Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fantasic Four #3 - Miracle Man Introduction

The Fantastic Four
March 1962
Issue: 3 Reading Order#: 3

In the first two issues for The Fantastic Four, I have periodically poked fun at the ridiculousness contained within them.  Overall, I have accepted that quirkiness and chalk it up as a strange mixture of influence from previous monster comics, the time period itself, and the oddity of Stan Lee in general.  Well, I was okay with it until this issue.  The ending of this comic might be one of the worst things I have ever read. 

I am starting to have a real problem with how the Torch is being portrayed.   There are real inconsistencies with how hot he really is.  It wouldn't be so bad but his power ranges from completely unbeatable to laughable depending on the situation.  I understand the need for dramatic flair but at least establish a base rule set with which to govern this fictional world.  Especially in your main characters.

In this issue we are introduced to a man who calls himself the Miracle Man.  He embarrasses the Fantastic Four during a magic show and then begins this deep internal monologue about how awesome he is and how he cannot be defeated.  The Miracle Man then devises a plot where he will animate this wooden/papier-mâché monster in an attempt to conquer the world.  Never mind the fact the his plan is *ahem* paper-thin, it still manages to confound the super heroes for a bit until Torch comes to save the say by burning it to the ground.  In this initial battle we have discovered new weaknesses for the team.


Weakness Update:

    • Fire. (Fantastic Four #2)
    • Chemical foam will put out his flame.
    • Brick to the head. Blunt force trauma to the head will cause him to spontaneously shrink back to normal size. 
    • Scent gives away her location.  
Who was completely useless in the fight again?  Mister Fantastic.  He should just stay home.  Thing is just always at the wrong place at the wrong time.  I would like to see Thing beat some bad guys soon, by the way.  He deserves some spotlight.

So after the Torch burns down the monster, the Miracle Man douses him in chemical foam to dispose of his only real true threat in the group and he takes off in a new, super cutting edge, nuclear tank.  The Invisible Girl decides to stow away in the tank as her drives off to spy on her enemy.  She plans on alerting the group when she arrives at his junk yard base of operations when she is foiled by a dog.  The dog alerts Miracle Man to her location where he charms her with the snap of his fingers.

Now this is where is gets really bad.  Miracle Man gets her to shoot off her flare gun to signal the team who rushes to save her.  Finding themselves inside Miracle Man's trap a fight ensues. As Miracle Man realizes that the fight is a draw he tries to flee and guess who shows up? Torch, of course. He arrives and turns up the heat so hot that it temporarily blinds Miracle Man. (But no one else.)  He is so devastated by this inconvenience that he immediately gives up and reveals the true source of his power.  Hypnotism.  Apparently he can hypnotize everyone in the Tri-State area with a single snap of his fingers.  It was explained that everything was just an illusion of the mind.  It must have been a shared illusion by the entire city because everyone was in panic.  If he was so powerful and the entire group was under his spell, why couldn't he have just made them realize their were powerless or made them think they were cows and set them off to pasture with the Skrulls? There are so many possibilities for his victory but instead he just mails it in.  The fire was just too bright for him to handle and his will to go on was sapped dry.  The end.

Why was the ending so bad?  On a positive note, they wore their iconic blue costumes for the first time in this issue.  Interestingly enough this is also the issue where the Thing destroys his first suit by ripping out of it.  I might have to make a counter for that if it becomes a habit.  In this issue they also detail the Fantastic Four's base of operations with a weird little diagram and introduce the cheeze-tastic Fantasticar.  Their hovercar breaks into four individual hover platforms that they can tool around town in.  Its great for getting separated and picked off one by one by enemy foes.

NEXT ISSUE IN READING ORDER: Incredible Hulk #1 - Introduction of the Hulk

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