TITLE: Fantastic Four vol. 1, Issue #29
YEAR: August 1964
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Written by Stan Lee
Illustrated by Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: S. Rosen
I wrote about how “The Fantastic Four” was among my favorite comic books to read as a child. I loved the intelligence and action that went into the series and it’s one of the few series in my life that I told myself as a child that I would try to read (and possibly own) the entire series (of volume 1)… someday.
Those words I told myself as a child have nearly come true as I just need two dozen or so comics left to complete my collection. Granted, these two dozen are the most expensive but I still have many years in my life to pursue that, if needed. Otherwise, I’m quite content with my collection so far.
And so, with My Comic Book Journey, each week, I will be focusing on titles that are part of what I call my top tier series. Not top tier in the sense of what are considered the best titles or issues by others but top tiers of my personal collection that I really want to read. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and reading every issue of “Fantastic Four” again, I want to do but it would have to be in addition to the other comic book titles that part of rediscovering my comic book collection.
With issue #29, the Fantastic Four, the focus is on Yancy Street.part of new York City’s Lower East Side and a neighborhood of Manhattan.
It’s a place where street punks live and constantly pull jokes and pranks on The Thing (and also the Fantastic Four) that tend to aggravate them. Part of that reason is because of Ben and his brother Daniel’s past on Yancy Street which I will discuss in a later blog.
But in this issue, things aren’t going well as the Fantastic Four are walking through Yancy Street, gangs are throwing lettuce at them, the Thing steps on a big wad of bubblegum, someone throws a trashcan full of garbage on the Thing, the gang unleashes a large amount of water on the Human Torch, someone squirts sneezing powder on the Invisible Girl and needless to say, the Fantastic Four are not having an easy time walking through Yancy Street.
But as the Fantastic Four escapes from Yancy Street, a red probe is following them.
Meanwhile, Ben is facing issues of not wanting to keep his relationship up with Alicia because he has a hard time dealing with a fact that a beautiful woman (who is blind) happens to love him. But when she comes by in tears, wanting to breakup because she thinks a good man like Ben wouldn’t go for a blind girl the two end up confessing their true feelings of love for each other.
Meanwhile, as the Fantastic Four check out their fan mail, The Thing opens a box and it turns out to shoot out a thick white vapor and inside a message from the Yancy Street gang for the Fantastic Four to show up at their street at the stroke of midnight, which leaves Ben furious.
As the Fantastic Four show up, he sees a large figure and when he goes to punch it, it’s a huge gorilla and out comes an orangutan with magnetic powers and an anthropoid that has the ability to transform to whatever it wants.
The Fantastic Four tries to hold their own but they are nearly defeated until the primates leader reveals himself to be the Red Ghost.
Taking them by weapon, the Fantastic Four go into the Red Ghost’s Moon Ship and are transported into the moon and left their for dead without much oxygen. Fortunately, the Invisible Girl is able to put them in a bubble but that only gives them several minutes of oxygen.
Reed remembers that there was a mysterious blue area that had an artificial air-filled atmosphere and with only minutes left, The Thing tries to make an underground tunnel to go under the peaks in hopes to get to the blue area but instead he punches into a spacecraft which happens to be the home of the Watcher.
The Watcher shows up quickly via holographic form as he is watching another location. He warns Reed that there are instruments and technology that they should not touch ever. Technology that he is even trying to understand.
But the Fantastic Four needs to find a way back home and the Red Ghost still remains out there looking for them and the Fantastic Four know they must confront him and his supernatural primates.
Overall, this was a hilarious and action-packed storyline. One that would involve Yancy Street, which will be a major street referenced in the Fantastic Four but also the Thing series. Also, Ben and Alicia’s relationship but also giving us a taste of a side of The Watcher that you just don’t often read anywhere else.
The Red Ghost is also an interesting antagonist with his super-powered primates which is so wild and farfetched but Stan Lee manages to make sense of it all. The artwork is classic Kirby and and wonderful inking by Chic Stone and letters by S. Rosen. These four are no doubt a wonderful collaborative team that makes me entertained by earlier issues of “The Fantastic Four” showcasing their creative work.