FANTASTIC FOUR #371-376 (1992): Johnny The Fugitive; 1st Secret Defenders

We start with a stunt cover that is almost impossible to see.

Johnny is attacked by a band of vengeance-seeking villains led by his ex-wife, who is now going by the name Lyja Laserfist.

This is the first time we’ve seen her use that name, and the first time I’m tagging her. I know she’s been around for a long time–masquerading as Alicia–but I’m way too lazy to go back and tag all 100 prior posts where she was in Alicia form.

(Besides, I think it was a retcon and she was supposed to be the real Alicia when she was written in most of those issues.)

In the course of defending himself, Human Torch accidentally burns down a college campus, which will ultimately lead to a lawsuit and bankruptcy for the 4.

At the same time, there are some new (and awful) costumes.

Ms. Marvel (formerly the first female Thing (above) gets (a codpiece over leather?), and Sue…

Ugh. The first character to go from “Girl” to “Woman” gets a decidedly unfeminist cheesecake costume.

And she even talks to her governess dressed like that.

Speaking of Agatha, Franklin is bubbling up again.

fantastic four #374

The stories all kinda flow together.

Cable arrives to warn the FF about Franklin.

nathaniel richards cable



It’s future Franklin, not future baby Cyclops.  But he’s from the future (even if he got there from the past).  He’s related to someone in the present timeline (Reed’s daddy).  He’s here to save us all.  He’s focusing on a kid (Franklin).  He’s named Nathaniel.  He’s got a cyber-eye.  He looks like he was designed by Rob Liefeld.

He’s a lamer, less-interesting version of Cable, right?

And if that wasn’t enough, check out how deep the stealing-from-X-Men goes…

fantastic four x-men days of future past

No wonder people stopped reading Marvel comics in the mid-1990s.

Anyway, back to Torch. Remember? He burned down a school? Well, this leads to a manhunt against him and the team breaks up (again). And the formation of yet-another alternate FF.

They’re trying to help of course, and they call themselves The Secret Defenders because they’re re-formed by Dr. Strange.

But of course they all fight each other.

And then they team up.

There are too many threads to be digging deeper into this dry well again: Johnny is a fugitive, the alternate FF (Spidey, Wolverine, etc.) and Doctor Strange are searching for him, Susan and Reed are fighting again, there’s another new Dr. Doom, Lyja the Alicia Skrull has drama, chicks are fighting over Thing, the Inhumans are upset…It’s just too much.   

So, so much. Like the first appearance of Psi-Lord, an alternate reality Franklin Richards.

Please stop! Please!

This is really the beginning of the end of Volume 1, which Tom DeFalco will burn to the ground like Johnny burns colleges, finally, in 1996 with issue #416.

I can’t wait. It’s not that these are terrible comics, they’re just terribly mediocre–and there are so many great ones I could be reading right now.

2 thoughts on “FANTASTIC FOUR #371-376 (1992): Johnny The Fugitive; 1st Secret Defenders”

Leave a Comment