FANTASTIC FOUR #232 (1981): Byrne run starts

The first issue of John Byrne’s run, and you know immediately that this will be different.  The story is titled, “Back to Basics.” 

Thing and Alicia get back together, and the villain is an old Lee/Kirby foe, Diablo.  We also see Susan Richards in a new way: She gets short hair.  A woman who went for over 230 issues before a new hairdo?

This may be Byrne’s biggest contribution to realism in comics.


Also, we see her being extremely powerful.  She flies through the streets on an invisible wave, and smartly uses her powers to enable a quick change of clothes. Invisible Girl will be one of the key factors that distinguishes Byrne’s FF run.

It’s little things like this, playing with the team’s powerset and freshening up the details of being a person with powers, that makes the difference between Byrne and EVERYONE ELSE.  His run is truly the best.  I love it more than Lee/Kirby.

He also brings back Johnny’s girlfriend, Frankie Raye, who is inexplicably afraid of him.  We learn later that she has pyrophobia stemming back to her relationship with her uncle, Professor Horton, who created the first Human Torch.

Finally, Dr. Strange shows up to pimp his own mag.

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