Fantastic Four #13 features the story “Mystery on the Moon,” which is divided into four parts, including “Fantastic Four versus the Red Ghost and His Incredible Super Apes,” “Menace on the Moon,” “The Watcher Appears,” and “Duel in the Dead City.” This issue is the first appearance for two characters: the Watcher and the Red Ghost. Mystery on the Moon centers on the race to the moon between the Fantastic Four and Ivan Krugoff (aka the Red Ghost), who is with the communists of course. Upon landing on the moon they discover an ancient city and the powerful Watcher and are forced to battle by the Watcher.
The positives of this issue is that it introduces the Watcher, which hints at the cosmic nature that the series would take in later issues. In addition, the Red Ghost also is a character with interesting powers. I also absolutely love Kirby’s design for the Watcher, which is very distinctive.
On the negative side would be the actual story itself. Probably the biggest issue with the story is the idea of super powered monkeys helping the Red Ghost get into space. I mean even before the monkeys received super powers they were doing things like shooting guns and repairing machines, which was just a little far-fetched for me. Also, doesn’t this issue present the problematic issue of if anyone exposed to cosmic rays gets super powers why wouldn’t the Soviets or the Americans be sending lots of people to space to get powers? Finally, there’s the anti-Communism undertones present throughout the story that present it as Americans are good and Communists are evil, which clearly is dated.
Fantastic Four # 13 is a perfectly serviceable issue, there’s just nothing great about it, outside of being the first appearance of the awesome character that is the Watcher.
- Editor: Stan Lee
- Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
- Writers: Stan Lee
- Pencilers: Jack Kirby
- Inkers: Steve Ditko
- Colorists: Stan Goldberg
- Letterers: Artie Simek