Monday, November 14, 2016

The Fairy Eyeball!

Once upon a time a young man named Storm went off on a quest with his faithful sidekick Wingfoot and they traveled into distant and far-off lands to discover all manner of amazing things in a world at once older and more strange than even they could imagine.

Sounds like a set up for a pretty decent epic fantasy, but what it was was a few humble issues of Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four. It's Fab Four #54 (The story was reprinted in Marvel's Greatest Comics #41) which concerns us today.

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch and Wyatt Wingfoot go to find Johnny's trapped love Crystal of the Inhumans. Along the way the almost literally stumble across Avalon, the hidden doman of Prester John the Wanderer, an ancient magician, scientist and warrior sitting quietly in his chamber as if waiting for them to arrive.

In a weird one-off issue they learn of Prester John's long and complex history and of his journey through time in susupended animation as the keeper of the Evil Eye a deadly energy weapon. The love-sick Human Torch wants the Eye to use its awesome power to free his love who is encased in a powerful energy dome but when he attempts to take the weapon it explodes and seemingly destroys all of Avalon.

Prester John is one of those Kirby concepts which just got folded into an FF adventure and was never seen again in the hands of the King. Characters and concepts just seemed to ooze out of him during this fertile period. Later of course others at Marvel remember Avalon, Prester John and the Evil Eye. That weapon becomes the focus of an epic struggle between two of Marvel's most famous teams, the Avengers and the Defenders. It's the matchstick which triggers a war, a mighty clash and we'll see the beginnings of that struggle soon.

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