Fantastic Four #23

"The Master Plan of Doctor Doom!"

The Fantastic Four #23
February 1964

Written by Stan Lee
Pencils by Jack Kirby
Inks by George Bell

Holy teleporter and solar beams, Reed Richards, it’s time you stepped down as the leader of the Fantastic Four! Sick of being bossed around, the other three members take it upon themselves this month to voting on a new leader, only they can’t because they all end up voting for themselves. Funny stuff; but not as funny as Doctor Doom's latest series of traps and wacky hijinks that dominates the majority of the Four's adventure. To be fair, every odd Doctor Doom appearance is usually pretty silly, but here the implementation of ionic teleportation via solar waves or something is a new high. Oh, and we also get three new villains Bull, Harry Phillips and Yogi Dakor who are used by Doom and then sent to another dimension and stored for future use. Despite this however, none of the villains truly shine—not even Doom who kind of just does his thing to the absolute minimum and then floats off into space again, this time without the aid of an asteroid.

Sure enough we also get the each hero has to solve his or her own unique trap and/or problem segments, and the obligatory Torch fights Thing section; I just wonder how long this repetition can go on before it gets unbearable. At first all this was charming and somewhat imaginative; now it’s bordering on predictable and lazy. But then, the last thing Stan got help with writing was 24 issues ago with Tales to Astonish 48. So although once the Marvel Powerhouse, Fantastic Four has been a title suffering most from this distinct lack of lovin’ from Lee, resulting in these half-baked issues that seem to just go through the motions. Here’s hoping it gets its magic back; and fast.

MY SCORE: 4.5 (out of 10)