The Fantastic Four!
The story begins with Mr. Fantastic firing off a giant message into the sky: “THE FANTASTIC FOUR!” Yeah, he even punctuated it. The general populace is rather disturbed, and according to the police, they’re panicking. One cop says, “Rumors are flyin’ about an alien invasion!” Aliens? Surely it can’t be aliens. Aliens don’t exist, right? Mr. Fantastic says, “It is the first time I have found it necessary to give the signal! I pray it will be the last!” I honestly don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. The guy figured out a way to throw an entire punctuated sentence into the sky. He’s obviously been planning this for a super long time. He’s been waiting for the moment that he could do this. He’s standing at the window, and he’s admiring his genius, and you know his smug ass is so excited that he could throw this shit into the sky. Because if it was just a regular emergency, he could do something less ostentatious. But no. He wants to put 17 characters in the air. I see you, Mr. Fantastic.
Then we head to Sue Storm who’s hanging out with her friend, having tea, because that’s what women did in 1961. Her friend sees it in the sky, and Sue decides that instead of politely excusing herself, she should just turn invisible and run away, freaking her friend right the fuck out. She then decides to knock over every single person on her way to wherever she’s going. It’s still not clear as to why she needs to be invisible for this. Because people can walk places while not being invisible.
Then she decides to jump into a taxi that’s not doing anything, which takes her exactly where she wants to go. How fortuitous! Sue tries to pay the man while she’s still invisible. Which, of course, begs the question, why be invisible, if you were going to pay the man anyway?
Now we go to the Thing! Or is it The Thing? I’m not really sure if I’m supposed to included “the” in his name. It’s very confusing, so I’m just going to leave it out for everyone. Except in my blog tags, because searching for “thing” just seems awkward. Anyway… he’s hanging out in a clothing store where they say they don’t have anything in his size. The store clerk then says he sees “The Fantastic Four” in the sky and wonders what that means. The Thing, naturally, throws off his clothes and takes off running. That’s a pretty standard fare for when you see a message in the clouds.
Then, the Thing decides he wants to be a bigger asshole than Sue and smashes a hole in the wall of the clothing establishment, wondering why doorways are so narrow.
I don’t know why doorways are so narrow… but how the fuck did you get into the store, Thing? Huh? I feel like you’re just going out of your way to be a prick just because they didn’t have clothes in your size. Which would be kind of normal. Then a cop sees the Thing and starts just shooting at him (something relevant to this day). Thing does the most sensible thing and rips up the entire ground and dives into the sewers below. He then traverses the sewers to his destination and then bursts through the ground into the middle of the street where a car is coming toward him. He, of course, smashes the shit out of someone’s car and then calls a bunch of people “lily-livered cowards,” because they’re running away from him. Or maybe they’re just running away from the massive destruction he’s causing. I don’t know. Obviously that’s just how heroes work. Oh, and someone thinks he’s a Martian. Because obviously aliens play a huge part of this world in 1961.
Off to Johnny Storm, Sue’s brother. In case you were wondering, yes, he’s also an asshole. It’s kind of par for the course with this team. Johnny is working on a car, and I believe it’s supposed to be his own car, but it’s not entirely clear. He’s in the driver’s seat, and his mechanic friend finally gets the car tuned up and “purrin’ gentle as a lamb.” That’s when he points out the figure 4 in the sky. He must not have seen the ridiculously long message before. Also amusing that Reed had to have a follow-up message. I’m surprised it didn’t say, “Hey, Johnny! Did you not see the last message?!” At any rate, Johnny realizes he’s being beckoned, so he does what any responsible super hero would do: he flames on inside the car, melting the entire thing, then melts a hole in the roof for good measure, and flies out of it.
As he flies across the sky, he induces mass panic, and the mayor calls the governor. Also, Washington has taken action and sends a fleet of fighter jets. Johnny’s reaction is one of great and immeasurable calm. He simply melts them, costing the government (and panicked tax payers) millions of dollars. Luckily, all the pilots live via parachuting to safety.
