“Prisoners of Doctor Doom!”
Cover Date: July 1962
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott
What’s Going On?
Doctor Doom coerces Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Thing to travel back in time on his behalf; they must do his bidding because Doom has the Invisible Girl as a hostage. Their job is to bring Doom the fabled treasure of Blackbeard the pirate.
Knowing that the treasure must be dangerous if Doom wants it, the FF manages to return back to the present and thwart Doom’s evil scheme. Doom then places them in a death trap that the Invisible Girl helps them out of. Realizing that the battle is lost, Doom escapes while announcing that he will try to conquer the world again at a later date.
Is It Good?
This issue is absolutely nuts, and I mean that in a good way. It is also nice to see an issue where the team doesn’t battle a giant monster.
- Doctor Doom’s origin is given in this issue
- Johnny and Ben are still bickering like children.
- Reed, Ben, and Johnny have to dress like pirates to obtain Blackbeard’s treasure
- After being accepted by the pirates as a total bad-ass, Thing attempts to remain in the past and live out his days as a pirate captain.
- The inclusion of the Hulk’s comic in this issue is another indicator (Sub-Mariner’s return last issue was the other) that Marvel’s comics are more interconnected than DC’s were at the time.
- Doom’s origin story omits some details that modern readers might expect. Reed Richards and Doom did not have a rivalry or much contact at all in college, it seems. Ben Grimm doesn’t recognize Doom’s voice, so he either didn’t go to college with Reed, or he did and just never met Doom. We don’t see Doom’s face before it is scarred. Doom is said to have mastered sorcery before college, too. The basic components of Doom’s modern origin are present, but it is odd seeing so many widely accepted parts missing.
- This is not only the first appearance of Doctor Doom, but also his (unnamed) Doombots.
Comics Are Goofy:
- Doctor Doom likes being literal (with oversized chess pieces). Also, you’ve got to love the book titles on this table.
- Johnny is seen reading Incredible Hulk #1. So is that comic supposed to be fiction, or is Johnny supposed to believe that the Hulk really exists? Also, the Thing with a china teacup is precious.
- Okay, let’s say you want to capture the Fantastic Four. How do you do it? Wrong. The correct answer is “use a helicopter to drop an electrified net over the FF headquarters.” Obviously.
- Two things: Doom apparently has a trained pet tiger in this issue, and Marvel Unlimited is obviously miscoloring some of these old comics, right? I mean, I can’t afford my own copy of Fantastic Four #5, but I’m willing to bet that the original comic did not look like a lazy child colored it.
- It is official Marvel continuity that Blackbeard the pirate — the historical figure — was actually the Thing.
- Reed is a liar and a cheat. This is not what he promised Doom at all!
- Sue has been treated as an inconsequential member of the team thus far, but in this issue, she displays some impressive technological expertise. Naturally, this is not remarked on by any of the men, and is likely not brought up again.
- Reed takes Doom’s word that he will not harm Sue. No explanation aside from “Doom is not a liar” is given. That is an awesome bit of characterization (for both Reed and Doom), but it is weird, given what we’ve seen of the characters so far.
- I don’t care what Johnny says he’s doing, he is clearly turning the surface of the water into a glass walkway, and that’s not how science works.
- Doom’s castle is obviously surrounded by water (that’s why the glass walkway was needed). What, exactly is Johnny burning that will smoke Doom out?
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- I don’t think Johnny has seen an Errol Flynn movie.