FANTASTIC FOUR #90-93 (1969): I Was A Rock Hard Skrull Slave

A quick ending to the last arc: The FF are keeping Mole Man hostage in Reed and Sue’s new home while the team discusses whether he’s a real threat or just a sad man wronged by the world.  Yes, they’re having an ethical debate right after stopping him from literally blinding every person on the planet.

Despite clawing his face up last issue, Sue Storm is on team Mole Man, pleading for mercy, but guess what team Mole Man is on?  

Right!  He’s arguing against himself, because he’ll never give up being a menace to society.

And then he escapes.

That’s a whole 8 pages into this new arc, and it has nothing to do with what comes next.  Cool, huh?

The main story is Skrull tomfoolery.

rock hard sex slave electro

It’s a four-parter in which Thing is kidnapped by Skrulls who act like Edward G. Robinson.  Why do the Skrulls act like 1940s movie gangsters?  I’m glad you asked….

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Yeah, the Skrulls have been around longer than superheroes.  And they’ve been mutating races to create superhero-like characters.

I love Thing’s facial expression in that panel.

After holding him prisoner, the Skrulls make him fight.

While it’s no surprise that Ben Grimm is put in a gladiator ring and forced to fight, it is a little surprising that Stan and Jack didn’t do this earlier.  It’s Planet Thing!IMG_0272

By today’s standards, gladiator fights in comic books are pretty common–almost cliche.  They’re rarely good.  Planet Hulk was the exception to this rule.  This one is drawn by Jack Kirby, though.

Ben and his foe of course become friends.  And Ben plays Moses against their captors.

And leads them all to freedom.

Anyway, it’s one of the weirdest stories of the Stan-and-Jack years (which are coming to an end soon, by the way), but it was pretty decent.

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The most significant, lasting element of the arc was that Sue and Reed finally name their kid.  It’s hard to believe that a mensa-level scientist and a mom who has spent several weeks struggling with baby names books took this long, but the name finally arrived.

Ben was happy.  Johnny, not so much.

Creators: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Grade: B-

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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