Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #9

Credits:

“The End of the Fantastic Four!”

Cover Date: December 1962

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

Mr. Fantastic lost all of the team’s money in the stock market, and they are facing eviction, bankruptcy, and disbanding the team in disgrace.

However, they receive an offer from S.M. Studios in Hollywood; they can earn $1 million by starring in a movie! In a bizarre twist, though, the FF’s enemy, Namor the Sub-Mariner, is the head of S.M. Studios.

He fools the team into thinking that his offer is legit, but later springs traps on Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Thing; this has all been a plot to win Invisible Girl’s heart! Can the team overcome the conniving Sub-Mariner?!?

Is It Good?

This is a pretty ridiculous plot, but yes, this is a fun issue. Kirby gets to draw some fun fight scenes, and Stan Lee clearly had fun giving the FF a realistic problem — bankruptcy — and an equally unrealistic solution — hit motion picture.

Sub-Plots:

  • The Fantastic Four is financed by the patents Mr. Fantastic gets for his inventions.
  • The team almost breaks up in the face of bankruptcy, but they stick together.
  • The Thing and Alicia from the previous issue are now friends.
  • Namor has the male members of the team go off to “film fight scenes,” but in reality, they are fighting real threats with life on the line. Mr. Fantastic fought a cyclops, Human Torch fought an African tribe, and Thing battles Namor himself.
  • The Thing transforms back into Ben Grimm, briefly. Again.
  • Sue still has a soft spot in her heart for Namor.
  • When Namor’s plan is exposed, he still winds up paying the FF their money.

Continuity:

  • This is Namor’s third appearance since debuting in Fantastic Four #4.
  • This is the first comic of Marvel’s Silver Age to have a credits box, showing who worked on the comic.
  • Namor is exceedingly wealthy. Let’s see when this is mentioned again.
  • Namor’s trunks are green in this issue, instead of red. No characters mention the change.
  • The Human Torch debuts his “nitro-flame” in this issue (no explanation of what that is), and he is back to making flame duplicates again.
  • Apparently, lightning can trigger the Thing to change into Ben Grimm.
  • Namor the Sub-Mariner makes use of his electric eel powers again:
  • Namor also debuts his “cave fish” sonar powers:
  • We get a feature where Johnny explains the science* behind the Torch’s ability to fly. *Science may not be accurate.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • The Sub-Mariner has a functioning TV in his underwater base?
  • The FF hitchhike across the country.
  • The team is given some money up front, before the movie films. The Torch immediately buys a sports car. No wonder these people are broke!
  • Really?
  • The Human Torch intentionally causes a volcanic eruption to deal with an aggressive African tribe. Overact much?
  • “The reason they call me that is because I have an inflated ego. And I can act like Silly Putty.”
  • Sue, no! You don’t tell a deceitful person that they have a chance to win your heart!
  • What. The. Hell. Susan. This isn’t true, and you know it.
  • Namor clearly wasn’t filming any of the battles he set up, but somehow a movie was released anyway.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • The first appearance of a person of color in a Silver Age Marvel comic is as a savage. Cliche? Of course. They also are colored horribly, with a grayish-brown, ashy skin tone. Part of that is due to the technical coloring limitations of the period, but the rest is likely indifference and racism.

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