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This week’s comic pull:  Cable #3, Weapon X #6, Iceman #3, X-Men Blue #8, the Wild Storm #6, M.A.S.K. #8, and Transformers Lost Light #8.  Quite the list today!


Fantastic Four #415 (August 1996)

An Enemy Among Us
[Onslaught, Phase 1]


Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Penciler:  Carlos Pacheco
Inker:  Bob Wiacek

Franklin Richards (the child version since it can get REALLY confusing) is exploring a carnival with a friend named Charlie.  The scene isn’t exactly real…at least not in the traditional sense.  Charlie explains that Franklin made it real.  But as they go through, they are confronted by a gypsy woman who scolds Charlie for bringing Franklin into this world.  Her name is Magda.  Suddenly, the floor rumbles and Franklin and Charlie are back in Four Freedoms Plaza.   The rumbling was due to the FF returning home.  Franklin rushes to see them while Charlie disappears.

Franklin is greeted by his family, hugged by the Invisible Woman, more step off, such as Lyja the Skrull, who is given the cold shoulder by the Torch (admittedly, I haven’t really read the issues leading up to all this so I have no idea what was going on), Reed’s father is accosted by the Thing, but they are interrupted by Roberta who announces that Professor Xavier has arrived.  Meanwhile, Scott Lang helps out by answering a video call from the Avengers but as the Wasp tries to warn him about Onslaught, Lang is put to sleep by Xavier and the call is dropped.

Xavier meets with the Richards about taking Franklin to his school to protect him (Franklin IS a mutant, after all).  Neither Reed nor Sue (but especially Sue) is keen on this idea.  Elsewhere, in the hangar, as Johnny Storm checks on the Fantasticar, obviously avoiding a conversation with Lyja (some drama between them…I’m not too sure exactly what, but it has to do with…never mind, it’s irrelevant).  Before they can really get into it, the Inhuman dog, Lockjaw, teleports into the hangar with several Avengers, Bishop, and Iceman.  Of course, Xavier easily senses this and stands up from his wheelchair, and takes down Reed, Sue, and Ben all at once.

As Torch leads the X-Avengers (see what I did there?) down the hallway, showing off his bravado and overconfidence, Reed stumbles out of the hallway, announcing that Xavier attacked them all.  The FF, X-Men, and Avengers break into separate parties to find Franklin, Onslaught’s target.  Crystal and Torch manage to find the unconscious Lang but Torch also notices Onslaught standing in the corner.  Torch rattles off something about how Onslaught may be a challenge for the “X-Guys” but he’s an amateur when it comes to the FF.  Of course, Onslaught uses his telepathy to make Johnny turn 90 degrees and crash into the ceiling.  Onslaught then turns to Crystal and is prepared to do something…nefarious.  But Reed’s father jumps in, trying to use his psionic armor to drain Onslaught’s powers.  But with a thought, Onslaught literally tears the armor from him, leaving him, and Crystal, unconscious.

Torch is about to learn a hard life lesson….

Onslaught continues his search for Franklin and finds him watching TV.  But it’s not Franklin and Onslaught sees through this ruse immediately as Lyja shapeshifts back to her true form.  Onslaught knocks her for a loop but the Thing and Hawkeye join in.  Thing goes all “clobberin’ time” on Onslaught’s ass…at least that’s what Ben thinks as he really is just pounding a wall.  With a blast of mental energy, Onslaught knocks down Hawkeye too.

In Franklin’s bedroom, the Invisible Woman and Bishop look for her son.  They do find Onslaught and Bishop tells Sue to turn her force fields on him so he can absorb the energy.  The power is extreme and as he rechannels it into Onslaught, the armor melts away and we’re left with a naked Professor X.  He asks for help, before Onslaught can take over again, but when Bishop takes his hand, Xavier grins and a blast takes out both Bishop and Sue.

Fantastic X-Avengers
Gotta love Bishop’s optimism

Outside, Apocalypse and the Watcher watch on.  Onslaught locates Franklin and in the guise of Charlie, he attempts to get Franklin to go with him.  But Mr. Fantastic and Iceman intervene.  It doesn’t do much good.  Franklin doesn’t even see them (Onslaught is messing with his perceptions) and Onslaught knocks them back easily.  But then the rest of the Fantastic X-Avengers (ha!  twice in one review!) show up and with their combined force, Onslaught is actually staggered.  But Onslaught prevails, leaving the heroes unconscious on the floor, and Franklin in his care.


Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite tie-ins.  First of all, I love love LOVE Carlos Pacheco’s art.  It blends photo-realism with cartoony in just the perfect amount.  His action scenes are beautiful, his close ups are intense, and it just all around looks good.

Tom DeFalco also seems to have a pretty good grip on who the characters are, even the X-Men (I can’t speak for the Avengers though), such as Bishop’s overbearing sense of responsibility.  And the banter with the FF feels like a family, which was always the whole point of this series.

And the tie-in to Onslaught actually feels relevant.  Sure, there’s a bit of continuity error between this and the Onslaught:  X-Men issue (in OXM we were shown the FF at home enjoying breakfast) but I put that blame more on Lobdell or Waid.

bishop invisible woman

This issue isn’t perfect, though.  The Avengers pretty much are non-existence, operating only as background characters.  So if you’re a fan of them, you’re out of luck.  Hawkeye is taken down right away and Black Widow…where is she?

I also have an issue with how powerful Onslaught is and ultimately, it falls back to a lot of the problems I have with the entire series.  His big victory  was against everybody all at once and all we get out of it is a giant explosion.  It was a boring end to an otherwise outstanding issue.