> Reprinted in: Fantastic Four Masterworks Volume 1  •  Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 1

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"No time to wait for official clearance! Conditions are right tonight! Let's go!"

- - Reed Richards, page 9

Behold the new face of heroism!


Fantastic Four #1
November 1961 • 25 pages

Publication Date: August 8, 1961

Letters Page: No letters page published in this issue.

Ranked #2 in 100 Greatest Marvel Comics of All Time list

I: Feature Story: Chapter Titles:
Part 1: The Fantastic Four
Part 2: The Fantastic Four Meet the Mole Man!
Part 3: The Mole Man's Secret

Pages: 25

Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Unknown
Letters: Artie Simek

First Appearance: Fantastic Four: Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Sue Storm/Invisible Girl, Johnny Storm/Human Torch, Benjamin Grimm/The Thing; Mole Man, Monster Isle monsters; French Foreign Legionnaire Pierre

Villains: Mole Man, Mole monsters

Origin: Fantastic Four, Mole Man

Cameo Appearance: Pierre

Marvel Milestones: Cosmic Rays, heroes with no costumes or secret identities, heroes that squabble amongst themselves

Gadgets & Technology: FF signal flare

Setting: Central City, Monster Isle, Valley of Diamonds

Synopsis: As the day fades to a close, the bang of a signal flare is heard, and a signal up in the sky reads announcing The Fantastic Four! Sue Storm sees the signal and disappears from a tea party and bumps into the crowd on the street, hailing a taxi and handing the driver a bill while invisible. Ben Grimm leaves a mens clothing store by crashing through the wall and dives into the sewer when police fire at him in a state of fear. Johnny Storm, working on a car repair with a friend, accidentally melts the car while taking off into the sky, where he is pursued by fighter jets scrambled to take care of this "UFO." They fire a nuclear missile at the Torch, but Reed Richards catches it with his stretched arms and throws it into the river.

When all four members have gathered, and before Reed fills them in on the why he has fired the signal flare, they reminisce on their origin. Here's how the story goes: Reed had big plans to fly "to the stars"- and before "the Commies beat us to it,"- but his pilot Ben Grimm thinks that it is too dangerous. He backs down immediately when Sue refers to him as a coward. They steal a rocket that Reed had helped develop in the shadows of night, racing past a soldier with a rifle, guarding the gantry. They take off! In orbit, the ship is hit by a stream of ticking cosmic rays, passing through the ship's hull and absorbing into the human's physiology: Ben's warnings were not heeded, and they are now paying the price! Johnny begins to steam through his suit and Ben passes out. The ship crashes back to Earth, taking out a tree in a hard landing. All four stagger outside the ship to safety. Sue feels strange and vanishes into thin air! She reappears but mentions that she seems to have no control over the power. Ben changes into the Thing- a massive, orange, rocky creature- and his first reaction is to tear a tree in half and try to hit Reed. Reed ducks the swing by stretching his limbs into fantastic shapes. Johnny is the only one who seems happy about the change, as he's been given the power of flight when he turns into a searing-hot flaming creature!

The four band together with the idea that they will control these fantastic powers and use them for good as a team, and they adopt codenames: Human Torch, Invisible Girl, the Thing and Mister Fantastic!

After remembering their origin, Reed shows the team black and white photographs of atomic installations. All over the globe, huge holes replace the atomic plants that used to stand there. At that time, in French Africa, some Foreign Legionnaires are standing guard when the ground trembles beneat their feet. Pierre and his men fire at the giant green creature that crawls from below, but they are unable to deter the monster from destroying the atomic plant.

Reed surmises that the midpoint between all these cave-ins must be the location of the perpetrator. Oddly enough, that point is Monster Isle. Ben doesn't believe the island exists but they fly there in their private plane. They are beset by a three-headed creature and Reed throws it into the ocean. Another cave-in takes Reed and Johnny by surprise, and they fall to the depths below. There, they awake after a period of unconsciousness when they are blinded by an intense light. They are clad in blue pajamas with visors to protect them from the eye-piercing glow of the Valley of Diamonds. All this is explained to them by their captor: the Mole Man!

Meanwhile, on the surface, Sue is attacked by a blue rock monster. Thing throws it into ocean and they race to find their friends. Down below, Reed and Johnny listen to the Mole Man to tell of his origin.

As he tells it,the misfit Mole Man wass just so ugly and abused by his fellow man that he had to leave civilization and the people that taunt him to cross the Arctic. He fell into a cave, which left him blind, but introduced him to a new world where he was ruler. He shows off his skill at fighting with a staff. He challenges either Reed or Johnny to a duel (we don't know which since they're wearing identical masks and suits) and bests him easily. He then lays out his master plan to destroy every atomic plant with his giant monsters, and then attack the surface world once and for all.

Suddenly, Ben and Sue arrive on the scene and Mole Man unleashes the biggest monster of all. Johnny buzzes around him and Reed grabs Mole Man. The Mole Man pulls a curtain which unleashes all types of monsters at them. The Fantastic Four are forced to retreat and Johnny causes a cave in by melting the rock. Mole Man then unleashes a nuclear blast, sealing Monster Isle off from civilization once again.

--synopsis by Jonathan Clarke aka doesitmatter, with Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Fantastic Four #1-10

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


FF #1

FF #2

FF #3

FF #4

FF #5

FF #6

FF #7

FF #8

FF #9

FF #10


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