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Fantastic Four #256: Review

Jul 1983
John Byrne, John Byrne

Story Name:

The Annihilation Gambit

Review & Comments

4 stars

Fantastic Four #256 Review by (November 18, 2022)
Comments: Part six of six, incorporating a crossover with AVENGERS #233. Annihilus returns in FF #289-290 because of course he does. Brief cameos by Thor, She-Hulk, and Starfox. The final page incorrectly states that the next part is in AVENGERS #234. THE THING #2 also ties into this crossover. Letters page includes one by future comics writer Dan Eiler.  

Review: I’ll be honest: the only reason I’m writing up this issue is because of the tie-in with AVENGERS #233. Yes, I like the Fantastic Four but I’m never sure what’s going on. I can only hope I have summarized the action accurately because I don’t know if the science here is real (astrophysics isn’t my field) or Stan Lee-level nonsense. So I soldiered forward. The story is pretty exciting for all that and the discovery of Alicia, then Franklin were quite moving. And Annihilus is annihilated, well, as permanently dead as any villain ever is. The Avengers adventure is more my speed so check out my synopsis and review there.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Fantastic Four #256 Synopsis by T Vernon
Story takes place concurrently with AVENGERS #233.

The Fantastic Four are trapped in the Negative Zone and with their access tunnel destroyed, they are heading inexorably toward the dimensional interface which will mean their annihilation. With Mr. Fantastic’s mind controlling the captured alien ship, he has its workshop create a portable long-range scanner. A massive asteroid comes toward them so Human Torch blows it to pieces, which means hot burning pieces of asteroid are now about to hit them. Invisible Woman protects them with a force field while Thing blames Johnny for creating the danger. Reed launches himself out to the furthest distance toward the interface he can reach and remain safe; he takes some readings and is surprised….

In New York, Sharon Selleck, concerned that the FF’s answering service sounded strange [it should, it was Annihilus], heads to the Baxter Building to find out what’s going on with Johnny Storm, dragging her roommate Julie Angel with her. They encounter a crowd and Julie sees the change made to the Baxter Building….

In the Negative Zone, Sue and Johnny see the rock bombardment becoming heavier and converging on Reed’s position. Thing tears a piece from the alien ship, shapes it into a ball, and hurls it so that it ricochets among the rocks, smashing them into smaller bits. Reed returns to the others with some bad news: someone has created a null-energy field around the Baxter Building and when it reaches full size, a second field will begin to fill it. When the two coincide, both universes, Earth’s and the Negative Zone, will be destroyed….

In the Andromeda Galaxy, a Skrull ship detects Nova, Herald of Galactus, and fires upon her. Unharmed, she prepares to fight back but she is interrupted by a summons from Galactus. She returns to her master who is dying of hunger and proposes that he feed on the nearest planet: the Skrull throneworld….

After twelve days of labor, the FF have created a dimensional analog to the Baxter Building, as Reed worries about their chances of survival….

Meanwhile, Annihilus, in control of the Baxter Building gloats over the helplessness of the Avengers who are trying to enter the force field surrounding the building. Suddenly, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) appears behind him and he panics. The console before him explodes, burning him severely and he tries to trigger the device manually. As the energy increases, the FF leap forward through the field and they reach home while Annihilus is pulled back into the Negative Zone where he hits the interface and is annihilated. Meanwhile, the FF enter their home and Thing has to explain to Reed who Captain Marvel is. And then Ben spies his beloved Alicia Masters, seriously wounded from the villain’s torture. Ben rushes her to a Fantasticar and to the hospital while Sue, also near panic, searches the building for their son Franklin. Reed puts out the fires in the office as the Avengers arrive. Captain America and Wasp catch up with Reed on their respective adventures. Scarlet Witch shows Reed the comatose Vision and he determines that the android has slipped into a sleeplike state to repair himself. Then Sue enters with the critically injured Franklin and the heroes rush the boy to the hospital, leaving Wanda terrified and alone with Vision….

John Byrne
John Byrne
Glynis Oliver
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
John Byrne (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Jim Novak.
Editor: Al Milgrom. Editor-in-chief: Jim Shooter.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Monica Rambeau)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Ben Grimm)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Alicia Masters, Franklin Richards, Nova (Frankie Raye).

> Fantastic Four: Book info and issue index

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