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  #61  
Old 11-10-2018, 03:26 PM
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In the book I'm reading, he's The Worlds Most Fearful Super-Villain, and I was kind of questioning that, so good on ya, Marvel, for fixing up your past mistakes!

Anyway, The Micro-World of Doctor Doom (which sounds like the title for an educational show for kids) opens, as you may expect by now, with the FF dramatically rushing to the world famous Baxter Building! Or at least Johnny is (and the light from his body is mistaken for a new comet, shines a light on an escaping jewel thief and illuminated an operating table long enough to finish a complicated surgery). Silver Age Marvel crammed a LOT of story into just a few pages. And, honestly... they prooobably could have spaced it out a bit in this one.

The reason Johhny alone is heading to the Baxter Building is because the rest of the team was already there, and shrunk down to fun-size! They quickly turn back, but its enough to make Johnny say "Y'know, it's the darndest thing. I suddenly shrunk down to the size of a jellybean myself. I just didn't mention it." And, indeed, the entire Fantastic Four had been randomly been shrinky-dinked for days now (Ben had to fight a gerbil for a peanut) and just hoped it wasn't really anything to worry about. But now it's obvious that there's been a serial-shrinker on the prowl. And when you're dealing with a situation like that, you get yourself an expert on shrinking mad-science!


But since Myron wasn't available, they settled for Hank Pym instead.

Hank appears in the Baxter Building, like, five seconds after his name was mentioned, because every ant in New York is trained to respond to utterances of the name "Ant Man" (like Siri, except for tiny, tiny superheroes), and his contribution is to say "Well... that's weird" and then gives them a dosage of Pym Particles to hang on to just in case it happens again.

That's about the extent of his "Special Guest Star" role, kids, so I hope none of you were Ant-Man fans.

Anyway, around this time, the FF are all off doing their own things (Science! Decorating Alicas apartment, performing for High School Sports Teams and playing with dogs. See if you can guess who did what) when they all hear disembodied voices warning of Doctor Dooms revenge.

So Reed calls the team back together and says "Hey, remember how we thought disappeared into a state of Quantum Non-Existence by shrinking too far? Well... I guess we should shrink down ourselves and make SURE he doesn't exist anymore", so they gobble down the Pym Particles and do just that.

And BY GEORGE, turns out that if you get tiny enough, you arrive in Subatomica, The Microverse! The Microverse isn't one of the top tier most prominent places in the Marvel universe (like your Blue Areas or your Shi'Ar Empires or Negative Zones), but there is a surprising amount of stories and characters that revolve around it. Most notably, of course, being the 80s toy tie-in comic Micronauts, but Ant-Man and the FF themselves spend a lot of their free-time there too. FOr the purposes of this story, The Microverse is a futuristic fantasy kingdom, not unlike Asgard, ruled over by a kind and benevolent king and his daughter, Pearla.

Riiiight up until Doctor Doom shrank his way into their kingdom and quickly realized that a planet with no concept of violence or oppression would be really easy to conquer. So he tricked the population into building him a De-Biggulator and shrunk the king and princess down to Snickers-bar sized and then threw them into a prison bunker. And then threw that prison into the bottom of a lake. And then replaced all the water in the lake with acid. Then filled the acid-lake with carnivorous robots. And then he was going to call some evil dinosaur aliens from the next planet over to come on down and take over the Microplanet while he Re-Biggulates and goes on his merry way.

Doom is not a good person, but he plainly is the sort of man who takes pride in his work.

Anyway, it was Pearla who sent the dire-warnings about Doom to the FF shortly before being captured and, as soon as they show up, Doom just uses his Debiggulator to shrink them down further and chucked them into that same prison. But it doesn't take long for Reed to devise an escape attempt, as then a hasty fight breaks out that culminates with 1. Ben batting the alien dinosaur ship into the sun and 2. Doom running away back to Earth by using the Rebiggulator. Also, Ant-Man showed up again to see how the FF were making out, figured that they shrank down and found a sub-atomic civilization, followed them, and was immediately knocked unconscious. Kind of feel like Stan and Jack were just trying to pad out the length of the book a bit.

Anyway, the FF hop into the Rebiggulator themselves, after bidding the Microverse goodbye and decide to try arresting Doctor Doom again.

Next Time... Doctor Doom does some other crime!
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  #62  
Old 11-12-2018, 10:59 AM
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It's weird that somehow people who shrink into the Micro-Verse keep being able to find people in the regular universe, like when the Hulk and Jarella kept meeting up. Like, is there an omni-present atom that they live on that is ALWAYS around Bruce Banner?
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  #63  
Old 11-13-2018, 11:00 AM
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Well, it’s a small world, after all.
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  #64  
Old 11-22-2018, 06:39 AM
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[

You know, Dr. Doom has been the villain in 5 of the first 17 issues of this comic. Jack and Stan really knew they had a winner with this guy. While In The Clutches of Doctor Doom is a pretty fun story to read, it's not really all that much to recap in it.

