FANTASTIC FOUR #187-190 (1977)

We finally get a Molecule Man appearance that hints at the greatness of the character–although he really is powerful enough to not need a partner.  But he and Klaw kind of have an ongoing relationship from here on out, that culminates in the 1980s Secret Wars.

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To stop them: Reed Richards uses a gun! (Because he is still depowered.). And he invents it after being yelled at by Agatha.

But he can’t defeat them.  Reed touches the Molecule Wand and gets possessed by Molecule Man (so he gets powers again–just not the way he wanted to)

And then he ends up “short circuiting,” which is a lame ending.

No, it’s not a great story–but it’s good enough.  And with the art of George Perez, it’s worth reading.

And in the end, The Watcher shows up, but does not intervene, and Reed Richards disbands the team.  Again.

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And so begins a year’s worth of stories in which the F4 are no longer a team. 

And perhaps most dramatically, the two issues that immediately followed this one were reprints of old Lee/Kirby stories. Issues #189 and 190 are reprints.