure.

With the help of the Watcher, the Fantastic Four was able to track down Reed, who was being put on trial by a group led by Lilandra of the Shi’ar Empire.  The charge against Reed stemmed back to his helping Galactus to live in issue #244.  Given that Galactus then went on to eat the Skrull home world in issue #256, people were understandably upset.  Reed’s central argument on his own behalf was that he was being held responsible for lives that he didn’t take while having saved a life himself.

Fantastic Four 262 Splash

The finale of this saga in issue #262 had the odd timing of occurring during Marvel’s infamous “Assistant Editor’s Month.”  This was a mandated month of off-beat stories in each of the main Marvel titles and Byrne took advantage of the situation by having the Watcher bring him into the story as a historian of sorts.  At the time, Byrne was married to the actress Andrea Braun and their home in Evanston, Illinois showed up in the story.

This pivotal issue featured a detailed origin of Galactus via a character witness from the mysterious god-like character Eternity.  Eternity argued on behalf of Galactus’ greater purpose in the universe, a defense that led to Reed being set free.

The Mole Man

Several months appeared to have passed when readers caught up with the Fantastic Four in issue #263.  The team members had long since returned to Earth and were in the midst of their various individual pursuits.  Of interest was Johnny, who appeared to die during a race car accident in this issue.  In fact, readers learned that he had been kidnapped by the villainous Alden Maas to power a drilling device.

The Mole Man took objection to this plan.  In issue #264, he sent his creature Giganto after Maas, who died amid the ensuing fallout.  The issue’s cover featured a nice homage by Byrne to the first ever issue of “Fantastic Four.”

The Controversy with Alicia

A number of changes occurred starting in “The Thing” issue #10, as Ben decided that it would be for the best if he broke up with Alicia.  He still loved her, but he knew that they couldn’t have a normal life together.  Shortly after the breakup, Ben disappeared to the Marvel “Secret Wars” event.

This event lasted a full twelve issues in a separate maxi-series, but the regular titles moved on while the maxi-series unfolded, incorporating changes that were still to occurring in “Secret Wars.”  As such, when the Fantastic Four returned to Earth in issue #265, they were minus Ben Grimm.  Ben had stayed behind to explore deep space on his own.  Amid the return of the remainder of the team, Sue was tragically exposed to radiation and She-Hulk was asked to join the team in place of Ben.

Unknown to readers – or even Byrne – Alicia was swapped for the Skrull ‘Lyja’ who would later be revealed, in issue #357.  The character’s plan was affected by bad timing, as she thought that she could pose as Alicia to continue a romance with Ben Grimm and use that to infiltrate the Fantastic Four.  Instead, with Ben out of the picture she decided to instead target Johnny, whose recent romantic life had been stale post-Frankie.

Again, context was important to note with this pending romantic swap-up.  Byrne himself did intend for the real Alicia to be the character who gets involved with Johnny.  However, the move was considered very controversial with readers and Marvel later reversed the entire series of events by introducing the ‘Lyja’ excuse.

Besides the story of the heroes returning from “Secret Wars,” issue #265-also featured an amusing first person break-in of the Baxter building by the Trapster.  After initially appearing to succeed, he was captured by the building’s automated security system.

Sue’s Grief & She-Hulk

The only notable appearance of the villainess Karisma occurred in issue #266, largely a fill-in issue that was still written and partially drawn by Byrne.  Karisma was a chemical engineer who could create manipulative cosmetics.  She was ultimately stopped by Sue after briefly turning Ben on the team.  Since the issue was constructed as a flashback, Ben was able to appear.

Issue #267 was probably the most emotionally notable and brutal of Byrne’s entire run.  When Sue’s pregnancy showed complications as a result of her radiation exposure in issue #265, Reed enlisted the help of Doctor Octopus.  Unfortunately, time was wasted during a misunderstanding that led to a fight as the Doc’s recruitment was occurring.  The delay was moot though, as Sue had already lost the baby by the time Reed and Doc Ock arrived at the hospital.

