TITLE: Fantastic Four vol. 1, Issue #30
YEAR: September 1964
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Written by Stan Lee
Illustrated by Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Art Simek
The Fantastic Four, what I loved about how Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did with this series was to showcase them in all their faults and glories. By no means was this group perfect and in the earlier years, they were still trying to find out how to work as a team.
In this 30th issue, the group were on vacation and as the group have been warned about not going to the lair of Diablo, guess what they ended up doing. Yes, they went to the lair of Diablo and are now going through thick bushes and many vines and trees until Reed finds what may be Diablo’s lair.
And what they find is scary statues and a villager named Baron Hugo, the mayer of the territory warns them to not enter the castle of Diablo.
They explain that Diablo is an evil alchemist whose strange potions menaced all of mankind and their ancestors sealed him within the castle 100 years ago for the protection of the people. Supposedly he had found the secret of prolonging human life and so the people in the village worry that he still lives within the castle.
As the group is led out by the Baron and are given rooms to sleep, Ben is awakened and is entranced to go back into the castle and using his strength, breaks a cement stopper and releases Diablo from captivity.
Reed, Sue and Johnny try to look for Ben and they find Ben almost looking human (but still made of rock).
Diablo refers to Ben as his assistant and Ben signed a contract to serve Diablo for one year due to his potion and as Reed tries to fight Diablo, Ben stops him and Diablo explains that the Thing is indebted to Diablo for improving his appearance.
Shocked by this, the three try to take on Ben in order to stop Diablo but seeing how the Thing knows them to well, the three decide to quit and find another way to stop Diablo. Not before Reed manages to steal a potion from Diablo.
As Diablo tries to become a millionaire by selling his potions worldwide, Reed realizes that Diablo’s potions is a fraud and how dangerous they are.
Meanwhile, back at Diablo’s lair, The Thing notices that many generals have come to make Diablo rich but as the Thing goes to try the potion to make him better, he sees the mirror and realizes that he is back to his original self and realizes that Diablo is a fraud.
Can the Fantastic Four defeat Diablo?
And of course, we know how this issue will end.
The issue was quite entertaining because Stan Lee makes the group human, not some bravado superhero group but people who have their issues, not just teamwork but also personal issues and it’s something we have seen Ben deal with ever since he has turned to the Thing. Wondering if he’ll find love, will he be lonely all his life and just feeling bad about his overall appearance. And for this issue, Ben just wants to be normal and Diablo’s potion, no matter how short it worked, gave him that access.
In addition to this issue, a really good two-page letters page and interesting take on readers of “The Fantastic Four” and why they enjoy the series.
Overall, a classic, entertaining issue!