Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #33

Credits:

Cover Date: December 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“Side-By-Side With the Sub-Mariner!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

The Lady Dorma, who has tried to kill Sue in the past, comes to the Fantastic Four, begging them to help Namor win a war!

Details:

  • Lady Dorma of Atlantis, who has no love for the Fantastic Four, visits the surface world to plead for their help.

  • You see, Namor was reunited with the Atlantean people a while back, and things have been going well for him and his kingdom (off-panel). However, an invader named Attuma has raised an army to challenge Namor.
  • The Sub-Mariner was leading his troops well at first, but when he dismissed the affections of Dorma, she spitefully betrayed him. Dorma allowed Attuma and his troops to enter Namor’s stronghold in force.

  • Dorma had made Attuma promise not to harm Namor, but he had no intention of keeping that promise.

  • Dorma fled as Namor’s forces appeared to be overwhelmed by Attuma’s attack. She asks the FF to aid Namor, if only because a victorious Attuma would be a threat to the surface world.

  • The Fantastic Four agree to aid Namor, on Dorma’s behalf. Once underwater, they dispatch Attuma’s forces whenever they appear.

  • Meanwhile, Namor’s ferocity impresses Attuma and his men.

  • Eventually, Namor challenges Attuma to hand-to-hand combat, with the winner taking all.

  • Attuma’s men planned to sabotage Namor during the fight, but the Fantastic Four prevented their attacks. The heroes were so quick and quiet that neither Attuma nor Namor were even aware that the surface dwellers were there!

  • Namor ultimately defeats Attuma in battle and exiles the villain and his followers from Atlantis.

  • The FF had to return to the ocean surface before the fight was completely over. In the end, Namor forgave Dorma for her treachery and he remained oblivious to the FF’s help.

  • Back on the surface, Reed suspects that Sue no longer harbors strong romantic feelings for Namor.

Is It Good?

It’s okay. I like the concept of the FF and Namor teaming up (even if we didn’t actually see that in this story), and the decision to keep their efforts secret was a decent twist. The problem, really, is that Attuma and Atlantis as a whole don’t really have much character depth. It’s not an insurmountable problem when you have Lee and Kirby working on a title like this, but that’s the element that keeps this from being better.

Continuity:

  • This issue is the first time one of Kirby’s photo collages was featured on a cover. I think it works pretty well! I imagine that the higher-quality paper and printing for covers helped this image look crisper than most of Kirby’s interior collages.
  • The cover isn’t the only Kirby collage in this issue. Behold, Kirby’s collage of the ocean deep:

  • While the Sub-Mariner has had many appearances thus far in the Silver Age, this is the first time he is not even nominally a villain. This is also his first team-up with the Fantastic Four, even if he is completely unaware of it.
  • This is the first appearance of Attuma. He comes from the “murky depths.”

  • Last Dorma last appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #1. In her last appearance, she tried to drown Sue so that Namor could focus his affection only on her. She’s not much nicer or sensible in this issue.
  • Reed has developed a new aerosol “oxo-spray” that allows people to breathe underwater for hours.

  • We have a new pin-up of Namor!

Comics Are Goofy:

  • “Explo-grenade” seems redundant, right?

  • Reed’s “oxo-spray,” which he said earlier will last “hours at a time” apparently does not.

  • Once you see Stingray-Reed, you cannot unsee him. He is the stuff of nightmares.

  • Dorma is the master of poor judgement. She sabotaged an entire army to spite Namor earlier this issue, and opting to not tell him about the Fantastic Four’s efforts is almost worse. Why wouldn’t Namor want to learn that his most powerful enemies supported him? What monarch doesn’t want to hear that news?

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