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Fantastic Four Masterworks Vol. 5
Regular Edition Cover

Vol. 28: Fantastic Four
Variant Edition Cover

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From Nov. 61 to today! Every issue is noted at the ultimate FF checklist website!

Lots of great comics reviews about the original Marvel foursome!

The complete collection of the FF cartoon from 1994 to 1996!



  • First print: 10/25/00
    Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four Volume 6

    Reprints: Fantastic Four #51-60 and Annual #4

    (Vol. 28 in the Marvel Masterworks Library)

    Most Recent Print Edition: Second Edition, First Print
    Release Date: March 17, 2004


    UPCOMING PRINT EDITION: Second Edition, Second Print
    Release Date: October 12, 2007

    REGULAR EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-1266-9 • List Price: $49.99
    VARIANT EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-1296-0 • List Price: $54.99

    240 Pages

    Scripted by Stan Lee

    Penciled by Jack Kirby

    Foreword by Stan Lee


    Take a trip into the wild, wacky and out of sight!

    There is nothing like this volume of the Fantastic Four! The preceding Masterworks, Volume 5, reprinted the era of FF that pushed comics into a brave new world, revealing many groundbreaking concepts for the Marvel Universe: the Inhumans, a strange, hidden race of differently super-powered people; the Silver Surfer, the cosmically-powered herald with a lust for knowledge and understanding; and Galactus, a godlike devourer of worlds. In Vol. 6, reprinting FF #51-60 and the fourth annual, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby show no fear in exploring that new world. Together, they found there's plenty more innovations to build atop the foundation where their ideas came from.

    The Masterworks begins with "This Man...This Monster!", reprinted from FF #51. According to Stan Lee, it's the best story he ever wrote, and when you look at his track record, that's saying something. It's a simple single issue morality tale. No major villains are introduced, no drastic changes in the lives of our main characters occur, heck the Human Torch is barely in it at all! In fact, the villain, who made a cameo first appearance at the tail end of the classic FF #50, isn't even given a name. (Later, his name was revealed to be Ricardo Jones.) But the simple economy of story and theme pulls on the heartstrings in the same way the classic Amazing Fantasy #15 still does. Just check out the final panel sequences involving the Thing impostor sitting atop an asteroid, inexorably pulled by the tug of Sub-Space's lethal anti-matter zone. Some have said that Fantastic Four #51 is the best comic ever! Well, after reading it, I'm not in the mood to argue the point- it's a fine example of the best comics has to offer.

    The Black Panther arrives in the second issue reprinted herein and proceeds to clean the collective clock of our heroes! At this point, Jack Kirby was becoming very interested in the equal rights movement and wanted to see more diversity in his comic book world. The Black Panther would become the first African American super hero, followed quickly by the Falcon. It would be pointless to name all the minorities in the Marvel Universe today, as the X-Men alone have become a United Nations of super heroes! But once again, it all starts in the Fantastic Four. Though from the events unfolding in FF #52, it's hard to imagine the Black Panther being treated as a hero by the FF! Heck, if I was invited to a party only to find out I was the donkey they planned to pin the tail on, I might just have something to say about that!

    But a bond was created between the FF and the Wakandan chief nonetheless, and they would partner together to fight the mad scientist Klaw, the Black Panther's greatest arch-villain. But Klaw would not stay just a mad scientist as we'll see a few issues later. Like the Shocker from the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Klaw benefits from a fantastic character design, but suffers from poor motivation. I always felt he had the potential to become a great villain, but it seems lately he's relegated to joining the odd super-villain group.

    Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom return for an epic just as grand as the Galactus trilogy. Bringing together their two strongest characters to date, Lee and Kirby create an antagonist all but unbeatable when their plot finds Dr. Doom stealing the cosmic powers of the Silver Surfer and using him to satisfy his evil bent. In fact, it takes four issues to handle this threat in an era when most problems were solved in one! For one thing, the FF's problems in this storyline begin with the perniciousness of the Sandman, and Johnny's overriding concern with finding his lost love Crystal keeps him and Wyatt traveling the universe- with the aid of Crystal's teleporting pet Lockjaw.

    The Inhumans are given a further spotlight throughout, with snatches of their story being told from issue to issue. Trapped behind the supposedly impregnable dome around the Great Refuge, they constantly come up empty in their own attempts to pierce the walls of their prison. Eventually, Black Bolt is forced to turn to the only power he knows can help bring down the barrier, but at what price?

    Topping off this annual is Annual #4, in which the Golden Age Human Torch is revived by the Mad Thinker and commanded to attack Johnny Storm. This battle of the Torches had to have been a preoccupation of any comics fans of the time who were aware of the initial flaming GA hero. Old Torch vs. New Torch...who would win? The answer to the question is less important than the asking, as it all makes for great comics, as shown in the pages of this annual.

    I often wonder what other comics professionals thought reading this book in 1967. By this time, Marvel had already left DC in the dust, but the Fantastic Four was even lapping Marvel's other books for sheer creativity. Like the Beatles who were producing their masterpiece at this moment, Lee and Kirby were creating something so far ahead of the curve, we still haven't caught up.

    But at least with this volume, we can revisit these tales! So let's do just that!

    -- by Jonathan Clark, aka doesitmatter, with Gormuu

    Issues Reprinted
    Fantastic Four #51-60 and Annual #4

    Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


    FF #51

    FF #52

    FF #53

    FF #54

    FF #55

    FF #56

    Ann #4

    FF #57

    FF #58

    FF #59

    FF #60


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