Fantastic Four #34
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #34
Review/plot: A ruthless billionaire accepts a challenge from his rivals to destroy the Fantastic Four. He starts off by tricking each one into thinking the others are Skrulls, controlled by the Puppet Master, etc...
...which is a pretty good strategy but he doesn't really have a good follow up.
He ends up accidentally sending his son through a replica of Dr. Doom's time machine...
...which makes him realize that family is more important than money. He renounces his fortune and walks out of the Baxter Building with his family, leaving his time machine behind.
Cheesy, but it gets points for being a different type of cheesy than usual.
Gideon (and his son, who will much later become Glorian, herald to the Shaper of Worlds):
The Thing in a Beatles wig:
Mr. Fantastic using his legs as wheels in a way that doesn't really make sense:
It's worth repeating that the FF wind up with a fully functional replica of Dr. Doom's time machine at the end of this story.
Oddly, later stories will never acknowledge this, resulting in some discrepancies where the Fantastic Four have "Dr. Doom's time machine" in the Baxter Building but the Avengers have to go to Doom's old castle in the Adirondacks when they want to use it.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel's Greatest Comics #26
Inbound References (5): show
The thing that always stand out in my mind about issue #34 is how close the Torch came to burning the Invisible Girl when he dove at her and forced to to the ground. Looking carefully, one can see that the pavement is melted right next to Sue's arm and Torch's flame is only inches away from his sister!
Posted by: Frightful Four fan | May 9, 2013 4:42 PM
There is something about Gideon's look and personality that makes me feel like he was modeled after a real-life person. I half-expected to come on and find a comment from Mark Drummond saying who he was based on, but no such luck. He kind of reminds me of G. Gordon Liddy, but he still had a head of hair and no mustache at this point so it's certainly not him.
On another note, there is nothing about this issue that is particularly remarkable but it really struck me while reading it how far Kirby's artwork on this title had come in just two years (and still so much more great stuff to come). In particular I was impressed with his backgrounds here. Whereas in a lot of the early FF issues he often would leave the backgrounds blank, here there's only a handful of panels where that's the case.
Posted by: Robert | February 14, 2016 6:17 AM
Besides G. Gordon Liddy would become known to the general public until the Watergate Scandal in the early 70's.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 30, 2016 10:35 PM
Gideon sort of resembles a bald Charles Foster Kane. Maybe that's where the inspiration came from.
More mindless speculation: Who is the gray-haired mustachioed scientist who operates, and probably built, Gideon's time machine? As far-fetched as it seems, I see only one possible explanation: Doom was last seen having thought he destroyed Mister Fantastic thanks to his own magic berry juice and Mister Fantastic's "superior mentality". He won't be de-hypnotized until issue 39. Perhaps hearing that a crazy American financier was offering over 30 million dollars (in 1964 valuation) for a time machine, Doom saw no reason not to put on a mask and make some extra money building it for him. Because he is still hypnotized, Doom isn't acting at his full mental capacity, and doesn't recognize Mister Fantastic during their brief encounter. It's a neat little explanation that keeps Doom uniquely the only man in the Marvel Universe able to create a time machine for a long long time.
Posted by: Andrew | March 4, 2018 7:54 AM
I don't know if the puzzle of who created the first time machine will ever be solved, after devoting quite a bit of effort towards trying to figure it out. There have been so many continuity implants, but they mostly serve to muddy the question more than they clarify any answers. During the 1980s, John Byrne introduced the idea that the first time machine was built by Nathaniel Richards (The Warlord version) and thereby created a lot of uncertainty in the timeline of Rama-Tut/Kang/Immortus, which was later taken up by Roger Stern in Avengers, and still later by Roy Thomas in Avengers West Coast, with even more continuity implants and retrofit theories. Jonathan Hickman later made Nathaniel's role in the history(?) of time travel even more enigmatic by revising the character in Fantastic Four and his two SHIELD mini-series. Not to be outdone, Ed Brubaker gave us a flashback to an early, pre-armor version of Doom creating a time machine for the government, in Books of Doom #2 (2005).
My tentative working theory is that Gideon's unnamed scientist stooge in FF #34 somehow obtained the plans for Doom's government-sponsored time machine experiment shown in Books of Doom. I don't know how Nathaniel fits into all of this back-history, and tend to be highly dubious of Hickman's Nathaniel stories as occurring in alternate realities which were either spawned or accessed through all the careless meddling in the time stream which had become so endemically disruptive to Marvel continuity.
Posted by: Holt | March 4, 2018 9:22 AM
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