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Fantastic Four
#31-40, Annual #2


Fantastic Four Annual # 2
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJJ
Synopsis:
"The Fantastic Origin of Doctor Doom!" 12 pages
Doom recalls his memories of youth and remembers how his father was brutally killed. Doom, driven by a thirst for vengeance, learns the secrets of magic from his mother's belongings and learns modern science when he attending State University. He is disfigured when an experiment to free his mother from hell fails and he returns to his homeland and assumes the guise of Dr. Doom.

"The Final Victory of Dr. Doom!" 25 pages
Dr. Doom is rescued from his exile in space by the time-traveller known as as the Pharaoh. Doom returns to Earth and sets out another plot to destroy the FF. The FF are invited to a Latverian gala celebration and Doom cleverly uses the FF's insecurities against them. They figure out that Doom's responsible and confront him. Doom challenges Reed to a duel to the death, but Reed's able to trick him into believing that he has destroyed the FF. The FF leave Doom alone since he, as the head of state for Latveria, enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Jay's Notes:

  • Dr. Doom last seen in FF# 23.

Fantastic Four # 31: "The Mad Menace of the Macabre Mole Man!" 
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
The Mole Man strikes again by uprooting city blocks and transports them to his subterranean lair. The Fantastic Four investigate, but Sue is taken hostage and they are forced to withdraw. After preventing the Avengers from getting involved, Reed locates Sue and tunnels her out of the Mole Man's prison. The Mole Man dispatches his subterranean hordes, but the battle destroys the Mole Man's machinery and his latest threat. The FF return to the surface to rush an injured Sue to the hospital where she's saved by her father, who had just escaped from jail and is recaptured after the surgery.

Jay's Notes:

  • The Mole Man last appeared in FF #22.
  • First appearance of Dr. Franklin Storm.

Fantastic Four # 32: "Death of a Hero!" 
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Reed attempts to cure the Thing's condition, but he fails. Meanwhile, the Super Skrull is released from his prison where the FF had trapped him. He takes Dr. Storm's place in prison and then makes triumphant escape as the Invincible Man. The FF battle the Invincible Man, but hold back believing him to be Dr. Storm. However, Reed learns the truth and they defeat the Super Skull. Unfortunately, the Skrulls have booby-trapped Dr. Storm and he dies saving the FF.

Jay's Notes:

  • The Super Skrull last appeared in FF #18.

Fantastic Four # 33: "Side-by-Side with Sub-Mariner!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Lady Dorma, who in a fit of jealousy betrayed Atlantis to Attuma, enlists the aid of the Fantastic Four to help Namor. The FF travel to the ocean's depths and attack Attuma's forces and prevent them from interfering with Namor one-on-one battle with Attuma. Namor defeats Attuma and restores order to Atlantis without ever knowing that he was assisted by the FF.

Fantastic Four # 34: "A House Divided!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Gideon, a financial genius who strives to control the world, is challenged by his rivals to take out the Fantastic Four. He puts into motion his master plan that succeeds in pitting the FF against each other. They eventually come to their senses and confront Gideon. When Gideon's son is caught in the trap he meant for the FF, Gideon learns a harsh lesson about how he has let his ambitions get in the way of his family and abandons his goal of destroying the FF and of taking over the world.

Fantastic Four # 35: "Calamity on the Campus!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
Reed returns to his alma matter, State University, with the FF to deliver a guest lecture. Unfortunately, Diablo has freed himself from his imprisonment and seeks out revenge on the FF. He animates a sculpture into the powerful Dragon Man and unleashes it on campus. The FF battle the Dragon Man and Diablo is overwhelmed by their effort and loses control of the monster. Dragon Man turns upon his creator and are both apparently destroyed.

Jay's Notes:

  • Diablo was last seen in FF#30.
  • First appearance of the Dragon Man.

Fantastic Four # 36: "The Frightful Four!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
While Reed and Sue announce their engagement to the world, the Wizard recruits the Paste Pot Pete, the Sandman, and Medusa to form the Frightful Four. They wait until the engagement party is over to attack and defeat most of the FF. However, Johnny rescues his teammates and they drive off the Frightful Four.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Medusa.

Fantastic Four # 37: "Behold! A Distant Star!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
Sue wants to bring the Skrull responsible for her father's death (see issue #32) to justice and the rest of the team agrees to the mission. They rocket off into space and travel through subspace to reach the Skrull homeworld. Once there, they discover that their powers are diminished by the Skrull atmosphere and they're taken captive by an ambitious Skrull warlord. Reed tricks the Skrull into restoring their powers just as the Skrull emperor arrives to put down the Skrull warlord. The Skrull warlord is executed and in the aftermath the FF learn that it was he who had killed Sue and Johnny's father.

Fantastic Four # 38: "Defeated by the Frightful Four"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
The Frightful Four strike again and kidnap Sue. They take her to a deserted island where they prepare a trap for her teammates. The Fantastic Four locate the Frightful Four and battle through them to rescue Sue. However, they're trapped on the island as the Wizard's deadly Q-bomb is detonated.

Jay's Notes:

  • Re-introducing Paste-Pot-Pete as the Trapster.

Fantastic Four # 39: "A Blind Man Shall Lead Them!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Frank Ray
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
The FF survive the Wizard's Q-bomb, but it has apparently stripped them of their super-powers. Returning home, Reed rushes to artificially duplicate their powers because he fears any of their enemies could attack if they learnt the truth. Unfortunately, Dr. Doom is freed from Reed's hypnotic spell (see Annual #2) and wants a rematch with the FF. Daredevil helps the powerless FF escape from Doom's attack. They all split up in hopes of getting away.

Jay's Notes:

  • Dr. Doom last seen in Annual #2.
  • Daredevil first met the FF in Daredevil #2.

Fantastic Four # 40: "The Battle of the Baxter Building"
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Vinnie Colletta
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
The FF regroup and break into the Baxter Building which Doom has seized control of. Daredevil confronts Doom directly giving the FF time to mount an attack. Reed uses his power stimulator and powers up the team. The Thing tackles Doom one-on-one and despite throwing everything he has at him Doom is defeated and has to flee.

Jay's Notes:

  • The Thing's battle sequence against Doom is very well done.

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