Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #37

Credits:

Cover Date: April 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“Behold! A Distant Star!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

The Fantastic Four try to hunt down the Skrull responsible for the death of Johnny and Sue’s father.

Details:

  • Even busy preparing for his upcoming wedding to Sue, Reed is still inventing things. In this case, it’s a power amplifier that he doesn’t always remember to turn off.

  • Speaking of the wedding, Sue wants something resolved before starting the next chapter of her life. She wants revenge on the Skrull responsible for her father’s death!

  • The team agrees to travel to the Skrull home planet. They borrow an experimental ship from NASA and travel through sub-space to get there quickly.

  • On the Skrull planet, the FF are almost immediately attacked by Skrulls. Unfortunately, something in the atmosphere saps the FF’s powers, and they are quickly captured.

  • Warlord Morrat’s men captured the FF, and Morrat’s love/betrothed/girlfriend (it’s not super clear) asks him if he will be notifying the Emperor of the capture. Morrat assures her that he will do so because he is very loyal to the crown. But he doesn’t mean it. He wants to kill the FF, get super-popular, and use his popularity to seize the throne!

  • But Reed is clever enough to convince Morrat to stay his hand. He promises Morrat the benefit of his scientific knowledge, in exchange for the Fantastic Four’s lives.

  • Meanwhile, Princess Annelle tells her father that the Fantastic Four have been captured, only to find that Warlord Morrat did not notify the Emperor, as he had promised! The Emperor, already suspicious of Morrat, assumes his Warlord plans treason!

  • Elsewhere, the FF are upset that Reed is so willing to help Morrat that they fail to recognize Reed’s power amplifier. Instead of helping Morrat, he turns the device on his comrades and they regain their powers!

  • The Fantastic Four proceed to beat up Morrat’s troops until the Emperor arrives and accuses Morrat of treason.

  • The punishment for treason is death. Princess Annelle attempts to save Morrat’s life by getting between him and the Emperor’s guard, but they fire anyway. Luckily, Invisible Girl shields the Princess with a force field, saving her life. Morrat died.

  • For saving his daughter, the Emperor grants the FF a boon. They ask for the Skrull responsible for Franklin Storm’s death. It was Morrat, and he had already paid the price.

Is It Good?

It’s interesting. Marvel has never really shown its heroes driven by grief or rage, so the very concept of the FF seeking revenge is novel. The story itself is only okay, but it was told simply and quickly, and that kept it from getting dull.

Continuity:

  • Franklin Storm was killed by a Skrull bomb in Fantastic Four #32.
  • Warlord Morrat was apparently responsible for Franklin Storm’s death. In Fantastic Four #32, we didn’t get a good look at the Skrulls in charge of the mission, so this might not be a retcon (but maybe it is?). Anyway, Morrat dies in this issue.

  • This is the first appearance of Princess Annelle, daughter of the Skrull Emperor. She loved Morrat, even though she feared his cruelty.
  • This is not the first time Emperor Dorrek VII of the Skrulls has appeared, but this is the biggest role he’s played to date. His name actually won’t be revealed until 1979 (!). His first appearance was in Fantastic Four #18 and he most recently appeared briefly in Fantastic Four #32.
  • This is the first appearance of the Druff alien species.  They appear to be semi-intelligent local fauna on the Skrull Throneworld.
  • We have a Kirby collage, acting as a real photo of space in the Skrull galaxy.

  • According to Emperor Dorrek, the Skrulls have no interest in Earth, now that Morrat is dead. I wonder how long that will last?

  • The Torch can transport people via “vacuum spouts” now.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • You might read this era of Fantastic Four and think that Sue might be the worst-written character. But then, you find Princess Annelle in this issue:

  • It would have been very interesting if another Skrull had been responsible for Franklin’s death. What would the FF have done? Would they have killed him?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • In the category of “pop culture icons that haven’t crossed my mind in years,” this month’s winner is Captain Kangaroo.

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