Fantastic Four #3
The Menace of the Miracle Man

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4.25 Stars

Review Ratings:

Originality And Continuity:?????? 
Characters And Development:?????? 
Fantastic Branding:?????? 

Book Information:

Cover Date: Mar 1962

Characters & Groups
  • Baxter Building

In this, the Third issue of the Fantastic Four.  Having faced threats from both below and above, its time they face a threat that is truly powerful. Miracle man, with his seeming omnipotent power.    He first stops the Fantastic Four, or most directly The Thing, during a show of his.  But when the situation gets real, can the Fantastic Four stop him?

Also this issue, seems to feature the Fantastic Fours new home and toys. it’s the first appearance of the Baxter building, the Fantasticar, Uniforms and more. The Baxter building, most importantly implying that they made there move from central city to Manhattan. Granted that assumption may be based on things I know about the Fantastic Four, even if it’s not stated in this issue.


I give the story some serious props, and one. glaring downfall.  The Action is intense as the story continues.  the Fantastic Four facing an opponent that they question if they can beat, as well as facing the growing stress between themselves.

While this will be discussed more below when I talk about character development, it can’t be ignored that it is a large part of this story.  in earlier issues,  it was demonstrated that there was a tension between Ben Grimm and Reed Richards over both having feelings for sue.  a love triangle of sorts. The Thing,  blaming his condition both on Reed and his inability to sway Sue to feel for him the way he wants on that same condition is clearly stated in these pages.

perhaps more importantly,  the tension between The Thing & The Human Torch is stated well, leading to Johnny to leave for steam, and then leave the team at the end of the issue.  Leading to the first issue that truly has lasting repercussions for the one to follow in the series.

All this development is the strong suit of the story, in particularly when combined with a well written action story with the Fantastic Four hunting after The Miracle Man.  the action was ongoing, tight and intense,  it felt much better then the prior two stories.  We also got to see Mr. Fantastic use his powers in creative ways,  and Invisible Girl truly play an important role for what I believe is the first time.

so where is the weakness in the story?  well its is in whats revealed in the last couple of pages,  Miracle Man is really just a master hypnotist,  He has no miracle or omnipotent  powers as the 4 had thought, but really just a grand ability to hypnosis masses at once. This is how he makes it appear he is doing the miracles that he does.  to quote myself from my review of Fantastic Four #2 ” I feel hypnotism is over used”.  then to have it used two issues in a row. To me that is highly disappointing. not nearly as having omnipotent powers, but could it not have been something else?

that said, the disappointment is made up for by everything else, in the story, and I feel it was well written.  The hypnosis in this case would not have even seemed so bad if it was not just used as a cop-out in the last issue.


What can I really say?  The team got Uniforms,  they got a cool flying car, and a building. All of these things had great art associated with them, from the cut out of the Baxter building, to seeing the uniforms on each member for the first time.

this may all have been done in a way to brand the team, but that makes sence both in story and out.  as well as it all worked well to make the team, look and feel cool. The cover, featuring the Fantasicar as well as the new blue uniform’s with the number 4 on it.  it was just great, unlike #’1’s and #2’s it lacks the conflict, and just features the Fantastic Four, but its done well. I love it.

but it’s not just the cover and the design of all the new things, I think Jack Kirby really put his best foot forward on this one.

Originality & Continuity

While I won’t call it unoriginal as I have nothing to cite directly as the source,  it is definitely a story I have seen before in one way or another.  be it evil hypnotist, or truly god like creature.  I did not find the story all that original; as for continuity with the ongoing story, there has been no real tie in’s with the events of the prior stories, save for the continued mentioning of the teams Origin.  this all leaves me with little to say on the subject, and little to change on its score.

Characters & Development

Fantastic Four 3 panelThis was by far a great story for the development of both the world and the character’s.  They gained a Headquarters.  they gained uniform’s.  Invisible girl truly played an important role, using her powers effectively for what I believe to be the first time. Mr. Fantastic also truly getting creative with his power’s in this issue.

also the internal tension’s building,  being established.  the Fantastic Four is not a team that see’s eye to eye on all things.  This leads to the Human Touch to leave at the end of the issue. while I would have expected it more from The Thing,  the development seems clear and a bit deep. Will Johnny return to the team?  Will the Fantastic four become but Three? or fall apart all together.

while I think we all know how that will unfold now, this many years later.  it’s that internal dynamic and struggle that makes the Fantastic Four a compelling read.

Categories: Marvel , Fantastic Four Vol. 1 (1961)
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