I haven’t been exposed to much of Stan Lee/Jack Kirby collaborations. This creative team was before my time.
Having recently needing to research some of Black Bolt’s history, I took a look at this particular issue which was the first time Marvel Comics readers had ever witnessed Blackagar Boltagon in action. The Inhuman had made his very first appearance in the final panel of the previous issue, Fantastic Four #45.
I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this issue. There’s truly some classic Lee/Kirby stuff going on here. The dialogue is so campy, yet it works.
Kirby’s art is very good in this issue. The man is a legend in the comic book industry because he laid the foundation for art in the modern comic book. Is his art up to par with today’s artists? I’d argue that it isn’t, but Jack excelled in his day and had an imagination rivaled only by Stan Lee himself. This issue is proof of it. So many characters grace the pages of this issue and each of them (visually at least) come from Jack’s mind. The FF, The Inhuman Royal Family (including LockJaw), The Seeker (who made his debut in this very issue) and Dragon Man all come together in these pages and Kirby makes everything work. He told a story visually just as well as Stan Lee could with words.
This issue also gives us quintessential Stan Lee scripts. It’s all in here. Stan Lee excelled at giving each one of his characters a distinctive voice. Even without Kirby’s visuals, anybody familiar with the FF could probably discern who was “talking” at any given moment. As previously mentioned, the dialogue is as campy as it comes, but it’s a whole lot of fun. I wasn’t even around in 1966, but the nostalgia was hitting me big time. I was brought back to a time when my father was a young boy and I’m sure I actually felt a glimpse of the “magic” that many young boys of his day felt when reading these Lee/Kirby comics.
Plot wise, I wasn’t too sure what was going on as I didn’t read the previous issue. The Inhumans have clashed with the Fantastic Four and from what I gather, the Inhumans are simply trying to get back to The Great Refuge where they can remain hidden from humans and The Seeker. While the FF and Inhumans were busy trading blows, The Seeker has captured Triton and proceeded to infiltrate the Baxter Building where he believed other Inhumans are being kept. What he finds is a tranquilized Dragon Man which he mistakenly assumes is also an Inhuman. He manages to bring the android to his detention facility where he soon learns of his error. After the Inhumans have fled the scene, The Fantastic Four come looking for Dragon Man, but they are too late as the tranquilizers have worn off and Dragon Man escapes the facility and could now potentially run amok in New York. This is the setup for the next issue.
Bottom Line: I had a lot of fun reading this and I’m not even a fan of the Fantastic Four. Maybe I was just in the right mood or mindset, but regardless.. this issue is some undeniably classic Lee/Kirby storytelling and any modern day comic book fan should check these out when given the chance.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
Extra Tid Bit: The cover of New Warriors #06 pays homage to the cover of Fantastic Four #46. Check it out.