Proving that in comic books there truly has never been a lasting death, nearly two decades later the stillborn baby that would have been born was revealed to have been secretly sustained in an alternate reality by a distraught Franklin.  The child would then become the second Richards child, Valeria.

Amid focusing on mourning from Sue’s loss, issue #268 featured a brief re-introduction of She-Hulk, who was still learning the ropes of being a team member.  A side series of events occurred with Doom’s captured mask seeming to come to life.  Reed eventually stopped the mask, but the occurrence was a reminder to readers that Doom could never be counted out.

X-Men Flashback

Fantastic Four Annual #18 provided a return to aspects of the events that surrounded the death of Dark Phoenix in “X-Men” #137.  During that story, a conflict between single Kree and Skrull warriors broke out that had repercussions related to potentially ending the long-running Kree-Skrull conflict.

The fighting of these warriors was discovered during a wedding between two Inhumans on the Moon.  The Watcher, as usual bent his rules of non-interference by working out a ruse in which the Earth’s heroes faked a defeat that led to both the Kree and the Skrulls.  Thus, they were winners of the particular fight together.  This apparently ended their longtime war, at least for the time being.

The flashbacks to “Uncanny X-Men” #137 in this story contained some of Byrne’s panel art from that issue, while most of the annual was drawn by Mark Bright.  Bright’s art wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t quite as sharp as the Byrne standard.

Terminus

Wyatt Wingfoot was about to become the leader of his Native American tribe at the beginning of issue #269 when a mysterious laser beam began carving into the United States.  Wyatt called in his old allies, the Fantastic Four, for help.  Reed and She-Hulk come to aid the situation, with the laser beam revealed to having carved a message “I claim this world – Terminus.”   It was nice that he signed the message.

With Terminus’ formal arrival on Earth in issue #270, the team ended up having to use an accelerator device on him that had been conveniently foreshadowed in the prior issue.  This led to a rather quick resolution deflated what could have otherwise been an interesting larger conflict.

Nathaniel Richards

It was Reed’s birthday in issue #271, but he was still suffering from memory loss from when he had had his consciousness briefly removed from his body near the end of the trip to the Negative Zone in the mid-#250s.  This temporary amnesia allowed Byrne and excuse to tell about the Fantastic Four’s ‘first adventure,’ prior to their having their powers.  In this situation, they encountered the alien Gormuu, an homage by Byrne to Marvel’s pre-super hero giant monster stories.

Later in the issue, the team traveled to Reed’s family estate in California.  They discovered that Reed’s father Nathaniel Richards had a time machine similar to Doom’s time platform.  Reed deduced that his long-lost father appeared to be lost in time.

In issue #272, the Fantastic Four used Nathaniel Richards’ time platform to travel at a pseudo-Old West location.  This was actually an alternate reality where the ‘dark ages’ never occurred on Earth and humanity was a thousand years more advanced.  However, certain other setbacks had splintered the world’s population.

After fighting through a misunderstanding with some local ‘cowboys’ and facing then tripods containing Neanderthal’s, the team headed to the fortress of the mysterious warlord.  Readers learned that the warlord was actually the evil wife of Nathaniel Richards.

This story arc concluded in issue #273 when the team learned about this Earth’s downfall had occurred after a war between colonists on the moon and humans back on Earth.  Nathaniel Richards had arrived to help the civilization but ended getting manipulated by a woman who became his warlord wife.  Even after she was defeated by the Fantastic Four, Nathaniel decided to stay to clean up the resulting mess that had been created.  Thus, Reed and Nathaniel’s meeting ended up being oddly brief.

In an epilogue, readers learned at in the same timeline, a later descendant of Nathanial traveled back to ancient Egypt to become the villain Rama-Tut from “Fantastic Four” #6.  In terms of Nathanial’s chronology, things grew a bit convoluted.  Even though he appeared younger in writer Jonathan Hickman’s later use of the character, those later stories were intended to be set after this particular story arc.

