Nuclear reactors are disappearing around the world due to sinkholes forming underneath them, thanks to the nefarious work of the Moleman. Fortunately there is the Fantastic Four around to challenge his evil plans! Fantastic Four #1 is the comic that kicked of the Marvel Universe. This issue also features the first appearances of Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), Johnny Storm (Human Torch), Invisible Girl (Sue Storm), and The Thing (Ben Grimm), and the Moleman, as well as telling the origin story of how they got their powers
While the plot of the comic itself is hardly groundbreaking, what is groundbreaking is some of the foundations that are laid in this issue that will go on to be hallmarks of the series. The biggest one would be the dysfunctional family dynamics between the members of the Fantastic Four. Prior to this issue, most heroes were portrayed as being pretty ideal people. That’s definitely not the case in this issue, which sees Reed Richards arguing with Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm setting Grimm off. In addition, this issue sets the sci-fi tones that would be present throughout the series. Thus, this issue features fantastic (no pun intended) monsters for the group to fight when they land on Monster Island. Finally, there is also humor present in this issue that would serve the series so well. One scene I enjoyed in particular was the one with Sue Storm catching a taxi while invisible. I don’t know why, it was just humorous to me.
Perhaps the greatest weakness of the issue itself is Moleman himself (even if he has Giganto backing him up), as he really comes off as hardly a threat to the might of the Fantastic Four and is definitely not one of the group‘s definitive enemies. It probably doesn’t help that he also tells them all about his powers, as well as his master plan, naturally. Heck, he even refers to it as his natural plan. In addition, those who are more used to the standards of storytelling and artwork today might be put off by what they find in this issue. However, I have always found Kirby’s pencils timeless. This issue is definitely required reading for any who is curious to see the origins of not only the Fantastic Four, but also of the Marvel style.
- Editor: Stan Lee
- Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
- Writers: Stan Lee
- Pencilers: Jack Kirby
- Inkers: George Klein(?)
- Colorists: Stan Goldberg
- Letterers: Artie Simek