Tag Archives: Fantastic Four

Avenging The Fantastic, Part 13: The Black Widow Goes Solo (Briefly)!

Continuing the read-through of as many Avengers and Fantastic Four–related Marvel comics as possible!

Books Read

Fantastic Four #94-104; Avengers #73-83; Captain America #121-133, Captain America and the Falcon #134; Iron Man #21-32; Incredible Hulk #125-134; Thor #172-181; Amazing Adventures (starring Black Widow) #1-4; years: 1970-71

The Revolving Door of Avengers Mansion

Yellowjacket and Wasp are out so Hank Pym can do science for the government, but Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are back, thus filling the Avengers’ quota of unhealthy relationships. And then the Vision abruptly leaves shortly later…and returns almost immediately.

Iron_Man_Vol_1_21The Best of This Bunch – Iron Man #21-22

Archie Goodwin’s solid run on Iron Man continues with a tale of Tony Stark trying to quit his superhero life…and realizing he can’t. The story features tropes that have become too commonplace these days—a replacement for the hero, a replacement for an old villain, and the death of a romantic interest. But these tropes were fresher in 1970 and, in this particular instance, well-handled.

Iron-willed boxer and all-around decent guy Eddie March makes for a likeable potential Iron Man, though he has a medical condition of his own that cuts his super-heroic career short. Surprisingly, he survives the tale, but Janice Cord’s death comes out of nowhere.

Janice had been portrayed as a potential girlfriend for Tony Stark for the past twenty issues or so. Now, after an experimental medical procedure leaves Tony Stark’s heart healthy enough for daily life but not necessarily superhero life, he decides to pursue a normal relationship and pass the Iron Man armor onto a worthy successor. Continue reading

Today’s Super Comic — Fantastic Four #25 (1964)

Fantastic Four 25A classic slugfest, and the greatest Thing vs. Hulk battle ever put to four colors as the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby collaboration really begins to hit its stride.

The Hulk is rampaging. The Human Torch and the Invisible Girl don’t have the raw strength to hold their own against him. Mr. Fantastic is out of commission with a mysterious flu. The Avengers haven’t arrived on the scene yet. That leaves the Thing as the only person in the city with any prayer of taking down the Hulk. As strong as the Thing is, though, he’s seriously out of his weight class here.

But that doesn’t stop him from giving the Hulk everything he’s got.

It’s the superhero as the underdog, a tale of perseverance (something I’m always a sucker for). Back when superheroes seldom lost, this issue showed how there are multiple ways for the good guy to “win.”

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Essential Fantastic Four vol. 2 (TPB)

Appropriate For: 8 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Fantastic Four #51 (1966)

Fantastic_Four_51This may be an old one, but it also holds up as among the finest Fantastic Four stories of all time.

An unnamed scientist, who envies Reed Richards’s success, lures the self-pitying Thing into his apartment and steals his powers, reverting Ben Grimm to human form. Posing as the Thing, this scientist infiltrates the FF as Reed is trying create faster-than-light travel in his quest to build defenses against threats like Galactus (the world was almost eaten like yesterday). He’s preparing to embark on a one-man exploration of sub-space, but he’s depending on the Thing to keep him anchored to their own dimension. When Reed gets into trouble, this nameless scientist has a chance to show what kind of man he truly is.

It’s a short but incredibly effective redemption tale during which not a single punch is thrown. If last year’s Fantastic Four movie left a bad taste in your mouth, rinse it out with this and observe the classic writer/artist team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in top form.

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Publishers: Marvel

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; Essential Fantastic Four vol. 3 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 8 and up