Review-a-day: Fantastic Four (1961-1998) #45

Posted: October 12, 2014 in Review-a-day
Tags: , , , , ,

FantasticFour(61-98)45

Apropos of nothing in particular, for the next few days we heading back to 1964/65 for the very first appearance of the Inhumans, or at least the first appearance of the Inhumans as a group, as evidently Medusa and Gorgon made their first appearances individually prior to this issue.

So, how does this nearly 50 (the cover says December, so we’re not quite there yet, I actually probably should have waited until December to do this, but oh well) year old issue of Fantastic Four hold up all these years later. Well, the dialogue is certainly dated, but that doesn’t make it bad. In fact, seeing some of the (by today’s standards) ridiculous things that are said, particularly by teenage Johnny Storm, serves to make the book even more entertaining at times. And the art, while perhaps a bit simplistic compared with books published today, or even twenty or thirty years ago, it’s still Jack Kirby, and it still looks good. I particularly like the classic Human Torch look, complete with little bits of flame running over his body and not just the greater fire that surrounds him. If I were to complain about anything art-wise, it would be that Crystal is missing the black band on her hair (something that obviously came into her design later) and Dragon Man is a far cry from his design today, but really, those aren’t even complaints, just observances. As far as story goes, there are two important things going on. The first is the conflict with Dragon Man that kicks off the issue. Evidently, in issue #44, Dragon Man makes an attempt to run off with Sue Storm, and that is resolved here. Where it ends up is actually a little weird and kind of creepy. There’s a nice shine on it because the FF are heroes, but when you think about it, the essentially end up imprisoning Dragon Man in their home so that Mr. Fantastic can study him. Second, we have the adventures of Johnny Storm and the Inhumans, which all starts, classicly enough, with Johnny, much to his disbelief, being rejected for a date. This sets him to grumbling and then off on a walk, where he runs into Crystal of the Inhumans for the first time. From here, wow does Johnny ever come off as a creeper. I’m sure that wasn’t Stan Lee’s intention, but the implication in the book is that Johnny stakes out the place of their first meeting (from which she ran away) for nearly an hour until she shows up (and proceeds to run from him again). I’m sorry, but that’s a creepy thing to do. He does get in her good graces soon enough though, by showing off his powers and pretending to be an Inhuman himself, which leads him to meet the rest of the family, and inevitably conflict quickly follows.

As dated as this issue may be, I have to admit, for a superhero story written 50 years ago, it really holds up far better than I would have expected it to. I’ve never been that into the Fantastic Four, when it comes to Marvel, Spider-Man and the X-Men have always been my go-tos, but after reading this I’m actually looking forward to reviewing the rest of this arc over the next few days.

FantasticFour(61-98)45_capture

Score: 8.0

Written By: Stan Lee
Art By: Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott
Letters By: Artie Simek
Price: $1.99 (on ComiXology)

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