Fantastic Four #45-47 (1965-1966):Introducing the Inhumans!

Future TV stars The Inhumans are introduced in a multi-issue story that has titles like “Among us hide… the Inhumans” and “Those who would destroy us!”  Say what you like about the Inhumans unjustly unseating mutants as the super-beings the Marvel Universe loves to hate—the titles were there, from the very beginning.

A group of beings, all with special powers, but emphatically not mutants.  That distinction isn’t raised in these four issues from 1965—probably because the X-Men themselves were just beginning to get a true “mythology.”

Medusa had already been introduced as a member of the Frightful Four, but she becomes a “good guy” (at least of sorts) in these issues.  The whole core team is introduced; we meet Gorgon (#44) with his Thoom!-ing stop; Black Bolt (#45); Crystal (#45), who hits it off with Johnny Storm right away; Lockheed the dog (#45); Karnak the Shatterer (#45), who smashes through Invisible Girl’s forcefields; Triton (#45), whose first appearance is under a cloak with just an arm sticking out (we don’t see a good picture of him until #46); and, finally, the hidden “Great Refuge” where the group has lived all this time.

Oh, and this is important: It all starts because Johnny is tired of his girlfriend Dorrie, who has been his steady companion in his solo feature in Strange Tales–and he even got into a fight with Spider-Man over her.  But Torch has a beeeeeeet of an ego problem….

The concept of family is important to all of Stan Lee’s writings, but in this story we see a comparison of one super-family that lives in the limelight to another that stays hidden.  And, of course, there’s the Romeo and Juliet element of Torch and Crystal.

All this, and The Frightful Four (lamenting the loss of Medusa) and Dragon Man, too!

Great, great stuff.  One of the best Lee-Kirby stories of all time.  And next, they introduce Galactus.  It’s breathtaking how much they managed to cram into each issue of this book.

Creators: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

First appearances: Triton, Black Bolt, Karnak, Crystal, Lockjaw, Maximus, The Alpha Primitives, and The Fantastic Four’s Airjet Cycle.

Grade: B

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