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Fantastic Four #4
The Coming of the Sub-Mariner

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4 Stars
Fantastic Four #4 Cover The coming of the Sub-Mariner

Review Ratings:

Story: ?????? 
Art: ?????? 
Character And Development: ?????? 
Originality And Continuity: ?????? 
Catchy Catchphrase: ?????? 
Overall: ?????? 

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Book Information:

Cover Date: May 1962

Characters & Groups
Locations:
  • Baxter Building
  • New York City
  • The Bowery

With Fantastic Four #4, we have truly the signs that the series is in its early stages of greatness.  this volume is in effect the first time in Fantastic Four that the ending events of the last issue directly effect the next.  leaving no feeling of a great loss of time,  in #1 to #3, it could be hard to tell how much time has elapsed between the events. it could be days, or months.  and most of the time, it has the feeling of being months.  perhaps to match the length of time between issue releases?   But this time, the events of this issue pick up just a short time after the last.

with the 3 remaining members of the team preparing to search for Johnny Storm, also known as The Human Torch. little can anyone imagine, except for those whom looked at the cover of the issue, that He is going to find another great. one from comics past;  The Sub-Mariner Namor. 

The Story

I feel the story was well written, although it did fit a lot, perhaps too much story into too few pages.  starting off with the hunt for the Human Torch; while he is actively trying to avoid being found by the remaining three members of the team.  this eventually leads him to hide out in The Bowery, he see’s it as a great place to blend in, as well as the last place anyone would look for him.  he is almost right, and by mere chance avoids being found by his sister.

Johnny Storm Reading a Sub Mariner comic

Johnny Storm Reading a Sub Mariner comic he found while hiding, moments before meeting the Sub-Mariner himself.

While there,  he finds, by great chance an old ‘Sub-Mariner’ comic, and the act of reading it leads to his discovery of Namor himself there, without his  memory.  of course, Johnny has an idea on how to restore Namor’s memory by dropping him into the sea.

This indeed works, but the Sub-Mariner quickly learns that his home was destroyed, the ambient radiation leads him to conclude that the humans did it with an atomic test.  As a result Namor the Sub-Mariner with his re-found memory has a new life goal.  To destroy the human’s whom destroyed his people’s city.

This leads to the human touch summoning the other members of the Fantastic four, whom have yet to find him. and a large battle between them and a Giant sea monster named Giganto.  fortunately before the monsters arrival; there is time to evacuate New York.   The team does not seem to be faring well,   until The Thing, risks his life, and his thick hide to take a bomb right into the monsters mouth. He says how he is not a hero’ and that he will be back, but the danger and risk is clear to both him and the reader.

Shortly after this Invisible girl discovers the secret to Namor’s power over the monster,  and  Namor discovers the beauty of Sue Storm.  an offer of courtship is made to save human kind. Sue does consider this, but the rest of the Fantastic Four can’t let her go though with it.

All and all , a great story. in my opinion the best Fantastic Four written up to that point, and a definite Must read.

Art

The aft of this issue was as good as the story, well done but not outstanding. While I feel the art in Fantastic Four #3 was better, due to having some stand out points to it. I feel #4 was consistent throughout just as the story was.

Originality & Continuity

This is the first merger between Marvel’s Silver age (or modern age)  hero’s and those that came in the golden age under Timely.  As such it posed some challenges that ‘dropping’ them would not have done.   partly, what happened to them?    while there is no easy way to handle this over all, I feel it was handled well for Namor.

The story also is the first where we see great Continuity,  it is a direct follow-up to the events that ended the last issue, with The Human Torch running off.  This issue starts with the remaining members hunting him down.

There is no way I can say anything but great things about how this was handled for its time. It is this issue they also establish the team as being in New York now,  but there is no mention of Central City, or why they left it. This is a minor detail, that is worth mentioning.

Characters & Development

This directly continues from last issue; and  I feel the team grows stronger as the characters grow deeper in this issue.  The Thing, continues to be hard on Johnny but they do seem to reach a truths of sorts by the end, even if it’s just because their is a greater threat.   leaving me with the feeling that at least for now, even thought hey have there differences, they must remain together.

I feel this issue is a great development story for Johnny Storm outside of his Human Torch persona, it builds upon what we seen in the first issue, that he likes working on car’s.  It also establishes what his teammates think of him and how to find him, showing us that despite the uneasy tension between him and The Thing, perhaps Ben Grim knows Johnny a bit better than his sister and Reed.

This is not to say that The Human Torch does not develop. In this last issue the thing says “Flame off” to johnny during their conflict with each other.  But it’s not until this issue that  The Human Torch first says those immortal words that have come to identify and represent him so well over the years.

Flame On!

 


Categories: Marvel , Fantastic Four Vol. 1 (1961)
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One thought on “Fantastic Four #4

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