Fantastic Four #5   Leave a comment

Fantastic Four #5

Only credits once again “Stan Lee + J. Kirby”

SYNOPSIS:

We open on Dr. Doom standing before a chess board with pieces in the shape of the Fantastic Four. He also has a book called “Science and Sorcery” on the table, which is an immediate clue as to the nature of Doom. Doom says it is time for him to deal with the Fantastic Four, for he is the only one who is capable of doing so.

Back at the skyscraper the FF call home, Johnny Storm is busy reading the first issue of The Incredible Hulk comic book and raving about it. He compares the title character to the Thing, which leads to the usual Thing vs Torch brawl, which is broken up by Reed and Susan. As the team wonders why they spend so much time fighting each other, the poer gets cut and a huge net is dropped over the top of the building.

Dr. Doom announces he has come to defeat the Fantastic Four and he wants Susan Storm as a hostage. Reed recognizes his voice and quickly tells the other three members about his old classmate in college, Victor Von Doom, who was a brilliant science student, but also interested in sorcery and the black arts. He conducted dangerous experiments, one of which scarred his face. He was expelled from the school and last anyone heard, was wandering Tibet, still searching for dark rituals to contact the netherworld.

With Sue as a hostage, the other members of the FF are forced to board Doom’s helicopter and are then flown to his castle. There, they are sent back in time to retrieve Blackbeard’s treasure. An interesting note is that Doom’s famous sense of honor and honesty is noted right from his first appearance. No matter how evil Doom is always perceived to be, he does not lie to anyone, and if he gives his word, he will keep it. it’s one of his most famous character traits and one that was a part of him right from his very first appearance.

Fearing for Sue’s safety, the Fantastic Four go back hundreds of years in the past to search for Blackbeard’s treasure. The three quickly come across some clothing, dressing in era-appropriate outfits. They even get an eye patch and fake beard for Ben, trying to hide his strange appearance as much as possible. The three decide this is a good time to take a break and go to a tavern, where they are drugged and put to sleep. The men who were responsible for their ill-timed nap bring them aboard their ship as shanghaied crew members, but the Thing wakes up and beats up all the pirates as Johnny and Reed watch from the sidelines.

Proving his superior strength, the Thing takes control of the crew. They quickly come under attack by another ship and the FF use their powers, along with their newfound crew mates, to board the second ship and attack the crew. They find the treasure chest as their crew proclaims the Thing to be “Blackbeard,” the most feared pirate on the seas. It turns out they came back to the past not to find Blackbeard, but to create the legend themselves! Reed divides the treasure amongst the crew and fills the chest with heavy chains. he says they agreed to bring back Blackbeard’s chest, not the treasure itself. They prepare to return back to the present day, but the Thing decides he wants to stay. In their time, he is a freak and a monster, but in the past, he is a leader of men and the inspiration for a legend. he orders his crew to tie up Johnny and Reed so they can’t stop him from leaving them behind. However, a twister appears over the water and destroys the ship, washing the three FF members on shore along with the chest.

As the Thing apologizes for getting caught up in the excitement and losing his head, Doom transports the FF back to the present day. Gaining the chest, Doom reveals the gems in Blackbeard’s treasure were originally owned by merlin and that the owner of the gems will be invincible. Opening the chest and finding only chains, Dr. Doom is angered, but the FF swing int action. The Thing hits Doom over the head with a powerful smashing blow, but it is revealed Doom is just a robot. The real Doom is hidden upstairs, and he is going to drain the room of oxygen, killing the three men.

As Reed, Ben and Johnny desperately try to escape the room before they suffocate, Sue turns invisible and causes havok in the castle. First, she blows up a bunch of equipment in Doom’s room, stunning him. Then she runs down to the airtight room, finding a hidden button that opens the door and saving the rest of the Fantastic Four. The four make their escape from the castle, which Johnny decides to burn down. Doom is happy his castle will burn, since it will destroy secrets he doesn’t want discovered by anyone. Dr. Doom then flies away with the aid of a jet pack at speeds that make it impossible for Johnny to catch him.

The story ends with the four wondering what is next for them with booth Doom and Namor still on the loose after the events of this issue and the last.

COMMENTS:

This issue starts a long standing tradition of Marvel comic books appearing in the Marvel Universe. It is understood that the actual adventures the heroes of this world go on are later published in comic book form, to tell readers what happened. The comic books that exist in the Marvel Universe are the same comics that exist in our world, adding some texture to the concept that all of these adventures take place in the “real” world.

This is also the first appearance of Dr. Doom, by far the most famous villain in the Fantastic Four’s rogues gallery. No villain in the Marvel Universe is more synonymous with a specific hero or heroes than Dr. Doom is with the Fantastic Four. Doom is SUCH a great character that in some ways, he is almost TOO good of a character. He is so much more popular than the other villains in their collection of foes that many casual fans feel that he is their only real threat. The truth is, the Fantastic Four has one of the largest and richest collection of villains in all of comic books, but none are so good they approach the level of Victor Von Doom. Doom is such a perfect foil for the FF, and Reed in particular, that his presence is never really gone. Even when he does not appear in the title, there is always this subtle unease, like he could show at any time. He is so intwined with the FF that he is like a member of their own family. Every Fantastic Four fan wants more Doom, and every new writer feels th need to write their version of a Doom story. Every great super-hero has their premiere arch-nemesis and for the Fantastic Four, there is little doubt that villain is Dr. Doom.

In this issue, Doom is mentioned to be Reed’s former classmate from college. What is interesting is that there is no mention of Ben Grimm knowing him, as it will later be established that Ben was Reed’s college roommate and that is how the two of them met. At this point, nothing is known of Ben’s past, save that he had some type of experience as a pilot. His connection to both Reed and Doom will not be revealed until a later issue.

This issue establishes most of the character traits Doom will possess over the next fifty years. He is supremely confidant, highly intelligent and skilled in both science and sorcery. He is obsessed with destroying the Fantastic Four and becoming the ruler of the world. he is also a master at robotics and prefers living in a castle when possible. With his dangerous inventions, high tech battle armor, and command of both science and black magic, Doom is more than a match for the Fantastic Four, and he will be a continuous presence in the book from this point on.

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Posted April 26, 2011 by John V. Ferrigno in Fantastic Four

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