June 12, 1962
- This issue boasts another first, as we have the first returning villain. Actually, two of them - which means it's also the first super-villain team-up! It goes about as well as you'd expect, with Namor being immediately betrayed by Doom, and story's end showing Doom sent spaceward on a rapidly-retreating meteor. Of course, they wouldn't learn....
- And yet, the Sub-Mariner already shows signs of a deepening complexity of character, as he quickly does what he can to make amends for his acts against the FF and set things right. This first redemptive act sets the stage for his journey from antagonist to hero - one that would in time nab him his own series once again.
- In fact, the theme of the issue seems to be how these larger than life characters are viewed by others. On the one hand, you have a troubled Namor - just now beginning to see the error of his ways - cajoled into further villainy by Doom, who sees him as nothing more than an easily manipulable pawn. And the issue opens on a crowd in awe of the Torch flying overhead, and a courier at the Baxter Building flustered at a chance meeting with the Invisible Girl.
- And then Stan and Jack further invite us to think of the Fantastic Four as real people, as we see an expanded cutaway of their headquarters, first seen in #3 ... and the FF answering their fan mail! In fact, when Reed gets a letter from a hospitalized boy, he stretches out the window and across several city blocks to pay him a visit. More than a few letter-writers after that must surely have been thinking of that very same scene!