Now, I don’t think much of what emanates from John Byrne these days but I can’t deny the fact the he was producing some awesome stuff in the early 80s. I’ve been re-reading his Fantastic Four run recently and it is pure comic book goodness. Somehow, Byrne manage to lay a big egg in the middle of that run. Normally a meeting between the Fantastic Four and the Black Panther is a reason to celebrate, but this time out I am just left to scratch my head an ask what went wrong.
It’s an unbelievably high concept, grand scale story involving a 2,000-year old Roman civilization living deep within a Wakandan mountain. This is mini-series, possibly max-series stuff but Byrne rushes us through the proceedings (possible because he knew how ludicrous it all is) and wraps this up more than a little too nicely in the last 2 pages. Something to do with an alien helmet keeping the deceased alive, and simultaneously eating away at the self-proclaimed Emperior to the point that when Sue tries to unmask the Phantom of the Opera, she gets the Invisible Man. As an added bonus, we get plenty of Frankie Raye being annoying throughout. A serious bump in an otherwise smooth road.