Tuesday, August 9, 2016
The team has just managed to defeat Dr. Doom (who had stolen the Silver Surfer's powers, making himself invincible). They return home to an attack by the Sandman - and it's a fight they barely survive!
In writing this review, I started to express surprise that Lee & Kirby lifted a character created by Lee & Steve Ditko - but then I remembered that it had happened several times.
After all, Sandman was a founding member of the FF's "opposite number," the Frightful Four, which first appeared two years before in FF #36.
So how can Sandman be a threat all by himself? Well, he is a powerhouse - but he gets a lot of help from the Baxter Building itself, as he uses some of Reed Richard's inventions against the team - sometimes inadvertently!
At one point, the Thing is pinned under some equipment - and he can't move, for fear of causing a terrible explosion!
The issue is a brawl from start to finish, with a perfect balance of Kirby's wildly creative action scenes and Lee's masterful mix of dramatic and comical dialogue.
But the moment in this issue that really had an impact on my 10-year-old mind was at the end. The issue ends on a cliffhanger, with Reed apparently facing death in the Negative Zone. He stays calm and his reaction amazed me - he says that at least he'll learn the answer to the final question.
That stunned me. To think of actually facing death, and what lies on the other side of that concept - it was a mind-bending concept for a kid who had never given death much thought. Reading that page again for this review, I got chills again.
I hope when the day comes and I face the final curtain, I can do it with some of the grace and intelligence exhibited by a comic book character.
I also wish they were still publishing stories starring that hero (and his family).