One upon a time, when comics were more fun, there were splendid annual offerings which for a few more pennies (later nickels, dimes, and sadly even quarters) gave the reader an extra blast of excitement from their regular favorites. These were special events, king-size and once a year, something to look forward to and savor when they arrived. Among those wonderful annuals in 1976 were a two-part story and then some which took the Fantastic Four back into time to stifle the Third Reich from taking over the entire world.
|Jack "King" Kirby and "Joltin'"Joe Sinnott|
|Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott|
The story slithers beyond the confines of the annual and continues in the twentieth issue of Marvel Two-in-One (again by the Roy,Sal, and Sammy team) as the Thing and the Legion join forces to foil the plot. Master Man and U-Man are ultimately defeated, but Skyshark and Brain Drain escape. (It's worth noting that Brain Drain is just a container with a brain and two eyes minus a human form this time out.) The Thing recovers the missing half of the vibranium and returns home to 1976 just in time to mystify his FF teammates. The Watcher disappears, seemingly pleased that the time stream has been fixed, for now.
Based on the plot there was little reason this story needed one more issue to end. It's a bonus sure, but the MTIO annual is really quite sumptuous enough for the story told here and Roy just seems sloppy not to have wrapped it up. That said, it's still a whopper of a tale, an unapologetic actioner with the Liberty Legion fully on display beating the dickens out of a few foes the Invaders had a rough time with individually.
|Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia|
All three issues sport outstanding Jack Kirby covers with the two annual covers showcasing the inks of Joe Sinnott, one of the exceedingly rare times these two worked together on an Fab 4 image after Kirby left for DC years before. The magic is clearly still evident in this wonderful combination.