Fantastic Four #102-104
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #102, Fantastic Four #103, Fantastic Four #104
The Atlanteans having detected a shockwave in the Savage Land, Namor heads there and finds a dying Magneto.
He takes him to Atlantis and heals him. Magneto tries to instigate the Sub-Mariner to declare war on the humans, but Namor is a tamed puppy nowadays, so Magneto secretly uses Atlantean technology to beef up his powers and starts randomly throwing buildings around in NYC.
Reed detects that Atlantis is the source of the magnetic attacks, and he sends a sonic probe to determine the exact cause. If it is an attack, Reed says "A second press of the button will send a concussion missile to the site to warn them of their folly!". Jesus, Reed! Dr. Doom much?
Magneto is still wearing the weird exo-skeleton that he was using in the Neal Adams X-Men issues.
Then Magneto causes things to go awry in the Baxter Building, and the Thing impulsively hits the button a second time, triggering war between Atlantis and the surface world.
Romita takes over the art duties for #103 and #104 after Kirby leaves, but it looks a little rushed. It's certainly not the same noticeable shift that occurred when Romita took over for Ditko in Amazing Spider-Man.
Reed sends Sue away, forcing her to take care of Franklin instead of helping the team.
This is especially stupid considering the foe is Namor, who Sue has the best chance of calming down. Sue drops off Franklin at his new nanny's house in upstate New York and then returns back to join the rest of the group. Magneto uses the fact that she is alone as an opportunity to kidnap her. He also kidnaps another perpetual hostage, Lady Dorma.
While the Sub-Mariner fights the FF, Magneto takes control of the Atlantean army.
The Sub-Mariner returns to Magneto, under the pretense that he's switching sides. Magneto doesn't buy it and Namor knows it but the idea is that it'll keep Magneto from killing Dorma if Namor plays Magneto's game for a while. Meanwhile, Reed builds a doohickey to defeat Magneto, and amazingly, it isn't a wooden gun.
Brilliant as cartoon universe Reed Richard's idea was, it's not what he goes with in the comics. Instead it's some kind of energy shield that blocks Magneto's power. Somehow Magneto can't stop shooting his magnetic beams at it, which results in it tightening more and more around him.
The issue ends with Namor telling the FF to f#^! off, and then Reed spouts a whole bunch of melodramatic peacenik dialogue that is totally out of character for a guy who keeps a concussion missile capable of destroying Atlantis around 'just in case'.
This book was so associated with Kirby that, in Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, it's said that John Romita assumed that the FF would actually be cancelled when Kirby left.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: I think the original intention was to have the Sub-Mariner reacting to the Savage Land explosion from Uncanny X-Men #63, but that issue was published almost a year prior to these, and John Byrne helpfully supplied a different explosion for Namor to investigate in the X-Men: The Hidden Years series. Namor appears here between Sub-Mariner #30-31.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel's Greatest Comics #82, Marvel's Greatest Comics #83, Marvel's Greatest Comics #84
Inbound References (7): show
Ah yes, Magneto and the wooden gun. From the same episode Magneto rants on and on and where he proclaims "he can do anything"...it's too bad he's a sympathetic villain now and they can't get away with that sort of genius insanity anymore.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 2, 2012 11:54 PM
Romita takes over for Kirby and does a masterful job. Then some issues later John Buscema takes the pencils as Romita goes on to an amazing run in Spider-man. John B was my favorite FF artist ever. The guy could make great fighting scenes and his women were gorgeous. He totally improved on Sue over Kirby. Blasphemous you say? Kirby was the first, the innovator, but what I never liked about his art were his faces. The majority of his females looked like Jackie O with those wide eyes, and most of his males look like William Devane with that long crease in the mouth. Because of this annoyance I never had more than a few Kirby drawn comics in my large collection. I remember just Journey into Mystery #112 and FF # 73. I had FF #102-103 in my collection and I rate them both as B's for art, story, and dialogue.
Posted by: Mike | June 29, 2014 7:56 PM
You have to love Ben getting griped at by Nixon for being too loud. That's a pretty classic panel.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 1, 2015 12:59 PM
FWIW, the "let us try to lower our voices" line from Nixon comes from his 1969 inaugural speech in which he urged Americans protesting the war in Vietnam to "lower their voices and speak quietly enough so our words can be heard as well as our voices."
Posted by: Zeilstern | May 1, 2015 9:57 PM
Amusingly, in Sean Howe's Untold Tales of Marvel Comics, not only did John Romita (Sr.) not expect (or even seek) to get the FF job after Kirby left, he actually first assumed that the series would be cancelled upon hearing of Kirby's departure.
Posted by: mikrolik | July 5, 2016 3:54 PM
For me, that story about Romita is one of the strongest pieces of evidence in support of Kirby doing most of the heavy lifting in the creation of the Marvel Universe.
Posted by: Zeilstern | July 5, 2016 4:09 PM
Very enlightening to learn that Romita didn't want the FF job, and that he had speculated that the series would be canceled after Kirby left. I quit the FF myself after #103 and remember being both surprised and disappointed that Romita didn't do a better job of it.
Please let me comment on the panel with Nixon's face. All the characters other than Tricky Dick look way off model, even the ones with their backs to the camera. The Kirby tech in the background looks hastily drawn and haphazard, like a half-hearted effort to duplicate the Kirby look. Now that I learn Romita probably wasn't even trying, it starts to make sense. Contrast this with the effort he put into following Ditko on Spider-Man and there's just no comparison.
I agree that J. Buscema was a better replacement on the FF, but neither Buscema nor Romita had the imagination and creativity to really "replace" Kirby. It's now over 50 yrs. later and still by far the biggest percentage of Marvel characters are Kirby's creations.
Posted by: James Holt | November 1, 2016 9:51 PM
This is one of those stories where shared universe continuity really causes a problem in that New York is invaded, Nixon's about to declare war, Magneto's in charge, yet neither the Avengers nor the X-Men show up, nor is there any good reason offered for their absences.
Posted by: Michael Grabowski | April 7, 2018 6:51 PM
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