Picking up right where The Micro-World of Doctor Doom left off, with the FF bidding Ant-Man adieu (by shooting him out of their window with a little tiny Ant-Man catapult, which is about what Hank deserves) and then heading on to the town to track down Doom, who is at large again. Pun unavoidable.

Which, surprisingly, does NOT lead to the FF wandering through New York, showing off their powers and freaking out the normies in order to establish their powers for new readers. Reed uses a scanner programmed to detect anyone wearing metal armor, Ben shakes down Renfaire attendees on the grounds of dressing like science-wizards, Johnny completely disregards the laws of thermodynamics and figures out how make a fire that acts like a metal detector(?!?!) and Sue wanders through town, stumbling upon what she first assumed was an arms deal for gangsters, but was, in fact, just a run of the mill, back-alley toy sale between two guys in trenchcoats who are talking about shooting people).

Anyway, since the first thing they each tried failed to produce immediate results, the FF give up and declare Doom to be Unfindable. So they decide to go out on the town. But not before shaking the hand of a kindly janitor working in the World Famous Baxter Building. A Janitor... who is secretly Doctor Doom! Wearing a latex mask over his metal armor!

It... uh... it was a very convincing mask.

Anyway, Doom secretly planted a tracking device on the FF, which sounds much more ominous than it winds up being, as the only purpose of the tracking device is so he can release some inflatable dolls with googley eyes to follow them around which will be really weird and embarrassing!

Really... that's it. That's his plan.

Dr. Dooms evil plan this month is to make social situations kind of awkward for our heroes.

I... don't even think that's a misdemeanor?

Anyway, after really over-reacting to the whole "pursuit by Michelin-mans (Michelin Men?)" thing, the FF regroup in their headquarters to figure out what the heck is going on, when a giant Doctor Doom hologram appears in their conference room and announces that he also kidnapped Alicia Masters! I think the implication is that he was using the balloons to spy on everyone to learn about Alicia, but she wasn't even mentioned up until now so IDK man. Dooms not being super intricate this time.

Doom goes ahead and makes his demands plain; if the Fantastic Four attempt to thwart him, he will resume having kidnapped Alicia! He wasn't planning on setting her free otherwise, or anything, mind. It's just that supervillains didn't have a lot of leeway with the consequences of their plans in the 60s.

The next part of Dooms plan is kind of weird in retrospect, since this was before he was revealed to be the monarch of a small, but highly developed, European country; Doom wants a government job! He calls up John F Kennedy (not named, but exceptionally clear) and demands a position somewhere on his cabinet or he will declare War on the United States! And since Doom has, like, so many doomsday weapons at his disposal, that's a pretty good threat, even if he is just the one single guy. And, indeed, a few hours later, the country is on its knees because Dooms technology lets him control machinery nationwide.

The President calls up Reed and says "Look, kidnapped girl or no, you're the only ones who have ever beaten Doom, throw us a friggin' bone here!", and Reed says "Okay!".

Turns out Reed had been planning on doing that all along, he'd already tracked down Dooms private airship (it was the only cloud in the sky that never moved) and was hard at work trying to find a way to get past its defenses; countless anti-air cannons programmed to target the FF specifically. All Reed had to do was make a serum that temporarily changed Ben back into a human and then send him up into the ship and have him take down its defenses. And then the four of them can enter the ship escape his other traps, free Alicia, destroy Dooms machine-machine and also arrest him.

All of which happens in pretty short order. As I said; Exciting to read, not so much to recap.

Most notably, however, is the actual fight against Doom, as it's Sue alone against him and it is honestly probably the high point of Sues entire superhero career until John Byrne took over the book in the 80s. Or at least it would be if Stan wasn't so dire at writing dialogue for women.

See, Doom may have an astounding amount of concealed weapons and sorcerous might at his command, but he still needs to see his target to be able to use any of it. And the thing about the Invisible Girl is, well... she's invisible. So We get two or three pages of Sue just pulverizing Doom with her bare hands, eventually just throwing him out the window of his air-fortress.

Let's see Abraham Lincolns Mother do that!

Anyway, the threat of Dooms presidential bid is over and Alicia is not as kidnapped as she was at the start of the issue, so alls well that ends well.

Next time: He Loves You!
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  #65  
Old 11-22-2018, 11:24 AM
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Well, it’s a small world, after all.
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  #66  
Old 11-28-2018, 05:20 PM
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A Skrull Walks Among Us is another one of those issues that's really fun to read, but doesn't really have enough meat on its bones to warrant recapping, despite introducing one of the FFs big time recurring villains. But if you want, like, a dozen solid pages of Jack Kirby Jack Kirbying the hell out of a superhero fight, then there's not much better.

We begin, as is now traditional, with a recap of the previous issue (Doctor Doom was thrown out of an airplane and, since they couldn't find a body, he's probably fine and should be arrested) while the FF display their powers in a mundane fashion. Main difference is that, this time, the recap was being handled by a TV newscaster rather than Reed informing the rest of the team something they already know. And also, it was a special bulletin that interrupted the Mickey Mouse Club, where Ben was waiting for his name to be announced

Johnny may have been joking about that, but I honestly don't think he was.

