Thursday, July 15, 2010

Marvel History Post 34: Fantastic Four # 11

Issue: Fantastic Four # 11
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: February 1963

Brief Summary:

It's a day in the life of the Fan 4, who begin to answer a whole slew of fan mail. In the midst of this, Reed gives Thing a new serum to turn him back into human form. We also learn more about the team's origin, which is recounted. The serum doesn't work very long, as Thing turns back into his rocky form before stories' end. Also, the team celebrates Sue's birthday after answering a bunch of their fan mail. In the second story, the Impossible Man arrives on the planet, and he can change his shape into just about anything. He robs a bank because he finds out he needs money to get food. The Fan 4 gets word, and they catch up to the Impossible Man, who is in the middle of a large feast. Thing loses his cool, and before they know it, the team is in combat with the little green guy. The Impossible Man leaves, and then he realizes that earthlings can't change their shape into anything they want, which makes him the most powerful thing on earth. The Fan 4 eventually knock him out for a moment when Torch hypnotizes him and forces him to lose consciousness for a moment, and Impossible Man, having the time of his life, declares he's going to stay on earth forever. Reed's plan is to let the guy do whatever he wants in the hopes that he'll lose interest in earth. The plan works, and the Impossible Man flies off, declaring he will not return to such a boring planet.

Commentary: We now see a little more of the origin of some of the characters. We learn about how Ben and Reed were college roommates, and hear of their time in war as well. Stan is sticking with his origin of the team rushing out into space because they need to beat the communists up there. Also, the team seems too much the aggressor in their first fight with the Impossible Man. It seems strange that Reed does not recognize the situation as a simple misunderstanding with an alien life form that is not used to earth's customs.

Quick Thoughts:
  • The love triangle between Reed, Sue, and Namor is raised once more.
  • More meta, as some of what's referenced in the letters page is discussed in the contents of the issue.
  • The adventure on Planet X from issue seven is referenced here, as the team kept the saucer from that journey.
  • In the letters page, Stan says that Ben and Reed are in their late thirties, Sue is in her twenties, and Johnny is seventeen.
  • The Impossible Man's race is Poppupian.
Favorite Panel: I'm not sure what a hobo jungle is, but apparently it's an odd place. Stan also takes a crack at Hobos by outing one of them as an alcoholic.

Next: Journey into Mystery # 89