Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #42

Credits:

Cover Date: September 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“To Save You, Why Must I Kill You?”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

The Fantastic Four continue their fight against the Frightful Four, only to lose Johnny to their enemy’s ranks. How can Reed and Sue overcome such odds?

Details:

  • The FF had been taken by surprise last issue when the Thing (who was being mind-controlled by the Wizard) attacked and defeated them, one by one.
  • With the Frightful Four’s attention elsewhere, Johnny and Sue manage to break free of their bonds easily enough.

  • This allows them to pick a fight with the Frightful Four, while Reed does his best against the mind-controlled Thing.

  • Eventually, the Thing’s strength takes its toll and Mr. Fantastic passes out. The Thing then stuffs Reed’s elastic body into a tiny container to keep him out of the fight.

  • With the odds in their favor, the Frightful Four defeat the Human Torch and, at Medusa’s suggestion, use the Wizard’s Id machine to mind control him, too!

  • Meanwhile, Invisible Girl managed to find the container holding Reed and escape with it. With great effort, she was able to free Mr. Fantastic.

  • It doesn’t take long for Reed and Sue to find a stash of the Wizard’s equipment and use it against the villains. Reed uses the Wizard’s own anti-gravity discs to incapacitate the Frightful Four, while he figures out how to free his friends from the Wizard’s mind control.

  • Before Reed and Sue can press their advantage, though, the Human Torch and Wizard attack! Will our heroes be able to survive an attack from their own teammate?

  • To be continued…!

Is It Good?

This is a fun issue. It’s interesting seeing Ben and Reed fight, as their battle doesn’t turn into the slugfest you might expect. It was also nice to see the villains making common sense choices and turning the Human Torch to their side; if you’ve got a mind control device, you might as well use it, right?

As far as the art goes, this is a great splash page; Kirby manages to make the Thing look deranged and more dangerous than usual.

There were many fun action panels in this issue, but I wanted to showcase Kirby’s work here, especially.

Continuity:

  • The Thing was placed under the Wizard’s kind control last issue. The rest of the Fantastic Four have been subdued by the Frightful Four (and Thing) last issue.
  • The Sandman seems more serious about his and Medusa’s flirtations than she does.

  • Under the Wizard’s mind control, the Human Torch is surprisingly vicious (and not very flirtatious).

  • The Wizard’s powers have expanded with this issue. He can now use his anti-gravity discs to reduce the gravity of objects they aren’t even attached to!

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Remember what you were taught in school: when there’s a fire, dunk your hair in water and put that fire out!

  • Is this… a cricket reference? It can’t be a baseball reference, right?

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