Fantastic Four #2 (January 1962)

Wow! The Skrulls!I’ve always thought of them as being among the more popular Marvel Universe villains, but had no idea that they entered in so early on. When I think of Skrulls, I always picture the Super Skrulls (for whatever reason), so seeing them here was a little difficult for me to wrap my head around. They just looked so different in their early iteration, with more frog-like features. To be honest though, they really reminded me of some weird aliens out of The Outer Limits or something. I was a little disappointed by them, and this story felt more sci-fi fantasy than “superhero”. As I’m reading these, I’m beginning to notice more and more that, yeah, it IS more like sci-fi fantasy. There’s something that feels reminiscent to Flash Gordon serials with the Fantastic Four – though, as I said previously, the characters are more fleshed out.

(THIS is how I remember the Skrulls. I wouldn’t want to mess with this guy.)

The story begins with The Fantastic Four causing mayhem throughout the city. The reader is left baffled as to why they would be robbing jewelry stores, turning the power off, and destroying oil rigs. We find out that it’s actually none other than the Skrulls! They have the ability to shape shift, and they are out to ruin The Fantastic Four’s reputation. With the Fan Four out of the way, the aliens will have no one to stop their invasion of Earth!

By this point (only issue 2 now) EVERYONE knows who The Fantastic Four is. The don’t try to hide their identities in any way, which might have seemed odd at the time. Again, there’s more ties to the “Commies”, with them even being perceived as working with the alien invaders. The story ends with Mr. Fantastic showing a bunch of comic books to the aliens, and he scares them by saying the horrific monsters pictured are actually part of Earth’s army. The Skrulls flee, the Fantastic Four gains their reputation again, and all is good!

Or…ALMOST. The very last two panels of the comic completely left me confused. Earlier in the story, they left a few of the Skrulls in their apartment. The Fan Four goes back to capture them at the end of the story, along with the authorities. Everyone is wondering how they’re going to dispose of the aliens. Here, I’ll let you make sense of this:

Hypnotize? Nowhere else in the story do they talk about Mr. Fantastic having the power to hypnotize others. Is this a one-time deus ex machina? Was this a gag? And cows? Mooo? Ok, ok…issue two was a little bit disappointing. Here’s hoping that issue three gets a little better!

 (This article originally written on May 6th, 2011 at comicbookcurios.blogspot.com)

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