Monday, March 23, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Fantastic Four #34-39

As I dig into the Fantastic Four's adventures, I am particularly aware of important similarities and differences between their stories and those of Spider-Man. 

Both franchises are based in New York City - center of the entire Marvel universe, in fact.  However, while Spidey tends to stay close to home, the FF end up in all kinds of crazy places: the Mole's underground world, Namor's Atlantis kingdom and, perhaps most important in the long-run, the Skrull world.

The Skrulls first invaded Earth in Fantastic Four #2.  In issue #37 (see below), the FF pay a return visit.  The Skrulls have been a prominent presence in Marvel ever since, far beyond the Fantastic Four saga.  In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Skrulls have been featured in both Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far from Home.

My Recent Reads

Fantastic Four #34
Originally Published January 1, 1965
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Image result for mr gideon marvel
via Marvel Database
  • Villain: Mr. Gideon, a billionaire set on world domination.  In the end, he gives up his fortune and devotes himself to his loving family.  Awww...
  • Beatles reference!

Fantastic Four #35
Originally Published February 1, 1965

Image result for dragon man marvel
via Marvel Database
  • Villain: Diablo, controlling Dragon Man
  • Cameos: Professor X and Scott Summers of the X-Men, Peter Parker
  • The FF's personal lives aren't nearly as interesting as Parker's but there is an important development in this issue: it would appear Reed and Sue are engaged!

Fantastic Four #36
Originally Published March 1, 1965

Image result for frightful four
via Comic Book Religion
  • Villains: a new bad guy team known as The Frightful Four, featuring the Wizard, Medusa, Sandman and Paste-Pot Pete
  • Guests at Reed and Sue's engagement party, invited and otherwise: the X-Men, the Avengers and Spider-Man

Fantastic Four #37
Originally Published April 1, 1965
  • The FF travel to the Skrull world so Sue Storm can avenge the murder of her father.
  • Nemesis (villain doesn't fit since the FF picked this fight): Morrat
Image result for morrat marvel
via Marvel Database
  • Princess Anelle and her father, the king, Dorrek VII (unnamed in the issue) also appear.  She is Morrat's fiancĂ©e and Dad doesn't approve of his prospective son-in-law.
Image result for anelle marvel
Anelle via Marvel Database
Image result for dorrek vii marvel
Dorrek VII via Marvel Database
  • Beatles reference!

Fantastic Four #38
Originally Published May 1, 1965
  • Villain: The Frightful Four
  • Paste-Pot Pete renames himself The Trapster, thank goodness.
  • The story ends with a cliffhanger.  As with Spidey, we're gradually getting longer arcs.

Fantastic Four #39
Originally Published June 1, 1965
  • Part 2 of the story arc begun in the previous issue.
  • Villain: Dr. Doom
  • Crossover: Daredevil, and for more than just a cameo.  He's on-hand to help.
  • After their run in with The Frightful Four in #38, the Fantastic Four are stripped of their powers.  They feel helpless and vulnerable, which of course, they're not really.  They just have to be resourceful.  There is a powerful message in Daredevil, in particular, stepping in.  Not only does he lack obvious superpowers but he's blind.  He knows all about making the most of what you have rather than dwelling upon what you don't.


  1. You now have plenty of time to dig into these comics, I assume. I'll just listen to the Beatles!

  2. I've really got no comment today.
    The FF has never been one of my favorite books, so I'm not as familiar with the early stuff.

    1. I definitely prefer Spidey but the FF makes for an interesting change.

      I'd say the original Spidey stories have aged better, too.

  3. Never understood why DC Comics didn't use typical city names for their heroes home bases. I understand "Gotham" is New York but Metropolis for Superman and Central City for the Flash still confuse me.

    1. It's definitely an interesting difference between the two universes.