Tag Archives: Mole Man

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 Avengers #17, June 1965

The Avengers #17, June 1965

Story by: Stan Lee (who else?)
Art by: Don Heck (why not?)
Inked by: Dick Ayers
Lettered by: S. Rosen

This may be a little off-topic, but I saw the new Avengers movie yesterday, and it’s really good. If you haven’t seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to do so post-haste. Or pre-haste, I guess, which should mean slowly? Fuck, I don’t know how these word things are supposed to work.

So, the Avengers have a new lineup! All the physically strong members (Thor, Iron Man, and Giant Man) have left, so Captain America thinks it’s a good idea for the new team to go looking for the Hulk again. With that kind of strength, they’d never even need to talk to Giant Man ever again! HOORAY!! There’s a little initial strife in the team, as both Hawkeye and Quicksilver feel they’d be better leaders than Cap, but after a giant robot attacks them and they all see what each other can do, the team dynamic falls into place pretty quickly. Also, the giant robot tells them to go to “the desert”, because that’s where the Hulk is.

Cap follows a hunch and takes them back to where they last met the Hulk (when they were fighting the Lava Men). They fall into the trap set there by… The Mole Man? Huh. Okay, whatever. Moley has a new monster in his employ, a giant minotaur-looking beast that the Avengers are able to beat despite the fact that none of them are all that strong. Then they go after Quicksilver, who was captured by the Mole Man, and after an easy victory, they all get sent back up to the surface, which I guess counts as a victory. They decide to give up looking for the Hulk, because they don’t actually need strength after all! Also the Hulk is a pain in the ass to deal with!

This is a pretty decent first outing for the sophomore lineup of the Avengers. Cap, Hawkeye and Quicksilver are all pretty similar, power-wise, and Scarlet Witch’s hex power is so unpredictable that it’s not really overpowered, either. I mean, it is, but she’s really bad at using it, I guess. Anyway, my point is that they’re much more balanced now, so interpersonal dynamics are a more important part of the team and not everyone is a self-centered jerk. Except Hawkeye.

The Avengers #12, Jan. 1965

The Avengers #12, Jan. 1965

Written in the Marvel manner by Smilin’ Stan Lee
Illustrated in the Marvel tradition by Dazzlin’ Don Heck
Delineated in the Marvel style by Darlin’ Dick Ayers
Lettered in the nick of time by Swingin’ Sam Rosen

This issue has my favorite Hank Pym moment of all time in it. Oh man, it’s just great. Does it involve other superheroes making fun of Ant Man? You better fucking believe it! Ahh, so nice.

Hank gets an urgent message from the ants, a distress call! Of course, he summons the Avengers… who basically laugh in his face for talking to ants. It’s beautiful. Iron Man makes fun of him, the Wasp rolls her eyes, and Thor gets pissed enough that he’s debating whether to kick Giant Man’s ass for wasting his time. Anyway, it turns out the ants have caught wind of the Mole Man’s latest scheme: He’s going to speed up the rotation of the Earth, which will somehow kill everybody on the surface. Since it takes a while to speed up, the little creatures like ants would be the first to find out. I don’t really understand the science behind that, but that’s what happens.

Hank goes down into the Earth to check it out himself and gets captured by Mole Man’s group of mindless Subterraneans, which makes the rest of the team feel bad once they start noticing the world spinning faster. They head down to Mole Man’s lair and break his machine, despite the Red Ghost bizarrely showing up and helping out for no real reason. I think he was ineffective was because he left his super-apes at home.

Seriously, why is the Red Ghost in this issue? It’s just damn weird, and makes no sense. Why would this communist guy who hates the Fantastic Four join up with the Mole Man to fight the Avengers and kill all life on the surface of the planet? Since when does the Red Ghost want to kill everybody? I can only imagine that he was just super bored and decided to phase his way through the center of the world and found the Mole Man, and just decided to hang out or something. Also, with Don Heck’s art, the Red Ghost looks EXACTLY like Ben Franklin, which I think just makes the character that much better.