Witchy Neighbors

“The Thing” issue #19 was part of a cross-over to the main “Fantastic Four” title that touched on Ben’s time exploring the planet from the “Secret Wars” maxi-series.  He encountered brutes that were seemingly derived from old Universal Studios monsters.  Ben continued to face these creatures until coming to grips with the fact that they were figments of his imagination.

While the Thing story crossed over into a conclusion within “Fantastic Four” issue #274, that issue also included the introduction of Sue’s nosey neighbor Alma Chalmers.  As part of Reed’s plan to give Franklin more safety, the family had started living in Belle Porte, Connecticut under secret identities.  Elsewhere in this issue, the Alien Costume that Spider-Man had worn after “Secret Wars” was shown escaping from Reed’s lab.  This costume would later go on to become the villain Venom.

One major change occurred in this issue from a creative standpoint, as Al Gordon took over as regular inker.  Going forward, Gordon and Jerry Ordway would usually end up splitting inking duties over Byrne’s pencils.  Some fans would complain that Byrne’s art was not as enjoyable from this point forward, but the inkers did a respectable job of maintaining the prior quality.

Domestic scenes continued to play out into issue #275, which was very She-Hulk-centric.  An unscrupulous adult magazine publisher took paparazzi shots of a topless She-Hulk while she sunbathed atop the Baxter Building.  She-Hulk tracked down the publisher – who looked oddly like Stan Lee – and destroyed his safe full of presale money for the issue.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to stop the magazine’s publication.

Romance was in the air for the team, as Wyatt was referred to by She-Hulk as her ‘lover.’  Also in this issue was the first kiss between Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters.  As stated earlier, this was an understandably controversial romance at the time.  Even in light of the later retroactive continuity of the story, it was still jarring to read play out.

Issue #276 again touched on the romances between Johnny and Alicia and She-Hulk and Wyatt, but it was very much focused on events unfolding in Belle Pointe.  Nosey neighbor Alma Chalmers had brought in exorcist Elspeth Cromwell under suspicion that the Richards might be possessed by demons.  Cromwell ended up summoning Mephisto.  Doctor Strange had to end up getting involved in issue #277 in order to save the Richards’ family.  However, it was Franklin who ended up being the main hero in defeating Mephisto.

Also in issue #276, Ben finally learned about the romance between Johnny and Alicia.  The brutal revelation came amid what appeared to have been Alicia ‘spending the night’ with Johnny.  It was of no surprise that the Thing would end up quitting the team in “The Thing” issue #23.

Kristoff & Doom

Byrne again courted controversy when further defining the ‘origin’ of Doctor Doom in issue #278.  With Kristoff seemingly being prepped to take over in Doom’s place, Byrne told in flashback of how Doom’s father was run out of Latveria. His mother Valeria was mixed up in witchcraft and would end up dying.

While in college, Doom met Reed and Ben, but suffered what he thought to be a disfiguring lab accident.  He then travelled to a remote ‘lost plateau’ in Tibet where monks gave him a mask that caused further scarring on his face when put on while still too hot.  Thus, Byrne seemed to offer his own compromise in the great mask debate, where co-creator Jack Kirby had at times suggested that Doom wore the mask to cover what he thought was a horrible appearance but was really just a minor scar.

In the present, Doom’s seemingly next master plan took off (literally) as a conveniently-mostly-empty Baxter Building lifted off into space and exploded.

This crazy cliffhanger was resolved in the next issue, as Sue was able to save the Fantastic Four team who had been in the building during liftoff.  She kept everyone inside a force field that she then used to make a shuttle-like reentry to Earth.  The team went to Doom’s castle where they found Kristoff seemingly possessed by Doom.  They stopped what would have been a consciousness transfer of Doom’s mind before it could be completed.

