Things That Turned Out Bad - That Time Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man and Yellowjacket Cloned Thor and It Killed Goliath

In this column, I will spotlight plotlines by writers that probably weren't a good idea at the time and have only become more problematic in retrospect. I'll try to stick with stuff that's more ill-conceived than flat-out offensive (like racist stereotypes of characters during the 1940s).

We continue with the death of Goliath at the hands of a clone of Thor...

At the end of Civil War #3 by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines, Thor appeared to return from the dead to join the fight between Captain America's "Secret Avengers" and Iron Man's Avengers (Iron Man's team were in support of a Superhero Registration Act while Captain America's team were against it)...

In the next issue, the fight continues with Thor tearing apart Cap's team. Bill Foster, Goliath, steps in and, well...

Invisible Woman then splits with Iron Man's team to allow Cap's team to escape. This is when we learn that the Thor who just killed Goliath was actually a CLONE of Thor by Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man and Yellowjacket...

Now here's the thing. I'm not saying that Reed, Tony and Hank SHOULDN'T have made a clone of Thor. I don't think it was a great idea, but going with "retcon every idea I disagree with" is not a good approach to things. To wit, I don't think we need to retcon the time that Thing wore a helmet to cover up his badly scarred face, ya know? So I don't believe that the clone of Thor is something in and of itself that needs to be retconned. However, the issue is that the clone of Thor killing Golaith happened and the Fantastic Four were not going to break up. So as a result, the whole "Reed cloned Thor and it killed a close, personal friend of the Thing" thing pretty much had to be glossed over, which Dwayne McDuffie did in Fantastic Four #542 (drawn by Mike McKone, Andy Lanning and Cam Smith)...

That's the extent of it between the Thing and Reed. They never address it any further (even as the clone of Thor returned to life later on).

Goliath is going to stay dead, so we can't retcon the WHOLE thing, but I wouldn't mind some sort of retcon like mind control or something like that to explain how Reed went along with the cloning of Thor. McDuffie essentially retconned pretty much all of Reed's other actions during Civil War (that's a subject I'll address in the future during either an Abandoned Love or an Abandoned an' Forsaked) but not the cloning of Thor and the death of Bill Foster.

Already it's pretty much been ignored, and that's fair enough - but I wouldn't mind a retcon, as well. They already retconned the Hank Pym who worked on the clone to be a Skrull (although not responsible for the Thor clone going nuts and killing Bill Foster), so why not either:

A. At the very least, that the Skrull was responsible for the Thor clone backfiring, as we already had a reveal courtesy of Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Steve Kurth and Drew Hennessey in Avengers: The Initiative #20 that the Skrull Hank secretly put programming in the clone that allowed it to come back online after being destroyed...

So why not reveal that the Skrull Hank was the reason why the Thor clone went nuts and killed Bill Foster? It still leaves Reed and Tony responsible for a weird decision like cloning Thor, but not responsible for the actual death of Bill Foster.

or, better yet,

B. That the Skrull used some sort of mind control to compel Tony and Reed into thinking it was a good idea to clone Thor.

Obviously, everyone will just forget that this ever happened, but it just seems a bit odd to me that it is still officially on the books that Reed Richards cloned Thor and it screwed up (which, in and of itself, is a bit weird - Reed tends not to screw up so dramatically when he makes something) and killed one of Ben Grimm's best friends.

If you have any other suggestions of comic book plots that you think it'd be best to forget, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

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