88. A House There Was

Issue Eighty-Eight, July 1969

“We’re all losing our sight! Something is making all of us… blind!!

The Fantastic Four return from Latveria to reunite with Alicia and Sue’s newborn son. The group start to move Reed and Sue into their new house which has a mysterious design and no history. They start to complain of headaches and irritated eyes. Reed is suddenly attacked by the house which almost traps him in a glass bell jar. He keeps this a secret and continues to investigate the house. While serving dinner, Sue is suddenly stricken completely blind, and the architect of their house and situation reveals himself to be the Moleman, who aims to make the entire population of the world blind so that he may take over.

This issue, by contrast with the last few, is very well considered. It is thoughtfully plotted and the suspense is gradually ratcheted up as the characters are slowly drawn into the intriguing set-up, revealing glimpses of their character. Furthermore, Jack Kirby’s art is stellar as he describes the futuristic building that the FF are moving into, and shows its inner workings.

The only other artist I know of who can mix this level of surreality but maintain a sense of place is Paul Chadwick, creator of Concrete.


That there are now five members of the FF seems to give no one pause for thought, but who cares? A large part of the starting appeal of the FF is that they were a family, and that is evidenced by the fact that families grow to include new members, children that are born into it, and ties that are formed outside of it. But by contrast to the Avengers or the Justice League, it is not like a ‘team’, where members are cycled or rostered through. Family means that some people drop in and drop out at various points, yet a sense of exclusivity is still kept. The only people that enter a family are those who form emotional ties with it and who are accepted by at least one member of the group. It’s an organic process, and that is most clearly seen in this issue where Johnny’s girlfriend Crystal, Ben’s girlfriend Alicia, and Reed and Sue’s son all make an appearance and become involved in the leading conflict — targets by proximity — to the villain of the peace.

This is what is at the core of the Fantastic Four as a series, and this is perhaps the best realized instance of it so far.


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