FANTASTIC FOUR #129-132 (1972-1973): 1st Thundra, Johnny’s red costume; Crystal goes home

Franklin Richards started to look creepy and have some sort of vague power set. 


Crystal went back to her own people.  Johnny was sad. 


So Johnny vowed to rejoin her.

Johnny arrived at Attillan, the hidden city of the Inhumans, to learn that Crystal was banging Quicksilver.


At first he was hot-headed, but it really just made Johnny even more sad.

So they broke up.

But a new costume did help him feel a little better.


Medusa got one, too.


And while Johnny was in Attilan, Thing and had to fight a new Frightful Four. Super-strong woman Thundra is the replacement for Medusa, making her debut.

We don’t learn much about her, other than that she’s strong enough to nearly knock out Thing, and she can see through his trenchcoat disguise.

And really, it was Reed who had it the worst. In the first real concrete signs of their fragmenting relationship, Sue quit the team.  But us fans got to see Medusa round out the F4–a truly strong woman who would never, ever be treated like a damsel in distress.

So lots of people changing alliances and teams.

And not one but two future legends write in to the letters page: Chuck Dixon and Mike Barr.

5 thoughts on “FANTASTIC FOUR #129-132 (1972-1973): 1st Thundra, Johnny’s red costume; Crystal goes home”

  1. Quote,”fans got to see Medusa round out the F4–a truly strong woman who would never, ever be treated like a damsel in distress.” But, but I LIKE damsels in distress (LOL)!
    Vaguely remember Medusa (and Quicksilver – wasn’t he Scarlett Witches brother?), don’t recall the human torches red costume at all

  2. Three cheers for confident Madam Medusa! I still call her that, as that was her original name back in the Silver Age when she was a very effective member of the Frightful Four, usually getting the better of the Invisible Girl!

  3. Issues #129-132 of “The Fantastic Four” are extremely important issues in the series as they inaugurate an important new era for the team which witnesses some important, and badly-needed- character development for a series that was, up until these issues, beginning to suffer from a stagnant status-quo. As in the case of the new direction introduced for the Sub-Mariner in the final six issues of his ’70’s series, ( see separate column elsewhere on this page ) the team is taken into a new direction of their own, which results in some major progression of series and character, all initiated by a very fateful trip to Attillan, undertaken by a heartsick Johnny Storm, chasing after a trollup who doesn’t deserve either his love, or his allegiance. After battling the entire family of Inhumans for her, she is too stupid to realize how deeply he loves her, and blows him off for Quicksilver, whom she will learn very quickly ( npi ) what a sweetheart HE is. At the conclusion of this adventure, after Johnny’s family comes for him, Johnny recieves a very weak “consolation prize” in the form of a new and sharper costume! Johnny has never looked better- he’s more colorful now, and free of gloves, which I have never understood why a fire-elemental would need to wear, anyway! Also at the conclusion of this momentous adventure, the Invisible Girl bails out to make a point to Reed about what an a-hole HE is, which I thought was a great thing at the time, because I have never been a fan of the Invisible Girl, for the following reasons: 1) She’s too powerful. Having the Invisible Girl around doesn’t make for much tension or drama, because she is, literally, powerful enough to knock any opponent this side of Blaastar or the Incredible Hulk flat on their can! 2) Invisibility is such a cowardly superpower- what could be more cowardly than fighting an opponent who can’t SEE you-?? 3) She’s not into it- Reed, Ben, and Johnny are born adventurers- they LIVE for it. Sue, on the other hand, is a frustrated housewife who would just rather any day of the week be baking brownies in the kitchen! This does not serve the team well at all. She seems like the “wet blanket” of the team, because her heart has never been into the whole idea of the Fantastic Four. Also, for a supposed professional adventuress, she gets pregnant a lot. Again- how is this serving the team?? Her pregnancies also tend to nearly finish her off, as well as her unborn children. Does the Fantastic Four really need this hell?? I don’t think so. So, at the end of #132, she leaves, mainly just to piss Reed off. Housewives do crap like that. But Medusa steps up, with a power that is somewhat more plausible ( as long as nobody captures her, and shaves her head, as happened to her on TV! I couldn’t believe Dr. Doom didn’t shave her when he had her all captured up in his dungeon, in FF#156! -Maybe Vic goes for redheads-?? ) Also, for some reason which eludes me, I only recently noticed for the first time how incredibly sexy the costume Medusa receives at the conclusion of #132 actually is! Lots of exposed flesh, a cute bondage mask, and sexy buccaneer boots! This costume is a GO! The only problem I have with it is the color- why lavender??! Lavender doesn’t exactly scream “Superheroine” to me, for some reason. What it SHOULD have turned out to be was the team’s standard shade of blue! Red hair with a royal blue swimsuit! Works for me! Or, even better still, how about a BLACK suit, with that red hair?? Yeah! But, lavender-?? Sheesh! Whatever. Anyway, the next two and a half years, between issues#132 and 159, gave us more development of character than the ‘Fantastic Four’ series has seen, before or since! So, naturally, it couldn’t last. Issue#159, in the early Spring of 1975, did the same disservice for the ‘Fantastic Four’ series that ‘Super-Villain Team-Up’#13 did for the Sub-Mariner! Namely, it totally negated two and a half years’ worth of badly-needed character progression. By the end of these two issues, both series had been devolved back to the same stagnant status-quo which resulted in some badly-needed progression of series and character in the first place! I don’t know how long we could have realistically expected Medusa to stay on the team, especially with Sue finally dislodging her head from her heiney, but it would have been interesting to see. Johnny also returns to his old blue uniform in this issue as well, in a gesture of team solidarity. Maybe it’s just because I myself am a rugged individualist, but I prefer individual costumes to uniforms. Some X-Men fans actually prefer the original team’s black-and-yellow training uniforms to the later dynamic individual costumes, but not THIS X-Men fan! I don’t believe the X-Men’s look was ever more impressive than during the Neal Adams era, which was carried over into John Byrne’s excellent “X-Men:The Hidden Years” series. ( except for whatever strange reason Byrne put Marvel Girl- and ONLY Marvel Girl-back into her black-and-yellow training uniform, for the series’ entire run! Does Byrne just hate the Marvel Girl mini, for some reason??? I think it’s HOT!!!! ) So, anyway- the “Medusa/red Human Torch costume” era for the FF was, in my estimation, the most interesting and character-driven era of the team’s history. Nuff said!


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