Fantastic Four #14 features the story, “Sub-Mariner and the Puppet Master.” This issue features the return of the Puppet Master, who manipulates the Sub-Mariner into kidnapping Sue Storm in order to lure the rest of the Fantastic Four to his underwater lair.
One of the positives of this issue is definitely Jack Kirby’s art work, especially his representation of the undersea kingdom and its denizens. In addition, the issue also furthers the love triangle between the Sub-Mariner, Reed Richards and Susan Storm. There’s also some creative creatures in this story, such as the mento-fish, which apparently senses and transmits human thought. In addition there was a heat devouring creature called the flame-devour, as well as a giant clam. I also really enjoy the cover to this issue and how it gives the perspective that the Fantastic Four are going to have get through the Sub-Mariner to reach Sue.
However, that can’t save the issue from its biggest flaw, namely the Puppet Master. I’m sorry, but it’s really hard to take this character seriously and his powers are so vaguely defined. Also, his return implies that the Fantastic Four didn’t even bother to check on him when he fell out the window to see if he was still alive, which really doesn’t seem like a hero-like thing to do. At least he’s decided to wear a lead-lined suit now when using his radioactive clay (safety first). The other downside to this issue is it really shows off how women were viewed at the time. In the story, Sue is pretty much depicted as a secretary/mother of the group, rather than a fellow hero. In addition, she has a habit of getting captured and requiring rescuing.
It’s hard to recommend Fantastic Four #14 to anyone, because the Puppet Master is such a lame character and how Sue is presented in this issue is sure to be offensive to women readers, if not most readers.
- Editor: Stan Lee
- Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
- Writers: Stan Lee
- Pencilers: Jack Kirby
- Inkers: Steve Ditko
- Colorists: Stan Goldberg
- Letterers: Artie Simek