Hate Mongering

Issue #279 also partially began a lengthy arc involving old villain “The Hate Monger.”  In fact, modern readers might be surprised by how much the ‘n word’ appears as a means of showing the hate being somehow generated on the streets of New York City.  By issue #280, hate had filled the city, with Sue coming under the Hate Monger’s control as the villainous ‘Malice.’

Daredevil got into the action in issue #281, with Sue as Malice being defeated when the team decided to simply ‘ignore’ her.  This resolution played to Sue’s longtime status as a second-class team member, enraging her to the point where she was able to break free of the villain’s control.

In a cross-over with the Marvel “Secret Wars II” maxi-series’ issue #2, readers learned The Hate Monger wasn’t entirely working alone.  He was being controlled himself by a tyrant from the Microverse named Psychoman.  Thus, while the Hate Monger was defeated, the storyline continued on into another arc.

Psychoman & The Microverse

With the Baxter Building destroyed, the Fantastic Four had moved into the Avengers’ mansion.  While Sue still dealt with anger issues after being turned into ‘Malice,’ an oblivious Reed constructed a ‘reductocraft’ that allowed the team to chase after Pschoman in the Microverse.

After being miniaturized, Byrne followed a decidedly Jack Kirby-look upon taking the team to the Microverse.  This trip went badly, as the team was swiftly defeated by Psychoman.  While undergoing various tortures, Reed was able to somehow make his body slender enough to escape from Psychoman’s holding area.  Psychoman was then defeated.

This surprisingly long overall arc completed with issue #284.  She-Hulk was still prisoner in a mine where she happened to run into the Microverse’s fugitive ruler Queen Pearla.  She-Hulk helped the Queen get free and back into power, whereupon she also met back up with the Fantastic Four.  The adventure ends with Sue announcing that she will no longer be known as “The Invisible Girl,” rather she’ll be called “The Invisible Woman.”

She-Hulk & Tommy

The She-Hulk graphic novel that Byrne wrote and drew on the side during his “Fantastic Four” run wasn’t collected either in the Omnibus volumes or in the Byrne Visionaries trade paperback series.  However, it was integral to his run.

In this story, She-Hulk was captured and taken to the Helicarrier by SHIELD while Nick Fury was on vacation. After a semi-mature-readers strip search under the watch of villainous Agent Dooley.  She-Hulk escapes from her holding cell by revering to her human undisclosed Jennifer Walters identity, but ran into issues as sentient cockroaches took over the Helicarrier becomes infested and begins to crash.  She-Hulk manages to bring the Helicarrier in for a spectacular crash landing, but was exposed to radiation that would cause her to lose her Hulk-like powers.

The loss of She-Hulk’s powers was reflected back in “Fantastic Four” with issue #285.  However, this was mostly a Human Torch-centric issue focusing on super-fan Tommy Hanson.  Tommy had tried to be like the Torch and inadvertently seriously burned himself.  When Tommy died, the guilt-ridden Torch was shown by the Beyonder (as part of a “Secret Wars II” tie-in) how Tommy had lived through comics. This seemed to be a reassuring message, but it provided what was again another odd moral message.

Return of Jean Grey

The epic return of Jean Grey to the Marvel Universe was famously said to have sparked by a Kurt Busiek idea that made its way to John Byrne.  Writer Roger Stern was also involved, which explained why the return of Jean kicked off in “Avengers” issue #263.

In that issue, the Avengers found a mysterious object that later became visible to be a tomb-like cylinder.  The item had been retrieved from Jamaica Bay, near JFK Airport, where the X-Men crashed a space shuttle back in “Uncanny X-Men” issues #100/#101.

Jean’s ‘official’ return came in “Fantastic Four” #286, where Byrne nostalgically had his long-time “X-Men” collaborator Terry Austin provide inks.  Reed used a device to scan the mystery cylinder and ended up freeing Jean from inside.  Readers learned that she’d not been the Phoenix entity at all, rather Dark Phoenix had simply impersonated her.

