This cover is indicative of why Marvel Comics were so different. It shows us why they are generally more beloved than DC (note, I didn’t say better). The cover depicts a broke FF team, unable to pay their rent, being evicted. This isn’t a DC vs Marvel thing, but Marvel is very much in the world we live in, not in fictional cities (as awesome as those fiction cities are, I mean Coast City, Central City, Star City, Keystone City, Bludhaven!). Seriously, I love DC, I love the fact that Gotham is so intense it could never exist, the Metropolis is so idealized, it could never exist, but I LOVE that the FF could get evicted and maybe relocate to Pittsburgh.
Namor watches on a special aqua-TV, I tried submerging my 60 inch Samsung… hope I have the warranty card… Here we also get more credits, NAME & NAME, key contributors to the glory days of Marvel. Marvel broke ground by giving credit to more people and letting us in. The long-term results – Marvel Studios movie credits that are longer than the actual movie.
It turns out Reed lost money in the stock market. Apparently, Reed made some bad decisions, or there was a crash in the world of Marvel comics in the 1960s. Thing is mad, specifically about the ship, Reed puts the rock monster in his place. Also, Thing here feels very Kirby. There are times where I see Kirby in Reed and other times where I see him in Thing, almost as if they’re the opposing sides of Jack’s personality.
We then have a meta moment, but unlike our other meta moments, this one seems to be referencing DC. I also think it’s a dig at DC, basically saying “we’re reality based comics, those other guys are just comic book characters, we’re the real deal.” Things will be getting a whole lot more meta in the next issue, not that I cheated and read ahead.
After our meta moment, we get a genuinely sweet moment. The white knight Thing, hugs the rest of the team, literally pulling them together in friendship and love. These are the moments that make the Fantastic Four exceptional because they are a family.
That family is offered $1 million dollars to make a Hollywood movie! I sense a series of California gags coming. Problem is, the team is broke, so they hitchhike, yes, they hitchhike cross country. I’ve driven cross-country several times, I can only imagine it took them about six weeks… or a single panel. Also, hitchhicking is a very iconing 60s thing.
Upon arriving in California, they discover Namor is the producer. Also, Namor has the largest office of any movie producer ever, well at least the offices I’ve been in. Our dear Sub-Mariner bought the studio out of boredom, using money gathered from sunken treasure on the ocean floor.
And yes, it was definitely all to set up various California gags, my personal favorite is the muscle beach one.
Reed fights what he is told is a robot cyclops (another big monster!), alone on an island, an island he was sent to by his frequent enemy. Turns out the cyclops is totally real and protective of the island… I live near the coast in California… is the island Catalina? Wait? Catalina has a giant cyclops on it? Once I get my Samsung out of the ocean, I’m so going there.
Similarly tricked, Johnny fights fire-immune racial stereotypes. Wait? Are these guys also on Catalina? This is why I never go to the beach. Johnny recharges his flame… battery I guess…? The crazy powerful early version of Johnny Storm’s Human Torch ignites a freaking volcano!
Thing’s California scene? A fight on the beach with Namor. Awesome. Part 5 opens up with a bold Kirby splash. Thing and Namor go blow to blow, with Namor having the edge, until Thing figures ah, things out. Keep Namor away from water!
Thing conveniently, well convenient for Namor at least, reverts to human form, and Namor wins. Barely.
With the rest of the Fantastic Four out of the way, Namor now has some one-on-one time with the lovely Sue Storm – whom he proposes to (I was going to make a joke about hardly knowing her, but I proposed to my wife pretty quickly after having met her, we’ve been divorced for 8 years). The crazy thing is, she considers it. She, of course, says no, but might have said yes had he done things differently.
There’s a break from the story here to explain how Namor’s radar eyes work. Normally I love this stuff, but I want to see the rest of the team burst in and smash Namor in the face… oh wait, here they are.
Twists! Sue stops the team saying they’ve never ganged up on anyone before. Wait? Never ganged up on anyone? Ganging up is what they do! They have special gang-up attack moves and everything. In the end, we don’t get the fight, we get a wonderfully melodramatic quiet ending where Namor reveals he did it for love.
Also, the FF become movie stars. Namor might be a total lovesick jerk, but at least he pays well and apparently is a decent producer, dude’s a star maker.