Review: Fantastic Four #164

Fantastic Four #164 cover
Cover by Jack Kirby

Fantastic Four #164
Published and © by Marvel, November 1975

Title: “The Crusader Syndrome!”
Synopsis: Marvel Boy returns as The Crusader – and the Human Torch barely survives his murderous rampage!

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: George Pérez
Inker: Joe Sinnott

Review: First the good: No one draws superteams quite like George Pérez, so he’s a welcome addition to the Fantastic Four. While this early work is still a bit rough, it’s already dynamic and meshes well with the FF “house style” provided by Joe Sinnott’s inks. The return of Marvel Boy – rebranded here as the Crusader – is classic Roy Thomas, and the ferocity of the character’s rampage is quite shocking. The down side: The frequent sexism faced by Sue Richards is difficult to read in retrospect. Even as this issue levels up her powers, the misogynistic treatment remains unabated.

Grade: B

Panel showing off Johnny Storm's fashion sense
Johnny Storm’s fashion sense on full display, as drawn by George Pérez and Joe Sinnott in Fantastic Four #164.

Cool factor: Welcome to the Baxter Building, George Pérez!
Not-so-cool factor: Oh, Johnny. Sure, it was the ’70s, but that outfit was never cool.

Notable: First appearance of Frankie Ray. … First Bronze Age appearance of Marvel Boy, now called the Crusader. … First George Pérez work on the Fantastic Four.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 9p British variant and a National Book Store variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “I think I’ll just take your little wifey here over my knobby little knee –!” – The Thing, always one to treat his teammates with respect

Editor’s note: This review was written Oct. 21, 2021.

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