Anyway, while all that's going on, we cut to The Fifth Quadrant of Andromeda, location of The Skrull Homeworld! It seems that the Skrull Emperor has never gotten over the most embarrassing defeat of his military career way back in issue 2, where he was convinced that Marvel Comics were a nature documentary, and did NOT want to deal with Googam: Son of Goom and the like and fled the planet in a blind panic. But, to his credit, he didn't spend that time just fuming, but being constructive on working out a new plan to conquer the Earth; the creation of the Skrulls ultimate living weapon; Kl'rt The Super-Skrull!


Well, it's decades before he's given the name Kl'rt and its revealed that Super-Skrull is more like his rank. Eventually, Super-Skrulls were regular Skrulls augmented by medical experiments to have new abilities beyond the Skrulls natural ability to change shape, usually based on mimicking the powers of groups of Earths superheroes. Kl'rt himself was the most prominent of them, and would eventually wind up being appointed the leader of the Skrull Empire and something of an anti-hero for Marvels Cosmic books.

Kl'rt was not just granted the combined powers of the Fantastic Four, but he managed to upgrade them as well; he can stretch farther and faster than Reed, is 20 times stronger than Ben, can generate and manipulate Heat with more intensity than Johnny and... can turn invisible (kind of hard to improve on that), and because that wasn't enough, he can also shapeshift as well as any Skrull, create blasts of anti-matter and also has mesmeric powers, because he wasn't quite over-powered enough. And after a brief montage of Kl'rt showing off his powers, the Skrull Emperor sends him to Earth to publicly kill the Fantastic Four and clear the way for a full-scale invasion of Earth.

And, back on Earth, after some hijinx involving the FF trying to escape their legions of adoring fans, Reed hears a police call warning that an spaceship has landed in the middle of Times Square and that an alien has just claimed the Earth as part of the Skrull Empire.

So the FF run out, see a Skrull, and opt to fight it.

And somewhere in the year 1963, Jack Kirby starts clapping his hands and saying "here we gooooooo".

And the next dozen-ish pages are just 100% Superhero Fight. And it's a good one. A really good one. I'd dare say it's arguably the best superhero fight ever printed up to that point in history. The visually nuts nature of Kl'rts powers combined with the FF going all out trying (and failing) to even break his stride makes for a heap of dynamic and exciting pages; can't recommend the book highly enough for all-out action. It's just not really that thrilling to summarize.

Eventually, after realizing that Kl'rt is just embarrassingly far above their weight-class, Reed convinces the team to run away and try to formulate some kind of plan, and Kl'rt lets them because letting them be humiliated by running is better than killing them. And presumably because otherwise there wouldn't be any more Fantastic Four comics, and they were selling very well.

Anyway, Reed figures that there's no way anything could naturally be as off-the-charts powerful as the Super-Skrull is, he must be being augmented somehow, and sure enough, he finds that the Skrulls have been beaming super-charging energies into him from space, so he invents a device that can block those energies and challenges Kl'rt to a rematch on a volcanic atoll.

And Kl'rt accepts, because he doesn't realize there's only a couple of pages left in the comic.

The rematch goes about the same, except that because Kl'rt was focusing on the much more obvious and flamboyant threats of Reed Ben and Johnny, he's completely unaware of Sue secretly activating the energy jammer, and he's suddenly brought down to the level of a regular Skrull. Albeit a regular Skrull who is highly pliable, able to create flame and is super-strong. But it's still four against one and he's caught off guard by how much weaker he suddenly became, so it's not much of a fight. Kl'rt is beaten soundly and thrown into the volcanos crater, which Johnny then welds shut, sealing him underground forever!

Or at least until the next time someone wants to use Super-Skrull as a villain.

Next Time: MUMMYS!
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  #67  
Old 12-02-2018, 04:22 PM
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The comparatively low-key debut of one of Marvels most over-complicated villains in... Captives of The Pharoah!

The issue opens as is typical, with the FF showing off their powers for the benefit of new readers while just looking for someone, in this case, Alicia Masters! And also Ben, I guess, but they're less concerned with him. Alicia isn't in any sort of peril, mind, but Reed wants to see her anyway because he has some extremely implausible good news!

When he was at the Egyptology wing of the New York museum on a date with Sue (nothing more romantic than mummies), Reed noticed and deceived some pictographs that, apparently, no Historian ever noticed before (I mean... he is Reed Richards, so... okay); depicting an unknown Pharoah who was blinded, exposed to radiation, and then cured of their blindess! Something Ben finds unbelievable after all radiation hadn't even been invented One Thousand Years Ago!

There are... several points I could raise with his interjection but we shall press on.

Reed needs more data on Blindness-curing Radiation, but to do that, he'd need access to some manner of Time Machine, and he's never been able to figure out how to invent one of those. Fortunately, Doctor Doom did, way back in his first appearance! So the Four hop off to the ruins of Dooms castle in Latveria, expecting that Doom probably made that thing to be super durable, just in case anyone tried to incinerate his castle with a blast of Cosmic Ray-induced fireballs.

