Fantastic Four #82-83
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #82, Fantastic Four #83
Crystal realizes that she actually needs permission from Black Bolt before she joins the FF.
Reed says that since she's still a minor he should have thought to ask permission as well.
Then the Alpha Primitives, under the control of Maximus, show up and grab Crystal to bring her back to the Inhumans.
I hate that sort of thing. Crystal decides she needs to go back to the Inhumans, and then seconds later she is forcibly brought back to the Inhumans. It's a convenient coincidence that allows for some unnecessary action and the interesting idea of Crystal requiring some sort of permission to join the FF is dropped in favor of a standard rescue plot.
I like Kirby's designs for a lot of the minor Inhumans. The randomness of their appearances gives Kirby a lot of room to stretch his imagination and give us some interesting characters (this group of Inhumans will actually be re-occurring support villains for Maximus).
Another cool idea is at one point Maximus traps the FF in a psychological prison that works by making the prisoners believe that there is no way to escape it. Reed figures it out and tells the Torch and the Thing to mentally concentrate in order to escape (Ben comically thinks he's nuts, of course, and contributes to the concentration by mumbling). Similarly, they fight a robot that sends out a mental signal that makes opponents think it is undefeatable, but they beat that just by destroying it really fast.
The 'good' Inhumans free themselves, making the FF's involvement not critical.
Once again Crystal shows herself to be a major powerhouse as she destroys Maximus' hypno-gun.
Maximus then flees the planet with a small contingent of loyal Inhuman rebels.
Note above that the Alpha Primitives are described as "the Inhuman's deadly drone race!". As in their first appearance, they are only seen here working as pawns for Maximus. When Maximus flees with his group of loyalists, he doesn't take the Primitives, and we don't see them again or what happened to them. We don't yet have an explanation as to what they are, but the impression you'd get just reading these issues is that they are mindless warriors, not worker slaves.
Meanwhile, Sue's intellect shrivels as she is forced into a stay-at-home mom role. While the Fantastic Four fight Maximus, Sue is at home struggling with an equally difficult task: what to name the baby. Except Reed's psychological abuses have been too devastating to her, and she can't even think of a name without him.
I liked this shot of Reed banking the plane:
It shows, to me, that there was a high level of coordination between Stan and Jack on these issues. It's been said that Stan basically gave single sentence plots to Kirby and then just scripted whatever he got back, but it seems more likely that a gag like this would have to be planned in advance (either that or Stan was a very nimble scripter).
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Pushed forward in a major way in order to get around FF appearances in Avengers #60, Silver Surfer #5, and Sub-Mariner #14.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel's Greatest Comics #64 (#83 is an original)
Inbound References (1): showAireo, Black Bolt, Crystal, Falcona, Franklin Richards, Gorgon, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Karnak, Leonus, Lockjaw, Maximus, Medusa, Mr. Fantastic, Stallior, Thing, Timberius, Triton, Zorr
As interesting as that would be for Marvel history, I think you mean Lockjaw :-)
Posted by: TCP | October 7, 2014 2:20 PM
I flip those two a lot. Thanks, TCP.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 7, 2014 2:39 PM
The idea for Dr. Doom's eventual solo series evidently got floated in this book early on, as a letter in #83 says something like: "What kind of adventures can a villain have? 'Dr. Doom invents a New Zap Gun' Is this what we're in for?"
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 10, 2015 12:48 AM
In #82, Maximus says a chemical was applied to Medusa's hair to keep her helpless (on sale soon: Maximus brand Inhumanly Stiff Hold hair gel). But when Black Bolt breaks out in #83, she can suddenly use her hair power because the "hypno-spell" is broken.
I think Black Bolt's voice should be uncontrollably destructive, considering his extreme reticence to speak, so I don't like him being able to use it right next to some family members here without harming them. The following wordless scene where they steamroll a bunch of Alpha Primitives is pretty cool, though.
Posted by: Mortificator | March 12, 2016 10:30 PM
Another strong possibility for the plane-banking gag is that Kirby penciled dialog suggestions in the margins of the original art page. I haven't seen the original art for this page, but I've seen many original pages reprinted in the Jack Kirby Collector magazine where just such dialog suggestions were made. Lee would then take the suggestions but change the dialog to match his own writing style.
