Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #36

Credits:

Cover Date: March 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“The Frightful Four!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

The Wizard has put together a new team of villains —- the Frightful Four —- to attack the Fantastic Four!

Details:

  • While the Fantastic Four are celebrating the engagement of Reed and Sue —- with the press, with superheroes, etc. —- the Wizard forms a super-villain group to attack them: the Frightful Four!
  • The Frightful Four sneak into the Baxter Building and incapacitate the Thing first.

  • Using teamwork and the element of surprise, they also take down Mr. Fantastic and (after she gets in some god hits) Invisible Girl.
  • The Human Torch was elsewhere, so Alicia Masters, who the Frightful Four overlooked, fires off the FF emergency flare.
  • Before Johnny can arrive at the Baxter Building, though, the Wizard attaches anti-gravity devices to Ben, Reed, Sue, and Alicia and leaves them to float into the skies and suffocate.

  • By the time the floating heroes wake up, they are dangerously high in the atmosphere. Reed does his best to protect the others, but they don’t have much of a chance at survival.

  • But there is still a chance! The Human Torch grabbed the Wizard and stole the Frightful Four’s aircraft. They flew after the floating heroes and caught up with them just in time to save them.

  • When they landed safely, the Fantastic Four attack the Fearful Four and basically steamroll the villains.

  • Then, there was an explosion and the Frightful Four (and their ship) disappeared. No one believes that the villains have died, so I guess we’ll see them again sometime in the future.

Is It Good?

It’s pretty good. I’m glad that Reed and Sue’s engagement is going forward; their romantic subplot has been obnoxious for a while now.  There is a lot of minor action in this issue surrounding the engagement, and it provides some interesting moments for the team.

I like the idea of the Frightful Four, too. I do t know why they felt a need to find an evil female to counter Sue, but whatever.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of the Frightful Four as a team. This iteration of the team consists of the Wizard, Paste-Pot-Pete, Sandman, and Medusa. They appear to have a team color of purple; even Paste-Pot-Pete and Sandman, who do not usually wear purple, have updated their costumes to match.

  • This is the first appearance of Medusa. She has long, prehensile hair. She’s going by “Madame Medusa” here, but I think she drops the “Madame” before too long.
  • The Wizard last appeared in Strange Tales #118. This is the first time we’ve seen him interact with Mr. Fantastic. He gets a new costume in this issue; he is using his gravity discs to fly now.

  • Paste-Pot-Pete last appeared in Strange Tales #124. This is the first time we’ve seen him interact with Mr. Fantastic.
  • The Sandman last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #19. This is the first time he has met Ben, Reed, or Sue.
  • Reed and Sue are officially (and publicly) engaged!

  • The Yancy Street Gang sends their congratulations on the engagement with a flower bomb.

  • The Wizard survived his apparent death in Strange Tales #118 entirely by chance. When Paste-Pot-Pete and Sandman broke out of prison together, they stole a plane and happened to fly by the Wizard as he was helplessly rising through the atmosphere.

  • The Avengers, Rick Jones, X-Men, and Professor Xavier get invited to the engagement party. Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man either weren’t invited or could not attend.

  • Invisible Girl is using her powers as offensive weapons better.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Reed and Sue invited Professor Xavier to their engagement party, despite the fact that they don’t know him. They only met him briefly last issue!
  • Yes, Ben, ask your blind girlfriend to identify someone by their appearance. That’s a good idea.

  • It’s really strange that Spidey shows up, stays hidden, and steals cake, right?

  • This is a weird detail. It’s got more real science than most of Stan Lee’s science talk, but it doesn’t really make much sense here.

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