â€œThe New Fantastic Fourâ€, not to be confused with the 80â€™s cartoon of the same name, or the numerous alternate rosters of Marvelâ€™s First Family.Â This article specifically covers a three issue-long, â€œblink and youâ€™ll miss itâ€ roster shake-up provided by Walter Simonson and Arthur Adams.Â The arc was basically a comedy bit and the New Fantastic Four were never intended to be around for more than a split second.Â While the whole thing was rather pointless, I canâ€™t say it wasnâ€™t without some entertainment value.
The story goes like so: a rogue Skrull â€œfreedom fighterâ€ named Dâ€™lila crashlands on Earth while being pursued by a group of Skrull soldiers.Â She uses her shape-shifting powers in conjunction with her low-level telepathic abilities to sneak into the Four Freedoms Plaza and to the FFâ€™s penthouse.Â There, she knocks out every member of the FF and begins taking advantage of their high-tech computer systems.Â Dâ€™lila is searching for an all-powerful Skrull weapon called the ITT, which was lost on Earth some time ago.Â However, in order to collect the ITT, she needs super-powered creatures with specific attributes.
Using one of the FFâ€™s machines, she sends a telepathic summons to Spider-Man, the Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider.Â The four heroes arrive at the Four Freedoms Plaza and Dâ€™lila (in the guise of Susan Storm) informs them that a team of evil Skrulls killed the Fantastic Four.Â Meanwhile, the Skrull soldiers searching for Dâ€™lila land on Monster Isle, home of the Mole Man, and unleash several of his most fearsome monsters upon the Earth in an attempt to flush Dâ€™lila out.Â Well, this works to Dâ€™lilaâ€™s advantage, as she sends the four heroes (now calling themselves the New Fantastic Four) to Monster Isle to stop the â€œevilâ€ Skrulls.
While the New FF are out doing that, Dâ€™lila awakens Reed Richards and forces him to locate the ITT.Â He discovers that, conveniently, it is residing on Monster Isle.Â â€œSueâ€ and Reed head out to Monster Isle to search for the ITT, while the New FF tangle with the Mole Man and his monstrous hordes.Â The Mole Man, not fond of others taking advantage of his monsters, has taken the Skrull unit hostage and intends to execute them.Â The New FF join the party just in time to hear the Skrull commanderâ€™s explanation, and the truth about â€œSueâ€ and Dâ€™lila.Â It turns out she had used her telepathic powers to control the Hulk, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider and Wolverine so that theyâ€™d be more manageable (which also explains why Spider-Manâ€™s spider-sense and Wolverineâ€™s sense of smell didnâ€™t catch that â€œSueâ€ was Dâ€™lila).
Dâ€™lila then shows up, holding Reed hostage, and forces the New FF to recover the ITT.Â Back at Four Freedoms Plaza, the real Fantastic Four come to, are released by Franklin Richards, and set out to Monster Isle for some pay-back.Â At said Monster Isle, the New FF find the ITT in the possession of one of the Mole Manâ€™s monsters, who thinks it is her egg.Â They get the ITT away from the monster and the New FF use their various abilities to crack it open.Â Within it is an unstoppable robot that will be loyal to whatever it first scans upon hatching.Â Well, the monster comes back and the robot scans its â€œmotherâ€.Â Defeated, Dâ€™lila swears vengeance, but immediately, the original FF arrive and suddenly sheâ€™s in serious trouble.Â Ghost Rider blasts her with his penance stare, crippling her sanity, and the Skrulls take her back to their home planet to be brought to justice.Â The Mole Man, having sat mostly on the sidelines, is ready to thrown down with his monster hordes.Â That is until Spider-Man points out that, given his success rate, what chance does he stand against the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, a unit of Skrulls and Spider-Man himself?Â Mole Man reconsiders and then escorts the heroes to the surface.Â Meanwhile, the Punisher shows up out of nowhere in his monogrammed fighter jet (oy, 90â€™s Punisher was so lameâ€¦) and is ready to save the day.Â Realizing heâ€™s late to the party, he flies away.
Now didnâ€™t that all sound pretty silly?Â Well, gues what?Â Itâ€™s really silly.Â Simonson treats the entire thing like one big joke from start to finish and your supposed to chuckle at the absurdity of the whole thing, *not* take it seriously.Â I canâ€™t say itâ€™s the funniest comic Iâ€™ve ever read, or even that funny at all, but at least he tried.Â The gag with the Punisher at the end was especially awkward and pointless.Â Arthur Adamsâ€™ artwork is gorgeous; heâ€™s always been one of my favorites.Â The all-star cast is especially appreciated, as you get to see Adams put his touch on some of Marvelâ€™s headliners.
The interaction between the members of the New Fantastic Four tends to leave a bit to be desired.Â Wolverine and Hulk (this is the grey Mr. Fix-it incarnation of the Hulk) bicker the most, trading verbal barbs left and right.Â They come off more like an old married couple, honestly.Â Spider-Man tries his best to be the level-headed member of the team, but the mighty egos of the aforementioned pair causes his advice to be shrugged off most of the time.Â Ghost Riderâ€¦hardly does anything.Â He speaks every now and then, and saves the day at least once or twice, but his contribution to the story is utterly forgettable.Â
Itâ€™s a â€œfunâ€ little storyline, albeit not very important at all.Â I get the feeling they could have done a bit more with this, or at least as a comedy relief arc, it could have been a whole lot funnier.Â On the positive side, you get a good roster of heroes, a pair of classic Fantasic Four villains and some nice artwork by Arthur Adams.Â I wouldnâ€™t pay more than $9 bucks for the three issues, though.