44. The Gentleman’s Name is Gorgon

Fantastic Four Issue Forty-Four 44

Issue Forty-Four

 “No matter where he goes… no matter how far he flies… they can never escape me now!”

SUMMARY
Deciding to take a drive in his sports car, Johnny is taken hostage by “Madam Medusa”, seen last in the previous issue. She is frantic and on the run from a character called Gorgon. At that same time, The Fantastic Four are assaulted by an unknown attacker. Meanwhile, Medusa takes Johnny to a remote spot and knocking him unconscious, she is then set upon by Dragon Man (last seen in issue 35). It is at this point that Gorgon finds her, but the Dragon man attacks him, allowing her to escape in Johnny’s car, which Dragon Man then flies off with. Doing a “spot check” for their attacker, Reed stretches above the rooftops when he is suddenly grabbed by something. Ben and Sue grab on to him as they are dragged to a nearby rooftop where Dragon Man and Medusa are. Gorgon then arrives and a four-sided conflicts takes place, resulting in the destruction of the building.

COMMENTARY
We’re back in the swing of things with this issue. Now at last we have some solid plot work, with obscure motives and sympathetic antagonists. It refreshing and almost as if the last few issues didn’t happen at all. Fantastic Four Issue Forty-Four 44Medusa is on the run, and we are only told that she’s afraid of a being called “Gorgon” who is pursuing her. It’s an intriguing opening — a supervillain approaching the Fantastic Four with a problem — which is somewhat diminished by the fact that we have already seen a full-page drawing of him on the very first page, otherwise the story would have done a very good job of building up tension as to his identity. For much of the issue, all we see are his unique feet smashing things up.

The Dragon Man also turns up, almost coincidentally, which is a conceit, but he adds a compelling amount of confusion into the mix, obsessed as he is with women with soft hair. He serves as a catalyst for bringing everyone together – first Medusa, and then Reed, Sue, and Ben, and finally Gorgon, when he tracks them all down. Were the chance incident of not bumping into him not introduced, then another chance incident would have needed to be created, but this one affords action and another tangle into the knot of problems faced by the characters in this issue.Fantastic Four Issue Forty-Four 44“Madam” Medusa is an interesting character to use as our first point of entry into the world of the Inhumans (still not named in this issue) and it’s probably because she’s the only character who doesn’t have a back story at this point.Fantastic Four Issue Forty-Four 44 I imagine she was created just to round out the Frightful Four (possibly by Lee), but somewhere along the line, Kirby started to fold her into his plans for the Inhumans concept he was developing, which was to have been another superteam book, but unlike one that had yet been seen.

It’s a good issue, primarily because the FF are not in the spot-light in this issue — there are no character developments or revelations, we aren’t shown some aspect of Reed and Sue’s life as newly-weds played out, — they’re all just smack-dab in the middle of a violent confrontation that they don’t fully understand, but in which they are trying to do the right thing.

EVALUATION: 8/10

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