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Blastaar, the Living Bomb Burst
Review and Media by Jon T

Episode #13 - Blastaar, the Living Bomb Burst
Original Airdate - December 16, 1978

Reed's new experiment yields in the discovery of another dimension known as the Negative Zone. He wants to see if the Zone contains new power sources to help the Earth's energy crisis. Sue then shows the team Lockjaw, the Inhumans' giant teleporting dog, who she borrowed from Medusa. With Lockjaw's help, Ben and Sue are able to teleport themselves to the Negative Zone to retrieve mineral samples. While in the Zone, they come under attack by winged creatures, but manage to defeat them. They soon discover a very large cocoon and realize that the creatures were trying to keep them away from it. Sue hears a heartbeat coming from the cocoon and Reed tells here to bring it back with them. Feeling tired and overworked, the Four decide to go out for dinner leaving Lockjaw to guard the cocoon. Feeling rejected, Lockjaw looks to the cocoon for company. Soon the cocoon bursts open, revealing the evil Blastaar, capable of firing enormous power bolts from his hands. Having overheard the Four talk of Lockjaw's teleporting abilities, he uses the dog to take him all over New York, destroying anything in his way. The team attempt to stop him, but with Lockjaw's help, Blastaar always gets away. The Fantastic Four are left with having to track Blastaar down and imprison him again.

Credits
Story by: Roy Thomas
Teleplay by: Stan Lee

Notes: Based on "Blastaar, the Living Bomb-Burst!" from Fantastic Four #63 (July 1967), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
The first scene in this episode, showing the Fantastic Four exercising, with Ben on weights and Herbie telling him to exercise his mind by reading a book, was partially reused from the first scene after the title card in "The Frightful Four".
Sue claims to have borrowed Lockjaw from Medusa, but in the two episodes featuring her, she was the Fantastic Four's enemy. Also, although Lockjaw is an Inhuman dog, he wasn't seen in "Medusa and the Inhumans".


Review: Now here's an episode title that's sure to create confusion, considering that it's so similar to one of the 1967 episodes!

Things get off to a very inauspicious start, with the whole opening scene simply lifted straight from "The Frightful Four". There's really no excuse for this in any animated series, so I can only imagine that the obvious animation shortfalls this show had came to a head with this episode, necessitating the re-use of a complete scene.

Things don't get much better after that, since we're introduced to Lockjaw of the Inhumans, who had not been shown up to this point (seemingly loaned to the team by Medusa, contradicting her two previous appearances in the process), and who is a rather strange choice of guest star. Blastaar himself comes across as being far more disappointing than his 1967 counterpart, since his aggressive demeanor is weakened by his insistence on using Lockjaw to help him, and his bomb-burst special effects are extraordinarily primitive (we don't actually see them, just a thunderbolt sound while he momentarily flashes black and white). Speaking of colors, Blastaar is hopelessly mis-colored. Granted, the 1967 version had different colors from the comic, but at least they were coordinated to an extent, which no one could ever accuse the 1978 version of being!

A disappointing end to a moderately entertaining series.

It's obvious from the start that the makers of the show were aiming for a younger audience than the 1967 FF show, but perhaps the use of writers who specialized in comicbooks exclusively rather than animation (unlike many following 1980s shows) also contributed to the show's simplistic style. At least the show was blessed with a pretty good voice cast, all of whom fit their voices and delivered their dialogue perfectly. Of course, it could be said that the show was troubled from the start since Johnny was removed in favor of Herbie, but in reality this transition isn't as bad as it could have been. Even if Johnny was in this show, it wouldn't have made that much difference to the final product.


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