Fantastic Four Omnibus, Vol. 2 by Stan Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fantastic Four Omnibus, Volume 2, contains Fantastic Four 31-60, plus annuals 2-4.
Annual 2: Doctor Doom's origin is retold and he teams with Rama Tut against the Fantastic Four!
Yeah, Doctor Doom again. While I already knew Doom and Reed went to college together, it was nice to read the story for the first time.
31-34: The Fantastic Four take on the Mole Man, the Invincible Man, Attuma, and a billionaire named Gregory Gideon.
Introducing Franklin Storm, Sue and Johnny's father, only to kill him off seemed like a waste. The Invincible Man battle was the best issue of these four. Special bonus: Since this omnibus includes the original letters page, George R.R. Martin has two letters published, starting his long tradition of writing frivolous things when he should be working on something important.
35-38: The Fantastic Four take on Dragon-Man and Diablo, The Frightful Four, go to the Skrull homeworld, and take on the Frightful Four a second time.
Kirby's dynamic pencils drove the debut of two new threats, Dragon-Man and the Frightful Four. It's not very often you see super heroes defeated but the Frightful Four did just that. How is the Fantastic Four going to operate powerless?
On a side note, Medusa's hair is kind of a ridiculous super power. "Your clumsy fists and guns are no match for my uncanny hair!"
39-43: A powerless Fantastic Four go up against Doctor Doom with Daredevil as their ally. No sooner do they get their powers back than The Thing leaves and joins forces with the Frightful Four!
Yeah, you know you're in deep shit when Daredevil joins your team and he's the heavy hitter. The three issue conflict with the Frightful Four went a little long but I'm really digging the silver age cheese factor from Medusa.
Annual 3: It's the day we've all been waiting for! Reed Richards and Sue Storm are getting married. Too bad Doctor Doom is assembling an army of super villains to attack the Fantastic Four when they are the most vulnerable.
Doctor Doom sets out to ruin the wedding of Reed and Sue, setting a precedent for every future super hero wedding to follow. Doom's allies include but are not limited to The Puppet Master, Red Ghost, Mole Man, The Mandarin, Kang, Grey Gargoyle, The Super Skrull, Cobra, the Executioner, The Enchantress, Black Knight, The Melter, Mister Hyde, Elector, the Beetle, the Mad Thinker, and the Awesome Android. Luckily, the X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and Doctor Strange are on hand.
44-47: The Fantastic Four meet the Uncanny Inhumans!
This proved to be a timely read since the Inhumans are the surrogate X-Men until Marvel gets the movie rights back. This is the story that introduces them, starting with Medusa on the run and ending at the great refuge, with plenty of super hero misunderstandings in between.
The Inhuman Royal Family act much as they do these days. I'm glad someone besides Stan Lee eventually writes the Fantastic Four, though. His dialogue is kind of terrible and Sue Richards has almost no personality beyond wanting to please her husband.
48-50: At last, the Galactus Trilogy!
Fresh from their debacle with Maximus the Mad, the Fantastic Four arrive home to find New York in chaos, but that is nothing compared to the shitstorm headed their way, for the Silver Surfer has arrived and, soon, Galactus! Galactus' arrival and the following two issues are some of the best comics from this era. While I haven't read all of Lee and Kirby's run, I'd be shocked if this wasn't their prime. The art is quintessential Kirby and Lee's also at the top of his game.
51-56: A mad scientist steals the Thing's powers and has a change of heart. The Black Panther battles the Fantastic Four and helps them battle Klaw. The Human Torch and Wyatt Wingfoot meet Prester John. The Thing battles the Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four, minus the Human Torch, battle the much improved Klaw!
The Fantastic Four continues to expand the Marvel Universe, this time by introducing the Black Panther and Wakanda. The Kirby-ness goes up another notch as Kirby machines and Kirby dots are all over the place.
Annual 4: The Fantastic Four battle the original Human Torch and the Mad Thinker!
The FF, primarily Johnny, battle the original Human Torch, who was revived by the Mad Thinker. Due to Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, I'm pretty sure this story was only written to retain Marvel's copyright on the original Human Torch. Kind of a shitty thing to do to Carl Burgos. Also, this story also illustrates how much Marvel has played fast and loose with time over the years. At this point, Reed and Ben were still acknowledged as being in World War II.
57-60: Doom steals the power cosmic!
While the Kirby-tude of this story can't be denied, it was kind of a letdown in the end. Still, it was great seeing Doctor Doom running wild for a few issues... with no other heroes stopping by to help.
Closing Thoughts: The second big honkin' Fantastic Four omnibus was even better than the first. So much of the foundation of the current Marvel Universe was established in these issues. While the dialogue is almost unbearable at times, the concepts and the art were the top of the game at the time. Five out of five stars, adjusted for the passage of sixty years.
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