“…We would create an entire new race — a new breed of living beings — that would conquer mankind! But they’d be ruled by — us alone!” “We should have known you were mad — if only we weren’t blinded by greed!!”
The Fantastic Four chase after an abducted Alicia Masters once Reed has backwards engineered the teleportation device that allowed her to be taken. Alicia meanwhile is helping a scientist to track down and destroy a lab creation that was designed to be a perfect living organism. They find the experiment in a tunnel, cocooned in a protective shell. The FF arrive to rescue her just as it opens. They flee, leaving the powerful being as he casts a judgment on his creators and their self-serving motives in creating him, dooming them and the entire Beehive facility to destruction.
The second part of this storyline is another threshold into a further period of Fantastic Four maturation, and should be considered one of the most significant issues of the first run.
What stands out foremost is Kirby’s kineticism. Previous to this issue, the power of his figurework has been palpable, as has his motion, but this issue actually has speed. The FF’s storming of The Beehive (sans, inexplicably, Sue) is a full-throttle rollercoaster of raw energy that just does not stop until the final three panels. Each image flows dynamically into the next, grabbing you by the hand and barely leaving you enough time to read the dialogue.
The story itself is something special. A strong moral discussion lies at the center of the story and the gravity of that keeps all the issues in a tight orbit. It is revealed that there is no villain in this piece. The motivation of the scientists may be questioned, but they have actually, to all appearances, achieved their goal of creating the perfect human being who is without evil or sin — and they are very appropriately terrified of it. It is the Frankenstein story taken one step further: instead of man creating life that is imperfect yet beautiful, this story tells of man creating life that is perfect and therefore horrifying. They are fearful of the judgment of ‘Him’, and all of the conflict revolves around their urgent desire to destroy this perfect creation even before it is fully created. It’s an incredibly nuanced and profound philosophical quandary.There are two niggling conceits, however. The first is Mr Fantastic’s recreation of a diabolically intricate item of technology merely with an outside photograph of it. The second is the involvement of Alicia Masters — exactly what purpose does she serve? It is revealed this issue that the need of her sculpting powers was just a cover, but then what need did they have of her? Additionally, she seems to be serving the same story purpose as she did with the Silver Surfer — some sort of human anchor of emotional conscience to a cosmically aware being that is appealing visually.However, these points being very frivolous, they are easily overlooked in the consideration of weightier ideas. The last three panels show the judgment of a perfect being on its creators. And if it’s not the most haunting round-ups of any of the FF’s storylines, then it’s certainly the most poetic.