Thursday, July 1, 2010

Marvel History Post 19: Fantastic Four # 8

Issue: Fantastic Four # 8 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: November 1962 Brief Summary: The Thing gets irritated that the rest of the gang won't let him see what Reed's working on, so he walks out on them. Sue follows, and they see a man climbing up to the top of a bridge in a trance. He is under the control of the Puppet Master, who has a replica of the bridge and the man, and is controlling him. Sue sends up the signal flare, which Torch sees, and he saves the man. Puppet Master feels Torch's flame through his little puppet. Puppet Master vows revenge, when his daughter (or step daughter, he reminds her) Alicia, who is blind, comes in to check on him. Puppet Master has radioactive clay, which is what he uses to control people. He uses this to bring Thing to him, but does not know that Invisible Girl is following him. Alicia senses her, Pupper Master releases ether, and Sue goes on a trip and falls unconscious. Pupper Master has his daughter leave with Thing, impersonating Invisible Girl. Upon returning, Thing attacks, and crashes into Reed's experiment, which returns him to his normal human form. This also ends the Pupper Master's control over him. Thing finds out he's only human when the chemical is on him. Alicia reveals she likes the Thing as the Thing (hey, she's blind). Meanwhile, Puppet Master engineers a jailbreak with his puppets, and Invisible Girl tries to escape. She fails, but manages to shoot up her signal flare. The Fan 4 manages to rescue her, but Puppet Master gets away. The Fan 4's attention is diverted to the prison break. Torch rescues the prison's warden, and then the team rounds up the loose prisoners. Meanwhile, Alicia is upset about what her step father has planned. They get in a fight, and in the struggle, the Puppet Master goes tumbling out a window after tripping over Alicia's arm. The Fan 4 are left to wonder how he fell, as Alicia does not tell them. Commentary: We get to see a gentler side of Thing, as he realizes that Reed was working to turn him back into a human. He's starting to become a more rounded character, although his softer side does have a tendency to only come out when he's reverted to human form. Also, the Thing gets a love interest in Alicia, the Puppet Master's stepdaughter. Stan is slowly adding new characters into the Fan 4 family. Human Torch makes a reference to the year, 1962. In terms of Marvel History years later, when over 40 years have elapsed in real time and only 10 or so in MU time, that will get retconned. In terms of trying to maintain a sense of continuity, this action of removing certain events from the past and acting as though they have never occurred becomes essential. This could lead into a larger argument about how impractical it is for comic book characters to never age, but at the same time, this is one of the only mediums that can afford to keep its characters from aging, so Marvel and DC have both taken advantage of this. We'll save this discussion for future posts. Quick Thoughts:
  • Sticking with Torch, he doesn't burn the man he rescues from the bridge because his suit now deactivates the flame on a part of his body if it comes into contact with a person.
  • His super nova has the power of an exploding sun! That's 1,000 times smaller than the power of the Sentry, but who the hell is the Sentry, anyway?
  • In the letters page, someone wanted the part of Mr. Fantastic played in a movie by Gregory Peck. This reader will have to wait many years and then settle for this man.
Favorite Panel: Thing finds a little bit of lovin, but finds out that the blind Alicia Masters likes him more when he's the Thing. Alicia's blind, but this is the old moral that it's who you are on the inside that matters, and that Thing needs to work on being a better person, be it as a big hunky rock man or no. Take note of how comforted Alicia is in the second panel, as contrasted to the Thing's despair. Next: The Incredible Hulk # 4