Jean’s story continued into “X-Factor” issue #1, a tangential story with no involvement from Byrne.  In what was a rather unsettling character turn, Jean’s longtime love Scott Summers ended up walking out on his then-wife to be with Jean.  This culminated a rather clunky effort on Marvel’s part to reunite the original X-Men team in their new X-Factor incarnation.

Skrulls No More?

A few odds and ends appeared before the final arcs of Byrne’s run.  First up, he worked with writer Roger Stern on a concurrent cross-over between events in “Fantastic Four” Annual #19 and “Avengers” Annual #14.  In the Fantastic Four portion, Reed realized that an alien who came to Earth asking for help was actually a Skrull in disguise.  He used the Skrull to uncover a plot by the Skrull Myrn to develop a ‘hyper-wave’ bomb.

At the same time, the Avengers encountered Skrull Prince Dezan, the late Skrull emperor’s brother, on a 1930s-inspired ‘gangster’ planet.  They traced their way to Myrn, where the Avengers and Fantastic Four met up.  Neither group was able to stop Myrn and he activated his ‘hyper-wave’ bomb.  Ultimately, the joke was on Myrn though, as the bomb ended up robbing Skrulls of their shape-changing abilities.

Doom Returns

Against apparent odds, Doctor Doom managed to return in issue #287.  The secret?  He used a mind transfer trick that he’d learned from aliens all the way back in “Fantastic Four” #10, putting his consciousness into the body of a man named Norman MacArthur.  With Doom’s return revealed, he captured the Fantastic Four in issue #288.  This happened to be yet another “Secret Wars II” crossover, so the Beyonder was also along for the ride.  Given that Doom had somehow been present in the original “Secret Was” series after his death, Reed was left confused.  However, an explanation played out soon enough.  When Doom had transported his consciousness back into his proper body, the Beyonder knowingly sent Doom into the past to participate in “Secret Wars I.”

This convoluted involvement of time travel managed to sort out what would have otherwise been some nasty plot holes left hanging for fans.

Most of note for fans of Sue?  She received a new hairstyle in issue #287.

Blastarr Returns

While touring the new Baxter Building replacement later known as Four Freedoms Plaza, the group was summoned to SHIELD’s space station.  An opening to the Negative Zone had been observed in space and the team went into it to stop Blastarr from coming through.  Although they are able to stop him, they inadvertently let Annihilus loose.

Annihilus was revealed to have somehow survived what appeared to be a very apparent death in issue #256.  In the source of stopping Annihilus, Reed chose to commit suicide in order to save his family and the Earth.  An explosion resulted during Reed’s efforts to destroy Annihilus.

A heartbroken Sue returned to Earth with She-Hulk, the Human Torch, and Nick Fury.

To Kill Hitler!

What kind of Earth did Sue, She-Hulk, the Human Torch, and Nick Fury return to though?  Not a very familiar one, as it would seem in issue #291.  They found themselves somehow transported to the 1930s.  After the group saved an unassuming man named Joseph “Licorice” Calhoun, they might have noticed that something odd was afoot were they not otherwise distracted.  The reason?  Nick Fury, having suffered a head injury, decided to kill Adolph Hitler.

Besides featuring an ironic “Action Comics” #1 homage cover, #291 also had some lasting controversy in its contents.  Amid Sue’s turmoil over losing Reed, she recalled their first meeting in which Sue was portrayed as a rather young pre-teen girl meeting the much older Reed.  Contrary to the general understanding of the younger Sue meeting Reed, this portrayal by Byrne managed to creep out many readers.

