April 9, 1964
- Hey, check that out! For the first time ever, we've got the Fantastic Four teaming up with the X-Men! And so soon after the two-part tale featuring the FF's adventure with the Avengers in #25-26. (Heck, there was only a single issue separating that story from this one!) By now, Stan's figured out that the best way to sell these new titles is through ample cross-promotion - and with the FF being the flagship title in his stable, that's clearly the book in which to do it.
Sue's almost right. It's actually the Avengers who fought the Space Phantom!
- And speaking of success - you have to admit that's a great visual Jack Kirby's conjured up for the cover. Let's face it: the Awesome Android is a great visual period, and one that's far more eye-catching than that of the Thinker (despite the fact that the Android hardly appears). And Jack must have realized this too; after all, contrast the cover above to that which graced the Thinker's first appearance in Fantastic Four #15. There's simply no comparison!
Um. Wouldn't adding more clay just make the puppet look like the Blob?
- Continuing to focus on the cover for a moment, it's not just the art that's a resounding success, as even the copy holds its weight. A potential reader wouldn't even have to look within to glean that the story inside must be an absolute pile-on: The Fantastic Four AND the X-Men, AND the Thinker and his Awesome Android ... AND the Puppet Master too??? Whew! And yet it's notable that the villains are exclusively FF baddies, and not (as would often feature in later team-up stories) a pair for each of them - like, for example, Magneto and Doctor Doom.
Usually in these face-offs, the two token females are matched up.
But here, Marvel Girl takes on the powerhouse that's The Thing! Nice.
- The only downside to the issue is that the plot is rather, well, bunk. The Thinker has the Puppet Master mentally take control of Professor X, who directs his X-Men to fight the Fantastic Four. They fight them at the Baxter Building, then lure the FF to a lonely mesa and fight them there. At the end, the Beast manages to smash the Master's puppet, and the fracas is over (albeit with the villains escaping). Ho-hum. But in all honesty - the plot's not the important thing here. Instead, it's really all about the excitement of pitting two of Marvel's mightiest teams against one another, and seeing what happens. It may not be the most compelling story for either of them - but to any kids who picked this up off the stands, it gives enough of an intriguing glimpse of these characters to make them maybe pick up the next issues of not just one, but two, new comic mags...