Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #39

Credits:

Cover Date: June 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone, Wally Wood

“A Blind Man Shall Lead Them!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inkers: Frank Giacoia (credited as Frank Ray), Wally Wood, Carl Hubbell

What’s Going On?

The Fantastic Four have lost their powers and Doctor Doom is out to destroy them! Luckily, the heroes have Daredevil on their side.

Details:

  • Last issue, the Fantastic Four barely survived a nuclear bomb. However, they were exposed to radiation that stripped them of their powers!

  • Not wanting their enemies to know that they are now de-powered, Reed comes up with inventions to try and mimic their fantastic abilities.

  • Reed’s inventions work…okay, I guess. They are definitely not enough to protect the team if a villain decides to attack, though.

  • Meanwhile, in Latveria, Doctor Doom has spent several months believing that he killed Mr. Fantastic. A magician performing for Doom’s amusement accidentally de-hypnotizes Doom, who is furious when he realizes that he was tricked.

  • Back in New York City, the FF are struggling with the devices Reed has designed to replace their super-powers. Realizing that the team is in a dangerous spot, Reed has the team’s lawyer, Matt Murdock, stop by to review some legal policies.

  • Before they can discuss matters in depth, the warehouse where they are secretly practicing is attacked! Matt Murdock quickly changes into his super-hero uniform, and joins the Fantastic Four as Daredevil!

  • The attack came from the Baxter Building, and it is obvious that Doctor Doom is the perpetrator.

  • Daredevil takes the lead and does what he can to keep the FF safe, but it’s difficult. The heroes need to get across town to the Baxter Building to stand any chance against Doom.

  • At the Baxter Building, Doctor Doom has noticed that the FF are not using their powers, and it is perplexing him.

  • It doesn’t take Doom very long to realize that the heroes are no longer super.

  • With this realization, Doctor Doom decides to have fun before he destroys the heroes. This gives the FF an opportunity. Daredevil will try to distract Doom while the Fantastic Four split up and try to reach the Baxter Building unnoticed.

  • To be continued…!

Is It Good?

This was pretty good. There’s some questionable logic in this story, but it does a good job of bringing back Doctor Doom with raised stakes and a problem that the team hasn’t faced before. Another thing we don’t usually see: another superhero making a guest appearance and not fighting the Fantastic Four. It’s nice to know that somecharacters are capable on talking before they punch.

One of the odder aspects of this issue is the importance each member of the Fantastic Four place on their super-powers. It seems very out of character for any of them, but especially Ben.  How many stories have we seen where he laments his grotesque appearance? You would think that he would have a subplot in this issue where he feels guilty about not wanting his powers back, but there’s nothing like that in this issue.

Another odd aspect of this issue is the fact that Jack Kirby is the penciller, but Wally Wood inked/corrected every image of Daredevil in this issue. Did Jack screw up DD’s costume, or did he just not have a good grasp of the character? Was it just so FF fans that weren’t reading Daredevil would know what to expect? I haven’t found solid answers online, so…I dunno.

Continuity:

  • The Fantastic Four were exposed to a nuclear explosion at the end of Fantastic Four #38. Sue’s force field protected them from harm, but the radiation apparently stripped the super-heroes of their powers.
  • Doctor Doom last appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #2, where he mistakenly believed he had defeated the Fantastic Four.
  • It is technically a retcon that Doom was hypnotized into thinking that he had defeated and killed Reed Richards in Fantastic Four Annual #2. In that issue, it was explained as a hallucination.

  • The Frightful Four (Medusa, Trapster, Sandman, and Wizard) appear in a flashback. Their last appearance was Journey Into Mystery #116.
  • We have another Kirby photo collage! It’s kind of weird that they did a collage for Reed’s lab this time. It’s not something that required a collage in previous issues.

  • It’s worth noting that Reed is unsuccessful at restoring the FF’s super-powers, but Doctor Doom was able to give the Terrible Trio super-powers without any problems in Fantastic Four #23. Who is the better scientist now?
  • This is the first time the Fantastic Four have met Daredevil. They met his civilian identity, Matt Murdock, in Daredevil #2.
  • Actually, Matt was hired as the Fantastic Four’s lawyer in Daredevil #2…and then fired at the end of that issue. This is the first mention of them still being his clients.

  • Reminder: Daredevil is blind.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Why doesn’t Reed just use the power amplifier ray gun (from Fantastic Four #37) to restore the team’s powers? I mean, they just went through the same problem two issues ago!
  • Admiring the power of nature compared to the ingenuity of mankind is not the sort of thing I would have expected from a Cold War-era American male writer.

  • Doctor Doom May be a man of honor (as Reed has said on a few occasions), but that doesn’t mean that he is grateful.

  • Is this where we find out that the Thing has a lovely singing voice, like Gomer Pyle?

  • Weird that Doctor Doom didn’t need recognition when he thought he killed Reed in Fantastic Four Annual #2, but he does now.

  • Can you hear the “deadly sections” injuring innocent bystanders, too, Daredevil?

Behind the Scenes:

  • The Daredevil figures in this issue (and on the cover) were all inked by Wally Wood.
  • The photo collage was probably inked by Carl Hubbell, per Nick Caputo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s