Ancient history! Classic comics highlighted, Fantastic Four #6
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After their spacecraft was bombarded by cosmic rays, Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm and Sue Storm developed incredible powers, now they are The Fantastic Four! Defending the universe with their unique powers, marvels first super team fights their nemesis, Doctor Doom!
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: Sept 1961
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Last issue the Fantastic Four faced doctor doom and were barely able to defeat him, now Doom is back and has brought help, Manor the Submariner! But does Namor have plans of his own?
What You’ll Find Out:
A crowd gathers to watch the Human Torch fly around, some people are unconvinced and seem to think it’s an illusion and don’t seem to believe that the Fantastic Four exist at all. Suddenly a presence brushes through the crowd unseen, suddenly the invisible girl materializes in the middle of the crowd, she apologizes and goes on her way.
The invisible girl reaches the Baxter Building, the Fantastic Four’s headquarters, she heads up the elevator and we are showing a cutaway of the contents of the Tower. She makes it to the recreation room where her teammates are working on finding the whereabouts of Doctor Doom. After revealing they haven’t made any headway Mr. Fantastic starts going through some fan letters that have been sent in, he heads off to visit a sick kid in the hospital and the Human Torch finds a letter from a local gang calling out The Thing. He rolls up a piece of titanium and sends it to them, he says if they can unroll it he’ll come chat.
Meanwhile, Namor is in the ocean swimming with porpoises when Doctor Doom tracks him down. Doom proposes an alliance to take down the Fantastic Four, he shows Namor a super strong magnet he has been working on, and says it is the key to taking the team down.
After a demonstration of doctor Doom’s magnet device in which it lifts a 100 ton Stone head from the seafloor, Namor heads to the Baxter building. His task is to plant the magnetic device in the tower without the Fantastic Four suspecting.
As Namor walks through a crowd up to the Fantastic Four’s headquarters we find Johnny Storm going through the recreational room, behind the bookshelf he finds a photo of Namor. Sue storm protests and tells him to give the photo back, he refuses and burns it. Namor walks in as they argue.
The impetuous Human Torch attacks Namor on sight as Sue tries to tell them he’s no threat. The Human Torch melts the floor under Namor, forgetting he can fly, his flame Burns Out and Mr. Fantastic tell Namor to explain why he’s there or fight. Namor asserts his innocence as Reed and Johnny accuse him of setting a trap, suddenly the building lifts off the ground.
Doom is towing the super team plus Namor into space, Reed breaks out the teams’ space helmets from their interstellar ship before they can suffocate and tries to formulate a plan. Torch tries to fly but he cant flame on due to the lack of oxygen, Mr. Fantastic tries to stretch and grab Doom’s ship but Doom anticipates him and burns him with a rocket thrust. Doom comes on the loudspeaker and reveals he’s about to fling them in the sun.
Suddenly a meteor shower envelopes the ship and the building, Namor decides now is his chance, leaping from meteor to meteor he reaches Doom’s ship, suddenly he’s struck by the magnet weapon, Doom’s ship is booby-trapped, as he tries to open the hatch he’s struck by an electric charge and collapses.
Doom turns back to his controls to realize the console is electrified, Namor reveals he was able to store the electricity like an electric eel and discharge it at will (that’s a new one) Doom bails out a hidden hatch, grabbing a meteor he flies off into space, to scheme (or freeze, probably scheme)
Namor seizes control of the ship and returns the Baxter building to New York, the team works to detach the magnetic device, but even The Thing can’t budge it, suddenly it detaches and flies away. It rejoins Doom’s ship as Namor ditches it into the ocean, figuring he’ll hide the ship safely in the depths.
What just happened?
Let me start off by saying that early Marvel is a bit different from anything you would read today is considerably more wordy and often very descriptive or downright expositional. This was a decent issue the second appearance of Doctor Doom and was overall fairly interesting, despite saying that Doom and Namor were teaming up, it seems like Namor flipped over to the Fantastic Four side with almost no provocation. I also noticed a minor plot hole in that Namor walked into the Baxter building with no security clearance despite Sue Storm specifically saying you needed a security clearance to get into the Baxter building earlier in the issue. Also, Namor storing electrical energy and discharging it is a power I was not aware he had and I do not think I’ve seen it mentioned since.
Jack Kirby did the art for the early issues of Fantastic Four, and although I don’t feel he hit his perfect stride until he started doing Thor, this book is definitely very well done by the standards of the day, character designs are on point and the underwater scenes are particularly good. Honorable mention: The top-down view of the Baxter building flying into space is very well detailed and beautiful.
Despite being an early marvel issue I didn’t love disregarding a plot point made earlier in the same issue, and Namor changed sides on a dime, overall worth reading but not a can’t miss.