Fantastic Four #15
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #15
In any event, you've got to love corny Silver Age computers:
The first step in taking over NYC is getting rid of the Fantastic Four. He arranges for each of them to get a tempting opportunity outside of the FF - Reed is offered a prestigious position at GE, Sue is given an acting career, the Thing becomes a pro-wrestler...
...and poor unambitious Johnny joins the circus. We will see other characters, like Thor, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, join the circus when they have nowhere else to turn, but for Johnny, circus life is even better than being a glamorous super-hero celebrity. After all, he gets to meet "all those cool circus chicks!". Who knew Johnny was into bearded ladies?
Johnny (and presumably Sue) have cousins in the circus: Bones and Shorty.
Eventually the FF all get sick of their new professions and return to the Baxter Building but it has been taken over by the Mad Thinker. He hits them with a number of traps...
...including an attack by the Thinker's Awesome Android (Reed keeps claiming it was created based on his notes, but you know what? I don't believe it. I've never seen Reed create an Awesome Android.).
Then he loses due to Reed having arranged for the mailman to press a safety switch down in the lobby that shuts off all the electronic equipment in the building. Yep, the Mad Thinker was defeated by Willie Lumpkin.
Problems with this:
Oh well. First appearance of a cool character. I can't complain. Except, you know, when i do.
More Silver Age madness: the Thing was on Yancy Street, about to throw a tank at a building over some taunting by the Yancy Street Gang when he was summoned away by the FF signal.
And Reed was on the verge of creating life when he got interrupted by all this crime-fighting nonsense.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Collector's Item Classics #10
Inbound References (9): show
It's also interesting to see the Mad Thinker without unkempt hair.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 1:44 AM
Roy Thomas has a letter here.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 29, 2013 3:32 PM
So Reed's one-celled organism is....a frilled lizard? Yeesh it must have evolved while he wasn't looking.
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 14, 2013 3:19 PM
"The entire Baxter Building was covered in some weird booby-trapped crystal that only allowed the FF to enter. How did the mailman get inside?"
Well clearly Lumpkin's audition in Fantastic Four #11 had an impact and they were forced to bring him into the group.
Posted by: Max_Spider | February 5, 2014 5:22 PM
Willie Lumpkin is actually one of the Elders of the Universe ("The Messenger"). Watch for 6 part mini-series "The Cosmic Adventures of Willie Lumpkin" coming soon!
Posted by: Gary Himes | April 24, 2014 6:45 PM
"After all, he gets to meet "all those cool circus chicks!". Who knew Johnny was into bearded ladies?"
Nah, let's be honest. They couldn't spell it out for you because of the Comic Code, but Johnny was really talking about the girl who swallows fire.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 23, 2014 11:07 PM
Aside from all the problems you pointed out, there's another one. I think what kept happening in the early years was that Stan would create almost unbeatable villains (case in point, the Awesome Android - who is probably far more awesome than anything Reed ever created - in fact, since Doom created the time machine, what exactly has Reed invented that was cool?) and then figure out ridiculous ways they could be beaten. That's probably why the Android hasn't been used that much over the years (your checklist proves that) - not that he's not Awesome, but because it's difficult to think of ways to beat him.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 6, 2014 8:45 AM
I think I like the Mad Thinker looking more normalish here before growing his hair out to look a little 'madder.' That's actually what I really liked about him looking so normal and boring: all his powers really of his mind.
I could see someone using him like DC's Suicide Squad, like the animated version where the Clock King was the planner/mission control.
Kind of looks like an evil and smarter Ben Grimm now that I think about it.
Posted by: david banes | February 23, 2016 4:52 PM
I think the opening splash page of the Thinker here really defines him, more or less emulating the statue without any real idea regarding who he will eventually become later. Though I do think Stan goes a little crazy calling Andy "neither animal, vegetable or mineral"...but that's just flourishments.
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 24, 2016 8:47 AM
Was the Awesome Android created using Reed's notes?
Yes. In 1962 Watson and Crick received the Nobel Prize for their work on the DNA double helix molecular model. This was covered extensively in Life and Time magazines, along with diagrams and photographs of DNA double helix models, similar to the one shown in this issue, page 4, panel 2. At this time, molecular genetics was still in its infancy, and the informal term "building blocks of life" was widely used in reference to DNA, again, see page 4 panel 2. Here we also have Reed incorrectly calling DNA molecules "cells," so let me just blame that on Stan Lee misquoting Reed, hah.
Next, on page 12, panel 2, the Mad Thinker says "Here are Mr. Fantastic's notes concerning his work with DNA, the building blocks of life itself! Using this information, I should be able to create a new form of life-- one which will serve only-- the Thinker!"
Does the Mad Thinker define "X-factor" as "the human element?"
No. On page 20, panel 2, Reed defines the X-factor as "the unexpected." This is consistent with the commonplace definition of X-factor as an unknown, unexpected, or variable value, or element, as per the use of the variable X in algebraic equations.
Then, on page 20, panel 5, the Thinker uses the phrase "human element" as an example of an X-factor, but not as a definition. Reed had already defined the term. Willie Lumpkin was the human element being discussed, insofar as he had done something unexpected, something which the Thinker had not factored into his plans.
I agree that it's confusing, and these are certainly not the most shining examples of Stan Lee's dialog writing skills, but that's the way I interpret these dialog snippets.
Posted by: James Holt | August 4, 2016 11:57 PM
The x-factor in question is obviously a time traveling X-Factor whose off-screen presence explains away any plot hole, true believer.
Posted by: FF3 | January 5, 2018 8:53 PM
I like how the Awesome Android has awesome purple skivvies to protect true believers from the awesome synthetic genitals he must surely possess. His creator truly was a Mad Thinker.
Posted by: squirrel_defeater | January 15, 2018 9:52 PM
I think the real reason Ben's mad at the Yancy Boys is because they discovered his secret love of the ballet; part of why he's so surly after he becomes The Thing is that he can't sneak into the Met to see Swan Lake anymore.
Posted by: Kouban | January 19, 2018 9:28 PM
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