on March 29, 2011
I started readings Marvel comics at age ten, one issue before these issues hit the stands (#39, Daredevil leading the FF against Dr. Doom in the Baxter Building). I agree with what Stan says in the forward, these were the biggest and best ten Marvel issues ever. Starting with the aftermath of the titanic struggle with Doom, through the Wizard's turning of the Thing, Crystal and the Inhumans and ending with Galactus and Silver Surfer. These issues formed the cornerstone of Marvel for as long as I read them, which was at least another 6 or 7 years. Very highly recommended.
on March 18, 2011
Most Comic collectors and Marvel Fans in particular will agree that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee were reaching their peek at Fantastic Four #50. Artistically, Jack Kirby and inker Joe Sinnott and even letterer Artie Simek had established themselves as the rock stars of comic book art. The style and poses in every panel looked like nothing ever seen before. There were huge pop art looking three quarter page and full page illustrations of panoramic views and epic action that could stand alone as posters or paintings without benefit of story. These were in addition to the movie poster look of the covers. And Stan Lee's titles and dialog gave drama and literacy to the books that has set or surpassed todays standard in pop culture literature ever since.
As if all this was not enough, Issue #50 can probably be counted as the true beginning of Marvel's dominance in the comic book industry. Superman and friends cold not compete in story or artistic content. And, rather than lasting a year or two, this team stayed in tact at this level for the next FIFTY ISSUES! During this time, even though Spiderman was and remains Marvel's top seller, The Fantastic Four was the idea mill. The Inhumans, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, and a myriad of Marvel's heroes and villains were born in the pages of Fantastic Four. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee were building the entire franchise with characters and story lines that would run from the sixties all the way until now.
It was during this time that the "Soap Opera" aspect of comic book story telling took hold. Long before Graphic Novels, these epic stories spanned many many pages and read like screen plays. There were issues that dealt with very serious emotions and tragic situations. What would it feel like to be a hero trapped in the body of a crusty monster? Identity Crisis is a reality that is not just a Sci Fi plot line. Stories like the first appearance of the Silver Surfer, which lead to the first invasion of the universe devouring Galactus might take the better part of a year to tell. And we were all hooked.
It is no surprise that these are the stories that are being adapted into major films with multi million dollar budgets now. At the time they were published, George Lucas and his generation were reading them and wishing the special effects of the day could show that kind of larger than life action.
And when they grew up, they found themselves inventing that technology. In the first interviews given after the huge success of the original Star Wars, it was told that when Lucas was putting together his design team, he gave them a stack of Marvel comic books and and said something like "Make the spaceships look like this."
Thank you, Jack Kirby!
So, for those of you who have not read or seen these ground breaking books, well, what are you waiting for? There is a whole universe ready for you to explore. This is what inspired modern comic book collecting. And you don't have to search a dozen book stores or wait for months for the whole story to unfold.
Go for it!
'nuff said, JPF
on January 20, 2012
If you've never read Fantastic Four issues #41-50 and Annual #3, you're in for a treat. The first Fantastic Four I ever read was issue #43: "Lo, There Shall Be an Ending" and was hooked for life. But I had to depend on my older brother for issues, so the next storyline I read was #48-#50 (guys didn't buy comics as much on a monthly basis as is done today). Let's just say my thirst for the Fantastic Four grew. Don't want to give too much away, so I'll simply say this: Vol #5 includes the return of the Frightful Four (Wizard, Medusa, Sandman and Trapster), Dragon Man and Dr. Doom. Also featured are the first appearances of The Inhumans, Galactus and The Silver Surfer. 'Nuff said! Guess my brother actually knew what he was doing in those days.
on May 2, 2015
The Thing has just finished defeating Dr. Doom but at the cost of being trapped in his monster looking form. He leaves the Fantastic Four angry and heavily depressed, which soon makes him easy pickings for another outfit. -summary
Many people feel that the legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby caught their creative stride with the now Marvel Milestone, The Coming of Galactus. I will admit that storyline was indeed a high point not only for the Fantastic Four but Marvel and comics itself, because this is when Marvel pretty much ran things and became rather invincible in the comic book world. I personally feel Lee and Kirby "got it right" several issues before the Galactus Trilogy, and it all started with their, at this point, recent encounter with Dr. Doom and especially The Frightful Four. The sinister group which was made up of the Wizard, Trapster, Sandman, and Medusa not only gave the Fantastic Four a run for their money, but they managed to beat them. This collection of stories pits the FF against their evil counterparts once again along with more exciting conflicts. This is a really good TPB. This book collects Fantastic Four issues 41 - 50.
