18. A Skrull Walks Among Us

Fantastic Four Issue Eighteen (18)

Issue Eighteen, Sept 1963

“Allow me to present the mightiest warrior in the known universe — the Super-Skrull!”

The Skrulls have devised a new weapon for the invasion of Earth — a genetically engineered Super-Skrull, who contains all the powers of the Fantastic Four themselves. The Super-Skrull lands on earth and claims it for the Skrull empire. The FF intervene, fighting him to a standstill. Reed discovers that his powers are coming from the Skrull homeworld and he creates a mechanism to block those rays which Sue is able to plant on him at their next altercation. They then seal him inside a cave.

Here we finally have the reappearance of the shape-changing Skrulls!

The Skrull emperor is understandably peeved, and has been contemplating revenge on the FF. It’s not explained exactly how he knows that they defeated him, since as far as he knows, he has never met them — he has only met his operatives that were disguised as them, and who fed him images of monsters from comic books.

Nevertheless, the plan now isn’t to discredit the FF through acts of vandalism, but to destroy them with overwhelming force. To this end, his scientists have created the Super-Skrull, a Skrull who has been empowered with powers matching but purportedly greater than those of the FF. Plus hypnotism.

It’s a fun new dimension to these villains, where a rehash of the first plot could so easily have been used (as it has been with Namor and Doctor Doom), to introduce a completely new type of threat from the same antagonists, as well as a new character.

The battle is fairly interesting as well. The Super-Srull defeats each of the FF (except Sue, who does not engage them, she simply ‘nurses’ the ones who have been defeated) with their own powers, and sends them away completely defeated. It is only by formulating a plan and working together that they are able to overcome the menace. This is probably the clearest incidence of teamwork by the FF to date. And the fact that it’s Sue Storm who administers the crippling blow is welcome… and almost makes up for her earlier uselessness in the first fight.Fantastic Four Issue Eighteen Also of note, this is the first time the FF’s ‘passenger I.C.B.M.’ is introduced, as well as the pogo plane. It’s also fair to say, I think, that The Thing’s transformation from muddy to rocky is finally complete.


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