Ben Grimm · Colourist: Stan Goldberg · Fantastic Four · Inker: George Klein · Johnny Storm · Mole-Man · Penciler: Jack Kirby · Reed Richards · Sue Storm · Writer: Stan Lee

The Fantastic Four (v1) #1: The Fantastic Four!

The Fantastic Four (v1) #1: The Fantastic Four!

Year: 1961
Cover Price: 10¢
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: George Klein
Colourist: Stan Goldberg

Origin/First Appearance of the Fantastic Four

Here is what is considered the start of the Marvel Universe and referred to as the start of the “Marvel Age of Comics” (or so says the wikia page on the comic). For such an iconic comic, I’ve seen the cover dozens of times but have never even so much as cracked it open. The thing that smacks you hard in the face is the time that it takes place.

The journey was started with the Bat Symbol, sorry the words “Fantastic Four” blasted into the air. And these attractive folks, of course. I’m not sure that Ben has much room to be that upset over his transformation into the Thing because he kept a lot of his same features. And Susan’s hair looks like it’s already trying to disappear (although that has more to do with the coloring in the reprint than the comic, I believe).

If you’ve never read a tale written by Stan Lee then you are mostly missing a lot of exclamation points. A lot of good tales, origin stories, etc… but mostly exclamation points!!! (No judgement. Comics excite me too!)

… Uh, yeah. Okay. Well. Goodbye then?

Well it didn’t take long for major property damage to become a thing. Isn’t this the plot of Captain America: Civil War?

Also could you imagine driving along and suddenly seeing that pop out of the road in front of you? I’d freak out.

We can’t forget Johnny Storm, of course. There’s nothing really important about his journey except that I was amused over him being called a Human Torch.

I always find it fascinating to read the comics that are older to see how these characters were in their original form. Especially characters like the Fantastic Four who’ve been mainstays of the Marvel line.

After they all gather, there’s a moment of backstory where they tell about how these four people got their powers.

There’s two things that interest me here. First of all, how easy that that looked. It’s like a bad meme.

Ben: Me? Pilot to the stars. No way!
Sue: You’re a coward.
Ben: Me? Not pilot to the stars? No way!

Also, there’s that historical aspect that I had mentioned. The main reason that the four of them were so interested in reaching space was simply to beat the Communists there. This was before mainstream Americans really knew what it would be like to go to space. People really didn’t know what would happen to them and I’m with Ben Grimm. I have much respect for people who took those flights not knowing whether they’d come out as giant orange rocks.

This was the panel that made me realize that I had missed out by not reading it. I’ve seen the 2005 movies and thought that with all of my other comic knowledge that I had a pretty good grasp of their history but I didn’t. I was shocked by the fact that Sue and Reed were already engaged when they went up in space. And where’s Julian McMahon? I miss his pretty face.

Their ship apparently goes straight up and then comes straight back down. No. Literally. That was seven panels apart and the only panels in between are of their terrified faces and yelling about the lights of the “cosmic rays.”

Now that is some lazy cosplay potential that I am so here for. Some white jeans, white gloves and some bleach on the elbows of a blue shirt. Costume contest material.

So on one hand, holy crap the lady just went invisible WHAT IF WE ALL DIE? On the other hand, Ben Grimm is just not endearing himself to me. Could he be just a little bit more of a jerk? “And I’m sick of you, period!” Is he five?

See? I really see no difference here.

#NotAllMen (No but seriously, Ben Grimm is seriously losing points with me. I never liked him much to begin with but every team needs the one that you’re rooting for to die right?)

Oh… You know, I was going to say rob a bank and live in luxury for the rest of our lives but that works too!

And no modesty was found.


And that’s only the end of the first chapter. I went from reading the run of the All New X-Men to going back to this and it’s crazy the difference. Comics were so much more back then, actual stories with plots and development. I read through Bendis’ entire run of All New X-Men (41 issues) in just a few days whereas this one feels so much more like an actual book that I can sink my teeth into. It’s more time-consuming but it makes it all so much more worth it.

Ah yes. Giant green monster crawls out of the sand. Just another Tuesday, right?

I am so glad that they got suits because I never would’ve been able to take Reed seriously if he had spent his days fighting crime dressed as a mechanic.

You’re right. This was a much better idea than robbing a bank.

I can’t decide between making fun of his Frosty the Snowman nose or his 3-D glasses so have neither.

Were they coworkers or something? Why were they around each other? Why do they hate each other? Why does Reed want somebody who hates him watching his back in his team as they try to fight crime?

Let’s play the “Who is cockier?” game! Is it the guy who named himself Mr. Fantastic. Or the guy who gave his captive a weapon and told him to hit him?

I’m not sure which one is more nightmare-inducing. Ben not acting like a well-oiled machine at all with his teammates or those monsters.

For some reason I’m thinking we haven’t seen the last of him. We certainly aren’t seeing the last of the Fantastic Four.

Overall, I’m rating this 3/5. It’s got some nostalgic value. Putting it against more modern age comics isn’t quite fair although it’s hard not to. It’s a fun read and the Mole-Man is interesting, even if he’s a rather worthless villain. It’s no X-Men, introducing their longest standing villain in their first issue but it’s nothing to sneeze at.

I respect the origin story of the Fantastic Four and hope that they get to do some things that are more exciting. Certainly well worth the read.


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