Fantastic Four #20
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #20
Review/plot: Mr. Fantastic, who has fought Skrulls, helped the denizens of Planet X escape their doomed Planet, and dealt with the Impossible Man, finds a dehydrated acorn in a fallen meteorite, and determines that this proves that there must be life in space.
Suddenly a bright blue fireball is seen floating around outside the Baxter Building. The FF charge outside, and try to stop it, causing a fair amount of property damage in the process.
Eventually they get sucked into the sphere. It turns out to be a way for the Watcher to have a conversation with the FF without the rest of his people finding out about it.
Yep, the Watcher's idea of stealth is to cause mass panic and property damage. He warns the FF about the Molecule Man, who has the ability to alter anything's molecular structure. (There's a cute Mr. Science-style "Reed, what exactly are molecules?" line of dialogue).
The FF return from the Watcher's dimension (!) to find that the Molecule Man has already moved the Baxter Building to Times Square and is nullifying every man-made law and taking over the world. Which makes you wonder... what was the point of the Watcher sticking his neck out to warn the FF? They would have found out soon enough anyway, and it's not like his warning leads them to take any extra precautions. They attack, and Owen Reece makes short work of them.
He is using a molecular wand. He is also is very poorly drawn - very inconsistent from panel to panel and very sketchy looking.
He was a pretty weird looking guy before the accident that gave him his powers, too:
The FF run and the the Molecule Man orders everyone in the city to find them, but the Yancy Street Gang lead them to Alicia's apartment where they can hide. Given a moment to think. Reed realizes that the Molecule Man did not attack the FF directly by rearranging their molecules, so he reasons that Owen can only affect inorganic molecules. He then devises a wacky solution where Alicia disguises the FF as statues and then the Molecule Man shows up and tries to re-arrange the statues, but since they are organic, it knocks him back and makes him drop his wand. Then the Watcher shows up and takes him away.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations:
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
It was really weird that the Molecule man never showed up again during the Silver Age, considering how powerful he was.
the Watcher is such a busybody. all he does is interfere.
With hindsight of decades of subsequent publishing, there is a very good reason why the Watcher would warn the FF about the Molecule Man even though they would have encountered him in short order. His concern is not that there is a supervillain running around, but that he knows the "birth" of the Molecule Man has enabled the Beyonder to become conscious and observe Earth. It's probably one of his "cute" ways to interfere without actually interfering.
Mark Gruenwald has a letter here.
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