Fantastic Four 6

FF6

When last we left the Fantastic Four, they had just met and defeated Dr Doom for the first time. So in what will soon be a Marvel tradition, we get a team-up of villains in issue 6.

Synopsis

The story starts with the Human Torch flying high over the city, watched by an admiring crowd. As the crowd debates whether it really is him, the Invisible Girl rushes through the crows, knocking them over in her wake. The crowd is uneasy that she may have been amongst them all this time, and suspect something must be up for both the Human Torch and the Invisible Girl to be making appearances.

We soon find out that the Human Torch has been scouting for Dr Doom. Inside the Baxter Building, home of the Fantastic Four’s Headquarters, Sue sees a delivery boy is struggling to call the express elevator. Sue explains that it only works if you have a secret belt buckle to call it. Sue makes her way up in the elevator, and we see a nice diagram of the headquarters as she does so.

The Human Torch reports that he hasn’t been able to find any sign of Dr Doom, and Ben suggests that he could do a better job of finding him. Meanwhile, Reed is preoccupied with a large stack of mail he is going through. Reed finds a letter from a boy in hospital, and realising the hospital is opposite their headquarters, stretches over to pay him a visit. But not all the mail is complimentary, and Johnny reads one letter from the “Yancy Street Gang” threatening the Thing.

Meanwhile, out at sea, some fisherman spot porpoise but don’t realise that they are under the command of the Submariner. Up above, a plane flies over piloted by Dr Doom. Doom manages to get his attention and they agree to become allies in their fight against the Fantastic Four. Doom then converts his plane into an aero-sub and dives into the ocean following Namor.  He leads him through the ruins of his city and into his home, where the two can talk and plot some more.

Doom tells Namor that he must forget about his infatuation with Sue, if he is to avenge the destruction of his city by the humans, caused by the apparent testing of an H-Bomb. Namor agrees to help Doom, but vows not to hurt Sue. Doom reluctantly agrees. Doom then explains his plan, using a new weapon called “the Grabber“, which is powered by magnetic force and can “grab” seemingly any object, no matter its weight. Doom dismantles the weapon and asks Namor to hide it on him, until the time comes to use it against the Fantastic Four.

Namor takes off and heads straight for the city. Back in the headquarters, Johnny finds a hidden portrait of Namor and teases Sue about it. Johnny burns the photo as Ben and Reed come to see what is causing the commotion. They ask Sue to explain herself, but she cannot. Then, at that very instance, Namor appears in front of them. He explains he is on a mission of peace but Ben and Johnny do not believe him. They go to attack Namor, but Sue stands in their way.

Johnny battles Namor, but his power soon begins to fade, and Namor is left untouched. Namor explains he is only there to request company, but Reed and Johnny do not believe him and decide to search the headquarters in case Namor has a secret. They are unable to find anything and Namor tells the Fantastic Four that he has decided to take a holiday and will be taking Sue with him.  And that moment, a loud crack is heard and the whole building rises into the air. Namor then explains that whilst he may have planted the trap, it is Doom who is controlling it.

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Namor explains that Doom has double-crossed him as the building reaches thousands of feet above the city. Doom begins to celebrate that he has managed to capture the only beings capable of stopping his plan to take over the world. The Fantastic Four decide to fight back, and Johnny leaps out of the window. But there is not enough oxygen in the air to feed his flames and he falls towards the ground. Reed catches him, and then using Ben as an anchor, he stretches himself in a bid to reach Doom’s plane. But Doom is able to ward Reed off by firing one of the rockets on his plane.

Ben decides it is up to him to take action, but Namor disagrees and they grapple. They are soon interrupted by Doom’s voice as he explains he is sending the building on a collision course with the sun. The team are resigned to failure but Namor vows to fight on and asks if there is any water tankers in the building. There is, and this re-energises him before he takes aim at Doom.

Namor is able to reach the plane, but is not able to break into where Doom is. Doom retaliates by sending an electric charge through Namor. But Doom soon realises that by doing so, he is no longer able to control his plane. And then, Namor explains that he was able to absorb the charge and will now fire it back, but Doom is able to escape.

The building, no longer being pulled by Doom, crash lands back on Earth. The team are thankful for Namor’s help, but are still unsure if he is an ally or enemy. Johnny then finds the weapon that Namor hid in the building and then send it to the plane, which Namor then causes to crash into the water.

Comment

So, we get a team-up but it doesn’t take long to unravel. Doom shows that he cannot be trusted by anyone, and Namor shows that there is perhaps more than one side to him.

Within the team itself, we see more of Sue’s possible feelings towards Namor, whilst Johnny and Ben continue to bicker. Lastly, we also see reference to the Yancy St Gang for the first time, and the philanthropy of Reed Richards.

Details

Writer – Stan Lee

Artist – Jack Kirby

Cover date – September 1962

Financials

Cover price – 12c

At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for Fantastic Four 6 on eBay is £995.

Coming next

 

The Incredible Hulk 3

Journey into Mystery 84

Tales to Astonish 35

ComicRetrospective 2016

@comicretrospect

Fantastic Four 5

FF5

Following on from the introduction of Namor in the last issue, we move on to the introduction of the villain most commonly associated with the Fantastic Four, Dr Doom.