Which he did. So good on ya, Reed!

After leaving Alicia with careful instructions on how to activate the machine when they find what they're looking for (caption boxes carefully explain that even Stan and Jack can't really explain that part), the FF use the Time Platform to bop back to the Time of the Ancient Pharoahs; One Thousand Years Ago. Where they are immediately attacked by soldiers wearing anachronistic armor. And the FF apparently does not truck with the butterfly effect, as they then knock the entire friggin' Egyptian army the frick out, which isn't too big of a surprise as Bronze-Age technology doesn't do much against the Worlds Greatest Fighting Team.

Thirty First Century technology, however, works extremely well, as the FF learn when strange energy rays strike them and they all pass out, and wake up in the throne-room of Rama-Tut: Pharoah of The Future!

And, normally in this thread, when a major Marvel villain makes his debut, I like to summarize their deal really quickly. That is extremely hard in this case, because Rama-Tut is also sometimes...


Kang the Conqueror! Marvels primer time-travelling super-villain, and a guy who's Marvel Universe Handbook entry is practically a volume in and of itself! Y'see, inevitably, in the year 3000 or somewhenabouts, there's a guy named Nathan (implied to be either Dr. Doom or Reed Richards' great great etc Grandson) who decides to take over the world and figures that the best way to do that is to take technology from the future and, using a time-machine, travel to the distant past (usually Present-Day New York) and conquer it easily that way. And usually the Fantastic Four or Avengers wind up thwarting him. And that would be fine except that he winds up screwing up history just enough that, about a thousand years hence, a slightly different Nathan gets the same idea and opts to conquer the past with future tech and opts for a different motif. And gets thwarted, and changes history enough that a third Nathan gets the same idea and on it goes ad infinitum. There are so friggin' many alternate history Kangs that they eventually formed an alliance called the Council of Kangs that primarily exists to make sure that no given Kang messes up the plans of another Kang. There's at least one good Kang who exists to unKang existing timelines because that one guy alone has buggered up causailty so much the entire multiverse is buckling under the pressure of it.

Rama Tut is simply the first incarnation of Kang to show up and, frankly, using Space Guns to conquer Ancient Egypt because he was bored of living in a peaceful utopia is pretty sedate.

ANYWAY

Rama-Tut gives an extremely truncated version of what I just said to the captive FF and then uses his one of his future guns to give the FF a bad case of mesmerism; draining their wills and making them their slaves, and puts them to work in various degrading ways; Ben works the galley on a long-ship, Johnny is his court jester, Sue his unwilling bride and Reed... turns into a ladder to spy on soldiers.

It's implied that this goes on for weeks (why Alicia didn't call them back, couldn't tell ya) when, suddenly, Ben abruptly changes back into a human for no real reason, as tended to happen in Silver Age comics, and the sudden abrupt change to his body chemistry counteracted the effects of the Slave Ray he was struck by, restoring his free-will.

Ben leads a revolt against Rama-Tuts soldiers (I can accept The Thing being able to take on dozens of Bronze-Age soldiers, but Ben... is just a regular guy) which eventually takes him right up to Rama-Tuts throne room, where he steals the Slave Ray himself and, by putting it in reverse, frees the rest of the FF, just as his transformation wears off.

Rama Tut flees, using the time machine he secretly implanted in the Sphinx while trying to kill the FF with various traps that, coincidentally, also destroy every scrap of evidence that a man from the year 3000 once ruled Ancient Egypt (which I am SURE cheesed off historians).

They DO find the futuristic Blindness-curing medicine while they're pursuing Rama-Tut, but wind up accidentally destroying it when they're suddenly pulled back into the present by Alicia reactivating the time portal. But it's okay; now Reed knows that it's possible to cure blindness so all he has to do is figure out some medical science a thousand years more advanced than anything on the Earth.

And, well, again, it's Reed Richards so, that'd take him, like, an afternoon, tops.

Next Time: Stay in School, Kids!
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  #68  
Old 12-06-2018, 05:44 PM
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Oh, Kang, you so confusing. 'Nother solid write-up!
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  #69  
Old 12-10-2018, 04:27 PM
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We've got the introduction of one of my all-time favorite villains when the FF battle what is quite possible the legit most powerful/pathetic entity in the entire Marvel Universe in The Mystery of the Molecule Man!

Pretty sedate opening to an FF comic this month, as Reed is busy cracking open a meteor he bought off a farmer and finds an acorn inside it; offering proof that there is life outside of Earth. Which really shouldn't come as any kind of surprise to Reed by this point. Even this early in the Marvel universe, alien invasions don't even warrant getting mentioned in the paper. ANd it should come as even less of a surprise seeing as how there's a spaceship shaped like a flaming globe on the sidewalk outside the World Famous Baxter Building.

