Tag Archives: Human Torch

The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Jack Kirby
Inked by Vince Colletta
Lettered by Artie Simek
Catered by The Bullpen Gang!

The original story in this issue features a whopping 19 superheroes and 20 supervillains, not to mention Uatu the watcher, Patsy Walker (from the girl magazines they did, and a decade before she’d join normal Marvel continuity as Hellcat), Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves. I’m not going to mention all of them in my little one paragraph review, but I actually kept track in the tag section if you’re interested, and I’m so sure that you are.

It’s the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm, the most beautiful event in any comic book person’s life. Unfortunately, they are comic book people, and that means they associate with a lot of super-powered folks. Also, Richards was mean to Dr. Doom back in college, so he’s decided to invent a machine to make every villain in the area try to kill him. After a ridiculously massive brawl, the Watcher shows up and (without interfering at all) gives Mr. Fantastic a machine that’ll send all the villains back to where they were with no memory of what happened at all. Okay, whatever. The happy wedding goes on happily and everyone is happy forever. Except Lee and Kirby, who are turned away at the door because everyone thinks they’re bums.

The reprint stories are that one awesome issue where Dr. Doom and Namor team up to throw the Baxter Building into the Sun and the two half stories from issue #11 where the Fantastic Four answers fan mail and deal with the Impossible Man. There’s usually another one in these annuals, but the huge brawl took up a lot of space, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Yeah, that’s a dumb ending to this excuse to fit every character possible into one comic book, but who cares? It’s all in good fun, and Giant Man didn’t show up at all, so I couldn’t be happier with it! Plus, his worst enemy, the Human Top, is taken out by a single punch from Quicksilver, who doesn’t even have super strength or anything. LOVE IT.


The Fantastic Four #43, Oct. 1965

The Fantastic Four #43, Oct. 1965

Daringly written by Stan Lee
Dazzlingly drawn by Jack Kirby
Dramatically inked by Vince Colletta
Docily lettered by Artie Simek

I gotta think that “Lo, there shall be an ending!” is one of the worst possible names for a story. Yes, finally, it’s over! This awful storyline keeps getting complaints, but we had to stick through it because it set up other things, dammit!

Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl manage to escape from the Frightful Four and the brainwashed Human Torch… because the Torch was just faking it and was intentionally letting them get away. This is possibly the most clever thing Johnny Storm has ever done. The Frightful Four find out about it and manage to pretty easily subdue him. Meanwhile, Richards has designed a helmet that looks like a tie fighter that should hopefully cure the Thing of his actual brainwashing… or it might kill him. You never know.

The (evil) FF break into the Baxter Building and tell Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl that they have to surrender or he’ll send Johnny Storm into the atmosphere with one of the Wizard’s anti-gravity discs. The Thing wakes up just long enough to smash the control device, and the rest of the team captures the Frightful Four. Except for Madam Medusa, who escapes, even though the Torch had the chance to stop her. Is he in love, or is he just a loser who sucks and is an idiot? Hey, Ant Man isn’t around anymore, I gotta pick on somebody.

There’s a cute little cameo in here with Dr. Doom being angry about his hands being all messed up due to the Thing, and he swears that once they get better, he’ll get revenge on them… in the Fantastic Four Annual #3, on sale now! Marvel is proof positive that if you’re up-front enough about it, the most shameless possible marketing can work out really well in your favor.

The X-Men #13, Sept. 1965

The X-Men #13, Sept. 1965

Story by Smilin’ Stan Lee
Layouts by Jolly Jack Kirby
Pencilling by Jay Gavin
Inking by Joe Sinnott
Lettering by Swingin’ Sam Rosen

And here’s the REAL fight against the Juggernaut, as the last issue was just the backstory and leadup to it. There’s also a perplexing and seemingly pointless cameo by the Human Torch, I guess just because it had been a while since a hero had had a cameo in another comic, and everyone loves Johnny Storm, right?

So we start our adventure off with the Juggernaut staring directly at Professor X, whom he’s hated for years and years, first because he was always better in school, and then because he buried him in an ancient temple for decades. Xavier thinks he has this thing covered with his super psychic powers, but ol’ Juggsy (ew) got a magic hat along with his Crimson Bands of Cyttorak that prevent him from being brain boggled. Still, they manage to dig a big hole and drop him down in it, giving them a chance to regroup.

