Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Face-Off: The Inhuman Sisters

Art by Terry Beatty
Doug: In today's who-do-you-choose, we're going to look at comics' first family, the Fantastic Four. But, throughout their history all has not been fantastic all the time -- there've been maternity leaves, personal leaves, and leaves in a snit! And in those times, heroes from outside the bonds of the family were brought in to fill the void and keep the membership at 4.

Doug: Over the years, we've seen Crystal and Medusa from the Inhumans, everyone's favorite Hero-For-Hire Luke Cage, and the femizon Thundra (although I'm not sure if she was ever officially a substitute member).
And what about the time immediately after Cage's tenure when the depowered Ben Grimm was given his exo-skeleton, and had the ability to become the Thing at will? Would you count him as a substitute during those issues?
Doug: But let's stick to the first two substitutes -- Crystal and later her sister Medusa. Crystal was on board beginning in FF #81 as Sue's replacement after her delivery of Franklin. She'd actually been hanging out with Johnny since her debut way back in issue #45. Medusa on the other hand, was introduced as a super-baddie member of the Frightful Four. She didn't become a member of the FF until the Bronze Age, when Sue left Reed after Reed had lobotomized young Franklin -- seems the lad's mind was about to ruin the universe! Each sister's official tenure as a member of the FF was rather brief, but important nonetheless in the whole "family matters" scheme of things.
Doug: So who was your favorite? Which would you have lobbied for to attain permanent membership? Who was just a bad fit/plot vehicle/never should have been considered in the first place?


Steve Does Comics said...

The trouble I had with Crystal, leaving aside the fact she was a bit insipid as a character, was that she was just too powerful. With her control of earth, air, water and fire, she was probably more powerful than the other three FF members put together. The odd thing was this rarely came across in the comics, where she was usually as much use as a candy floss umbrella.

On the other hand, Medusa had a power that was even more feeble than Sue Storm's but I always felt she had a bit more character than Crystal. She also wore nice boots. So, as drama is all about characters (and footwear), my vote goes to Medusa.

david_b said...

Medusa.., Medusa.., Medusa.. My 'first comic' after years of missing the FF cartoon show of the 60s was FF 138 (1973) on a LONG summer road trip with my parents across country, and birthed my joy of comics for the rest of my days.

I loved how Medusa's personality fit more dynamically into the FF than any of the Crystal issues I ever read. The FF seemed more functional with Medusa than even Sue at times. She was definitely more daring, more eager to prove herself and be a powerful team player, rather than simply be the sometimes confidant to Johnny, or date for Reed (FF 142/143).

So fighting-wise, as well as interpersonal relationships, Thomas really carved a special niche for her in the ranks, which was very cool to read each month. I think readers cared for her as a team member more than Crystal by that time. I loved how John Buscema would draw her as well.

Definitely loved her daring outfit as well.. As for the cover of 138, certainly her 'bursting out' pose/expression was delightful eye-candy for many years to come :).


J.A. Morris said...

I'll go with Medusa here,easily a more interesting character. In fact,her appearances as a member of the FF are probably my favorite issues featuring Medusa. In most appearances,she simply sits around Attilan fawning over "poor Black Bolt".
Besides, I can't pick Crystal here for one(albeit silly)reason. Why doesn't her team uniform have a "4" on the middle? She only gets one on her belt? What's the deal with that?

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