Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1962
Victor Von Doom is an old college classmate of Reed Richards who, instead of engaging in fraternity pranks, all night benders, and bounteous feasts of Ramen noodles, decided instead to try to learn black magic. I think we all remember that guy from our Freshman comp class. Victor, now going by Dr. Doom (which indicates his collegiate studies couldn't have gone that poorly) captures the Fantastic Four. Doom takes the Invisible Girl on his ship. Doom wants the Fan 4 to go to the past in the time machine he invented to pick up…Blackbeard’s treasure chest. The Fan 3 (Sue stays behind) are transported back in time, where they promptly steal pirate clothes. Their next plan to get the treasure; drink grog, fall asleep, and get thrown on a pirate ship. This works out rather well, actually, as it turns out that after conquering another pirate ship and stealing their treasure, the Thing is actually the Blackbeard of legend. Reed divides the treasure among the other pirates, and decides to just bring back the chest for Doom (without the jewels inside). The Thing decides he likes being Blackbeard, and plans to stay. He sets Reed and Johnny adrift, but a huge storm washes all three ashore. Doom brings them back to the present at this point, and explains the gems in the chest were crafted with magic by Merlin, and will make him invincible. He’s displeased with the empty chest. The Thing attacks, but it’s just a robot of Dr. Doom! The Fan 4 escape a few death traps, and the real Doom gets away to plan his next attempt at world domination.
First of all, we get the big baddie: Victor Von Doom. He's perhaps the most well established villain in the MU, and his first plan...steal Blackbeard's treasure. Perhaps not his best effort. But, Doom's a crafty one, and makes an escape. Also, some of his back story with Mr. Fantastic is hinted at. We also get to see our first Doombot, a robot copy of Doom. We're starting to see a little bit more of the world building of the MU. When the powerful gems fall to the bottom of the sea, Torch worries that they might fall into the hands of Namor from last issue.
The Fantastic Four are still not getting along very well. Despite Thing's troubles with Reed in the first issue, he's stirred up the most conflict with Torch since that time. And, once more, a member of the Fan 4 tries to break away from the rest of the group. This time it's the Thing, who briefly considers staying behind in time to remain Blackbeard the pirate. Reed bemoans the fact that the team cannot seem to get along at all. This is interesting, as in more modern comics, while the Fan 4 have their conflicts, they have come together as a group a lot more. They are often referred to as a family, which is a far cry away in these early issues, and a far cry from some of the more dysfunctional other Marvel teams.
- Another meta moment with Torch reading Incredible Hulk # 1 (free marketing!)
- Nothing stops the Human Torch! Except asbestos. Seriously, Torch: 0, Asbestos: 2.
- The Thing actually admits he's wrong! Could be signs of a breakthrough a-comin...
Next: Incredible Hulk # 2