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Fantastic Four Annual #22: Review

Nov 1989
Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler

Story Name:

For Crown and conquest

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Fantastic Four Annual #22 Review by (October 4, 2017)
Beast is shown in both quinjets, but the 1 in the 1st jet has a line of dialogue so I've put him there.

There's obviously been a gathering of Avengers and Fantastic Four since the Avengers West Coast and Thor Annuals. Only a limited subset were involved in those issues, and the others were supposedly off mopping up after previous battles.

It says Ghaur escaped with the Serpent Crown from Magneto's island to wherever here is. While he did use that as a base in some issues of this crossover such as Av An#18, the place in AWC An#4 and Thor An#14 was obviously not that.

A worse continuity error is the mention of New Mutants An#5. They didn't fight U-Man on Avengers Island, but instead Ghaur and a sea monster threatening Atlantis (Namorita was involved in both versions). Apparently the U-Man story was originally planned but for some reason it got replaced by the Ghaur 1. But this reference and the 'next' panel at the end of Av An#18 obviously didn't get the message.
Also Atlantis was destroyed twice - NM An#5 and Web of Spider-Man An#5. In NM An the Atlanteans were warned and scattered to safety, but in WoSM An it was a surprise bombing.

Namor mentions in passing that he was affected in (Av An#18) when the Serpent Crown was activated. This (plus Krang recognising him in the same issue) is the only hint that he was the mystery armoured figure there and elsewhere. He never actually *says* he was.

Despite Namor saying he and Namorita will go looking for the Atlanteans together, they actually go their separate ways. Subby will mainly feature in a string of solo apps wandering the oceans in Marvel Comics Presents before eventually getting his next series Namor the Sub-Mariner. After the 1st MCP slot he'll get caught up in Acts of Vengeance in Captain America #365-367 and Punisher v2 #29.
Namorita goes to the opening salvo of New Warriors in their #1-3 and Thor #411-412 (part of AoV). But then she'll join her cousin in NtSM and co-star in both books.
Bride Andromeda will be in the crowded Damage Control (1991) #4 and her own tale in MCP#121 before also joining the NtSM cast.

Llyra will return as a major baddie in NtSM,  but will then disappear until she comes back for 1 last time transformed by Set as guardian of the buried Serpent Crown in the Mystic Arcana series.
This Serpent Crown itself never returns, but Nagala (descendant of Naga) comes to the burial place and is granted a new Crown, which she loses to Dr Strange in Defenders v2. Then *she* also turns up in Mystic Arcana to fight Llyra over *another* new Crown which they *both* lose to Ian McNee.
This is the last app of Naga himself.
Ghaur will return in Av#370-371 and then continues his career as a Deviant troublemaker, never again involving Set or the Serpent Crown.

The core Fantastic Four (including Bride Invisible Woman) appear next in Marvel UK's Death's Head #9 before She-Thing joins them in their involvement in Acts of Vengeance in FF#334-336. Human Torch and Thing continue AoV-ing in Av Spotlight #29.

The current Avengers have a few adventures before they get hit by AoV. Bride She-Hulk and Thor help Dr Doom try to get his kingdom back from the pretender Kristoff Vernard in Th#409-410, then Shulk does some super-lawyering in her Sensational #10-11. Meanwhile Quasar fights alien Quantum in his #4. Captain America is busiest of all, mainly in Amazing Spider-Man #323-325 (with Silver Sable in the Assassin Nation Plot wit Red Skull behind the scenes) and CA#358-362 (the Bloodstone Hunt).

The Avengers West Coast (including Bride Scarlet Witch and disaffected members Hawkeye and Mockingbird) launch straight into AoV, centred around AWC#53-55, but Iron Man has a few adventures 1st - mainly his #249-250 where he travels with Dr Doom to a future where King Arthur is reincarnated.

For the Brides not covered above:-
Dagger will guest in Power Pack #53 before joining Cloak in their own Mutant Adventures of C&D #8-9 - all 3 issues part of AoV.
Marvel Girl returns to X-Factor where they go into space for XFa#43-50 facing the Celestials and the Judgement War. #50 ties in a bit to AoV.
Storm returns to the X-Men and they do quite a bit before *their* AoV issues Uncanny XM#256-258, by which time she's been kidnapped from them and turned into a teenager on the run.

Of the other heroes:-
Beast will be with X-Factor.
Black Panther will have his own mini-series BP: Panther's Prey.
Black Widow will be in Punisher War Journal #9 before falling into AoV via Av Spotlight #27.
Captain Marvel will go direct to AoV and that issue.
Dr Strange goes back to DrS: Sorcerer Supreme for Baron Mordo's Faust Gambit in #5-8.
Sersi will properly join the Avengers in #314 after AoV is over.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Fantastic Four Annual #22 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
2 quinjets and the Fantasticar, all in submersible mode, speed towards Deviant priest-lord Ghaur's latest hideout. In 1 quinjet we find Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Quasar, Sersi, Vision, Wasp and Wonder Man. In the other are Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Dr. Pym, Hawkeye, the android Human Torch and Mockingbird. The Fantasticar contains besides the Fantastic Four (their Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, She-Thing and Thing) there are Doctor Strange and Thor. They are all heading towards Ghaur's base to rescue the 7 Brides of Set, including the Avengers' She-Hulk, the Avengers West Coast's Scarlet Witch and the FF's Invisible Woman. DrS spell-located the sub-sea base Ghaur had escaped to and mystically cloaked their approach.

