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Fantastic Four

Unearthed: Fantastic Four #2

Welcome back as we usher in the era of the Skrulls! Those of you who only know of them through the MCU might be surprised at their lowly origins here. But fret not! They grow in stature and prominence throughout the Marvel Universe over the decades, eventually becoming one of the Great Alien Races. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Let’s just begin with the cover, shall we?

Almost adorable, aren’t they? But oh, so full of mischief, they are.

Take a good look at Thing’s ear here; you may never see it again.

Quick catch-up: crimes are being committed all over the city by what appears to be the Fantastic Four. Including…

… the melting of this marble statue. Yes. Somehow the Torch has melted marble. That’s a crime of an entirely different sort.

As is this! Holy cats, Reed TURNED OFF THE LIGHTS! What’ll we — oh, wait, the technician just turned them back on. Oh. Okay, we’re fine.

So you… set yourself on FIRE just to impersonate the Torch? Wow! J’onn J’onzz would be so impressed!

Oiks! Here’s my question: the Skrulls can change shape into anything. Why do they look like THIS? Or, rather, why do they all look the SAME? Is this some government-mandated effort against appearance-related tall poppy syndrome? Or, on the Skrull homeworld, is this considered the height of beauty?

These are the questions that drive us.

It’s because you paired that lavender hat with that royal blue coat, Thing. C’mon, man, you have to TRY.

Bear Head: FREEDOM! HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE FREEDOM!

Wondering how Reed’s clothes stretch along with his arms? Shut up, that’s how!

“Plum Squad, deploy to the right! Pumpkin Orange Squad, flank left! Yellow Squad will guard the rear — yes, AGAIN. Sh-shut up! We’re not COWARDS! That’s — that’s not why we’re called Yellow Squad! I — I’m telling SARGE!”

Escape in 3, 2, 1…

I really enjoy pointing out dumb Stan Lee plot points whenever they occur. Here we go:

Yo, Torch, bursting into flames wasn’t the problem. You weren’t in an air-tight room. How did you melt through that asbestos? You know, that flame-proof stuff you YOURSELF mentioned in the last panel?

You… you DO know what ‘invisible’ means, right?

“And now I’ll carefully screw it back into place and remain in my cell! Fair’s fair, they caught us, after all!”

You’ve set the entire BASE afire. Are you… SURE you’re the innocent ones here?

Okay, now’s the time to mention that at this time in comic book history, this kind of inter-team bickering and hostility was a new thing. Why, you’d never see the Justice League behaving like this! How do I know? Check it out!

Recap: the FF decide to smoke out the Skrulls by pretending to be one of them. And apparently the fact that they all look the same works to their disadvantage here, because they couldn’t even tell Johnny wasn’t one of them. Or they don’t talk to each other ever. Or something, whatever, Stan Lee.

UNNECESSARY DRAMATIC LIGHTING

“Got to… FIGHT it! Must… warn… others…”

It must really rankle the Thing to be constantly wrapped up in Reed’s arms like this, right? Or… OR… this is why Ben gets so riled up all the time… for some sweet, sweet stretchy lovin’! I have cracked the case.

UNNECESSARY DRAMATIC LI– wait, how is he even DOING that?

What would a GUILTY water tower look like? Goatee?

Okay, okay, time out. Reed is claiming these to be photos of Earth’s actual defenses and the lead Skrull is buying it. Stan, are you saying that these guys can’t recognize a drawing? Or that they’re scared of monsters, even though they THEMSELVES can become any kind of creature?

So anyway, Reed fools the Skrulls into leaving earth, and they come back to Earth in the spaceship they commandeered. On the way, they pass back through some kind of radiation belt, and Ben briefly becomes human again. And then this. Cripes, the poor guy, right? Sadly, this whole pathos angle gets shunted aside in the years to come, getting resurrected every now and then just for a quick, cheap stab at sentimentality. But man, he looks so DOWN in that final panel, dun’t’e?

How… is he holding on to the building?

Okay, well, there goes my earlier supposition that this is the Skrull epitome of beauty.

Promise you – ? You don’t get to make demands! 10 seconds ago you were begging Reed not to KILL YOU.

Also, “hynotize”?

Is it wrong that the thing I’m most drawn to in this panel is that weird, leaning tree?

And there you have it! The Fantastic Four #2! Friday we get to see #3, and hoo boy, you’re gonna wanna be here for THAT!

Please be here for that.

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