Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #16

Credits:

“The Micro-World of Doctor Doom!”

Cover Date: July 1963

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

When the Fantastic Four decide to investigate some mysterious goings-on, it means that they need to shrink down to subatomic size.

Once shrunk, they find themselves in another universe, one where their tiny size is the norm. However, they soon realize that the mysteries were part of a trap set by Doctor Doom!

Is It Good?

This isn’t a great Doctor Doom story, and I’m not a huge fan of the Microverse, so I didn’t like much in this issue. Doom doesn’t seem clever or scary enough here to match his previous schemes. This issue has some entertaining moments, but they tend to come from laughing at the characters, instead of with them.

Sub-Plots:

  • Apparently, each member of the FF has been randomly shrinking lately, but didn’t tell each other about it.

  • To learn more about shrinking, the team meets up with Ant-Man. He gives them a tiny bit of his shrinking and growth formulas.

  • Reed is still researching ways to cure Ben from his Thing-ness. This attempt is the best yet, but the effects were still temporary.

  • In her spare time, Sue is researching what perfumes will make her undetectable to dogs.

  • Doctor Doom explains how he became ruler of the Microverse planet. Basically, he’s evil, and the old rulers were naïve.

  • The Fantastic Four manages to outsmart Doctor Doom’s trap, and regain their normal size (relative to other beings in the Microverse). The Thing then prevents Doom’s allies from landing on the planet.

  • Ant-Man joins the FF in their attack on Doom’s forces. Doom makes his escape by enlarging himself and returning to Earth. The heroes quickly follow his lead, but will he have a trap prepared for them when they return to Earth?

Continuity:

  • This is the Silver Age debut of the Microverse, although it will not receive that official name until the late 70’s.
  • This is the first appearance of the King of Doom’s Micro-World, Princess Pearla, and the alien Lizard Men from Tok.
  • This is Ant-Man’s first guest appearance in another title.
  • Doctor Doom did not die when he shrank into nothingness in Fantastic Four #10. Instead, he discovered the Microverse.
  • We’ve got a pin-up! Curiously, it answers a lot of the same questions as the pin-up pages in Fantastic Four Annual #1.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Each member of the FF had experienced being mysteriously shrunk, but didn’t mention it to anyone because they thought that their teammates — you know, the walking pile of rocks, the rubber man, the vanishing girl, and the flammable teen — would not believe their story?
  • Sue, he was wearing a colander on his head. How cute could he be?

  • Love is growing and changing together being violently opposed to any changes, especially ones that will make your loved ones happier.

  • You might expect Alicia to give a “I am not my disability” speech here, or plea for Reed to help a more deserving person. Nope.

  • So…if Doom thought he couldn’t outsmart the FF, then they wouldn’t have a chance?

  • The only thing that could have made this panel of Doctor Doom saying “Wha–??” any better would have been Invisible Girl saying “Yoink!”

  • Johnny Storm: heartthrob of alien women everywhere. This is the second time he has gone to another world and been propositioned by a woman that barely knows him.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • After showing Sue with some agency and intelligence as she conducts an experiment, the scene ends with the equivalent of “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl! Tee-hee!”

  • “You three men would be enslaved and be invaluable parts of our war machine! You, woman, would be…given a waitressing job, I guess. What else can women do?”

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