Strange Tales #116 (12/10/1963)

detail.jpgUgh, yet another appearance by the horrid Puppet Master, one of the worst villains in the Marvel Universe. In this issue, the Puppet Master takes control of the Human Torch and has him battle it out with the Thing. Of course, the Thing didn’t think twice that something might be off with the Human Torch coming onto Alicia. I swear in these early issues the heroes seem to forget about villains they face. Also, apparently the Human Torch has the power to go through a jet without harming himself or the jet. Oh well, at least the art was good.

Fortunately, Dr. Strange’s tale more than makes up for the lackluster Human Torch tale. In this issue, Nightmare has developedĀ a way to steal people’s corporeal forms while they are dreaming. It is up to Dr. Strange to travel to the Nightmare World and confront them. What follows is a pretty epic confrontation that puts the Human Torch/Puppet Master to shame. In addition, Ditko’s depiction of the Nightmare World and its denizens is fantastic. Do yourself a favor, skip the Human Torch tale and go straight to the Dr. Strange tale.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Dick Ayers
  • Inkers: George Bell
  • Colourists:
  • Letterers: Ray Holloway
  • Editors: Stan Lee

Fantastic Four #14 (05/10/1963)

detail22.jpgFantastic 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.

Rating: 2.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Editor: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Jack Kirby
  • Inkers: Steve Ditko
  • Colorists: Stan Goldberg
  • Letterers: Artie Simek

Fantastic Four #8 (11/01/1962)

detail2Fantastic Four #8 features the storyPrisoners of the Puppet Master,” which is divided into five parts: “Prisoners of the Puppet Master,” “The Hands of a Puppet Maker,” “The Lady and the Monster,” “Face to Face with the Puppet Master” and “Death of a Puppet.” This story revolves around the Puppet Master using his powers to manipulate the Fantastic Four into fighting themselves. This issue features the first appearance of the Puppet Master and Alicia Masters.

The positive thing in this issue is that it features the first appearance of Alicia, the blind stepdaughter of the Puppet Master. In this issue, Alicia demonstrates that she is one of the few people that can see past the Thing to Ben Grimm. However, the negatives far outweigh the positives in this issue, which gives Fantastic Four #8 being a step back for the series. First off the Puppet Master is not a particularly well-thought out villain. He’s gained his ability to control people through radioactive clay figures he carves, but during the story it flips from him having to have them in a room and physically manipulating them to some how mentally controlling them. The other issue would be the motivations of the Puppet Master. As far as I can tell he attacks the Fantastic Four because his finger gets burned because of the Human Torch rescuing one of his puppets. Also if there is a two way feedback through the puppets, wouldn’t he also feel when the person would’ve impacted the water? Like I said, not a well-thought out character.

Fantastic Four #8 is really only for hardcore Fantastic Four fans. There is not much worth here to recommend this issue to anyone due to a lame villain and a disappointing story.

Rating: 2.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Editors: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Jack Kirby
  • Inkers: Dick Ayers
  • Colorists: Stan Goldberg
  • Letterers: Artie Simek