Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fantasic Four #2 - Skrulls Introduction

Fantastic Four #2 - Skrulls Introduction
The Fantastic Four
January 1962
Issue: 2 Reading Order#: 2

In issue number one, I mention on a couple occasions that the public's general distrust in the superheroes was rooted in their questionable actions during the introduction.  This group of heroes had shown the world that wherever they went, chaos ensued.  In this issue, a powerful alien race has taken advantage of this mistrust and has decided to play it against them.  The aliens named Skrulls, are masquerading as members of the Fantastic Four while mimicking their super-human powers with advanced technologies.

Mayhem Update:
  • THE THING - Destroys an off shore oil rig.  Begins a monumental ecological disaster.  Apparently there were zero fatalities in this incident.  Wow!
  • THE INVISIBLE WOMAN - Steals a 10 million dollar diamond.  In today's money, this diamond would actually be worth about 75 million dollars or more.  I believe the only diamond remotely close to this price range is the De Beers Diamond.  That's just for trivia, I guess.
  • THE HUMAN TORCH - Melts a random civil war monument made out of marble.  This made me think.  How hot can a torch get?  Can a torch melt marble?  The answer is it depends on what is feeding the fire.  It seems that it might be technically possible to get a torch to burn that hot.  Never mind that you need some serious stuff powering the blaze and it would have to get as hot as rhyolite magma to melt marble.  Maybe we should call him The Human Magma?
  • MISTER FANTASTIC - Flips a single switch that manages the entire city's power grid.  A bored, probably minimum wage handyman watches a super stretchy arm come into the room and flip off the unguarded switch.  We can presume, that the handyman just says, "too bad I'm off the clock", he then shrugs and leaves to go home for the day.  The city plunges into darkness and chaos.  I am sure this is the point in history that we stop managing whole city electrical grids with a single on/off switch.
So the military comes to arrest the real Fantastic Four who come along quietly.  I guess they knew that once they were captured they would be placed into generic cells with the barest of security staffs.  They all easily break free, ie the invisible woman simple walks out an open door and no one can find her, ect.  Obviously, this whole section was planted here as a reminder of what their super-powers did because its all very redundant.

After some deliberation, the brilliant Mister Fantastic comes up with a simple plan to uncover the imposters.  They will cause more havoc as themselves and in doing so, they hope it will confuse the doppelgangers into revealing themselves.  The plan is a tremendous success. Well, wait.  I am getting ahead of myself just a bit.  There's a little hitch here.  When the human torch uncovers the Skrulls who were impersonating them, a fight betweeen the Skrull-Human Torch and the real Human Torch breaks out.  In the fight, they collide and we learn that somehow they cancel each other out.

Weakness Update:
  • THE HUMAN TORCH - When his fire comes into contact with another fire source, it seems to render his power useless for the period of a few minutes. This is one the of those occasions where you would actually fight fire with fire, as the saying goes.

Human Torch - Fighting fire with fire.
Fighting fire with fire.  How did they know this would even work?

So they turn the tables on the devious Skrulls.  The rest of the Fantastic four burst in and save the day.  Mister Fantastic comes up with a plan that involves posing as themselves in order to infiltrate the Skrull organization. 

Bold move.

The heroes steal the alien's spaceship and fly up to the mother-ship in geosynchronous orbit.  The plan goes off without a hitch and they manage to convince the Skrull leadership that the Earth is full of terrors that will eat them all.  The Skrull get all freaked out and leave Earth's orbit.

When the Fantastic Four return to Earth, the Thing gets hit by radiation and reverts back to normal for a few minutes.  I have to assume that this fact just makes him even more angry than before.  They get out of the spaceship and immediately have to deal with an angry military, who still think that the heroes are evil, and they have to deal with the fact the the 4 Skrulls stuck on Earth have escaped and are causing havoc.  The Fantastic Four use the havoc as a diversion to duck being captured by the Army again and capture the Skrulls, thereby proving the innocence of the Fantastic Four once and for all.

The Fantastic Four punish the remaining four Skrulls to a sentence of impersonating cattle by using hypnotism.  Its easy to see that this hypnotism won't last and it won't be long before they are dealing with Skulls again.  Next time the Skrulls won't scare off so easily.

Aside from the logic issues, the story was fairly decent.  I am glad they wrapped up issues with the public hatred of the hero group.  I am sure that Mister Fantastic could argue that the Skrulls were responsible for all the bad things that happened up to this point and possibly repair their reputation.  I don't quite get why they had to revert The Thing back to a human for a few minutes.  Was it to give him hope that they could someday remove their conditions?  Right now its, kind of unclear.

NEXT ISSUE IN READING ORDER: Fantastic Four #3 - Introduction of the Miracle Man

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