Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1962
A creepy alien named Kurrgo, ruler of Planet X, has been monitoring the Fan 4, and is distressed that his planet is about to crash into another planet. Planet X only has two spaceships, but Kurrgo sends one of them out to earth (without Superman) piloted by a robot to find the Fan 4. Meanwhile, the Fan 4 are due to be honored in the nation's capital, but the group is reluctant to go. Thing doesn't want to go, and Reed says he's disappointed to have to take a break from an experiment on rocket fuel. One's a stony monster, the other has to stop working for a little while. Yeah, they're on an even playing field. As the Fan 4 arrive in Washington and receive their honors, the robot activates a ray that makes everyone feel hostile. The crowd honoring the Fan 4 suddenly turns on them. The Fan 4 runs from the people and the army like they're the Hulk. They get back in their ship, but now the robot's ship is following them. They make it back to their own roof, where the robot emerges from his ship and delivers a message from Kurggo. He says the people of earth will hunt the Fan 4 wherever they go, so they need to come with him, as his master has a request for them. The Fan 4, always up for anything, go with the robot. When they arrive, Kurrgo explains that he needs the Fan 4 to save his planet from destruction at the hands of the asteroid headed towards it. Thing and Torch ain't pleased with this, and attack the robot. When they settle down, Reed goes to work on saving the planet, but he's only got 24 hours before it collides with the other planet. Ain't no thang for Mr. Fantastic though, who invents something to shrink all of the people of Planet X so they can fit in one spaceship and escape. Reed tells them that there is then an enlarging gas they can release when they find a new world so they will be restored to full size. Kurrgo is pleased, and let's the Fan 4 go. As the Fan 4 escape, Kurrgo decides to keep the enlarging gas for himself. Big mistake, as due to his greed, he doesn't make it to the ship in time, and goes down with Planet X. Meanwhile, Reed explains to the others that there was no enlarging gas after all, so the people of Planet X will remain Kandor-sized forever.
We have a few signs of Reed's obsession with science and invention, so much so that it hampers him from acting like a normal guy. In this issue, we see him compare his suffering at having to postpone his experiment to the Thing's monstrous appearance. He also is blown away by Kurrgo's robots technology, when he really should be focused on why the hell everyone in the world wants the Fan 4's hides. And, finally, he more or less agrees to go with Kurrgo's robot due to his insatiable curiosity about Planet X. Again, Stan's not careful about keeping a lot of his villains alive. Kurrgo bites the dust here, after the Executioner got killed over in Journey into Mystery, and Gargoyle died at the end of Incredible Hulk # 1.
- Thing's becoming self-aware about his temper and his crippling self-consciousness about his appearance
- The army knows they can't handle Human Torch without their asbestos suits. Human Torch: 1, Army: 0, Asbestos: 2. And, we learn of a new weakness of his: Chemical Foam!
- Torch goes supernova at one point, hinting at his untapped power
- So Reed also invents a shrinking formula? Perhaps he traded to get it from Pym in exchange for unstable molecules
Human Torch imagining what it would be like to try to tell jokes to the crowd in Washington, DC. Actually, the one disappointed man does look pretty similar to how Ted Kennedy used to look during Bush's state of the union speeches.
Next: Journey into Mystery # 85