Sunday, April 23, 2017
Doctor Doom - The Master Plan!
Fantastic Four #23 pits the Fab 4 against Doctor Doom yet again. This time Doom goes to some lengths to acquire a team to help him bring the FF low. That's not how he usually works, but as we'll see he is firmly in character by the story's end. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are joined on this issue by inker George Bell (George Roussos).
The story starts in the Baxter Building as the team go about their daily lives bickering about leadership and chasing down dinosaurs brought forward in time by Doctor Doom's time machine which has been brought there for study. Meanwhile Doctor Doom by means of a robot proxy gathers together three men by bailing them out of jail. The three are strongman Bull Brogan, con man "Handsome" Harry Phillips, and mystic Yogi Dakor. These three are given enhancements by Doom which make Brogan inhumanly strong, Phillips with keener hearing and Dakor made fire proof. Then the trio are sent to lure the Thing, Invisible Girl, and Torch into battle respectively and capture them.
Doom himself captures Mr. Fantastic and encases him in a clear box. Having no further use for the trio of villains Doom sends them to another dimension to await his call. Then the FF escape from Doom's clutches and a furious battle breaks out. When Doctor Doom tries to snare the team into a "Solar Wave" which will cast them into the depths of space he his forestalled by the Invisible Girl and finds himself falling victim to the trap. As he disappears into space the Fab 4 escape and ponder if he will once again return.
As it turns out this story has a neat little sequel which appeared in the pages of Strange Tales #122 when the "Terrible Trio" return from the other dimension and battle the Human Torch. Thanks to a reprinting in Marvel Tales I read this story long before I was ever able to read the FF story which introduced the Trio.
Doctor Doom of course does return, but that will wait until the second Fantastic Four Annual which not only returns the master villain but gives us a fully-fledged origin story as well.
More on those most important stories later.