“I must crush you… as I am programmed to do!”
Reed, Sue, and Ben are catching a little R&R in between escapades. Leaving Ben alone to spend some time in the city, he is soon overpowered by an android replica of Johnny. Sue is subdued and replaced, and then Reed. The Mad Thinker invades the Baxter Building as his androids reassemble. One of them reveals himself to be the real Reed Richards, and he manages to waylay the evil androids, wake up Ben, and together they defeat the Thinker, whose plan has been completely thwarted by Reed’s unpredictable defeat of his android duplicate.
The only reason this issue is interesting because it is very nearly the first issue that Johnny is not in. His robot replica is, but we only see the real Johnny’s face through the window of a metal tube, once, on the very last page of the story (I very nearly didn’t tag it, but there he his, inactive and passive).
Come to mention passive, Sue is noticeably ineffectual, as far as the plot goes. All she does is shop, get captured, and then get rescued.
This is the second in a series of standalone issues, which Lee and Kirby are usually pretty good at, cramming an issue fuller than many others would be capable of. But nearly ten years on the title seems to be taking its toll. And although they very recently gave us the spooky issue 94, the invention and reinvention is on a low ebb. Again, the villain is extremely motiveless. That the Thinker wants to get his hands on Reed’s inventions is fair enough, but why? I’m not sure we’ve seen anything that Reed has designed that is a whole lot better than superpowered androids, so where’s the percentage? And his inane second-by-second countdown is very wearing, and his defeat by something unexpected happening is now repetitive.