The story begins with the Thing being captured by the Frightful Four, which quickly puts the Wizard's plan into action. This begins a multi-issue arc where things really look bad for the Fantastic Four. These issues are comic book writing at its best; full of suspense, great character interactions, and plenty of action. I will also point out that this was a great change of pace for the Sandman, because this bolstered his arch-enemies gallery as he was constantly fighting Spider-Man at this point. His powers were a true threat against the FF. He would later go on to battle the Hulk as well.
These issues are also very important and memorable since they debut the Inhumans, in which this managed to provide some background for Medusa. Although I was never completely sold on this group; they did have some interesting members with Black Bolt at the top of that list, plus he and Crystal would enjoy some spotlight over the years. There's also a really good confrontation with Dragon Man, and finally Galactus and The Silver Surfer would make their first appearances, with Galactus' intentions set on devouring the Earth.
These stories are too good if one can get over the aged feel of them; and Kirby's artwork showed some nice improvement. The action panels were very intense, with the Thing going at it with Black Bolt and also Dragon Man. The Frightful Four confrontation was a joy to watch, plus Kirby's character designs overall had a nice bit of imagination.
These issues were fun for me to read, and I would recommend this TPB to any hardcore Marvel fans. It also isn't a bad place to start but I would also advise to pick up the previous volume as well. This era is indeed one of Marvel's highlights.
Pros: Some good storytelling, artwork, notable first appearances
Cons: Slight cliffhanger at the end arousing curiosity for next book
on May 23, 2015
With a collection of Fantastic Four stories that include - the marriage of Reed and Sue and battles with Dragon Man and the Inhumans and to top it off - the arrival of Galactus and the Silver Surfer - this book was just too irresistible to pass up.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby pull off a real blockbuster in this volume. The marriage of Sue and Reed is a real treat and Lee and Kirby must have had as much fun bringing this story to life as much as it was for fans reading it - all of the Marvel Universe comes out - good guys and bad guys and all hell breaks loose on Sue and Reed's big day - everything that you would expect, happens in these panels - characters such as Nick Fury, X-Men, Avengers, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Spider Man all show and have to jump into action as villains such as; Mandarin, Kang, Super Skrull, Grey Gargoyle, Enchantress, Executioner, Attuma all try to crash the wedding - and who is the mastermind behind all the chaos - would have to be Dr. Doom right? Yep, of course. The excitement that ensues is a scene you might compare with one of those classic western bar-room brawls where everything gets utterly trashed - But thank goodness, Sue and Reed have their bliss at the end. But this book gets even better.
The chapters with the FF meeting the Inhumans and Dragon Man is an enjoyable story and Kirby's panels are wonderful. Black Bolt and Maximus scenes are particularly worth savoring. Its these types of stories that made reading the Fantastic Four so much fun.
And then we get the "Coming of Galactus" tale and his cosmic herald the Silver Surfer - these stories set the ground work for future tales and introduce us to some of the most intriguing characters in the Marvel Universe. My favorite scene is; galaxies away in the Skrull section of deep space, the green-skinned aliens detect the Surfer on their scopes and it instantly puts the true terror in them as they immediately take measures to cloak their homeworld, as they are fully aware that where the Surfer appears, the devourer of worlds cannot be too far behind - Galactus is a personal favorite and I have always enjoyed the stories with this character, which is the primary reason in buying this book - but with all the other great stories - this volume is a must for the Marvel fan's shelf.
on January 16, 2012
first off all, jack kirby is a genius the visuals alone are well worth the price. the stories and characters are also interesting and entertaining and anyone who loves the art form of comics should check out this holy grail of innovation. the fantastic four can seem kind of corny but when marvel started out they were very popular. its not hard to tell why, the storytelling and presentation of these classic issues still seem fresh after all these years. i love old comics and theses are some of the most important issues of early marvel. the silver surfer and galactus story is really the main draw here and the preceding events lead up to it well. it made me want to check out a lot more of these issues.
on October 11, 2015
Just the most classic epics in an epochal series. Too bad the movie studios can't/won't do it justice.
on August 4, 2014
This is where the Lee/Kirby series picks off.
on September 3, 2014
An entertaining read anytime!
on August 3, 2013
What I was quite disappointed at was the cover that this Volume 5 came with from Marvel; a disappointment at the very least