TITLE: Fantastic Four vol. 1, Issue #38
YEAR: May 1965
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Written by Stan Lee
Illustrated by Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: S. Rosen
When it comes to Marvel Comics, I’m often asked what my favorite series of all time is.
I have collected many of the top tier titles from Marvel Comics but there is only one series that was created in the ’60s that I nearly own an entire set and that’s “The Fantastic Four”.
I absolutely love this comic book series, maybe because it was different from “The Avengers” and you can’t help but be entertained by the characters. While I’m not really into the transformation of the characters that took place in the ’90s, the truth is that the reasons why I enjoyed the series, I know that for today’s audiences, where people want darker, more violent storylines, they may have found the series to be too wholesome. And how do writers respond? By turning Invisible Woman to a sex symbol, a person with multiple personalities and one who may have liaisons with Dr. Doom or Namor or whatever they can do to peek the curiosity of readers.
Sure, divorce has become commonplace in America, but I just had a problem with Marvel Comics having to interfere with Cyclops and Jean Grey, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson and Reed and Sue Richards. And I got tired that writers felt the need to destroy a relationship. So, what…it happens in real life. But there are relationships and marriages that last a lifetime and for me, Reed and Sue Richards are a couple, husband and wife, father and mother and superheroes that take insurmountable risks but have managed to stay strong together.
So, when writers start to destroy that, especially what was happening in the ’90s and Invisible Woman’s persona of Malice started to rear its ugly head and as for Reed Richards, he became the ultimate a–hole.
So, I love reading these old stories, especially by Stan Lee and artwork by Jack Kirby for “The Fantastic Four” that are reminiscent of the team I grew up reading.
With issue #38, as Reed Richard and team are trying to makeout a blownup photo from the Skrull Galaxy, which looks like a huge power plant, meanwhile, the Wizard, still feeling humiliated after their defeat in issue #36, decides that they will need to go through drastic measures to defeat and destroy the Fantastic Four…and that is to kidnap Sue Richards.
The Frightful Four consists of Wizard, the Sandman, Paste-Pot Pete (who changed his name in this issue to the “Trapster”) and the Inhuman, Medusa (who has amnesia). And the members start to question their leader, until the Wizard shows them why he is the master of Gravity.
Meanwhile, as Sue Richards visits a fashion house to try on outfits, Medusa manages to disguise herself as a fashion designer and along with the the Frightful Four, they kidnap her. Because thousands saw this abduction, the media publishes it in the Daily Chronicle and The Thing sees the article and heads back to the Baxter Building to find a distressed Reed Richards, who is trying to pinpoint the Frightful Four’s location.
Wizard comes up with a plan to have the Fantastic Four follow them to a remote Pacific Atoll where underground nuclear tests are conducted and hopes to get the Fantastic Four to get trapped underground, so he can detonate an atomic Q-Bomb on them.
Will Mr. Fantastic, The Thing and Human Torch be able to save Sue? OK, so that is quite predictable but still, what an exciting story and love Stan Lee’s writing and Kirby’s artwork!
But the issue is entertaining and the Frightful Four will continue to be a thorn in the Fantastic Four’s side for many, many, many years to come.