The FF go out to investigate/destroy it, but it turns out they needn't have been terribly concerned, the globe was actually the spaceship of The Watcher! Returned to Earth after vowing to never again Watch it, and he opted to park a giant fireball in the middle of New York because he needed to get the FFs attention without Interfering with Humanity.

Watchers have... a pretty friggin' weird view of what constitutes interference.

Anyway, the reason that The Watcher needed to catch the FFs attention was because a new supervillain has appeared on Earth; a dude with a power so inexpressibly vast that the entire Watcher Collective veto'd their Non-Interference Vow and focus all their attention on getting the hell rid of him immediately.

A man who can make the stars fall out of the sky and make God pee his pants in terror;


Owen Reese: The Molecule Man!

Molecule Man is especially noteworthy among supervillains in that that was not an exaggeration; he is quite possibly the single most powerful being that Marvel Comics has any legal right to use; his power-set could, conservatively, be called "omnipotence"; he has complete mental control over any object at a molecular level. Most recently, he was revealed to be, himself, a living weapon born to personally annihilate the entire multiverse (it was... a whole big thing). Thing is; Owen is a dang ol' weeny and kind of an idiot. He knows THAT he can crack the universe apart like an egg, he just doesn't actually know how his powers work, because he was a high school dropout and quit his education before he ever even figured out what molecules are.

Unfortunately, he still HAS the power to shatter galaxies if they glow at him funny, so the Watchers want him the heck out of the material universe. And telling the Fantastic Four about him and saying "Go get'im!" doesn't count as interference, but actually stepping in to stop him themselves does.

Uatu... really needs to learn what the heck "interference" means.

Luckily, it doesn't take long for the FF to figure out where Molecule Man is; as soon as they exit the Watchers ship; they notice that their entire apartment building has been ripped out of the ground and is now floating above Time Square; underneath a man dressed in purple lightning bolts screaming about his mastery of molecules; and threatening to start chucking buildings around willy-nilly unless everyone declares him ruler of the Earthright now. And he also goes ahead and also nullifies all laws because he's figured out that he has powers on a scale that make him God, and that means he's the only one who has any call as to what constitutes crime!

So the FF decide to punch him a lot.

And, once again, this is an excuse for Jack to go all-out drawing the hell out of a super-hero fight, as the FF try their damnedest to fight an insane, reality-warping nincompoop. And get the crap kicked out of them for trying.

As they run away, Reed notices two important limitations regarding Molecule Mans powers; Owen may be omnipotent; but he's none-too-bright, He has to stop to think about how to use his abilities each time. Also, he doesn't seem to be aware that people are made of molecules too, he only ever uses his abilities on inanimate objects.

The FF flee back to Alicias apartment (with the help of a Yancy Street Gang punk, as while they enjoy razzing Ben, they're aware that Molecule Man is a genuine threat to the planet), where she covers them in a thin layer of plaster dust from her sculpture work. When Owen arrives at her apartment after hearing the FF were headed there, he's briefly startled to find his powers aren't able to affect the FF, just the dust on their bodies , and in his shock, he winds up dropping the rod he was using as a magic wand, and he was under the impression that that's where his powers resided.

And so, with Owen in a blind panic, the Watcher shows up again and takes Owen far beyond the farthest imaginable reaches of space and at least has the courtesy to look kind of embarrassed that an entire race of Godlike Cosmic Entities devoted to wisdom were all so scared of such a friggin' weeny.

Next Time: Namor makes a buddy!
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  #70  
Old 12-10-2018, 06:05 PM
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[CENTER]

Next Time: Namor makes a buddy!
I hope it's not the Molecule Man. They don't deserve each other. That's how bad both of those dudes are.
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  #71  
Old 12-12-2018, 11:49 AM
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It took 20 years for Molecule Man to find a true friend in a nervous young lady made of lava who fell in with a bad crowd.

And a further 30 to meet his best friend, through the gift of an old hamburger.
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  #72  
Old 01-01-2019, 02:42 PM
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Okay, the ho-hi times are over and that means this great project may resume! And that means we're up to the first Fantastic Four annual;


Annuals are double-sized special issues that, besides containing a longer major storyline (in this case, Namor versus The Human Race!) but also have a bunch of shorter stories as backups, and maybe some art galleries. And for this first one, they opt to address one of the lingering plot threads followed by a major antagonist.

Y'know how Namor's had three main goals since his debut; tracking down the rest of his undersea kingdom, lost in the deep seas, getting revenge on the human race for destroying his kingdom and marrying Sue? Well, the good news is that he can scratch one of those things off his to-do list now; he found the lost Atlanteans and has been officially coronated as King Namor! That's good! Also, it turns out his fiance didn't marry anyone else in the iterim, so marrying Sue is kind of off the table! That's also good! Unfortunately, we also learn that "Namor" is Atlantean for "Avenging Son" and now he's going to double-down on the whole "War Against Mankind thing".

So the Frogurt cup is kind of only half full here.

