Page 45 Review by Stephen
Saying "No, sir!" to NASA, four thieves steal a space rocket, and strangely we applaud.
"No time for official clearance!"
Or a countdown - I used to love pre-launch NASA countdowns.
"Conditions are right tonight!"
You can see stars! So at least they'll know which way to go.
There's a single guard on duty. I'm not even kidding you.
We even sympathise, then respect this delinquent family of anarchists ("property is theft" - but then so is theft) as they're bombarded with cosmic rays, crash, and are transformed into earth (the lumpy orange Thing - rocks to follow), wind (as Invisible as a Woman in those days) and fire (car-driving dreamboat Johnny 'clueless' Storm). Oh, and I guess water too, if you consider Mr. Fantastic's ability to flow. But maybe that's stretching it.
These arm-crossing Four Musketeers then proceed to fight off invading shape-shifting Skrulls, a time-travelling tyrant (Victor von Doom, again and again) and the Moleman, a mop-topped minger with no sense of hygiene and a terrible pair of sunglasses ill-equipped to deal properly with the modern menace of U.V. rays.
As well as a blatant disregard for federal property, feminism and his fiancée in particular, Reed Richards also demonstrates a surprisingly strange sense of humour in using Skrulls' shape-shifting ability against them by hypnotising them into believing they're cows. He's essentially immigrant-averse Donald Trump, six decades early, and this is a legacy which will lead to upset stomachs around fast food chains everywhere once Grant Morrison and Mark Millar find out.
Hot-headed and easily bedded Johnny Storm quits quite early on so that he no longer has to moonlight as a mechanic, but can show-off fool time (sic) by using his powers as the Human Torch to weld random bits of metal together which he claims are car components.
The Full Frontal Lobotomy then burns the beard off an already bullied bum with deep-seated amnesia to see if it's really Prince Namor, Marvel's Golden Age Sub-Mariner.
It's Namor, Marvel's Golden Age Sub-Mariner!
Now, Namor (Marvel's Golden Age Sub-Mariner) had two temperaments back in 1939 - tetchy and very tetchy indeed - and wasn't particularly disposed towards due care and consideration when it came to collateral damage whilst on an anti-land-dweller rampage. Fortunately, his memory loss holds after this initial close shave and he has in any case been out of his beloved, strength-sustaining sea-water for decades. So far, so phew!
But Johnny "I Can't Even Spell Health & Safety" Storm has a very cunning plan: he drops Prince Namor into the ocean.
"If he is the Sub-Mariner, the water will bring back his memory and his full powers! If not, I'll dive in and save him!"
It may or may not surprise you to learn that Johnny Storm also flunked history.
Cue immediate memory and full-power restoration, plus subsequent anti-land-dweller rampage with absolutely colossal property damage throughout Manhattan courtesy of Giganto, a 70-storey-high, amphibious, bipedal Sperm Whale, summoned by a sea shell. Okay, a sea-shell horn.
An invisible Sue Storm grabs the horn, but then Namor grabs Sue Storm. Instantly the high tide is turned, for Namor has Sue Storm, the horn and the horn for Sue Storm.
That mess will play itself out for decades.
This collection reprints all the clever little cross-pollination marketing teasers that used to run underneath Marvel Comics' pages:
WHAT IS THE HULK?
WHO IS THE HULK?
THE HULK IS COMING
To his own comic, obviously, but also to next volume's titanic pages of FANTASTIC FOUR, 'The World's Most Chauvinist Comic Magazine Until We Invented The Avengers'.
Next volume, I'll actually be talking about the excellence of artist Jack Kirby, including yet another Caravaggio rhombus composition. I know this because I wrote those paragraphs over a decade ago.
But really, I'll still be ripping the piss out of Stan Lee's truly awful storytelling logic and utterly outrageous sexism.
You wait until Reed and Sue get married and then have a kid: they're the worst parents ever. I've written all that too.