These two books and all of the characters connected to them were the foundation upon which the most successful comic book company in modern history was built. Without Kirby and Ditko there would not have been a Marvel Comics as we know it. And I love being able to refer to the actual issues when the urge hits me to review them.
|An ingenious cover that keeps the villains a secret until the fan gets into the story.|
|Unusually good inking by Chic Stone.|
Although Kirby was not introducing any major new characters in this story (or even in the run leading up to issue #44) he was still doing some amazing things. Kirby had introduced a new kind of continuity to superhero comics with the books he was producing for Marvel. The stories were all interconnected. They were connected not only between one issue and the next, but between one title and another. The things that went on in Fantastic Four could (and often did) influence the things happening in X-Men and the Avengers (and other titles).
|Another of Kirby's collage pages.|
This issue holds true to that form created by Jack Kirby and which was then pretty much completely unique to superhero comics. We see again the Skrull Empire. This was yet another facet of storytelling that would lend itself to the further adventures of the Kirby characters, and which other writers and artists would be able to mine long after Kirby had departed the company. We see in this book that Skrulls--while at odds with humans--are possessed of the same emotions and desires as humans. They may be antagonistic toward the Fantastic Four, but they were shown not to be without their own reasons, and not to be without compassion. Keep in mind that Kirby was creating this type of intergalactic empire building blocks long before we ever saw this method of continuity in television shows like Star Trek or motion pictures such as Star Wars.
And we see Kirby using continuity and humor with the ongoing story of the wedding between Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Susan Storm (the Invisible Girl). As the story closes, we are left with a panel of the four going through a wedding rehearsal, a buildup for the story that Kirby would give us in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 (which I covered in a previous blog).
|How many superhero comics had shown a long-running romance of two superheroes culminating in their marriage?|