One surviving jet does, however, get a chance to launch a missile at the flaming menace, but luckily, Reed is able to simply extend his arms into the sky and catch it. I think we can all agree that missiles are super easy to stop with your bare hands. Reed then disposes of the missile into a nearby shore, but poor, stupid Johnny has been flaming for too long and plummets to his death. Just kidding. While that would be karma for his actions, he instead is caught by the amazing Mr. Fantastic, who is obviously so narcissistic that he calls himself Mr. Fantastic.
Now that the gang is all together, we see that Ben is back in his trench coat and hat. I’m not really sure where those came from, considering he was just in his underwear, smashing people’s hopes and dreams.
Time for an origin story flashback! Reed wants to fly to outer space, but Ben Grimm wants nothing to do with it and foreshadows the entire comic with the line, “You know we haven’t done enough research into the effect of cosmic rays!” Luckily, Sue uses his insecurities against him and calls him a coward, so Ben is totally on board after that. They then decide to get to their space ship, but they have to break into a highly-guarded facility. They achieve this amazing feat by just driving up to it and running past the guards, which is exactly how I would do it.
They then hop in the space ship, committing yet another federal crime, and take off. It is very easy to steal a space ship in 1961. They then begin their flight where Ben again reminds the group, “Yeah, except the cosmic rays! No one knows what they’ll do…” As you may have already guessed, they then go through the cosmic rays, which penetrate the ship. If only someone had thought of that.
They’re all suddenly in unimaginable pain and proclaim, “Ben was right!! We should have waited…” Well, well. Look who’s eating crow now, Mr. Fantastic. The automatic pilot then takes over, because the entire crew is in horrific pain, and it lands them safely back on earth. That’s when Sue starts turning invisible, but she just pops right back into view. No biggie. Then Ben gets super pissed at Reed for understandable reasons and turns into the Thing and rips a tree out of the ground in order to pummel him to death. Unfortunately, Reed does not get the ending he deserves, because his body turns elastic, and he is able to dodge the tree. He then gives Ben a great big hug.
Johnny gets so upset at the affection that his body just bursts into flames. Of course, he has almost zero negative reaction to this happening and instead starts flying around because he’s now “lighter than air.” There’s some science behind this, I’m sure.
Reed then starts to give a pep talk to the group, but Ben’s like, “Shut the fuck up, Reed.” That’s not a direct quote. The direct quote is, “You don’t have to make a speech, big shot! We understand we’ve gotta use that power to help mankind, right?” How gracious of him.
Now that we know their back story, it’s time to get back to the issue at hand. Keep in mind that in order for the group to gather, Reed had to terrify the entire city, Sue had to push strangers to the ground, the Thing had to knock down a wall, and Johnny had to melt a car and a few fighter jets. We then find out that the thing that is so important is that Reed really needed to show them some pictures of a hole in the ground. I would say all those actions were warranted.
Come to find out, several atomic plants all over the world have become giant holes. Reed goes into zero explanation as to whether anyone has bothered to check any of the holes, because his radar machine lets him know there’s about to be another cave-in.
We then go to France where Pierre, a French soldier of some kind, almost dies, because a hole appears. The ground then rumbles, and the entire plant falls into a hole. I’m not really sure why there was a mini hole before this big hole or where it went in subsequent pages, but I guess it was just there to spook Pierre. Maybe the hole wanted Pierre to reconsider his life choices. I don’t really know, but I would welcome a spinoff comic from the point of view from the hole.
Then, out of the hole climbs a giant monster. He’s terrifying, so some guy in a blue uniform screams to bring the artillery. What a waste of time, because “of what use is artillery against a creature whose hide is powerful enough to dig its way thru countless tons of rock-hard earth??” “Of what use is artillery against a monster who can crush a heavy tank with one hand??” If you guessed, “None,” you would be correct. Luckily, the Mole Man arrives and tells his monster to head back into the earth’s core.
