Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) Annual #3

Credits:

Cover Date: October 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Mike Esposito

“Bedlam at the Baxter Building!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

It’s Reed and Sue’s wedding day! And almost every hero and villain in the Marvel Universe is going to show up and fight!

Details:

  • On Reed and Sue’s wedding day, Doctor Doom is plotting revenge. But he doesn’t want to face them directly (for now, anyway). He wants to assemble an army of villains to take on the Fantastic Four. Rather than try to recruit bad guys, Doom decides to use an emotion-manipulating device to force other villains to hate the FF with such a passion that they are all compelled to attack today.

  • The first villain to make an attempt is the Puppet Master. Luckily, SHIELD is working security for the wedding, and they spoiled his plan.

  • Next up are the Mole Man and his moloids. The X-Men help the Thing deflect that attack easily enough.

  • The Red Ghost and his super-apes are next, and they actually make it far enough into the Baxter Building to Face the Fantastic Four, rather than their guests. Doctor Strange saves the day, though, by banishing the villain (and his apes) to another dimension.

  • At this point, the Fantastic Four realize that something strange is going on.

  • More and more villains approach. As they start to near the Baxter Building, though, they encounter other heroes and begin to fight. The men of the Fantastic Four leave the wedding site to investigate.

  • On the street, they find a gigantic melee. Captain America, Hawkeye, and Spider-Man were fighting Cobra, the Enchantress, Executioner, and Mr. Hyde. Quicksilver defeated the Human Top pretty easily. Daredevil was fighting a horde of Hydra agents. Thor fought the Super-Skrull. Iron Man handled the Awesome Android. Meanwhile, X-Men faced the combined might of the Beetle, the Black Knight, Electro, the Mandarin, the Melter, and the Unicorn.

  • Attuma’s forces were prepared to invade the surface world, but Daredevil happened to steer Hydra’s weapon —- a “vortex bomb” —- into the ocean just in time. Attuma and his army were sucked back into the ocean deep.

  • At this point, Reed notices that the Watcher is present and wants Reed to follow him. Reed soon finds himself in the Watcher’s home. While the Watcher cannot interfere with the events on Earth, he also can’t stop Reed from taking one of his advanced weapons to save the day, wink wink, nudge nudge.

  • Reed uses the device to send all of the villains back in time to where they were earlier in the day, with no memory of the attack. The device also somehow erases the day’s events from Doctor Doom’s memory, as well.

  • With the villains accounted for, the wedding is finally ready to proceed!

Is It Good?

This is a fun issue, due to all the guest stars and action, but there’s not much to this story. I’m glad that they didn’t draw out this engagement much longer, but Stan Lee doesn’t pack much emotion into the script. Still, it is easily the most hectic action issue to date in Marvel history, and the sheer volume of characters makes it entertaining.

Continuity:

  • This issue includes reprints of Fantastic Four #6 and Fantastic Four #11.
  • This story takes place between Fantastic Four #43 and #44.
  • Reed and Sue are officially married. They announced their engagement in Fantastic Four #36.
  • Almost every Marvel hero makes an appearance in this issue: most of the current Avengers (Captain America, Hawkeye, and Quicksilver), most of the past Avengers (Iron Man and Thor), Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Nick Fury and SHIELD, Spider-Man, and the X-Men (Professor X, Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Girl). Foggy Nelson and Karen Page are present, too.
  • Stan Lee and Jack Kirby appear as characters in the story. Jack’s last appearance was in Fantastic Four #10, and Stan’s was in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #22.
  • Notably absent heroes: Giant-Man and the Wasp, Hulk, Namor, Rick Jones, and the Scarlet Witch. The Hulk and Namor’s absences (and also, presumably, Rick Jones’) are explained in editor’s notes as the result of their current adventures. The rest are not mentioned.
  • Alicia Masters last appeared in Fantastic Four #41.
  • The Watcher last appeared in Strange Tales #134.
  • This is the first modern (chronologically post-World War II) appearance of Gabriel Jones and Dum-Dum Dugan. They were working security for the wedding. I guess they survived WWII.
  • Patsy Walker and her frenemy, Hedy Wolfe, make their Marvel Universe debut in this issue. Before this, they existed only in Marvel’s romance line of comics —- which, as Tales to Astonish #69 shows, are published in the Marvel Universe, as well as the real world! It’s also implied that Millie the Model is a real person in the Marvel Universe. Meta-fiction is fun.

  • Doctor Doom last appeared in Fantastic Four #40.
  • The Puppet Master last appeared in Strange Tales #133. No explanation is given as to how he reverted to his original (read: less Fester Adams-ish) appearance, or why he is no longer a mannequin.
  • Apparently, the Puppet Master had, at some point, sworn off attacking the FF. That must have happened off-panel, because it’s never been mentioned before.

  • The Mole Man last appeared in Avengers #17.
  • The Red Ghost last appeared in Avengers #12. In that issue, he dismissed his super-apes as “too unpredictable” to work with, but he is commanding them again here. They last appeared in Fantastic Four #29.
  • The Mandarin last appeared in Avengers #20. He uses a “nerve ray” that he claims is new power, but it appears to do the same thing as his Paralysis Ray.
  • The Black Knight and Melter last appeared in Tales of Suspense #67 in Iron Man’s dream. Their last actual appearance was in Avengers #16.
  • The Unicorn last appeared in Tales of Suspense #67 in Iron Man’s dream, too. His last actual appearance was in Tales of Suspense #56.
  • Cobra and Mr. Hyde last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #111.
  • The Enchantress and Executioner last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #117. They don’t seem afraid to harm mortals in this story; lately, they have avoided attacking mortals out of fear of Odin’s wrath.

  • Kang last appeared in Strange Tales #134.
  • The Super-Skrull last appeared in Fantastic Four #34.
  • Grey Gargoyle last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #113.
  • Electro last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.
  • The Beetle last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #21.
  • The Mad Thinker last appeared in Strange Tales #131. His Awesome Android last appeared in Fantastic Four #28.
  • Human Top last appeared in Tales to Astonish #69. We don’t see his costume, but he doesn’t fly in this issue, so he might have gone back to his original one.
  • Attuma last appeared in Tales of Suspense #66.
  • The Eel last appeared in Daredevil #6.
  • The Marvel Wiki lists Diablo and Porcupine as making appearances in this issue, but I can’t find them.
  • A number of characters on the cover of this issue do not appear inside, including: Diablo, Dragon Man, Hulk, Leader, Loki, Medusa, Namor, Red Skull, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, and the Wizard. There are a handful of other characters that aren’t distinct enough for me to identify.
  • We’ve got ourselves another Kirby collage!

Comics Are Goofy:

  • It seems odd that Doctor Doom receives American newspapers in Latveria. Almost (but not quite) as odd as imaging a man in full body armor casually leafing through a newspaper.

  • But hey, no pressure.

  • I like that the FF recruit their lawyer (of all people) to to announce a delay in the wedding. Not as much as I like Matt immediately opting out of actually making that announcement, and it not raising an eyebrow from his friends —- but close!

  • What kind of a spell conjures a falling safe?

  • Exactly how did Spidey stop this safe like this from above? (Reminder: Jack Kirby doesn’t draw Spidey well)

  • I love the X-Men, but Cyclops and Iceman should have gotten absolutely destroyed by this many villains firing energy rays at them simultaneously.

  • I love it when the Watcher, sworn to not interfere, absolutely interferes.

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