Along the way we get reminded of recent events. Ghaur and Llyra tried to bring the demon Set into the Earth dimension, but Thor (with Dr Strange, Quasar and Thing and the help of the Demogorge) forced him back in Thor Annual #14. Events leading up to this included:- Silver Surfer fighting Ghaur (after accidentally reviving him in SS An#2). Sub-Mariner being killed by Hydra (Iron Man An#10). The Serpent Society finding some mystic artefacts for Ghaur (in Uncanny X-Men An#13 - they don't know the supposedly-dead X-Men were involved). Moon Knight helping Punisher when Viper had injected him with a drug (in Pu An#2 - part of a plot spanning several Annuals to turn people into Serpent Men). The New Mutants and Sub-Mariner's cousin Namorita fighting U-Man on Avengers Island (NM An#5).

Several points are raised in passing in case readers aren't following the relevant books:- Vision is now colourless and emotionless and doesn't remember that Scarlet Witch is his wife. The WWII android Human Torch has been revived by the Avengers West Coast. Dr Strange was believed dead since his 2nd Strange Tales series - but nobody mentions his funky eyepatch. Thing is really now-human Ben Grimm in an exoskeleton. And in case somebody's not read *any* of the other Annuals in this crossover Ghaur explains to Llyra why he doesn't have the cosmic power he gained in his previous app in the Eternals series.

Llyra suggests they set their Lemurian and Deviant troops to delay the superheroes who are bound to attack, and use the time to escape completely. But Ghaur still thinks he can bring Set to Earth. They still have the giant Serpent Crown and the 7 heroines who were to be the Brides of 7-headed Set. And he thinks that sacrificing them will (hopefully) enable the Crown to raise Set.

Then Llyra gets word that the Avengers/FF have indeed invaded. (Inside the base the atmosphere is very damp air so that the surface Deviants and aquatic Lemurians can coexist.) But no-one notices a shadowy figure following them. DrS and Thor are knackered after disposing of Set and have to sit the battle out. While fighting their way through the enemy hordes the others find breath to list the Brides they know of:- Invisible Woman, Scarlet Witch and She-Hulk I've mentioned already, and they're also aware of Dagger and Marvel Girl but they don't know who the other 2 are. The 2 Torch's meet and compare notes

Meanwhile Ghaur has set the 7 Brides spinning round above the Serpent Crown. He tells sceptical Llyra that when they reach a certain speed their essences will be sucked into the Crown, and Set shall live. But Llyra notices that the heroes are getting dangerously close to the door to their inner chamber. So she arms an infra-sonic cannon that should kill them all, and 'unfortunately' their own defending men.

But then the supposedly-dead Sub-Mariner breaks in through a back door to the chamber. (Apparently he's been playing dead so they wouldn't prepare defences specifically against *him*.) But he immediately exits through the front door to reach the cannon and the heroes. And Llyra locks it behind him. The heroes get over the shock of seeing him alive, and the FF help him wrench the cannon from its mounting.

The heroes can't break in to the chamber because its door and walls are made of adamantium. But Namor knows another way in. He gives the FF pills to enable them to survive in the deep ocean and leads them outside and round to an airlock. They manage to get it open just enough for Mr Fantastic to squeeze through, and he opens it from the inside. of course the ocean comes in with them, but Subby leads them through the inner door of the airlock.

Sub-Mariner breaks into the Serpent Crown chamber again, this time with the FF in tow. But the whirling Brides are now spinning fast enough that the Crown gives Llyra and Ghaur extra powers. The Lemurian is able to blast attacking Namor with eye-beams, and the Deviant takes control of the FF making Thing and She-Thing fight each other against their wills and likewise Human Torch and Mr Fantastic.

Namor is still advancing on Llyra so she makes him see visions of his dead wives Dorma and Marrina. (Llyra killed Dorma in Sub-Mariner #37, which is why he seeks revenge now, and *he* killed Marrina in Avengers #293 to save the world.) She offers to use the power of the Crown to bring *one* of them back to life - but he must choose which by smashing the other image. Subby chooses neither and dives between them - only to find the real body of his cousin Namorita behind them. Llyra had hoped to trick him into killing her.

Meanwhile the FF have thrown off Ghaur's mental control and unite to try to break through his mental shield. But the Deviant priest sends his mind deeper into the Serpent Crown to get even more power. And there he meets the spirit of Naga of Lemuria, a previous wearer of the Crown who now contests with him for ownership. But instead they annihilate each other in a titanic blast, and Llyra disappears as well.