The prof and Jean Grey assemble a hat that’ll increase his mental powers while the boys stay behind to stall Juggernaut when he gets out of the hole. Professor X contacts the Human Torch and asks him to come help with the fight, using him in his plan to confuse Juggernaut long enough for them to take his hat off so he can blast him with mind bullets. Then, in a seriously dick move, Professor X hypnotizes Johnny into not remembering any of it, and sends him on his way. Why? What a dick.

Not only is that just a pointless asshole thing to do, there was really no reason whatsoever for Johnny to even show up in the first place, especially since his job was just to “confuse” Juggernaut by flying around him and being shiny. Just like I’ve always said, the Human Torch could easily be replaced by a sheet of aluminum foil on a string and it would just as effective. A little smarter, too.

The Fantastic Four #42, Sept. 1965

The Fantastic Four #42, Sept. 1965

Produced by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Inking: V. Colletta
Lettering: S. Rosen

Wow, a three issue story! Those were still pretty rare at this point, but it’s kinda nice because it makes the villains actually seem threatening. Also, you can do that whole “story structure” thing pretty easily, and everyone loves a comic that starts out bad and ends up worse.

So Ben Grimm has been brainwashed by the Frightful Four to be an evil villain type guy, and he’s getting ready to clobber Mr. Fantastic, right? Right. Instead, he uses his ability to stretch to get away (WHAT?! Who could’veĀ foreseenĀ that?!), and Johnny and Sue also escape from their imprisonment pretty easily. The ensuing battle goes poorly for the Fantastic Four, as Thing knocks out Reed and wads him up into a little bottle, Madam Medusa douses the Torch’s flame with her wet hair, and the Invisible Girl barely manages to escape the house with her be-bottled fiancee in tow.

Sue manages to let the Mr. Fantastic out of the bottle, to ruin a phrase, but that still leaves Johnny behind in the clutches of guys who have a brainwashing machine. Lo and behold, the Wizard decides to do the same to the Torch as he did to the Thing, and now they’re the Sinister Six, I guess. Mr. Fantastic’s plan is to use the Wizard’s anti-gravity discs on the baddies and hopefully find some way to cure Ben while they’re distracted. They didn’t realize that the Human Torch had switched sides, however, and now he’s coming in for the attack!! AHHH! OH NO! EVERYONE’S GONNA DIEE!!

I’d just like to take a moment and talk about the Trapster, the villain formerly known as Paste-Pot Pete. It’s been a while and I still think he’s really, extremely awful, so here goes. Paste-Pot Pete has done nothing but pile failure after failure in these last two issues, which can’t be a surprise to anyone, in-universe or out. First he builds some “traps” that are supposed to keep the FF trapped which are immediately broken out of, he completely strikes out with Madam Medusa, and to top it all off, he manages to paste himself against a wall during the big fight in this issue. He is seriously a loser, of Ant Man villain proportions.

The Fantastic Four #41, Aug. 1965

The Fantastic Four #41, Aug. 1965

Story by: Stan Lee, who has never lost his touch!
Art by: Jack Kirby, who has never lost his magic!
Inking by: Vince Colletta, who has never lost his flair!
Lettering by: Sam Rosen, who has never lost Artie Simek!

For a change of pace, here’s a superhero story where a good guy gets brainwashed by villains and becomes a villain himself! And it’s not like the Thing turning against the rest of the Fantastic Four is anything new either, nor is this team fighting amongst themselves. Still, it’s a pretty good issue.

After forcing Ben Grimm to turn back into the Thing last issue to defeat Dr. Doom, he leaves the group, pouting and injured. Ben stows away in a truck and falls asleep, eventually falling off somewhere in the woods, where he’s found by none other than the Frightful Four! A bizarre coincidence that turns out to be just really terrible for everybody. The Wizard uses one of his many fantastic devices to brainwash the Thing into working for him, and also to being a cigar-smoking bad guy.

The Fantastic Three go looking for their friend and stumble upon the Frightful Four’s hideout. Under normal situations this would be a tough fight, but it goes against them quickly when Ben knocks them all out before they realize he’s a bad guy now. They trap the remaining good guys in special apparati designed to keep their powers from working, then get the Thing all mad at Mr. Fantastic. Will he clobber his best friend who he kinda hates even without brainwashing?! We’ll find out next time!

There are a couple wonderful moments in this issue where both the Invisible Girl and Madam Medusa have “weak, feminine” moments, which is 60’s talk for wanting to be nice to someone, apparently. When I eventually do this book, there’s gonna be a whole chapter about the treatment of women, and it’s going to be terrible because I’m not at all the person to be talking about women’s rights or feminism. It’s just too damn funny that the men are constantly angry and yelling at women for not wanting to punch everybody else all the time.