FANTASTIC FOUR #168-170 (1976): Luke Cage joins, quits

If I haven’t said this before, I’ll say it now: The best part of Gerry Conway’s run was George Perez signing on for semiregular art duties.  Perez was one of the greatest comic artists of the 1970s-1980s, both in terms of consistent quality and influence.  Also, he drew a TON of comics.

Storywise, Thing is “cured” again.  So the team needs a new “big strong dude with unbreakable skin.”

The results are…Meh.

I did enjoy the scene below in particular, as it shows how having a minority on the team could get them a little more woke.

John Byrne will rename Susan Storm as Invisible Woman, but Luke Cage foresaw the need over 10 years earlier. 

Oddly enough, Cage himself–by 1976–probably should have outgrown the moniker “Power Man,” which was a reference to the black power movement that hit its heights in the late 1960s.

Anyway, the team has to hire a strong-man replacement, and when you need to hire a hero, you can’t go wrong with Luke Cage.  I think people forget that before Spider-Man, others had been both an Avenger and an F4.  Actually, She Hulk was, too.

His baptism of fire is against The Wrecker. Then Puppet Master gets involved, the team has to fight Luke, blah blah blah.

By the end of #170, Luke is off the team and Grimm now has a “Thing costume,” complete with powers, so he’s back as the fourth member.

Bill Mantlo writes in, which is a bit lame. He’s already written for several Marvel books at this point. Letter pages should be for the fans. Plus his letter doesn’t really say much of anything.

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