The Small Lebowski:
Fantastic Four #20
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #20
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 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 Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
It was really weird that the Molecule man never showed up again during the Silver Age, considering how powerful he was.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 2:31 AM
the Watcher is such a busybody. all he does is interfere.
Posted by: min | February 28, 2012 9:20 AM
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.
Posted by: Chris | January 11, 2013 9:10 PM
Mark Gruenwald has a letter here.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 29, 2013 3:33 PM
If the Watcher transported the team to his Moon base, Reed would be unlikely to refer to it as "some other dimension". So does Uatu perhaps transport them to his base in Limbo previously shown in #13 and Strange Tales #134? Is he able to mask his actions from his brethren there?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 26, 2015 4:30 AM
One thing you have to admire about the early F4 comics in particular is that their threats can pretty much vary from issue to issue and can range from "street level" annoyances (Miracle Man) or tough but empowered (Red Ghost, Klaw) to major big-time threats (Doom, Namor, Skrulls) to cosmic horrors (Galactus, Blaastar, Annihilus). The world was just open to anything with them and you just could get away with anything and have it become a long-lasting element in the universe. I bring that up due to the Molecule Man just being one who really is one of the most powerful of these threats and yet somehow just really appearing only once with the F4 before being thrown about the universe and finally boosted by Shooter ultimately to being the key during the Secret Wars. It really just showed that in this period, anything was possible and could continue to keep relevance even if it takes a bit of time.
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 13, 2015 2:56 PM
Actually after retconning the Beyonder into an inhuman, I'm not what connection if any there is between him and the Molecule Man.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 25, 2016 8:06 PM
The whole "The Beyonder is an Inhuman" bit...SMM goes a bit more into it in his "Illuminati #3" bit, claiming the Beyonder was just playing them (and thus the original origin remains with his connection to Molecule Man)...but seriously, considering the Beyonder in SW2, isn't that what he would want them to think? Heck, maybe the Beyonder was forcing Bendis to play by his rules and not the other way around...
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 25, 2016 9:03 PM
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