40. The Battle of the Baxter Building

Fantastic Four Issue Forty 40

Issue Forty

The Fantastic Four continue their powerless fight against Doctor Doom and their own headquarters in this issue. It’s a well-told story, except that it has one rather obvious and unforgivable plot hole in it.

The pacing is quite good and the concept as well. Doom simply lays his hands on any piece of equipment Reed has left lying around and uses it against the FF. Daredevil confronts Doom in order to buy the FF enough time to reach the top floor in order to reach the Stimulator that Reed used to restore their powers in issue 37 when they last inexplicably lost their powers on the Skrull homeworld.

Fantastic Four Issue Forty 40

DD vs. DD

And that’s the massive, gaping plot hole. Why did Reed and the FF expend so much effort in recreating their powers when all they had to do was zap themselves again with a gun that we’ve already seen work under similar circumstances. The explanation given is that the batteries needed a couple days to recharge, but then why not just hunker down and wait it out (in your impregnable headquarters)? It really trivializes both this issue and the last. It would have been more satisfying if the powers miraculously returned on their own, or through one of Doom’s traps.Fantastic Four Issue Forty 40But there is an interesting observation to be made by all of this, and that is that I’m not sure, at this time in superhero development, if any other supergroup had such unreliable and capricious powers as the FF.

Fantastic Four Issue Forty 40The last confrontation between Doom and The Thing is a good one, as tragically, Ben has to once more lose his humanity in order to stop  Doom, almost single-handedly. But as in the previous issue, there’s a missed trick here. Ben should have taken on the form of The Thing by his own will, rather than Reed just turning the gun on him next. By volunteering, he could still hate the FF for putting him in that position and still leave under a cloud as he did at the end of this story. Again, it would only have taken an panel, but it would have so easily added another layer of pathos onto his character.

But not that it’s needed, however, since his character is the deepest in the entire book, and perhaps only second to Peter Parker in terms of human drama in the entire Marvel Universe at this time.


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