Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #43

Credits:

Cover Date: October 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta

“Lo! There Shall Be an Ending!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

The Fantastic Four struggle against the Frightful Four —- plus the Human Torch and Thing, who are being mind-controlled by villains!

Details:

  • Picking up from last issue, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl have managed to escape the clutches of the Frightful Four, with the mind-controlled Thing in tow. The Wizard and a mind-controlled Human Torch give chase, but cannot recapture the heroes.
  • One reason why they failed is because the Human Torch is just pretending to be mind-controlled! He was actually helping them by acting like a clumsy bad guy.

  • It doesn’t take long for the Frightful Four —- specifically, the Wizard and Medusa —- to figure out that the Torch is faking. They take him by surprise and manage to overwhelm him.

  • Meanwhile, Reed and Sue try to de-program the Thing.

  • The Thing wrecked the de-programming device before it was finished, though. Reed thinks Ben’s mind has been fixed, but won’t be sure until Ben wakes up.

  • Before that can happen, though, the Frightful Four break into the Baxter Building and demand Reed and Sue’s surrender. If they don’t surrender, the Wizard will kill the Human Torch!

  • Reed stalls for time long enough for the Thing to wake up. The Wizard assumes that he is still evil, and that costs him —- the Thing crushes the Wizard’s anti-gravity control disc, which frees Johnny. Ben then immediately passes out again.

  • The FF quickly turn the tables on the Frightful Four and capture the Sandman, Trapster, and Wizard.

  • Johnny (more or less) allows Medusa to escape, though.

  • All’s well that ends well, as the Thing wakes up and still wants to be a member of the team.

 

Is It Good?

This is another solid issue. This certainly didn’t need to be a three-issue story arc, but the length doesn’t hurt it. Lee and Kirby are riffing in earlier themes, and they are doing it well. This isn’t groundbreaking stuff, but it’s still pretty darn good.

Continuity:

  • Doctor Doom last appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #3, which has the same cover date as this issue.
  • The Thing rejoins the team, officially.  He quit at the end of Fantastic Four #40.
  • The Wizard’s rule over the Frightful Four is tenuous, at best.

  • Apparently, the Human Torch is under oath to never burn anyone. That seems like a tough promise for him to keep.

  • Doctor Doom’s hands were crushed by the Thing in Fantastic Four #40.
  • Johnny appears to be attracted to Medusa, even if he won’t admit it.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • What is Johnny’s expression supposed to convey here?

  • First of all, why was Reed using cosmic rays to fix Ben’s brain? Second, why don’t those rays change the Thing back into a human? Isn’t that what we’ve seen them do before?

  • To be fair, when should you expect this?

  • I’ve got good news and bad news for you Ben. The good news is that you get married only 50-ish years from now, and your friends are at the wedding. About not being the Thing, though…

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Reed truly values Sue’s contributions to the team.

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