Monday, April 17, 2017

Doctor Doom - Out Of The MIcro-World!

When finally Doctor Doom returned again in Fantastic Four #16 it was into an expanding Marvel Universe of which the FF itself was the hub. As such this issue features some clever marketing by guest-starring Ant-Man from the pages of Tales to Astonish, a tiny hero who had just gotten a distaff partner named the Wasp in his own series.

When we'd last seen Doctor Doom he was shrinking thanks to his own scheming and disappeared from sight. As this story opens the Fab 4 are comparing notes and learn that each of them have been suffering bouts of strange shrinkage over the past several days. They call in shrinking expert Ant-Man for advice and he gives them some of his potent shrinking formula. In answer to a strange voice they shrink themselves to such a tiny size that they discover a whole new "Micro-world", a world in which Doctor Doom has made himself master after deposing the King and his lovely Princess Pearla.

The FF are thrown in to prison alongside the regals and learn of what has happened. Doctor Doom plans for each of the four to become his slave in different ways and to forestall that outcome they escape their cells and confront the tyrant who seeing imminent defeat grows himself away to safety. The kingdom of Micro-world now safe from harm the Fab 4 vow to return to normal size and confront the menace of Doctor Doom again.

And that battle will happen almost immediately. The book is filled with some neat character touches such as when an overly enthusiastic Reed gives Ben yet another serum which changes him back to his human self for a short time, and we get a sense that maybe that's not really what Ben wants. Johnny is practicing his powers and showing off as usual. Sue is working to make her powers more effective by cancelling out smell as means of detection. But all of this falls away in the face of Doctor Doom who increasingly dominates the stories in which he appears.

More to come as Doctor Doom returns in the very next issue.

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  1. It's funny I had FF Masterwork 1 and 3 when I was a kid. So the 10 issues in-between have never seemed "real" to me.

    1. I get that. There is so much made (and properly so) of the later Lee-Kirby-Sinnott period of the FF that I think earlier material sometimes gets overlooked. It has a more Silvery Age quality which is raucous and fun and I'm really enjoying some of these stories I've only ever read once over the years.

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