Posted by: James Holt | September 29, 2017 7:24 AM
Agreed, James. Indeed, the dialogue (wonderful as it is) seems a little at odds with Kirby’s visual. (“Buckle up” for descent, says Reed, when the crew already has its belts secure.) Reading just the pictures, it looks like Johnny’s being thrown back by the G-force of acceleration; rocky Ben is not so affected. But at the apex of the flight, maybe in Zero-G?, even Ben is feeling ill effects from Reed’s urgent piloting.
Of course, “What happens when you belch?” is a hilarious Stan Lee line, and really makes the scene memorable. Part of the fun of Lee-Kirby books comes when Lee’s zany scripting departs from the art in this way. Kirby’s usually such a clear storyteller that the scene “moves” without need for much exposition, freeing Lee to provide a “counterpoint” to the action with his scripting. Prior planning need not be involved at all.
Posted by: Chris Z | September 29, 2017 9:04 AM
Thanks Chris. Lee's flair for verbal humor is well renowned and deserving of great respect.
Kirby's ability to write his own dialog was later demonstrated in his work for DC, but I never felt it quite matched his collaborative work with Lee, nor was it apparently as successful sales-wise. That didn't prevent DC from continuing to use Kirby's vast array of new characters right up to the present day, especially Darkseid who became one of DC's most popular villains.
It's noteworthy that after they split, Kirby sans Lee was much more prolific at creating new stories and characters than Lee without Kirby (or Ditko), even though Kirby was older and had been at it for quite a bit longer than Lee had. I think they were both pretty exhausted and at least starting to burn out by 1969.
Having recently reviewed a lot of Lee's collaborative work with Gene Colan on Daredevil, and with no disparagement intended towards Colan, I'm more convinced than ever that Lee was always more dependent on good Marvel-method artists than Kirby was on anyone.
Ben Grimm was one of their best collaborative efforts IMO, and I'm always curious and uncertain about who wrote any bit of Ben's dialog (or Sgt. Fury's). It's always intriguing when I see any scene in which Reed is the pilot, and Ben is a passenger, since Ben's perceived superiority as an air pilot had been well established, starting with FF #1.
Posted by: James Holt | September 29, 2017 11:13 AM
James, I've been on my own Daredevil kick lately, and have enjoyed your insightful comments. I too feel that DD gives us a more unfiltered, "personal" representation of Lee's abilities as a storyteller. Divorced from those engines of imagination, Kirby and Ditko, Lee carried a larger burden of plotting and character development in DD--and there's just no comparison between that book and what was going on in FF, Thor, and Spider-Man during the same period. (I still love the Lee run on Daredevil, though; and I credit this site with opening my eyes to the greatness of Colan's art.)
Try to name Kirby's greatest creation post-Lee, and you could mention any one of a dozen characters. But Lee's greatest creation post-Kirby is clearly ... Stan Lee: the toothy guy with the moustache, sunglasses, and toupee. He made himself the personification of Marvel Comics the way (the late) Hugh Hefner did with his own publication. That's an achievement in itself; but different from what Kirby and Ditko achieved.
Posted by: Chris Z | September 29, 2017 2:53 PM
Chris, thanks again, very generous of you. Your comments are much appreciated and well received by me as well. You, fnord, and all the other posters here have given me a lot to think about, and informed my opinions in many unexpected ways. I feel fortunate to have found this site, and to be included in the conversations here.
Started reading Daredevil very young, and I must admit he was one of my favorite characters as a child. Interesting how our opinions change as we grow older, while certain nostalgic fondnesses remain. Always liked Ditko, Kirby, and Lee, and still do, but my appreciation of DD waned while my enjoyment of Colan grew. It's still growing. He came into the bullpen when I was still young, replacing many of my favorite artists, and thus I came to resent him for many years. This site has forced me to reevaluate my earlier bias. I'm still learning to appreciate his talents. Reading the assessments here has opened my eyes too.
Posted by: James Holt | September 30, 2017 12:33 AM
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