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The peerless paroxysm of pulsating pounding power… – Fantastic Four #55

August 30, 2010

I’m a big fan of comic relief, and there’s no greater source of comic relief in the Silver Age of the Marvel Universe than the ever-lovin’ Thing. Ben Grimm was quick to anger, and his bruised feelings could be the source of much merriment.

Leave it to the cold, austere Silver Surfer to act as the perfect foil.

“When Strikes the Silver Surfer!” comes to us from Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Joe Sinnott, and finds Ben itching to get over to see his girl, Alicia Masters. But when she doesn’t answer the phone, he works himself up into a near-conniption:

See? He got “obdurate” confused with a religion — the laughs are starting already!

Meanwhile, the always pensive Silver Surfer is continuing with his never-ending struggle to understand the humans Galactus has trapped him with. Alicia’s siren call attracts him, and he plays the role of a peeping tom before taking the direct approach to get her attention:

Hopefully he won’t pull a “Bluto” Blutarsky:

They bond, but when Ben comes over — and hears a man’s voice — he storms upstairs to Alicia’s room and catches her, well… :

Now, some might accuse Ben of overreacting. But think of it… You find your girl in her room with a man with a perfect physique stripped down to his briefs and she has her hands on his shoulders and chest. What would you do? “But she’s an artist!” you say. “Maybe she’s using him as a model.” Let’s let that imaginary conversation play out:

“Hey what’s going on here?”

“Why, Ben… What are you doing here?”

“What’s he doin’ here, that’s the question!”

“He’s simply modeling for me.”

“But you’re blind.”

“That’s why I’m using my hands.”

I think we’d still have the same result.

In the subsequent brawl, the Surfer reveals that he doesn’t really have the requisite tact to assuage Ben’s fury:

Yeah. Calling him a child is sure to help soothe the savage beast. And “ZIT!”? Get the Stridex!

Finally, after flinging boulders and hurling atomic blasts and dropping buildings on one another, Reed and Sue show up, grab these two by the scruff of their necks and give them (mainly Ben) a stern talking to:

Once they’ve all kissed and made up the Surfer surfs off, but not before leaving a parting gift for our rock-encrusted hero:

To quote Seinfeld, “That’s gold, Jerry, GOLD!”

When I was growing up I couldn’t have cared less about the Fantastic Four, both as a team and as a comic. “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” my a$$. But in recent years, as I’ve grown more acquainted with Marvel’s first family, I’ve come to understand what all the fuss was about. The dynamics were wonderful, the art was electric, and the revolving door of characters always kept the series (back then) fresh.

Hey, Lockjaw was in this issue too! That’s a sign of quality — when you can sing a book’s merits and not even bring up the wonder that is a giant dog with a tuning fork on its head. Excelsior!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 9:53 pm

    Oh Ben. He is such a cutie ! Is he wearing an ascot in that first image?

    • August 31, 2010 10:15 am

      He most certainly is. I like how Ben goes for the simple solid white — no fancy patterns for the Thing.

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