28. We Have to Fight the X-Men

The Fantastic Four Issue Twenth-Eight 28

Issue Twenth-Eight

Rounding off the last of four guest-star appearances is the X-men. THE FANTASTIC FOUR, at this time, was the top-selling Marvel book at this time, as well as the longest-running non-anthology (Journey Into Mystery/Tales of Suspense) title. The X-men were relatively new on the scene.

By today’s standards, this tale is by-the-numbers. I’m not completely familiar with the historical comicbook narrative context, or what was happening at the “Distinguished Competition” at this time, but the lured-into-a-fight-under-mistaken-pretenses hasn’t been used in this book with two heroes (I’m saying that Hulk in issue 12 was just caught in the middle, and not the part of a plot against either the hero or the group).The Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Eight 28It’s also nice to see some returning FF baddies. That’s not the first time I’ve mentioned that, and I don’t know why I keep mentioning it except that villains are naturally a large part of any hero, and the FF’s are so peculiar, and so many of them stuck from such early on. The Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Eight 28Whether that’s because they were suited, or if it shows the regard that future creative teams held Lee/Kirby — or the lack of their originality, we may have opportunity to find here.

In any case, Puppet Master and Mad Thinker (plus Awesome Andy!) , and The X-men could make this a very crowded issue, and it’s a credit to Lee and Kirby that it reads as smoothly as it does, and each character their own voice. Whatever you make of Lee’s scripting abilities, I can tell you that it’s no easy skill making two intellectually verbose characters such as The Beast and Reed Richards sound differently when fighting each other.

By-the-numbers notwithstanding, it is an issue that displays much skill, but not much invention.


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