Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marvel History Post 39: Fantastic Four # 12

Issue: Fantastic Four # 12 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: March 1963 Brief Summary: Thing is out enjoying a concert with gal pal Alicia Masters when he gets into a fracas with some army men who confuse him with the Hulk. He returns to HQ and complains to the rest of the team about it. General Thunderbolt Ross pays the Fan 4 a visit next, and he wants them to take out the Hulk, whom he believes is responsible for tampering with government missile equipment. The Fan 4 plus Ross head out the desert, where the Hulk hangs. There they meet with Bruce Banner, who actually is the Hulk, unbeknownst to them. He explains that he does not believe the Hulk is responsible for wrecking the government equipment. Meanwhile, Banner's friend Rick Jones is returning a wallet, when he finds out the owner of the wallet is a communist, and the one actually responsible for the attack on the government. He is a guy known as the Wrecker. He captures Rick, and leaves a note for Banner saying he's got to get rid of the Fan 4 if Banner ever wants to see Rick alive again. He turns into the Hulk, and both he and the Fan 4 separately search for Rick. When they run into each other, Hulk fights the Fan 4. As they are fighting, a robot belonging to the Wrecker, the robot which actually caused the damage in the first place, breaks through to the surface. The Fan 4 beat up on the machine, and then catch the Wrecker himself, while Hulk bounds away. The Fan 4 is thanked and honored for their efforts by the government. The Hulk, elsewhere, is sure he will meet up with the Fan 4 again some day. Commentary: There's another multi panel sequence of hypothesizing by the team, where Thing and Torch envision what will happen when they catch the Hulk. Stan does seem to enjoy writing these fantasies where the team elaborately envisions how they think something will or should play out. This is also the second issue in a row where we see the beginning of what will become a very popular theme for Marvel, which is superheroes fighting their own, as Hulk goes toe to toe with the Fan 4. These fights in the early days are usually over something petty, or due to some form of mental manipulation or other trickery, but Marvel did have a full scale superhero war over ideology in the relatively recent Civil War storyline. Quick Thoughts:
  • Thing is still rockin the shades when he's out in public.
  • Thing also specifies an interest in jazz music.
  • Invisible Girl loses control of her invisibility power at one point due to fear.
  • Torch modifies the Fantasti-Car to make it look more spiffy.
  • A fan writes in accusing Jack Kirby of Rob Liefield syndrome, aka the inability to draw feet.
  • Another meta moment when information from one of the captions is withheld at the request of Reed Richards.
Favorite Quote: "And then, one of the most dramatic moments in the history of adventure-fantasy occurs, as the Incredible Hulk suddenly hurls himself into the open, face-to-face with the mighty Thing!" Favorite Panel: Reed's plan on how to beat the Hulk. This is very similar to his initial model for the Ultimate Nullifier. Next: The Incredible Hulk # 6