Surprisingly, Fury does manage to kill Hitler in issue #292.  Doing so caused the group from the future to ‘snap’ back into their proper reality.  In doing so, it was discovered that Joseph Calhoun was a mutant with a dream-inducing power.  Further adding to the good fortune, Reed re-appeared, having survived what had been thought to be a suicide mission against Annihilus

Under A Dome

Byrne’s final full issue of “Fantastic Four” was issue #293.  It was the first in a three-part story involving a mysterious dome appearing over Reed’s home town of Central City.  After the West Coast Avengers failed to get very far with the dome, they called in help from the Fantastic Four.  She-Hulk ended up getting sucked into the dome, where she finds a while inside containing statues honoring the Fantastic Four.

With Roger Stern and Jerry Ordway handing the writing and drawing in issue #294, they encountered the Priestess Livia who led them to discover the scientist Harvey Jessup.  Jessup was awoken from suspended animation and none too happy about the new arrivals to his domain.

By issue #295, the combined group of Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Wyatt confronted Jessup.  ‘Under the dome,’ Reed learned that Jessup had caused a malfunction in a time slowdown device that resulted in the world under the dome accelerating ten thousand years into the future.  Generations had lived and died under the dome, with Jessup being periodically revived from suspended animation.  Reed was able to rescue most everyone, since the majority of Central City’s residents had (conveniently) been put into suspended animation soon after Jessup’s accident occurred.

Curious readers might like to know that The Thing soon rejoined the team as part of Marvel’s 25th anniversary celebration.  Reed had had feeling of guilt about his keeping the Thing cure truth from Ben and helped initiate a reunion.  By this point though, Byrne had fully moved over to DC Comics and was hard at work on their Superman family of titles.

“The Last Galactus” Story

Byrne’s unfinished “The Last Galactus” – which appeared in the magazine “Epic Illustrated” issues #26-34, was an interesting non-canon epilogue to his run.  Along with Byrne’s focus on Doom, his Galactus work was often his strongest material.

In the far future, Nova was still the herald of Galactus and returned to Earth to find society devastated. Galactus replenished his energies by consuming some of the Earth, before being asked to spare some of the planet by Nova.  Galactus was then drawn to a mysterious tunnel of stars that contained a massive ship with a Watcher inside who confronted Galactus.

Unfortunately, the work was never completely finished due to Byrne’s fallout with Marvel after he took the Superman reboot job for DC Comics.  He did post a description of his intended ending on his website.  Based on that summary, it would have been quite special since it played out Galactus’ destiny as being central to the end of the universe and the birth of the next universe.

Despite having great art, the story was saddled by the demands of being a multi-part serial.  As a result, it was slow to develop and would have worked better as a graphic novel.

What If?

What If? (1977) issue #36 was actually produced early in Byrne’s main run on “Fantastic Four,” but it was worth mentioning simply because it featured writing and art by John Byrne.  “What If the Fantastic Four had not Gained Super-Powers?” was the central question and in Byrne’s estimation they would have become an analogue of the DC Comics’ adventure team “Challengers of the Unknown.”

Conclusions

For as much as seemed to change during the Byrne run, the long-term impacts of Byrne’s run were surprisingly light.  For example, the Thing returned and the personality changes that Byrne introduced didn’t necessarily stick.  Johnny and Sue would later go through some of the same cycles.  In particular, Johnny’s controversial relationship with Alicia would be completely undone.

Although often abrasive in remarks about his work, Byrne obviously cared deeply about the “Fantastic Four,” referring to it as one of his earliest comic book reading experiences.  His “Fantastic Four” was one of the longest continuous runs on a title amongst the great Marvel runs of the 1980s.

Byrne’s abrupt departure left his run ultimately falling short when compared to Miller’s “Daredevil” or Simonson’s “Thor.”   Even the Michelinie, Layton & Romita Jr “Iron Man” felt more complete at the end of its first go-around.  However, issue by issue, Byrne’s talent was such that there were very few ‘duds’ as one would almost always find something that was witty or creative in a given issue.  Had Byrne been able to tie up his Doom arcs with his proposed year-long “Doom War” storyline, readers might view his run as having more cohesion than we were left with in the end.

 

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