The Fantastic Four #31, Oct. 1964

The Fantastic Four #31, Oct. 1964

Written by: Stan Lee, the man with the talented typewriter!
Illustrated by: Jack Kirby, the man with the power-packed pencil!
Inked by: Chic Stone, the man with the panoramic paint-brush!
Lettered by: S. Rosen, the man with the leaky lettering pen!

The Mad Menace of the Macabre Mole Man, you say?! Good lord, that sounds… simply FANTASTIC! I love the sensationalism of the sixties, man. Everything’s so ridiculously overblown, but that’s really the nature of comic book super heroes in the first place. Like Stan says on the letter page in this issue, it wouldn’t be very exciting if everybody just sat around watching TV all the time.

An earthquake shakes New York City, and when the Fantastic Four go to investigate, they find that an entire city block has disappeared, straight down into the ground! Reed suspects that there might be some foul play at hand, since exact squares of land don’t generally sink down to the center of the Earth on their own, and his fears are confirmed when another city block succumbs to the same fate, taking Sue Storm with it! They get a message from the Mole Man saying that he’s captured the Invisible Girl, and they hop in a Pogo Plane to go down and save her.

They manage to avoid all the traps laid for them down the pit and get to the bottom, only to be rebuffed almost instantly by the Mole Man threatening Sue’s life. Doesn’t she have force fields? I wouldn’t think that a gun, even a super-science Mole Man gun, would be that threatening to her. Anyway, the boys go back to the surface and stop the Avengers from going after the subterranean villain while Mr. Fantastic builds some fantastic device. They find out exactly where Sue’s being kept, then tunnel down and catch the Mole Man by surprise. On their way out, the Torch accidentally sets off a chain reaction that seems to destroy the entire cavern (luckily Mr. Fantastic already put the city blocks back to where they were supposed to be), and Sue gets hurt. She’s saved at the last minute by the only surgeon alive who could do it… her estranged father who recently broke out of prison! Now there’s a soap opera twist for ya.

The Mole Man is a weird villain. He’s a mad scientist who lives in the middle of the Earth, sure, that’s normal comic book stuff. It’s his army of weird, brainless servants that freaks me out. What the hell is up with those things? They’re all pale and blind and obedient… it just makes me uncomfortable.

The Fantastic Four #22, Jan. 1964

The Fantastic Four #22, Jan. 1964

Written by: Stan Lee
Drawn by: Jack Kirby
Inked by: G. Bell
Lettered by: S. Rosen

Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl, gets a big upgrade to her powers in this issue; it’s the first time she’s able to create invisible forcefields, as well as being able to make other things invisible instead of her. Also, she can “probe rooms with invisibility energy” to discover things that are hidden and make them visible. That… that kinda sounds like a bullshit power. I’m calling bullshit on that power. It is bullshit.

Fully the first half of the comic is Sue fucking around with her new powers (obviously given to her because she wasn’t very useful to the team as she was), and the Fantastic Four dealing with a series of wacky neighbors complaining about various things that they’re doing, like having an ICBM in the building. They decide that maybe they should buy an island to put all this stuff on instead of in a high-rise building in the middle of Manhattan, and go off to look at one.

It turns out the island was just a trap, set there by the Mole Man to keep the FF at bay while he destroyed all the world’s major cities from below. Thanks to Sue’s new powers, they escape, just to fall into individual traps designed specifically for each of them. I gotta marvel at Mole Man’s ability to know exactly where each of them are going to be standing once they break out of his first trap. Anyway, they break out of those traps too and get away just before the Mole Man presses the button. You see, Mr. Fantastic flipped some wires around and made it so he blew up his own island instead. So that’s two islands of the Mole Man’s that the Fantastic Four has destroyed now. Damn.

One thing I actually like quite a bit about the Fantastic Four is that every once in a while they’ll have an issue that’s more about the relationships in the team and the characters just hanging out and doing funny stuff. And this is a weird thing for me to say, because normally you’d think that’s the sort of thing I’d hate. I bet if Ant Man did that, I’d hate him more, but I guess the difference is that I hate Ant Man and don’t want to spend any more time reading about him than I absolutely have to.