Synopsis

The issue opens with an ominous looking Dr Doom moving figures of the Fantastic Four around a board like chess pieces. Doom is scheming and decides it is time to show the world that only he can stop the Fantastic Four.

Back in New York, we see office workers heading home for the evening, but the lights are still on at the Fantastic Four’s HQ. Inside, Johnny is reading a Hulk comic and claims that the monster reminds him of the Thing. The pair squabble before they are subdued by Sue and Reed. At the moment, the lights go out and we see that the helicopter that Dr Doom boarded on page 1 is now hovering over the HQ and has dropped a web over the entire building.

Doom tells the Fantastic Four to heed his words. The team do not know who Dr Doom is, but Reed recognises the voice. We then get a flashback to Reed’s college days, where a student called Victor von Doom was a brilliant student but obsessed with forbidden experiments. One of these experiments caused an explosion, leaving Victor’s face badly disfigured. Victor soon left for Tibet to find the secrets of black magic and sorcery, and was never heard of again, until now…

Doom claims the team as his prisoners, and lists his conditions for their release. Firstly, Sue is to be sent to him as a hostage to ensure their compliance. Ben chooses to let his fists do the talking and grabs the web, but receives an electric shock and has to let go. Sue then convinces the rest of the team that their only choice is for her to go up to Doom.

Doom then tells the team to board his plane and to agree not to attack him. The team agree and go up to the rooftop, where a strange plunger like device descends down and sucks them up. Doom then takes them to his castle and explains what he wants from the team. He tells them that he has invented a time travel device and that he wants the team to travel back in time and steal the legendary treasure chest of Blackbeard!

The team agree to go and at the push of a button, are transported to the past. The team only have 48 hours to complete their mission, so start to act fast. They first get some clothes so as to blend in, with Ben adorning a fake beard, eye patch and hat. Ben feels instantly comfortable in his new disguise. The team find a bar nearby and are soon offered some drinks. They do not realise that the drinks are spiked. They soon pass out, and a group of pirates take them on board a ship and set sail.

The awaken when the pirates  try to get the to start work on the ship. Ben makes short work of them, and the rest of the crew quickly fall behind him. Not long after, however, the ship is under attack by another pirate ship. Johnny turns into the Human Torch and flies over to attack the ship, followed by Reed who stretches to create a bridge for the crew to board the attacking ship.

They soon take over the other ship and find what they were looking for, Blackbeard’s treasure. But what of Blackbeard himself? It is then that the rest of the crew turn to Ben to salute him, “Hail Black-Beard!” The team agree to take the treasure chest back to Doom, but not with the treasure inside, as they never actually agreed to that. Instead, they divide the treasure with the men, and refill the chest with worthless chains. At that moment, Ben has a moment of realisation, and decides that he prefers it in the past.

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Ben then decides that he does not want Johnny and Reed to try and force him back, so orders his men to restrain them. Just then, they notice a twister coming towards the ship. The gale tears the ship apart, and the three find themselves washed up on a desert island. Ben realises what a fool he was to want to stay behind, and then a flashing light appears above them and they are transported back to Doom’s castle, in the present day.

They hand over the chest to Doom, and he explains that the treasure inside once belonged to Merlin and that they have magical powers. Johnny remembers that the treasure is now at the bottom of the sea, and worries what would happen if Namor was to find them. Doom then moves to open the chest and finds the treasure is not there. Ben then attacks Doom, only to find out that he was a robot all along. Doom is in fact in a hidden room above the team, and intends to kill them by eliminating the oxygen from their room. But he has forgotten about Sue, who turns invisible and is able to alter the controls.

The team manage to escape the castle but find they are surrounded by water. Johnny announces to the rest of the team that he is keen to try out a new power. He reaches atomic heat level, boiling the water away and fusing the ground, turning it into a glass like substance. The team are then able to make their away across the water. Johnny then encircles the castle in flame to imprison Doom, but his flame burns out and Doom is able to escape. Reed praises Johnny for the attempt, but Ben is not impressed and says he will do things his way next time.

Comments

So unlike the much maligned Fantastic Four movie, Doom’s introduction comes five issues into the series. This issue also sees for perhaps the first time, the team really functioning as a unit and each using their own unique powers to the team’s benefit. There is still the undercurrent of discontent between Ben and then rest of the team, none more so when Ben is dressed as Blackbeard. This also throws up a nice time-travel paradox issue of Ben being Blackbeard.

Apart from all this, we also see the first Doom-bot and a new power for Johnny. All in all, an action-packed issue.

Details

Writer – Stan Lee

Artist – Jack Kirby

Cover date – July 1962

Financials and further reading

Cover price – 12c

At the time of posting, the most expensive listing for this issue on eBay is £4,999.99.

The comic can be read digitally on Marvel.com here and the first thirty issues are available in hard copy here.

Coming next

The Incredible Hulk 2

Journey into Mystery 83

Amazing Fantasy 15

Plus Star Wars 2 in our separate series looking at the 1977 series, plus some other surprises too.

ComicRetrospective 2016

@comicretrospect