Tag Archives: Watcher

The Fantastic Four #48, Mar. 1966

ff048The Fantastic Four #48, Mar. 1966

Stan Lee, writer without peer!
Jack Kirby, penciller of the year!
Joe Sinnott, inker most sincere!
Artie Simek, how’d HE get in here!

two-stars

It’s been almost four months since I last read a comic book? Yeah, that sounds about right. At least I have a classic issue to come back to, The Coming of Galactus! It finally wraps up the deal with the Inhumans for now and moves on to one of the best known stories of the Fantastic Four ever. They even mangled this thing horribly for that terrible movie they made… or are we still pretending those never happened?

Maximus’ Atmo Gun creates world-wide earthquakes, which he believes will destroy the pitiful and less powerful humans, allowing the Inhumans to take over the world (under his control, of course). Turns out the earthquakes don’t do shit and that everyone still hates him, so Maximus sets the gun to reverse which constructs a Negative Zone around the secret Inhumans base and the Fantastic Four barely escape before it solidifies. Johnny’s sad because his girlfriend Crystal is stuck in the city and he’s stuck outside, but he doesn’t have very much time to pout.

On the way back home, the sky is suddenly covered in flames, and then by a thick layer of rocks. Nobody knows what’s going on until that “impartial” asshole Uatu the Watcher shows up and says that he’s responsible for the shields, which he’s trying to use to keep the Silver Surfer from noticing Earth. It does the opposite, and the Herald of Galactus lands on Earth, finds that it’s quite nice, and sends for his boss, a giant in a hilarious hat who eats planets.

So… Uatu’s original plan is to cover the planet in a WREATH OF FIRE to keep the Silver Surfer from noticing it. Not even mentioning how completely he’s thrown away his veneer of neutrality by this point, that’s maybe the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If I was a crazy space guy and I saw a ton of fire IN SPACE, I’d probably go to check it out. That shit doesn’t normally hang out in a vacuum. Also, I love Galactus’ big “G” pendant he has in this first drawing. It’s a shame he loses it.

ff048p


Tales to Astonish #75, Jan. 1966

Tales to Astonish #75, Jan. 1966

Story by: Smilin’ Stan Lee
Pencilling by: Admirable Adam Austin
Delineation by: Valorous Vince Colletta
Lettering by: Sagacious Sam Rosen

Story: Stan Lee
Layouts: J. Kirby
Illustrations: M. Demeo
Lettering: S. Rosen
Enjoying: That’s your job, pussycat!

Oh good, we’re finally at the end of this Sub-Mariner plot where he has to go to random places in the ocean and do pointless shit so he can get a big ol’ golden bejeweled trident. He still has to deal with Kang, but that’ll be next issue. This whole two half-stories per issue thing has it’s benefits and it’s downsides; sometimes it’s annoying that it takes so long to get to the end of a story, but it’s also an extremely good marketing ploy to get people to keep buying your comic.

Looks like Namor’s gonna die with Lady Dorma in his arms as he stares down a troupe of Faceless Ones that are gonna rip him up. Just then, Neptune himself shows up and tells the Sub-Mariner that he’s won, and that abandoning his quest to help the girl he loves was actually the last part of the test. Okay, whatever. Namor has to book it back to Atlantis so he can put Dorma in a revitalizing chamber and heal her, and he has to fight through Krang’s forces while holding her to do it. He literally beats an army without using either of his hands.

The Hulk is back on Earth and he’s a little surprised that the supremely advanced machine he stole from the Watcher has killed the Leader. Pretty much right after seeing that he decides, fuck it, he’s going to try and use the machine as well, and because of this he receives a psychic message from Rick Jones that he needs to go to Washington D.C. On his way there, General “Thunderbolt” Ross shoots him with an experimental “T-Gun” that they found the plans for in Bruce Banner’s stuff and then built, despite not knowing what it does. What does it do? It sends the Hulk into the distant future, where everything is all broken and smashed!

So Bruce Banner, who is under suspicion from the government for being a commie spy, designed this gun that shoots people through time… and the army just built it because, what the fuck, why not? Even for fiction, that’s pretty incredibly reckless and amazingly stupid. I wonder if the Hulk is going to meet Kang the Conqueror…


Tales to Astonish #74, Dec. 1965

Tales to Astonish #74, Dec. 1965

Devastating drama by: Stan Lee
Shattering spectacle by: Adam Austin
Explosive embellishment by: Vince Colletta
Cataclysmic calligraphy by: Sam Rosen

Dreamed up by: Stan Lee!
Designed by: Jack Kirby!
Drawn by: Bob Powell!
Delineated by: Mickey Demeo!
Doodled by: S. Rosen

I gotta admit, I don’t really understand why Namor taking a break from his quest to save Lady Dorma from being eaten by the Faceless Ones (wait, how can they eat if they don’t have a face?) means that he fails the quest. Can’t he just go back and continue afterward? Why would there be a time limit on something like that?