Then we go back to the Fantastic Four who “gaze in astonishment at Dr. Reed Richards’ super-sensitive radarscope” where Reed can pinpoint the location of the Mole Man’s lair. Why, it’s on Monster Isle, of course. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t just check that first any way. The name kind of gives it away. They fly out to the isle, where the team of one flying teenager and a super-elastic man decide to climb a mountain where they are greeted by a three-headed monster. It goes after Sue, but Johnny gives her the great idea to turn invisible, so she pretends she’s at a tea party with her friend and does just that! The monster is bewildered and halts its attack! That gives Mr. Fantastic the time to lasso one of the creature’s heads and throw him into the water. Reed then says, “I had heard there was a giant three-headed creature guarding this isle… but he shall guard it no longer!” As well all know, dunking a monster into the water destroys them.
Unfortunately, a hole opens up, and Reed and Johnny fall into it. Reed turns into a parachute for Johnny to use, which is quite a lucky break for the guy that can fly. They end up in a pitch black pit. If only there was some way that they could create some fire to see. Ah well. Instead, Johnny feels up on the wall a bit and finds a trap door. He opens the door, and the two of them are hit with a blinding light that makes them black out. You would think a guy that can burn with the heat of the sun would be attuned to bright lights. It’s also very unfortunate he didn’t think of closing the door. Or turning around. Or closing his eyes. Reed Richards, the world’s greatest scientist just stared at the light until he blacked out. They then awaken, clothed in some sort of suit that shields their eyes from the light. The light, by the way, is just a whole field of diamonds. Like… enough diamonds to make Smaug jealous.
We then go back to Sue and Ben who didn’t fall into the hole. Sue appears as though she just woke up, but… why was she asleep? Anyway, she hears the footsteps of a monster behind her. Ben spies the monster, so he does what he’s wont to do: throw off his clothes. Once he’s down to his underwear again, he wrestles the creature. He then throws it into the water, so we know that it’s completely vanquished, because monsters can’t handle water. Sucks that they’re on an island. You’d think they’d go somewhere not surrounded by water. Especially the one with wings.
Enough of that though. It’s time for the origin story of the Mole Man! It’s a really in-depth story about how he was ugly and people mocked him for it, so he decided to search for the center of the earth, which he found. He then fell down and went blind from it, becoming “like a human mole!!” The good news is that he learned to control the creatures down there! There’s more explanation as to how ugly he is than there is as to how he accomplished such a feat. Then he stick fights with Reed, and kicks his ass, which I enjoyed seeing. But then, inexplicably, he decides to explain his entire plan.
Thankfully, this gives Sue and Ben enough time to find him! They are not wearing special clothes that shield them from the light, but I guess they just thought not to stare at the light. Either way, you know what time it is: it’s time for Ben to throw off his clothes again! Yes, I’m serious. That means Mole Man has enough time to summon his big ole creature guy again though. As the creature climbs out of the pit, Johnny flames on! His suit burns away, and he flies into action! It would seem he has also learned not to look at the light that will cause him to black out. He decides to just fly around the monster’s face a lot in the hopes the writers will forget about him (they do). It makes sense he can’t defeat him, because there’s no body of water underground. Then Reed takes off his suit as well. Which makes me wonder what the fucking point of the suits is.
Reed grabs the Mole Man, but he’s able to summon all of his minions with his evil gong, so Johnny just lights the whole God damned place up, so the monsters can’t follow him, which causes a cave-in and ruins all the Mole Man’s plans. It’s really too bad they didn’t have a giant monster that they had already pointed out was “powerful enough to dig its way thru countless tons of rock-hard earth.” Because that would come in handy. You know what would also come in handy? The world’s largest collection of diamonds that could be used to make the Mole Man the richest person in the world.
Reed flies the group away from Monster Isle, stating that the Mole Man will never trouble anyone again. Because he’s buried underground. How could anyone even possibly get out of such a predicament?
Lastly, here’s Ben Grimm ripping off his clothes: