Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Fourth Member--A Numbers Game, Part III

So, what the hell is going on?

Well, the nu52 version of the Frightful Four had just gotten their butts handed to them by the Fantastic Four, when two new members of the Frightfuls turned up and sucker punched the good guys: Dragon Man, and Aron the Rogue Watcher!!


Aron was this young Watcher who was interning with Uatu, but decided he liked interfering better. He had been hanging around for awhile under the Englehart Harekness run, surreptitiously collecting cell samples of the Fantastic Four, with Dragon Man as his minion. Please don't ask why.

So why is he helping the evil Frightful Four?

OK, but I still say that if you want to prove that your intellect and your team is superior, bringing in a Watcher is pure cheating, as it proves nothing. As we shall see, when Aron declares that he's got what he needs, and he's leaving:

And when they try to fight him:

And he leaves.

Still, it's a good day for the Frightful Four. They've got the FF captive, and they can finally kill them, right. Right?!?

And you're going to kill them, right?!?

Sweet merciful heavens!! This is what, the 4th time you've had the Fantastic Four beaten, and completely at your mercy, but you let them live for torture or ransom or whatever?? And every single other time, they've escaped and beaten you, right??

So really, why does your superior intellect think the result would be different this time??

Oh, but it will be different--it will be extra humiliating. For you see, the currently not-Thingified Ben Grimm has found you, and...


Yes, plain ol' human Ben Grimm, all by his lonesome, just took out three of the Frightful Four. That's pretty pathetic for an evil supergroup. And when he let's his pals loose...

Well, it doesn't take long...

Oh, Frightful Four...will you ever learn?!?

Oh, and then began the single worst five-issue stretch of the Fantastic Four ever, as Aron the Rogue Watcher clones an evil version of the FF, and sends them out to relive the FF's old adventures, while he locks the real FF in stasis and watches their dreams. For five issues.

Yes, dreams, which Englehart has said were the plotlines that he would have run had Marvel not said no. Which means he would have had Doom and Kristoff blow up the world. And he would have revealed that Franklin had made Johnny and Alicia fall in love--which is even worse than the Skrull thing--and Franklin would then undo it so Ben and Alicia get back together, as do Johnny and Crystal.

Yes, we watched bad re-runs of old FF stories and dreams of hypothetical retcon storylines FOR FIVE ISSUES. Sigh...

Anyway, aside from a brief reappearance in FF #333, and a cameo one panel time travel cameo bit in #400, this was the last we'd see of the Frightful Four until 1994...Maybe by then the Wizard would figure out the proper line-up (spoiler alert--he wouldn't).

From Fantastic Four #328 (1989)

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