Unbeknownst to Namor, however, is one of his generals is none too happy about Namors return; he was busy leading the nation in his absense AND he was all prepared to marry Namors fiance, Dorma. And that mans name... is Krang!


Wait... no, sorry...



No, dammit, that's not even close...



...okay, I'm going to have to narrow my search here.



Ahh, good enough.

Not much to say about this guy. His name is Krang, he kind of looks like Ming the Merciless (replacing yellow peril with blue) and he hates humanity slightly more than Namor does and he hates Namor more than humanity does.

Anyway, while all that Palace Intrigue was busy being squished into a couple of pages (god I miss the days of compressed storytelling), the FF are bored in their base, the World Famous Baxter Building, and that, of course, means that Johnny is pranking Ben, Ben is busying writing threatening letters to the Yancy Street Gang, Sue is busy trying to keep everyone alive, and Reed is alerting everyone that the Navy has sighted giant sea monsters off the US coast and wants the FF to investigate.

"Sea monsters? That's just stuff for comic books!" scoffs Johnny. In what is perhaps the most insightful line of dialogue this book ever produced.

Anyway, Reed uses this potential threat to the country/human race as an excuse to get a free cruise without paying for it because he basically sucks, and the rest of the team is fine with cashing in on their fame like that. Sadly, they're not on the boat ten minutes before weird giant fish start appearing around the boat and capture the team with their assorted Fish Powers, bringing them to an underwater prison build for surface dwellers here they meet Namor and he gives them the good news "He found his lost kingdom" and the bad news "now he's got nothing else to do but subjugate humanity"). He does offer to marry Sue again, but mainly out of habit, I think.

Fortunately, Namor is being slightly more diplomatic than usual, and wants the FF to deliver terms of humanity's surrender to the UN before he starts laying in with the unstoppable aquatic warriors, advaned biotechnology and sea monsters; the human race has to recognize every body of water as being Namors sovereign territory and any attempt to traverse the ocean is to be considered an act of war.

The UN brings in an anthropologist who specializes in atlantis to give a brief recap on Namors entire deal for new readers, as well as giving a quick overview of the Atlantean people; Homo-Mermanus (proto-humans opted to retreat into the sea where they evolved the power to breathe underwater. Presumably very quickly). And the very moment the UN decides that, no, they're not going to give up all access to 75% of the planet, the Anthropologist tears off his own head and reveals himself to be Namor in disguise and declares war on humanity then and there.

In fact, his invasion is so vast and proceeds so quickly that the entirety of New York City is completely conquered within minutes; every police officer is thrown into Antlantean internment camps and the World Famous Baxter Building... is glued shut.

Luckily, well... it's just liquid cement, and sealing an entire building against superhero antics is beyond its abilities. Johnny burns through it easily and busies himself for the next while incinerating Namors war machines, while Reed studies the armor of the invading Atlantean troops, noticing that, unlike Namor, the rest of the Atlantean race can't abide being in the open air, and he sets to work trying to find a way to disable their breathing apparatus before the Military decides to cut their losses and nuke New York.

The army sure as hell likes to do that in these early issues.

Anyway, Reed works himself to exhaustion building a machine that can evaporate all water above sea-level across the planet (that... seems inadvisable) and successfully drives the entire army of Atlantis back into the sea. Which cheeses off Namor to no end and he figures that Reeds probably responsible, and beat him up for nearly murdering his entire species (fair) and also kidnaps Sue (which, again, just feels obligatory by this point).

Johnny flies after Namor and finds his flagship (by building a functioning deep-sea probe out of flame) and another fight scene breaks out between the FF and Namor (which, again, are really fun to read, but not so much to recap).

Back in the flagship, however, Lady Dorma and Krang come to realize that Namor has feelings for Sue and Dorma don't share her man with NO ONE, so they skuttle the ship and hope that Sue simply drowns (she doesn't,m she swims to the surface) and Namor learns that his actual wife doesn't really care for the fact that he really wants to marry a lesser form of life, and also his lead general is looking to undermine him. Point in fact, the entire nation of Atlantis is so aghast that Namor has feelings for a mere human that they opt to just resume being nomads just to get away from him forever.



Next time: A Total Lack of Subtlety!
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  #73  
Old 01-01-2019, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Next time: A Total Lack of Subtlety!
Think about it. Up till now, we've been dealing with a subtle Fantastic Four.
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  #74  
Old 01-11-2019, 03:27 PM
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The Hate-Monger is a very good comic that introduced a major component of the Marvel Universe, and revealed the opinions that two Jewish writer/artists from new York have regarding prejudice (they're not fans). And really, my only complaint is that I only wound up reading it after Jack Kirbys retread of the same basic plot a decade later in Forever People. And "Very Good" doesn't really compare to "G.O.A.T Contender".

Oh, also, the guy named "The Hate-Monger" in a purple klans robe? He is less subtle about being a bad guy than even that would imply.

