Fantastic Four

Unearthed: Fantastic Four #1 — PART ONE

It’s time for us to visit Marvel’s First Family… the Fantastic Four! In this first issue we see how much farther along Kirby’s art has progressed since the Avengers work we showcased in our first series… truly, one of the greats! There’s so much to cover here we’re splitting it up over two episodes! But first, the oft-mimicked cover:

Now, a few things off the bat: Stan Lee will always be one of the legends of the comics industry, but that doesn’t mean his work is unimpeachable. There are some odd storytelling bits we’ll highlight throughout this series.

Second, the cover here attests that this is the first time these four have come together… but as far as we know, they’ve never been seen even SEPARATELY before.

Third, for those of you new to the Fantastic Four, the exploits of Pixar’s Incredibles were based loosely on the FF… right down to the villain who shows up at the end of the first movie, The Underminer, a clear nod to this first issue’s Mole Man.

Okay, enough preamble. Now… THE AMBLE.

Your Fantastic Four starting line-up: Vincent Price as Reed Richards! Chris Cooper as Ben Grimm! Doris Day as Sue Storm! And Kasey Kasem as Johnny Storm!

“Why… it’s almost as though she… WALKED OUT OF THE ROOM!”

And thus begins Stan Lee’s run of needlessly complicating things.

And yet you’re clearly wearing clothes right NOW.

“Dat’s right, buddy boy, take a gander at my THING!”

And yet… you were able to get IN…

Just a word of appreciation for Kirby’s layout skills. Look at the wonderful variety on display here: foreground to background, the way the action leads the eye around the panel, the angles that contribute to the feeling of chaos… simply masterful.

And again here… there’s a sense of the sweeping movement of the water that leads directly to the “camera”. And look at the piping on the walls, which manages to look genuine but probably isn’t.

And Stan Lee writes the Thing in this first chapter as though he were some kind of melodramatic stage actor. In the second chapter he gives Ben more of a street New York accent. No reason for the change at all.

Sorry, are these not teenaged kids? The hell else COULD Johnny be talking about that this other dude wouldn’t know?

So, car completely destroyed because Johnny couldn’t open a door first. Not pictured: the horrific third-degree burns this kid suffered almost certainly.

“Grab me, Johnny boy! That’s it! Lower! Awww YEAH”

This is how you get Ben to do anything: eat his veggies, shower, do simple math… and he reacts with anger EVERY time. It’s hilarious, really.

Four of them easily sneak past a heavily-guarded launch pad wearing bulky flight suits. Okay, Stan.

So, Stan, cosmic rays are 1) made of light, 2) pass through you (just like light does, right?) so you can’t feel them, and 3) make a sound on metal, even though they pass through things. CITATION NEEDED

That’s just puberty, Johnny.

An unexpected side effect of cosmic rays: they allow you to think the same thing as everyone else.

And thus ends Part One of the Fantastic Four #1! Please to enjoy Part Two, coming soon!