The Brides stop spinning. The Avengers burst in. They recognise the other 2 Brides as Attuma's daughter Andromeda and someone who looks suspiciously like Storm of the X-Men (but they're all supposed to be dead). (Since they've already realised that Dr Strange and Namor aren't as dead as they were reported to be, then I'd think they'd not be too surprised to see a not-dead X-Person too.)

The giant Serpent Crown is still there, but the final explosion opened a large crevice in the floor. The 7 Brides combine in a tremendous effort which pushes the Crown into the crack, which closes up over it. (Presumably Storm then slips away to avoid awkward questions.)

Namor and Namorita leave to search for their Atlantean people who have dispersed after the destruction of Atlantis (New Mutants An#5 or Web of Spider-Man An#5?).

Story 2:- Saviour of the lost artefacts

Script Mark Gruenwald, pencils Tom Morgan, inks Mike DeCarlo, letters Bill Oakley, colours George Roussos, editor Ralph Macchio.

It's the end of FF#299 and the FF announce the opening of Four Freedoms Plaza which replaces the Baxter Building. Reed and Sue Richards bemoan all the stuff that was lost when Kristoff Vernard (as Dr Doom) destroyed their old HQ in #278. But they enter a room and find the important things returned in a pile.

1 of them is Doom's time platform, and the duo use it to go back to the event (during the time She-Hulk stood in for Thing). They are out-of-phase so they can't affect the past. There they see the 'old' time machine being teleported away, and Reed detects that the teleportation beam came from the Moon.

They return to the present and contact Crystal of the Inhumans in Attilan on the Moon. (This of course is before she joins the team with Sharon Ventura/Ms Marvel/She-Thing to replace *these* 2.) They ask her to send her teleporting dog Lockjaw to them. But when Reed checks the dog's teleportation signature it doesn't match with what he measured earlier.

This just leaves 1 other candidate. Lockjaw takes Reed and Sue to the Blue Area of the Moon - the home of the Watcher. And *his* energy signature matches! When asked if he saved their things from destruction Uatu reminds them that his code forbids interference, but he sometimes 'borrows' interesting items to study. He meant to return them immediately before they were missed, but something came up and he forgot about them until now.

The Richards leave it at that and return home. Reed comments how lucky they were, but Sue laughingly tells him Uatu did it deliberately because he's fond of them.

Story 3:- Mission Impossible Man

Script Gregory Wright, pencils Hilary Barta, inks Hilary Barta, letters Willie Schubert, colours Gregory Wright, editor Ralph Macchio.

Impossible Man visits Stan Lee to ask about the comic series he was promised in FF#176. Stan tries to wriggle out of it by saying he does TV stuff nowadays, but Impy will settle for a TV series. So Stan calls in the FF and the Avengers West Coast.

The original 4 (including human Ben Grimm) rush to his aid. She-Thing gets left behind. (She was getting rid of some heavy trashed machinery and sneakily stuffed it through the Negative Zone portal. But a large hand dragged her in, accusing her of being a litterbug.) The Popuppian is typically annoying and unstoppable, and Stan and the FF decide they'll just have to give him his TV show.

But then Wonder Man arrives and suggests a film instead. I-Man immediately latches on to *him*, and they walk off into the sunset.

Meanwhile Annihilus makes Sharon Ventura clean up the Neg Zone.

Story 4:- Dr Doom's strength's comparison page

Script Peter Sanderson, pencils Ron Lim, inks Mike DeCarlo, letters Jade Moede, colours George Roussos, editor Ralph Macchio.

Doom is disparaging about the capabilities of Mole Man, Kang, Mad Thinker and Wizard.

Story 5:- The saga of the Serpent Crown chapter 14:- Game, set and match

Script Peter Sanderson, pencils Mark Bagley, inks Keith Williams, letters Jade Moede, colours Marc Siry, editor Mark Gruenwald.

The Watcher recounts the Serpent Crown's last appearance in Marvel Team-Up An#5.

Thing took the Crown to Project Pegasus for safe-keeping and research. After a while it took over the minds of the staff including Security Chief Quasar, but he managed to send out a message before succumbing. Dr Strange, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man and Thing respond.

The Project staff are teleporting Serpent Crowns from many parallel Earths, and they mystically combine 777 Crowns into 1 giant version to bring Set to Marvel Earth using the power of a Cosmic Cube also held at Pegasus. But the heroes use the Cube to destroy the Crown, and then DrS uses it to power a spell banishing Set forever (or at least until this Atlantis Attacks crossover arc).

And now we see that Uatu has been telling this Saga to Gaea.

Rich Buckler
Tony De Zuniga
John A. Wilcox
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Janice Chiang.
Editor: Ralph Macchio.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Clint Barton)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Marvel Girl
Marvel Girl

(Jean Grey)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

(Wendell Vaughn)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Jennifer Walters)

(Ororo Munroe)

(Ben Grimm)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Andromeda, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Dagger, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Ghaur, Llyra, Namorita, She-Thing (Sharon Ventura).

> Fantastic Four Annual: Book info and issue index

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