“I wanted to do something that was weird and mystical, that was out of the established milieu of the Fantastic Four, just to show that there is no established milieu for the Fantastic Four … .”Writer/artist John Byrne, talking about Fantastic Four #239
(From Comics Interview #25, 1985)
ReviewTitle: “Wendy’s Friends”
Synopsis: When people in a small Arizona town start dying of fright, the Thing’s Aunt Petunia seeks help from the FF.
Writer: John Byrne
Long an A-list artist, John Byrne was still honing his craft as a writer on these early FFs. Storywise, this issue is a bit of a mixed bag. On the down side, Byrne continues to deliver character details to new readers via conversation, leading to some awkward and occasionally jarring dialogue. His reach also exceeds his grasp, a bit, as his attempt at a powerful child-abuse tale is undermined by a muddled conclusion. But strong character moments abound, and his exposition can border on poetic. The surprising introduction of the long-mentioned-but-never-seen Aunt Petunia makes this issue a must read.
Cool factor: The introduction of Aunt Petunia. Well played, Mr. Byrne.
Second opinion: Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition).
“Wait a minute! This is your Aunt Petunia?!?”The Human Torch, dumbfounded
FANTASTIC FOUR #239
Published and © by Marvel, February 1982
Cover by John Byrne
Collected EditonsFantastic Four #239 is reprinted in:
Editor’s note: This review first appeared on Comics Bronze Age, Aug. 26, 2009.