Last week I ended by mentioning the Fantastic Four now has two legitimate bad guys, and guess what? They’re about to team up! Let’s begin where comic books tend to start, the cover. Here we see Doom and Namor the Sub-Mariner teaming up against their common enemy the FF. A quick sort of aside, comic covers today are gorgeous, works of art, but don’t often sell you on the book the way they used to. Comic cover, particularly in the Silver Age, had to grab you from a newsstand rack and give you enough of the plot to get you to buy it, often like a modern movie trailer, spoiling things a bit. Anyway, back to the 1960s…
Upon opening the magazine you are greeted with the greatness of Jack Kirby yet again. These splash panels work similarly to the covers, once inside they keep you hooked. Early in the story the crowd seems a bit suspicious of the FF. However, some also fawn over them. We have an interesting dynamic going on here, the distrust of those who are different and the idea of celebrity worship.
In one instance, a fan wants an autograph, in another, Mr. Fantastic stretches to visit a sick boy in a hospital. Also, on page 6 is Thing melting? Jack Kirby is still trying things out on…the Thing and hasn’t landed on what will become his iconic hard rocky exterior.
Part 2 begins and we finally see our villains having a chat. You can see great heavy Kirby lines. The art here shows you the power of the characters. This is the type of art he’d use to great effect in Thor and later the New Gods over at DC.
Doom and Namor essentially have a really talky exposition scene. Doom gives a speech and manipulates Namor into evil action. It’s a truly great moment and shows the character of both men and what drives them. This is where Stan shines in his words, and there’s a lot of them and Kirby shines in the power of the art as the characters are just talking.
Namor has a pic of Sue and a bit later Johnny finds that Sue has a pic of Namor! Johnny burns it, because Johnny burns everything (beards, vintage comics, headshots). Namor shows up in the FF’s living room as Doom steals the entire Baxter building, thanks to some device Namor planted in the building.
So Namor is evil, but not totally evil, such as helping Sue get her helmet on. Why the heck hasn’t Thing punched him through a wall yet?
In space, Reed now stretches to grab a plane or a rocket ship. The Thing finally decides to do some punching! Namor regrets his actions as Doom is sending them into the sun, all of them, the villainest of the villains in this comic.
Namor takes a dip to power up, I didn’t know that’s how his powers worked, do they still work that way? He gets pissed and powered up. Doom tries to shock Namor, but Namor goes eel, electric eel, absorbing the energy and firing it back at Doom. Again, didn’t know he could do that, can he still do that?
The building safely, and softly returns to earth. On its own? I’m not sure, at least Reed should have done something to pilot it down, but it’s not my job to tell Stan Lee how to do his job by adding a narration box that ties up that totally insignificant loose end.
In the end, Stan Lee’s poetic writing makes up for it. Overall, we have another classic early Fantastic Four issue.
Josiah Golojuh is a writer of who Ray Bradbury said “This man is a genius” (find his collection of short stories here), he’s also a YouTube commentator (discussing comics, books, movies, collecting all kinds of super cool stuff).