Dorma’s protected by a little dome thing from the onslaught of the Faceless Ones, but it’s only a matter of time before it cracks. The Sub-Mariner uses his usual conflict management style of punching everything in his path to try and save her. Meanwhile, Krang is dealing with an armed revolt in Atlantis, which he manages to pacify by hiding in a room and using a goofy robot tank to stun everybody in the entire city. That’s how you tyrannize.

The Hulk is on the moon fighting a big red alien monster that’s nearly as strong as he is for the chance to steal one of the Watcher’s devices. The alien thinks he’s got the Hulk’s number when they dive underwater (the “blue area” of the moon where the Watcher lives has water, okay? Shut up) and he wedges the Hulk in a crevice. Of course the Hulk breaks free and throws the alien into space. He grabs the golden orb that the Leader wants him to, then beams back to Earth. The Leader wears the thing as a hat in hopes of gaining all knowledge in the universe, but instead it kills him. Whoopsie.

I can’t stress how much bullshit the Watcher’s “non-interference” is. First he beams the Hulk and the red guy out of his lab so they won’t break any of his stuff, then he beams the red guy back to his home planet when the Hulk throws him into the air, figuring that means the Hulk won. Hey, Uatu, watch with your eyes, not your magic powers.


Tales to Astonish #73, Nov. 1965

Tales to Astonish #73, Nov. 1965

Script: Smilin’ Stan Lee
Art: Amiable Adam Austin
Inks: Valiant Vince Colletta
Lettering: Angelic Artie Simek

You’ll never forget Stan Lee’s script!
You’ll never forget Jack Kirby’s layouts!
You’ll never forget Bob Powell’s art!
You’ll never forget Artie Simek’s –eh– let’s see now, what did Artie do?

There’s some pretty badass Namor action in this issue, where he goes on about how awesome he is while beating up an old guy with a magic diamond hat. See, that sounds terrible, like “oh my god, the Sub-Mariner is a horrible person” kind of terrible, but it works really well. For as much as Stan Lee is remembered for his really goofy sensibilities, he’s also really good at that sort of macho bravado stuff, which you get a lot with Namor and Cap and Thor, all of whom are really well-rounded characters that are also super-powerful and unbeatable (well, Cap less so, but you get what I’m saying).

Namor is at this place called the “diamonds of death”, which sap the power out of him and make him about to die at the hands of a weird old guy with a hat that protects him from the diamonds’ power. Namor summons power from all the plants and fish around him (this guy can do all sorts of convenient fish-related things!) and beats up the guardian, eventually electrocuting him and his dumb diamonds with eels. One of the eels speaks to Namor in King Neptune’s voice (which I assume is one of the things you learn to deal with when you can talk to fish) and tells him that his final challenge is probably to rescue that lady from those monsters that you should’ve done last time, asshole.

The Hulk is about to change back into Bruce Banner, which will kill him because he has a bullet lodged in his brain. The Leader gets near him before he passes out, and his “gamma force” which I guess radiates off his body heals the Hulk enough so he doesn’t change. Then the Leader’s nice enough to operate and remove the bullet from the Hulk’s brain, but also gives him a massive dose of gamma rays, strengthening him and keeping him from EVER being able to turn back to Bruce Banner. To repay this surgery, the Hulk goes to the blue area of the moon, where Uatu the Watcher lives, and tries to get a device which will help the Leader rule the world. Oh, and there’s a big red alien who he has to fight to get it out of nowhere.

How many times has the Hulk’s condition/powers changed in just four years? WAY too many, that’s how many. It really speaks to the weakness of the character, that none of the power profiles they settle on are able to carry a story for more than four or five issues without being changed. I mean, sure, changing powers and names and costumes and what have you, that’s expected of a superhero… but not THIS much. The fact is that the Hulk on his own is only interesting when he’s smashing things or when he’s Bruce Banner and worrying about turning into the Hulk, which they don’t do in these early comics almost at all, and a platform of just smashing is kinda the exact thing the Silver Age of comics was all about evolving away from.


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.