16. The Micro-World of Doctor Doom

Fantastic Four Issue Sixteen (16)

Issue Sixteen

“Our new friend is truly a wizard! I shall make him personal scientist to the crown!”

The Human Torch returns to the Baxter Building to find his teammates shrunk and in danger of being sucked into an air duct. They have all recently been shrunk, for no apparent reason. Trying to figure out why, Reed consults with Ant-Man. Later on, they are shrunk down to the point to where they enter another dimension, micro-world, where a miniature society lives. They find that Doctor Doom has usurped the power of the throne. He takes them prisoner, as well as Ant-Man when he appears. They eventually escape and use Doom’s enlarging ray to return home.

Fantastic Four Issue Sixteen (16) ant-man kirbyCOMMENTARY
There are three firsts in this issue — all of them with qualifiers. One is that, with the guest-appearance of Ant-Man (as yet unmet by the FF), this is the first super-hero crossover in an FF book. The Hulk appeared in issue 12, but mostly as an antagonist, not a hero (although he did contribute to the resolution of that issue). The next contended first is that this is the first multi-issue FF story… but only if you see this issue and the next as the same tale, and not complete stories in themselves, albeit with the same protagonists and antagonists, but with a different set of obstacles to be overcome.

So there’s that. The third “first” in that this is the FF’s first journey into another dimension — that of Micro-World. It can only properly be described as a dimension if shrinking to a certain point is only to enter the portal of Micro-World. Otherwise, the FF, and then Ant-Man after them, would have to shrink down to the same sub-atomic-microscopically small point as Doctor Doom did six issues ago. It could go either way though, frankly.Fantastic Four Issue Sixteen (16) For those of you interested in the plight of Sue Storm and Women’s Equality, she does, unfortunately, get relegated to the role of plot device, being held prisoner by Doctor Doom again. However, both before and after we do see her putting herself in danger and taking risks comparable to her male counterparts. It’s a step in the right direction, but definitely falters at the sight of Sue inside a bell jar held by Doom.Fantastic Four Issue Sixteen (16)

In any case, it is a fun issue for the return of Doom, and the use of Ant-Man as not just someone else who is along for the ride, but as a character who is actively pursuing his own course of investigation into the mystery, so it is not a cameo without motivation.


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