As I roam the deserted tenement blocks of Sheffield, that're earmarked for clearance, strange young women sitting on bits of rubble often ask me, "Steve, what's your favourite ever Fantastic Four story? Is it that one with Galactus, or that one where Dr Doom steals the Silver Surfer's powers?"
And I say, "No. It's the one where the FF first meet the Inhumans."
"Then you're like us!" They say. "Come with me to our underground lair where I can introduce you to my bizarre family and their paranoid ways!"
I say, "Thanks, luv, but I get enough of that at home."
That aside, it's all true. The first Inhumans story is indeed my favourite Fantastic Four tale of. And it all kicks off with the magnificent issue #44, surely as random and meaningless a comic as there's ever been.
Human Torch sets off in his sports car, looking for some action but gets more than he bargained for as he's hijacked by Medusa - still in her villainous phase.
Gun in hand, she forces him to help her flee a mysterious figure called Gorgon who likes kicking things. While the Torch and Medusa are chin-wagging, they bump into Dragon Man - freshly revived after his last appearance, and up for doing a King Kong with Medusa.
It all leads to a rooftop confrontation, involving the FF, Medusa, Gorgon and the Dragon Man, before Dragon Man abducts Sue, Gorgon abducts Medusa, and everyone else finds themselves trapped in a collapsing building.
This feeling's especially strong if you've read later instalments. Given what we know about what happens in those, nothing that Medusa or Gorgon do or say in this issue makes any sense at all.
But who cares? What we're seeing is a strip approaching the peak of its creativity, one that means all sense and logic become irrelevant. It's pure escapism and it's great.
Keep Those Things Away From Me - Novel
1 year ago