John Byrne breathes new life into the Fantastic Four by replacing Thing with She-Hulk. With great, highly classic stories in the previous paperback, it's time to take the team in new directions.
We begin with a story called "Masque of Doom", which proves that even though Dr. Doom has been killed like 86 times in Marvel comics (I'm exaggerating slightly), he never really, truly stays dead. Next is the wedding of Black Bolt & Medusa, which seems included because Byrne has done stories with the Inhumans in previous issues. Byrne takes the team into new directions beginning with issues 269 & 270- introducing the giant new menace called Terminus. It's a visually appealing (in my opinion) 2-issue conflict. This is followed by a deliberately Kirby-esque blast from the past in issue 271.
The new direction continues with "Cowboys & Idioms" in issue 272. It's the first issue in yet another 2-part story, which Byrne has been using with great effect, that blends past, present & future, involving Reed's actual dad(!). Issues 274 & 275 are inked by Al Gordon, which officially indicates an artistic transition in this series, as Byrne had inked himself up to this point. It seems Byrne needed to lighten his workload a bit, since he had been penciling & inking both Fantastic Four & Alpha Flight every month for a little while now. Al Gordon's interesting inks are only seen on these two issues; the next paperback introduces Jerry Ordway as the regular inker on the series.
My favorite issue here is 275, which pits She-Hulk vs. a very sleazy, skin-mag publisher. Yes, this issue is creative & famous: It's yet another reason why Byrne's run is often considered second only to Lee & Kirby. Interestingly, it also kind of serves as an unwitting preview to Byrne's quirky & fun run on She-Hulk in the late eigthies/early nineties. John Byrne & She-Hulk make an excellent team!
Included in this volume:
*Issue #268- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Annual #18- John Byrne plots; Mark Bright pencils; Mike Gustovich inks
*Issue #269- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #270- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #271- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #272- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #273- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Thing #19- John Byrne writes; Ron Wilson breakdowns; Mike Gustovich finishes
*Issue #274- John Byrne writes & pencils; Al Gordon inks
*Issue #275- John Byrne writes & pencils; Al Gordon inks... my favorite here