Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #40

Credits:

Cover Date: July 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Frank Giacoia

“The Battle of the Baxter Building”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

Daredevil and the Fantastic Four fight Doctor Doom and try to restore the FF’s powers!

Details:

  • Picking up from last issue, the Fantastic Four have lost their super-powers and are being attacked by Doctor Doom. Daredevil and the FF are trying to reach the Baxter Building, which Doom has taken over.
  • As Daredevil drew Doctor Doom’s attention, Reed, Sue, and Johnny manage to reach and enter the Baxter Building. Doom had set their defense systems up, but Reed is able to navigate the team past them.

  • Every time the FF are in a truly vulnerable spot, Daredevil manages to distract Doom long enough for Reed and the others to get to safety. But it is only a matter of time before Doom defeats Daredevil and is free to devote his attention to the FF.

  • The Fantastic Four reach Reed’s lab in the Baxter Building, and Reed is able to restore their powers with his power amplifier.

  • Ben didn’t really want his powers back, but Reed made the choice for him.

  • The Thing attacks Doctor Doom, taking the most vicious attacks Doom can muster. To Doom’s astonishment, the Thing pushes through each attack until he reaches the villain and crushes the weapons in his armor.

  • In the aftermath of the fight, upset at being monstrous again, Ben quits the team!

Is It Good?

Yes, this was a good issue. The plot is a little familiar — this is the second time the FF have lost their powers this year — but Ben’s heroics at the end of the issue set it apart.  The Thing fighting Doctor Doom is easily Ben’s finest moment to date, and that more than makes up for the story being only okay.  Jack Kirby does a great job showing Ben struggling to overcome Doom, and the panels where he is crushing Doom’s gauntlets were just great.

Continuity:

  • The Fantastic Four lost their powers at the end of Fantastic Four #38.
  • Reed’s amplifier (previously called a “power ray”) last appeared in Fantastic Four #37.
  • Reed didn’t use the amplifier last issue because it was still recharging from its last use.

  • Daredevil’s billy club apparently can be used as a rifle.
  • This is the first time Daredevil has used the “flexi-shield” in his billy club. It was first revealed in Daredevil #8.

  • Doctor Doom suspects, but doesn’t identify, Daredevil’s super-powers.

  • Doctor Doom doesn’t recognize Ben Grimm when he is not the Thing. This seems odd, since Ben and Reed were college roommates, and Reed and Doom were college rivals. However, this is consistent with what we’ve seen so far in this title; neither Doctor Doom nor the Thing has ever referenced knowing the other before the Fantastic Four gained their powers.

  • The FF allow Doctor Doom to escape because he has diplomatic immunity.

  • The Thing quits the Fantastic Four. The last time the FF has any member quit was in Fantastic Four #21.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Doctor Doom could be a lot more successful in life if he went on a speaking tour, showing others how to “instantly grasp [the] purpose and method of operation” for technology.

  • They just showed a diagram of Daredevil’s billy club in Daredevil #8, and none of these rifle attachments were present.

  • It’s interesting to me that Wally Wood went (presumably) out of his way to ink all of Kirby’s Daredevil figures last issue, but he didn’t do the same for this issue.
  • Stairway attack button?

  • I understand that it’s a 30+ story climb, but taking the elevator that you know can be weaponized against you seems like a worse choice than using the stairs.

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