23. The Master Plan of Doctor Doom

Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Three 23

Issue Twenty-Three, Feb 1964

Doctor Doom!! I — I might have guessed!! But how did you get the Thing to become an accomplice?? And… mpfff!

Reed Richards is testing Doctor Doom’s time platform and he gets snappy with his teammates. Meanwhile a strange looking man is bailing criminals out of jail and gathering them in a warehouse. The man is revealed to be an android that is being controlled by Dr Doom. Back at the Baxter Building, Sue, Johnny, and Ben are taking votes to decide who is going to be the new leader of the Fantastic Four. Doctor Doom at this time is empowering the three men who he took out of prison. Their plan is to offer the Human Torch a special car which gasses him when he tries to drive it. For The Thing, they use a cosmic gun that changes him back to his human self long enough to be knocked out and carried away. Sue is likewise gassed and Reed lured into a glass box by a robotic replica of The Thing. Now all locked together in the same cell, the FF learn to work together again to free each other and fight Doom. And just when they have defeated him, they find that a solar wave is filling the room. The upshot of which is that the FF escape and Doom is sucked into a cosmic void.

We are presented with another Doctor Doom episode here, and unfortunately it’s another in the run of unimaginative Doom stories. He has yet to truly move on from the “must destroy the Fantastic Four” stock motivation. Even the Mole Man has better motivation, and more creative schemes. One is curious as to when Doom will graduate to become the FF’s true nemesis.

Because right now we’re just following a long and tedious plot as Doom co-opts some thugs to fight the FF on his behalf. The FF suffer another split which is very contrived and allows Reed to speak down to them halfway through the story.

Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Three 23There is an interesting element towards the end where Doom manages to lure the FF into a room in a house that somehow manages to get sucked into space, but it’s a very fleeting moment. It only serves to remind us that it’s been a while since the FF have had a really decent space story.

And with that, I seem to have run out of things to comment about.


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