Fantastic Four #33
After the delicious denouement of Fantastic Four #32, I could have told you what would happen in this issue without having to read it. The only thing that surprises me here is Reed’s reaction to the big, fateful reveal. But, first things first. This is the story of the wedding of Dr. Doom.
In Latveria, a nervous Victorious isn’t sure she’s worthy of being the bride of Doom when she had the Human Torch in her bed only seconds before Doom summoned her home from the Latverian Embassy to marry him. In New York, at a family meeting, Reed tells the rest of the team it is important for them to attend Doom’s wedding, where Reed himself will be Best Man, because of a Latverian custom of forgiving all past enmities and grievances upon getting married. Sue agrees, remembering Doom’s wrath over her cloaking his armor and mask with the whole universe watching. And Ben is wary about it, but goes along because of his supposed role in the lab accident that scarred Doom’s face (FF Vol. 4 #9). Sue further points out that Johnny is the only one of the Four with whom Dr. Doom has no real quarrel. Little does Mrs. Richards or anyone else suspect…
Meanwhile, a contrite Johnny tries to call Sky and ask her to attend the wedding with him, but the heartbroken Sky (who sensed him having sex with Victorious through the “soulmate” armbands) refuses to answer and thinks it’s time for her to return to planet Spyre.
In Latveria, the Fantastic Four are greeted by Dr. Doom himself and two tigers; one of the felines, Gunther, is the same tiger that our arch-villain had with him in the very first Doom story, FF #5. (Nice detail, Dan Slott.) Sue brings up that Doom has scheduled his wedding on the very day of her and Reed’s anniversary, and Ben points out that Doom broadcast his holographic announcement about Galactus appearing in Latveria right in the middle of Ben and Alicia’s wedding. Doom, of course, plays innocent; it must all have slipped his mind. Whoever believes that, Doom should probably also try to sell them a Rainbow Bridge…
Once they are all in their rooms, the Torch decides he has to have a word with the bride. He is intercepted by a Doombot, and Victorious cuts in, taking over the Doombot via telepresence. Johnny asks her, through the automaton, whether marrying Dr. Doom is really what she wants after having taken Johnny to bed. Victorious angrily tells him she wants to be Doom’s bride and the Queen of Latveria more than she could ever possibly want “some empty-headed pretty boy from the decadent West,” and orders him to return to his room until the wedding. Yes, it must be love…
Reed is given Dr. Doom’s wedding ring to keep until the vows are exchanged. Even now, as the Best Man at Doom’s wedding, Reed has still not shaved off that damn beard and looks as if he should be holding a ring for a Hobbit to throw into a volcano. Meanwhile, Doom is busy ordering his technicians to dismantle all of the Weapons of Fantastic Four Destruction that he has been devising; after the wedding, they will no longer be needed. Oh, really…?
On the big day, all of Latveria is celebrating, and the Black Panther and the Sub-Mariner, both of them heads of state, are in attendance. The Panther is attended by his two warrior-woman guards, whom I call “Dawn” for reasons that you’ll understand if you know 1970s pop music. And by the way, why isn’t the Sub-Mariner called the Sub-Mariner any more? I wish John Byrne had not started this foolishness of calling him just “Namor” all the time; it has put a super-hero name that goes all the way back to the beginning of super-heroes into disuse and it’s just bad form. He’s the Sub-Mariner.
Anyway, the wedding gets started, with the Thing doing the honors of walking Victorious down the aisle. Everything is looking happy enough until the Cardinal gets to the part about how Victorious’s soul and Doom’s soul will be forever bound by a sacred oath of love, fealty, and trust, while Sue notices something strange about Johnny’s reaction. Victorious can’t go on any further, and right there, at the altar, during the exchange of vows—she confesses to Doom that she took the Human Torch to bed.
As a wave of shock passes through the wedding, the Sub-Mariner cracks up out loud laughing, and Reed reaches an elastic arm over and smacks Johnny upside the head, something I’ve never seen Mr. Fantastic do in sixty years of Fantastic Four stories! How perfect is that? Doom, as you may guess, is even less amused than Reed. He blasts the entire wedding party, turning the nuptials into a battle. It is a battle in which the Fantastic Four, the Sub-Mariner, the Black Panther, and “Dawn” suddenly find themselves unable to move—because the lights at the altar were a subliminal hypnosis tech that has paralyzed the lot of them. (Doom has had this kind of technology since at least Fantastic Four #84–remember the old “Hypno Persuader”?) Dr. Doom righteously declares that the non-aggression pact that his wedding to Victorious would have sealed is now off the table, and orders his robots to execute all of his paralyzed guests! With the Thing, who knew all along that this whole thing was too good to be true, telling Reed, “I told ya so!”, we’re going to have to wait until next ish to see how the FF gets out of this one.
I’m telling you, this is just the most juicy, delicious Fantastic Four story we’ve had in years.
This being Pride Month, Fantastic Four #33 makes me think of the music of Romanovsky and Phillips. Let me explain. Ron Romanovsky and Paul Phillips were a gay singing duo and recording act of years gone by; though not related, they were sort of the gay Smothers Brothers. (They were nice guys too; I hung out with them at a party once.) I only wish Johnny Storm had been a Romanovsky and Phillips fan, because he might have taken to heart the lesson of one of Ron and Paul’s songs:
“Don’t use your penis for a brain!”
Regrettably, that’s exactly what our Human Torch did when he took to the sheets with Dr. Doom’s enforcer and fiancee, which is what has gotten our Fantastic Four into this latest mess.
As for Doom…it should hardly surprise us that the motives of the Monarch of Evil in this whole business are highly suspect. Notice his little exchange with the Thing when the FF first arrive in Latveria, and Doom asks Ben where Alicia is. When Ben replies that Alicia stayed home with the kids, Doom says, “Good.” Implicit in all this is that Doom has no quarrel with the newly wedded Mrs. Grimm and wanted her out of the line of fire, just in case. And speaking of “just in case,” why would Doom have had those subliminal hypno-lights installed at the altar if he hadn’t been expecting to have some reason to abrogate his little “non-aggression pact,” even if he wasn’t necessarily expecting what that reason might actually be? No, Doom had it in mind to make his wedding day the day he was finally rid of the Fantastic Four, one way or another. The only thing we might say for him is that he didn’t think this would be the day the Fantastic Four would humiliate him with the whole world watching for the second time! First Sue’s little stunt with the cloaking, which showed the whole universe what Doom really looks like, now Johnny does this! Earth’s greatest villain is ready for some payback.
I really have no criticisms of this issue (except that Reed needs a shave). The whole thing is just rich, and now I just can’t wait to see the final fallout of all of it.
The next issue of The Fantastic Four will be titled “The Sacred Vow of Victor Von Doom.” I’ll bet I can guess what that vow will be, just as I guessed what the story for this issue would be. Come back in a month and we’ll see if I’m right—and then, it’s on to the awesome 60th Anniversary Issue of The FF!
Fantastic Four #33: The Wedding Crashers!
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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