Anyway, the book begins, as so many FF stories do, with the four of them idly doing stuff in their respective rooms in the World Famous Baxter Building, such as analyzing strange gravitational shifts in the moon (might... have wanted to save that for another issue, Stan), throwing darts at pictures of Spider-Man or trying on wigs when they're all interrupted by the catastrophic booms coming from Bens work-out room. Turns out he's been worked into a lather just by reading the newspapers lately about all the racism and bigotry all around the world. And, more to the point, that all the worlds problems with intolerance can be blamed on a masked man in a purple robe named The Hate Monger, who travels the globe riling people into violent frenzies directed at people different form themselves.

And the rest of the FF agree that, yes, that guy is just completely terrible beyond words, but they can't really get involved because making hate-speeches isn't technically a felony, and even if it was, they're established as being more focused on the Alien / Mad Scientist kind of crime, at this point

Besides, surely someone who's entire power base is based around giving speeches about hating other people and wanting to remove them from the country couldn't possibly gain any traction in the USA.

...guys, this comic book has depressed me.

Anyway, as luck would have it (well... not luck, the other thing) the Hate Monger is on that very street corner preaching on about how everyone who doesn't share your exact upbringing is refuse and urging a crowd to attack any visible minorities (this is conjecture on my part, this collection is monochrome and the figure just has a handle-bar mustache). Ben, who already did not have any guff to take regarding the Hate Monger, just cuts loose and throws an entire street at the guy for that.

Ben Grimm is a social justice warrior.

Unfortunately for Ben/everyone who wants to see an racist get a face full of concrete, the Hatemonger was prepared for the Fantastic Four to show up and he blasts them with his laser-ray device; turning their hearts dark with violence, and making them fight one another, instead.

Which the text captions admit is not an unusual occurrence in and of itself, but it rarely escalates to the point of them trying to murder one another and immediately breaking up the team. Not in a while, at least.

Also, the story seems to be implying that any problems with bigotry can be traced to One Bad Guy shooting people with a Laser Ray. Which... is certainly one kind of lesson to teach.

Anyway, the FF have broken up, and they all head back home (which must have made for an awkward elevator ride) when Reed finds someone waiting for him in his lab (after beating the HELL out of everyone trying to keep him out); none other than Colonel Nick Fury!


Wait... sorry, this was 1960s Nick Fury...


Mmmmmaybe a bit of 1960s Kirk Douglas for flavor.

Anyway, I don't really think I need to elaborate on who Nick Fury is for the sake of this thread, if you've seen any theatrical movie released in the last decade, odds are decent he's at least made a cameo in it.

Anyway, Nick is working with the CIA (I'm guessing they still working out what, exactly, SHIELD stands for) and he needs the FFs help; seems that a masked racist has made the South American country of San Gusto suddenly turn fiercely anti-American, with such intensity that only Mad Science could explain it, and thats exactly in the FFs wheelhouse. But because they're not playing together right now, Reed opts to run off solo and stop that countries civil war himself. ANd the rest of the team see Reed take off in their private jet and don't want him hogging the attention for themselves and also run off to San Gusto themselves.

And Nick Fury is a trained CIA operative, head of an international espionage organization and also a decorated World War 2 vet, so it doesn't take him long to realize that the entire FF has been turned evil by the Hate Mongers laser-ray.

The Hate Monger ALSO sees Reeds Pogo-Plane taking off for San Gusto, and hops into his subterranean super-rocket to reach the island nation too so that Reed can not undo all his hard work in spreading intolerance.

There's also a caption warning that the Russian military is also making similar underground digging-rockets which seems... off message considering the tone of the issue.

Anyway, in San Gusto, Reed has a pretty easy time of dispatching rebel forces when he finds some surprisingly advanced laser-technology in the hands of the revolting farmers, which he tracks to the Hate Mongers South American underground base, where he is immediately imprisoned by the Hate Monger who arrived a few minutes earlier, and who explains his whole master plan, because he's been playing things from the supervillain hand-book; the Hate Monger developed a laser ray that increases feelings of hatred in its targets, and has perfected a large-scale one with the means to have it affect entire countries instead of individual people; San Gusto being the proof of concept for the weapon.

Fortunately, some friggin' how, Nick Fury burst into the compound, guns blazing, and dispatches all of the Hate-Mongers henchmen and forcing him to hand over the anti Hate-Ray capsules he also developed, which negates the effects on Reed instantly.

The Hate Monger escapes while Reed and Nick work together to force the capsules down the throats of the rest of the FF (how did they get there?!?!?) and chase the Hate Monger to his secret base; he attempts to hit them with the H-Ray again, but his aim is off and he winds up hitting some of his guards instead who, when filled with hate, immediately turn on the Monger and shoot him stone-dead.

And Reed pulls off the Hate Mongers mask only to reveal that he was, in truth literally Adolph Hitler. Apparently less dead than the world assumed, and working in secret to build laser guns that cause racism.

This is a bonkers thing to reveal in the last two panels of a comic book

And so, with Hitler dead for real this time, the Hate Ray is destroyed, everyone in San Gusto is back to loving democracy, and Racism is Cured Forever!

Yay!

