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Fantastic Four Annual #19: Review

Nov 1985
John Byrne, John Byrne

Story Name:

Summons from the stars

Review & Comments

4 stars

Fantastic Four Annual #19 Review by (July 28, 2023)
Comments: Story falls between FANTASTIC FOUR #283 and 284. AVENGERS ANNUAL #14 crosses over with this issue: The covers are complementary, showing the action from the opposite points of view; the meeting of the two teams is likewise complementary and most of the pages after the initial meeting are identical. The Infant Terrible first appeared in FANTASTIC FOUR #24; this would be his second appearance if it were really him. The Skrulls regain their shape-shifting powers in SILVER SURFER (1987) #27.

Review: A very strange tie-in: whereas the Avengers are present as part of a long story arc which connects to a major event (SECRET WARS II), the FF issue stands completely alone. The FF has no knowledge of anything happening to the Avengers—and they take their leave the same way. The FF chapter is a bit prolonged, especially in the first third with the arrival of the faux Infant but makes up for it with a lot of dense exposition (mainly by Reed, as usual) later. It is quite enjoyable.  


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Fantastic Four Annual #19 Synopsis by T Vernon
A short stocky alien in red space armor arrives in New York, making its way through the city; eventually the police arrive to keep an eye on it while the Fantastic Four are called….

The FF is staying at Avengers Mansion temporarily so it is Jarvis who takes the call and fires the emergency flare symbol into the sky. Johnny Storm is at dinner with Alicia Masters (actually the Skrull Lyja) and preparing to propose when he is told about the signal flare; he drops everything and takes off as the Human Torch….

Torch links up with Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and She-Hulk on their way back to the Mansion. They arrive at the scene where the police are guarding the alien visitor. It is confirmed to be the Infant Terrible who, nonverbally, relates how his pacifistic Elan society was invaded by the Skrulls, causing great destruction so that the Infant was dispatched to Earth to summon help in the form of the FF. The Infant leads them back to its ship so they board and head through space….

On another world, an obese Skrull ruler and her minions are awaiting the outcome of their plot to destroy the Fantastic Four which would force the universe to recognize her as the new Skrull Empress (this is after Galactus has devoured the Skrull Throneworld, killing the royal family.) The ship returns so they adopt their Elan guises and greet the FF. A Skrull takes a shot at Mr. Fantastic, revealing he is a Skrull; Sue, Torch and She-Hulk battle the Skrulls while the Infant Terrible confronts the ruler, revealing himself to be Reed. Reed had recognized the Infant Terrible as a fake as its ship did not come from the direction of the Elan homeworld so he hypnotized the Skrull Infant into switching places to set a trap for the trappers. The defeated ruler tells Reed of a threat to the universe….

The FF head to the Imperial Power Asteroid to stop the villains from detonating the Hyperwave Bomb. As they approach the Asteroid, they are fired upon by the asteroid’s defenders; Sue creates a force field large enough to keep them safe until they land. The heroes invade the asteroid and Reed captures and interrogates a Skrull but they hear sounds of battle nearby; She-Hulk rips her way through a bulkhead to find the Avengers (Captain America, Starfox, Wasp, Hercules, Black Knight, Captain Marvel). It takes a few awkward moments for each team to recognize that the others are the authentic Earth heroes and they decide to join forces. Zabyk broadcasts a message to the heroes boasting of his big plans. As Dezan argues with him, Captain Marvel enters the machine and exits the machine in less time than it takes Reed Richards to warn her not to. Zabyk hits the switch and all over the galaxy, Skrulls have their genetic codes stabilized, eliminating their ability to change shape. Captain Marvel explains how she found herself in a huge dimensional interface and that interference would endanger the universe if she interfered with it, which Reed confirms. Zabyk is now trapped in the insulate armor, though it did not protect him. Dezan and Captain America explain that, without the ability to change their bodies, all Skrulls are equal, which would be the basis for a stable and peaceable society….

Epilogue: On their way home, the FF note the irony that, though they are staying at Avengers Mansion, they had to go across the galaxy to encounter the heroic team. They also wonder what could be ahead for the Skrulls now that they have lost their shape-shifting abilities….

John Byrne
Joe Sinnott
Glynis Oliver
Kerry Gammill (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Jim Novak.
Editor: Michael Carlin. Editor-in-chief: Jim Shooter.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

(Jennifer Walters)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Lyja.

> Fantastic Four Annual: Book info and issue index

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