Fantastic Four #20:The Mysterious Molecule Man!

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For a story that has it all, from Yancy Street and a member of its gang to The Watcher Uato you need to look no farther than Fantastic Four #20. The story “The Mysterious Molecule Man!” is one that has begun to raise the bar of what we expect in epic future of the Fantastic Four!

to summarize the story, the Watcher warns the Fantastic Four of a new threat, the Molecule Man,  just moments before they are to do battle with him,  Letting them in on his origin, but is it enough for them to defeat a foe that could likely destroy universes.


This story was well written and designed and over all I liked it, but I feel I should bring up the few points that I did not like, as they are easier to talk about and more important than all the details that I do like.

Advice from Uato: I know he can’t interfere even though he does,  but the information he passed on, it may have been beneficial if that played a role in the finding of Molecule Man’s weakness.   This would have made it fit in better as his role in the end could have happened just as easy without his role in the begging.

Life In Space: To Quote Reed Richards “it proves that some form of life Must exist in outer space”. it may be how I am reading into it, but to me this goes against much that we seen, and know to be true though the rest of the story.  We had the Skrulls on earth twice, we have the watcher,  and the Fantastic Four have been to a distant world,  they know there is a such thing as life out there,  so what is with this passage.. maybe time will tell. but as it is written, I do not like it.


I feel that Jack Kirby did a great job with both the characters and the deformed New York Landscape as the story progressed.  most panels where good, but it also had a fair number that just made me go ‘wow’!  such as when they first see the watcher in this issue,  and when they locate the Baxter building hovering over times square, as I have shown to the right.

In the case of this panel, it’s not the detail that leaves me breathless, but the imagination and interposition, as we look from high above, the countless people are left as but ants far below, the shadow of the building casting down on many of them.   it inspires both thought and imagination

Originality, Continuity  Character and Development

One can’t help but feel that on some level reminded of a few stories that we have read and reviewed so far when reading this one. from the paper of a thousand perils to the metal Master to fantastic Fours own wacky menace The Impossible Man, to even miracle Man from Fantastic Four #3, and more still.  While the seemingly all-powerful world altering villains are not unique in power sets, one must ask themselves if they feel that the menace is unique in another way.

In general I do not see uniqueness or dimensional with Molecule Man, at least not yet,  he was given so little depth that they avoided even giving him a name in this issue, perhaps as part of a joke about his pre-accident importance.

But where I feel this story lacks in originality it makes up in Continuity.  It brings back  a once seen so far charter known as the watcher, and maintains a level of his identity, that he watches.  It then builds upon this, by  making him make the choice that he needs to do a little more than just watch, but limiting himself as to what.

It also lets Yancy street, and its gang play a part, showing them to not just be antagonist of the thing, but also to have a scene of commonality with him. Ironic seeing the people that he would expect most to turn him in, to be the very ones to provide the needed help.

Book Information:
Cover Date: Nov 1963
Read At:
  • Stan Lee
  • Jack Kirby
  • Dick Ayers
  • Art Simek
Review Ratings:
Originality And Continuity&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733½&#9734
Character And Development&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733½&#9734
Space Rock&#9733¾&#9734&#9734&#9734&#9734
Stories Referenced:






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