Next Time: Oh, Right... that guy
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  #75  
Old 01-13-2019, 07:41 AM
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It's kind of weird to see Fury as a soldier in the modern era before he became a SHIELD agent. Nice to see he was still fighting the good fight in the between-times.
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  #76  
Old 01-13-2019, 07:45 AM
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He also still had both eyes.

Which was quite a surprise because I thought he had lost one back in the Howlijg Commandos.
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  #77  
Old 01-13-2019, 01:42 PM
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In the comics, the eyepatch was symbolic, unless they retconned it (they probably retconned it). It was supposed to mean he was "turning a blind eye" to the typically political-agenda-driven espionage of the Cold War.
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  #78  
Old 01-13-2019, 01:52 PM
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I know that present day Sammy Jacks Fury is definitely missing an eyeball, but I thought OG Sean Connerys Fury was missing one from the getgo.

Though a quick google search indicates that I was mistaken.

Also, Howling Commandos Comics were damn near identical to Larry Hamas’ GI Joe covers
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  #79  
Old 01-22-2019, 03:17 PM
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Okay, Marvel seems to be banking on the actual return of the Moleman being the thing that all the kids of 1963 should have been excited for in The Return of the Moleman. And.... ehh.

Much more significant, however, is the issues opening; beginning (as usual) with Reed Richards doing experiments in the World Famous Baxter Building, experiements involving putting his fiance in silly hats to gauge how invisible she really is.

The answer, incidentally, is "completely".

However, he also learns that turning invisible is just the least of her powers, she'd just never thought to see if she could do anything else and indeed she can, by flexxing the ol' superpower muscles she can also make other objects invisible instead of just herself (still limited to just the one target, mind) and also create unbreakable telekinetic force-bubbles. The latter one being a pretty major weapon in her arsenal and changing her role in the team to "The one who keeps everyone alive" and also makes her one of the strongest super humans in the Marvel Universe, once John Byrne takes over the book in the 80s.

Anyway, the important thing is that now Reed can point to something besides Abraham Lincoln having a mother when explaining why Sue is a member of a superhero team.

But it isn't all sunshine and skittles, turns out that the FF is in a spot of hot water with the rest of the tenants of the Baxter Building, as they're actually really bad neighbors; and have been getting lots of noise complaints from Bens workout routines, complaints with the heating and vandalism caused by Johnnys flame and general health concerns from all the radioactive materials Reed just has laying around. Also, they literally have an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile inside the building. Nobody mentions the time the building was thrown into space by an evil Science-Wizard, but I am sure they weren't fans of that either. These are all pretty legitimate complaints, but the FF ain't having none of it, treating these all as the whiny whines of whining whiners , and Reed opts to just buy a private island in New Jersey rather than listen to these friggin' babies complain about not wanting to be exposed to deadly radiation or exploded by a literal missile.

You know, it wasn't long ago that the FF were kicked out of the building because they couldn't afford rent and now they can just casually buy a chunk of New Jersey.

The reason the island is so cheap is because it's little more than a volcanic atoll surrounded by an unbreakable coral reef (which Johnny immediately incinerates. Johnny... maybe... maybe don't do that Johnny. You have many options for ways to land there without obliterating a coral barrier reef), and, equally uninvitingly, their boat sinks the moment they arrive, leaving them no choice but to explore the interior of the volcanic caves. And the caves inhabitant; The Mole Man! Who explains that he did not die when Monster Island exploded waaaaaaay back in issue 1.

He also reveals that he has an army of grotesquely adorable Moleoids to act as henchmen, and that he needed some extra man-power as the dudes been busy, besides planning to kill the Fantastic Four by building an island, luring them to it by selling it for cheap, and then killing them by filling it with death traps, Molemans been planning on destroying the entire planet. He's built massive hydraulic elevators under several major world cities which he was going to use to erase them from the map, which will convince every nuclear-powered nation that they're under attack and forcing them to retaliate against one another.

It's pretty much the exact opposite of the end of Watchmen.

Fortunately, Moleman wasn't busy paying that close of attention to the FF when he was setting all this up and was totally unaware of Sues new powers; she immediately disables the Molemans doomsday device by throwing a shield over it so he can't press the on button, and sweeps away all the deathtraps with her forcefields.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team just blows stuff up and beats up Moleoids which also brings us another major first;




Mmmmmmmmmm that's the stuff.

Anyway, while Moleman is scrambling around explaining his various ineffective deathtraps, Reed was busying putting his earthquake machine in reverse, so that when Moleman goes to trigger it, it buries the island instead and releases their captive boat, and they just get out of the Jersey Shore and head back to their disgruntled neighbors.

Next Time: A Better Villain Returns!
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  #80  
Old 01-28-2019, 06:20 PM
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I guess I didn't realize the Moleoids weren't just... always hanging out with the Mole Man. Live and learn.

The fact that Wizard's price guide never listed this issue as the first "Clobberin' Time" is an oversight. Also, yay, Invisible Girl's powers get better.
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