|Originality & Continuity:|
|Characters & Development:|
Book Information:Cover Date: Jul 1963
- Alicia Masters
- Capt. Leonard McKenzie (Flashback)
- Invisible Girl
- Lady Dorma
- Mr. Fantastic
- Namor The Sub-Mariner
- Prencess Fen (Flashback)
- The Human Torch
- The Thing
- Warlord Krang
- New Atlantis
- New York
Today for Thanksgiving, and for my last comic book review this holiday week, I present a great classic comic book. Here we have Fantastic Four annual #1, To my research this 75 page issue came out in July of 1963, with the feature story taking place between Fantastic Four #15 & #16.
While being a 75 page epic issue, the feature story is only about 37 pages but the issue includes a lot more than just that, here is a complete list:
- 37 pages for the feature story
- 11 pages of Fantastic Four Famous Foes Pinups
- 6 page retelling of part of Amazing Spider-Man #1, where spider-man meets the Fantastic Four
- Reprint of the Origin of the Fantastic Four from Fantastic Four #1
Namor the Sub-Mariner has found his people, and their new home and taken his rightful place as their ruler. But he still has a high desire and thrust for revenge against the surface world. He begins a plan to get the Fantastic Four’s attention, so he can offer him his terms for peace to the surface world, terms that no one could agree too. With the failure to comply he starts his invasion from the sea.
My Synopsis, should and does not do this story all the justice that it deserves. This story, while not filling every page of the annual issue is still longer then what we have in a regular issue, and offers us more action and depth.
While Stan & Jack did not split this story into parts or chapters, it is easy to see how it could be done, and each part is an epic on its own. with there being multiple turning points in the story where the overall dynamic of the issue changes.
This is by far the best invasion story I have read so far, partly due to the depth that had already been given to Namor, and the quick depth given to his new supporting characters. Also given Namor’s importance in the Fantastic Four up to this issue, there is no doubt in my mind that he was the right choice for this issue, and this is the right story.
I should start with the first set of images that I see when reading this issue, the Throne room of Namor, and his proud happy people. This setting is so full, lively and telling. this shows just how great an artist Jack Kirby is. Dick Ayers also did a great job in his inking of this tale of two worlds.
Just look at the detail in the picture of this scene, how much of it there is. most of all how both alien and human the room is. Namor is home, and his people are happy.
The art does not just start this good, it stays this good. after all it had to be worth the quarter someone would have paid. you can see the depth of emotion in Krang and Lady Dorma, this depth in appearance helps build there characters as much as there dialog.
But then this is a tale of two worlds and we have the surface world and our hero’s the Fantastic Four to consider. There world, and surroundings are far from as joyous or regal In fact as we join them we see the Human Torch and The Thing up to their normal games with each other. the ongoing pranks between the two of them, but in this issue, it carries more emotional baggage then has been given to it so far. I say this here as I feel the art again does every bit of justice to this.
But as this is a long feature, and its ends up being about the invasion from the sea, it is all too important to give us a good taste of that, and in several panels Jack Kirby shows us the invasion force, and just how large and powerful it is. Here is just one panel for you to see.
Putting all this together, and even still accounting for the importance of this issue and its higher price tag, it is still offers art that is second to none.
Originality & Continuity
This is a great work of Continuity, it almost seems to wrap up much of the events of Fantastic Four so far, at least concerning Namor their most frequent advisory. This example shows us what great epics, and great build up’s comics can have and be about, instead of a more static unchanging balance of the status quo.
Characters & Development
Namor has the greatest development, right from the beginning, finding his people, and again becoming their ruler. We get to see his character grow in this issue like never before, and as comic book antagonist go, Namor has seen quite a bit of character depth and growth.
The Fantastic Four
it’s their title, yet I do not give them top listing under character growth, as this is as much Namor’s story if not more so. But in this issue, we get to see the group as we never have before. Pushing everything to the limits in an epic battle for humanity.
We see them tense and relaxing, as well as fighting for the rights of men in this special annual issue.
The Fabulous Fantastic Four Meet Spider-Man!
This is a wonderful retelling of the events of Amazing Spider Man #1 that helps build upon what many had read there, it also gives us a bit more of the classic Hero Vs. Hero action as it builds upon what happened while remaining true to what we already read.
Fantastic Four Annual #1: Bonus Content
The Fantastic Four Most Famous Foes
In this issue, we have a well done pin up showcasing each foe the Fantastic Four faced, and a bit of information about them. These pin ups are well drawn and worthy of decorating any wall.
Questions and Answers about the Fantastic Four
They give us a two page spread where they respond to some questions we as readers were bound to have about the Fantastic Four, and their day to-day life. Such as how unstable molecules make up Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torches clothing to allow them to use their powers with their clothing.
Inside The Baxter Bldg.
Who does not love diagrams? what more is there to say about this one.