Our first peek into the early lives of the Fantastic Four. This team has remained one of my all-time favourites throughout my comic times. During the time this comic was developing in the 60s, I feel like it was one of Marvel’s flagship titles, and so a lot more time was put into the writing of it. In my opinion, The Amazing Spider-Man is the only other title thus far in the Reading Order that can consistently compete with the Fantastic Four in relative enjoyment.
A couple issues back (#53), the Fantastic Four teamed up with Black Panther to take out Klaw and his sound monsters. Klaw ended up jumping into his sound converter doohickey in a last, dangerous experiment with the dual purpose of avoiding capture, and the Fantastic Four ended up thinking he was a goner.
Back in issue 54, we were given a glimpse into what the Inhumans were up to. We saw them attempting to break out of the negative zone barrier that was trapping them bubble-style in their hidden city, and thus for the first time, Black Bolt spoke. In fact, he screamed. It was crazy. We didn’t get to see the result of this though, Ha!
The Fantastic Four, vol. 1; Issue #56: “Klaw the Murderous Master of Sound!”
Written by Stan Lee; Penciled by Jack Kirby; Inked by Joe Sinnott. Cover Artwork also by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott.
Lee, Kirby and Sinnott have been the creative crew on this title for a while now, so we’re not seeing anything different in that department. The cover does show a different look for Klaw though. I figure this is the colouring department’s booboo. Also the first giant penis I’ve noticed on the cover of a Marvel comic book. I’ve also soundly decided that Kirby isn’t good at drawing females. There is more than one instance in this issue where Sue has wildly proportioned leg spans that make me think that Reed’s powers spread through sexual intercourse – much like HIV… Which lead me to thinking of other things, and only now am I realizing what power this fucker has over women…
Anyway, obviously Klaw has gone through a huge change since we last saw him. He is now made up of solidified sound… Which is mind blowing.
This issue opens with Sue scrambling around the Baxter Building penthouse apartments/science laboratories looking for Reed. She’s worried since she can’t find him anywhere, and also ticked off that he totally neglects her when they’re home. She just expects more from him, especially after having just been married… I feel for her, and I’ll bet Reed knows it, too. The guy has to fight for her when Namor is in the mix as a suitor, so he locks her down in marriage and can continue on with his experiments in peace. It is the sixties, right? And we’ve now ascertained that there’s nobody we know of in the 616 that can beat this guy in the sack, so, I mean… yeah, he’s a smart bloke.
Sue ends up discovering that Reed’s in the SPACE/TIME LABORATORY – whaaaaat!?! PURE awesauce! – with Ben. Sue contacts the two through an early version of FaceTime, and is answered by Ben, who basically tells Sue to shut up and turns off the ‘visi-screen’.
The whole time, Klaw, the murderous master of sound, was atop the Baxter Building, watching Sue through a window… He busts in sonically through a shower of glass fragments, and quickly demonstrates to Invisible Girl how useless her powers are against a master of sound such as himself. He tells her his new origin story while he toys with her. I always wonder what accent he would have… I’ve kinda settled on South African…
Klaw has trapped Mr. Fantastic and Thing in the awesome laboratory, and after the Thing tears some of the room apart, Mr. Fantastic comes up with an idea…
Such bullshit. The man is Evil. In any case, Klaw overcomes every member of the team in the ensuing racket, and only the timely intervention of a package delivered by missile from the Black Panther saves the day: Vibranium knuckles! Mr. Fantastic puts them on and takes down Klaw pretty easily after that. He actually does a good job of it too, as much as I hate to say it.
As Klaw was trying to subdue Ben, he short-circuited the entire city grid, and everyone on the streets were like “Goddammit! Those fucking Fantastic Four! Again! Blaaaaaargh!” It brought a sense of realism to an otherwise completely fantastic issue so far that made me smile.
The Fantastic Four plan to aid police with the imprisonment of Klaw in a cell made entirely of Wakandan Vibranium, with a generous donation from T’Challa.
I love Ben, he’s the best. He’s such a beast. Kirby had a great panel in this issue that staggered me, and I made sure not to post it to encourage readers to check it out themselves.
HA! How sick was that!?
But actually we’re going to be looking at Daredevil for the first time. The above was for the next Fantastic Four… which won’t be for a while… and it’s kind of lame, Doom steals the Silver Surfer’s board… sigh