The Fantastic Four Versus the Red Ghost!
A surprisingly dull episode for the Fantastic Four this time around, when Reed Richards precedes our own history and lands on the moon in 1963. This makes me wonder, if, by the time I read up to modern day Fantastic Four issues, references to this will ever be made. Surely not, as that would put these events during, say, 1998 on the sliding timeline. Oh you got to the moon in '98, eh Richards? Nice.
Nevertheless, all presumptions aside, going to the moon was a big thing in '63 and to be fair Stan and company try their best to make it a big thing. The problem though is that it's stained with this dirty Red villain and his super apes that get their powers the same way that the FF got theirs—only theirs are supposedly better because they lasted longer. Cosmic Rays, eh? How long 'til they're sold over the counter? None of them are used that effectively and in the end everything closes in an anti-climax.
Aside from the usual Fantastic Four shtick that we get between the members, just about the only real fantastic thing about this issue here is in the Watcher; a supreme being that lives on the moon and observes humans for reasons not entirely detailed. Nevertheless, it provides Kirby and Ditko(!) ample space to flex their creative muscles and dream up some great scenes. That, and we get a little bit of a sympathetic, neutralist vibe going on for the first time when both Sue and Reed make a couple lines that aren't riddled with anti-communist propaganda.
Overall, a spotty, lacklustre outing for Marvel's supergroup, but still better than a lot of the other stuff out there.
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