Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #38

Credits:

Cover Date: May 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“Defeated By the Frightful Four!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

The Frightful Four have come up with a plan to destroy the Fantastic Four…and it actually makes sense!

Details:

  • While shopping for clothes downtown, Invisible Girl is captured by Madam Medusa of the Frightful Four!

  • The Frightful Four make a public spectacle of Sue’s abduction, making sure that it would be newsworthy. Naturally, the Fantastic Four start searching for Sue, but they can’t find her anywhere!

  • The villains are actually in a secret underground nuclear testing facility. They leave Sue as bait in a trap; when the Fantastic Four arrive to rescue her, they will set off an atomic Q bomb!

  • The villains fly their aircraft where the FF are sure to spot them, and then lead the heroes to the testing site. Once there, the Frightful Four destroy the pogo plane, stranding the Fantastic Four on the remote atoll.

  • The Frightful Four would like to escape at this point, leaving the Fantastic Four to be vaporized by the bomb, but the Thing manages to prevent them from leaving.

  • The two sides then fight.

  • Eventually, the heroes find the secret entrance to the underground testing facility. As they descend to help Invisible Girl, the villains scramble back and leave on their ship.

  • The FF learn about the Q bomb, but too late.

  • The bomb goes off.

  • …but the Fantastic Four did not die! Invisible Girl protected them with a force field, and she is able to maintain it even while unconscious!

Is It Good?

Yes, this was pretty good. Reed and Sue’s relationship is being developed for the first time, and its nice to see them be openly affectionate. The changes made to the Frightful Four were smart, but what really impressed me was their evil plan. It was simple, but actually made sense. Comic book villain plans are usually convoluted beyond comprehension, but this was beautifully simple.

Continuity:

  • The Frightful Four (Madam Medusa, Paste-Pot-Pete, the Sandman, and the Wizard), last appeared in Fantastic Four #36.
  • The Wizard keeps referring to himself as the “Wingless Wizard,” so…maybe he changed his code name? I’m choosing to ignore it, for now.

  • Paste-Pot-Pete is changing his code name to “the Trapster.” He still uses adhesives, but it looks like his schtick is shifting to trapping people…usually with glue. He has changed his costume a little bit, too.

  • Madam Medusa has changed her costume, too. The biggest change is that her mask no longer covers her hair, which is a solid choice for someone with hair-based superpowers.

  • Asbestos thwarts the Human Torch, yet again.

  • The atomic blast appears to have transformed the Thing back into his human form.

  • Sue’s force fields are strong enough to (at least mostly) protect the FF from an atomic blast. This is a huge power upgrade for her.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • So…is Medusa really a fancy clothes designer, or did the Frightful Four just pay off someone at this boutique?

  • Don’t be a controlling creep, Reed.

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