Starting as I tend to with a comic book, with the cover, I must admit I’m a little worried… “Master of Planet X.” This can’t be good. (Also, I LOVE how beat up the cover image I found is, that is a well loved comic.)
I can’t help but think of the movie, “The Man From Planet X.” The less said about that movie, the better. Therefore, by virtue of mentioning it I’ve said too much, so I’ll go on a bit. The 1951 movie has ideas that sound far better on paper than they are executed, although some of them, such as the use of the sounds are brilliant in better hands (i.e. Steven Spielberg in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).
Cover be damned, let’s dig in. Also, the cover is perfectly fine, it’s just the implication of 1950s B-movie that worries me.
We are greeted by strange big-headed creatures observing earth. Proto-Watchers? Anyway, their planet is dying (Planet X is dying, I assume) and they need the help of the Fantastic Four because they “don’t care for space travel,” and only have two ships on the entire planet! Two ships! They mention this several times, I wonder if it’ll be important later? Nah.
On Earth, the Torch is dreaming of burning congress? Each member of the team envisions meeting people in Washington DC, apparently, they’re being given an award or something. Here we get great insight into their characters – they don’t want to be famous, but they are and this is how they deal with it. In the end, Torch and Thing fight and break the building.
Kirby and Lee develop great tension as an alien robot (sent by the Master of Planet X, don’t forget that guy) flies over the Earth, very “War of the Worlds” (good 50s sci-fi, not Man From Planet X quality stuff, A-list B movie).
The government officials turn on the Fantastic Four, I think that alien robot messed with their heads. Also, a big bad robot… hmmm monster comics again?
The entire population of Earth is in an anti-Fantastic Four frenzy. They will be hunted to the ends of the Earth, so naturally, they decide to go with the big bad robot to Planet X. Here we get one of the best moments in the comic as Ben and Reed discuss what is obviously a trap, but the ever-confident Reed essentially says curiosity wins. Brilliant stuff.
Part 4 begins and the FF arrives on Planet X. Here we learn the people need to get off the planet (that planet being Planet X). Why not just ask for help? Because the Master of Planet X, Kurrgo, is evil and bad guys don’t do stuff like that. They just tweet about their enemies.
The Thing tries to solve things by punching the big bad robot. It doesn’t go so well.
Johnny gets really angry and threatens to go supernova (early Human Torch was really crazy powerful). Sue stops Johnny from killing them all.
Kurrgo wants to save his people, not because he loves them, but because he wants to continue to dominate them as their leader, or Master (of Planet X). Reed invents a shrinking gas, shrinking 5 billion big-headed furry short people into even shorter big-headed furry people.
Kurrgo decides he wants to not re-bigulate them and lags behind struggling to get the re-bigulation canister. He gets stuck on the planet (on Planet X) as it blows up. Reed then reveals that he lied about the enlarging gas. That’s dark! See you next issue for some Puppet Mastery.
Josiah Golojuh is a writer and in the future, he will do a Retro Review of his own stuff (find his collection of short stories here), he’s also a YouTube commentator (discussing comics, books, movies, collecting all kinds of super cool stuff).