Fantastic Four #4 features the story “The Coming of the Sub-Mariner,” which is divided into five parts: “On the Trial of the Torch,” “Enter the Sub-Mariner,” “Let the World Beware,” “Sub-Mariner’s Revenge” and “Return to the Deep.” This issue features the return of one of Marvel’s golden age heroes, Namor, the Sub-Mariner. The comic reintroduces Namor in a pretty interesting way, by having him suffering from amnesia as a way to explain his absence. The Sub-Mariner eventually goes on to become of the Fantastic Four’s greatest adversaries. I say adversary, because Namor is one of those complex characters that dwells in the gray area. Unlike, say, Miracle Man, who was just a straight up bad guy who just wanted to conquer the world, Namor is seeking revenge for the destruction of his kingdom at the hands of mankind. In addition, this issue is the first appearance of Giganto, an immense whale-like creature.
In my opinion, Fantastic Four #4 features one the best story in the series thus far. I say this for two reasons. The first reason is because it actually connects to the events at the end of the last issue between the Human Torch and the Thing, which is the first time the series has done that (outside of recapping the origins). The second reason is this is a more flushed out story, in that there are high stakes and the villain‘s motivations are more fleshed out and nuanced, rather than just a generic take over the world motivation.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention just how fantastic Kirby’s design of Giganto is, he really comes off as a mythical sea monster. In addition, the battle scenes between the Fantastic Four and Giganto are fantastic as well. There’s lots of destruction and mayhem.
Overall, Fantastic Four #4 is a must read issue not only for fans of the series, but also Marvel fans in general. This is a not to be missed issue. Solid story, solid art and all the elements that make a Fantastic Four story great are present in this issue. Also, if there’s another Fantastic Four movie, maybe they should look at this issue for inspiration instead of whatever they were using for the last movie.
- Editors: Stan Lee
- Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky
- Writers: Stan Lee
- Pencilers: Jack Kirby
- Inkers: Sol Brodsky
- Colourists: Stan Goldberg
- Letterers: Artie Simek