After the unexpected success of Fantastic Four 1, Marvel followed up with issue 2 in January 1962 (two months later). Let’s take a look inside.
In scenes reminiscent of Fantastic Four 1, we are introduced to the four members of the team individually. However, this time, the Fantastic Four appear to be up to no good:
The Thing is seen attacking an off-shore tower.
Invisible Girl is seen stealing a priceless gem.
The Human Torch flies past, and melts a priceless monument at its unveiling.
Lastly, Mr Fantastic is seen causing a city-wide power cut.
When the team regroup, we find out that it was not in fact the Fantastic Four, but four aliens impersonating them. The aliens, known as Skrulls, appear able to take different forms, though they do not have the actual powers of the Fantastic Four.
The media soon turns against the Fantastic Four, much to their (and Ben’s in particular) annoyance. Ben wants to take action, whilst Reed re-lives the events that led to them gaining their powers, and the responsibility he feels for this.
Whilst this is happening, armed soldiers approach the cabin where the Fantastic Four are, and take them prisoners. It doesn’t take long, however, for the Fantastic Four to escape, as no mere prison cells can contain them. The Fantastic Four then decide to set a trap for their impostors.
The Human Torch attacks a rocket that is to be tested, in the hope that their impostors assume he isn’t the real hero. The plan works.
Johnny fires off the flare gun (as seen in the first issue) to alert the other members of the team. Reed, Sue and Ben soon arrive and overpower the Skrulls. However, they learn that the Skrulls are planning an invasion of Earth!
Reed decides the best way to stop the Skrulls from invading is to convince them they would not succeed. The four turn the tables on the Skrulls, and impersonate them before flying to their star ship, in near Earth orbit. Reed shows their leader images of the terrifying creatures on Earth (actually monsters from other Marvel comics – Strange Tales and Journey into Mystery, in a nice in-universe joke).
The plan works, and the four return to Earth. But not before passing through a radiation belt that changes The Thing back into human form.
On landing, the Fantastic Four are met by soldiers again and Ben soon turns back into the Thing. Reed is able to persuade the soldiers of what happened and the four then turn to one remaining problem. What to do with the four Skrulls on Earth. Reed forces the Skrulls to change into cows and then hypnotises them, so that they forget their past life and how to change back. A problem solved?
This issue sees the introduction of famous adversaries within the Marvel universe, the Skrulls. This expands the known superhero universe to beyond Earth. We also get the first indication that Ben’s change into the Thing may not be permanent, as well as continuing friction within the team. And lastly, the Skrull cows will make a reappearance some 50 years later during Secret Invasion!
Writer – Stan Lee
Artist – Jack Kirby
Cover date – January 1962
Cover price – 10c
At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for an issue of Fantastic Four 2 was $1,539.99 on eBay.
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