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Fantastic Four Masterworks Vol. 4 [Hardcover]

Marvel Comics , Jack Kirby , Stan Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
With the Marvel Masterworks series getting serious about reprinting issues of "The Fantastic Four," which is "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine" (by its own admission), the time has finally come to make an argument at what point in the run this was, for a time, most definitely true. "Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four, Volume 4" includes issues #31-40 (plus Annual #2) and I want to place in nomination issue #39, "A Blind Man Shall Lead Them" as the point where the F.F. entered 5 star territory for what would be pretty much the next two years of the comic.
Up to that point things are pretty much run of the mill: #31 "The Mad Menace ofthe Macabre Mole Man" brings pack the group's first villain and throws in the Avengers along with Sue and Johnny's father; #32 "Death of a Hero" has the Skrulls turning Dr. Franklin Storm into a living booby trap; #33 "Side-by-Side with Sub-Mariner" has the F.F. helping Namor against the armies of Attuma; #34 "A House Divided" has the mysterious and very rich Mr. Gideon getting the F.F. to fight each other; #34 "Calamity on the Campus" introduces the Dragon Man, who is brought to life by Diablo on the campus of E.S.U. (where Charles Xavier's students and Peter Parker are also visiting); #36 "The Frightful Four" introduces the evil quartet of the Wizard, the Sandman, Medusa and Paste-Pot Pete (sorry, I never could buy that last one); #37 "Behold! A Distant Star" has a minor adventure as Reed and Sue try to get ready for their wedding rehersal; #38 "Defeated by the Frightful Four" actually comes true, as Paste-Pot Pete changes his name to the Trapster.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By the end this IS "The World's Greatest Comic Book" Feb. 10 2004
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
With the Marvel Masterworks series getting serious about reprinting issues of "The Fantastic Four," which is "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine" (by its own admission), the time has finally come to make an argument at what point in the run this was, for a time, most definitely true. "Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four, Volume 4" includes issues #31-40 (plus Annual #2) and I want to place in nomination issue #39, "A Blind Man Shall Lead Them" as the point where the F.F. entered 5 star territory for what would be pretty much the next two years of the comic.
Up to that point things are pretty much run of the mill: #31 "The Mad Menace ofthe Macabre Mole Man" brings pack the group's first villain and throws in the Avengers along with Sue and Johnny's father; #32 "Death of a Hero" has the Skrulls turning Dr. Franklin Storm into a living booby trap; #33 "Side-by-Side with Sub-Mariner" has the F.F. helping Namor against the armies of Attuma; #34 "A House Divided" has the mysterious and very rich Mr. Gideon getting the F.F. to fight each other; #34 "Calamity on the Campus" introduces the Dragon Man, who is brought to life by Diablo on the campus of E.S.U. (where Charles Xavier's students and Peter Parker are also visiting); #36 "The Frightful Four" introduces the evil quartet of the Wizard, the Sandman, Medusa and Paste-Pot Pete (sorry, I never could buy that last one); #37 "Behold! A Distant Star" has a minor adventure as Reed and Sue try to get ready for their wedding rehersal; #38 "Defeated by the Frightful Four" actually comes true, as Paste-Pot Pete changes his name to the Trapster. The defeat is pretty significant because while Sue's force field shields the group from the blast of the Q-bomb, they all lose their powers.
The cover of "Fantastic Four" #39 shows Daredevil leading the F.F. down the street; the odd thing is that behind the Thing is Ben Grimm with a remote control device. Meanwhile, hovering over the city is Dr. Doctor. So, here we have our heroes at their weakest, facing their biggest threat. In "A Blind Man Shall Lead Them" Reed Richards comes up with ways of duplicating their powers, knowing that as soon as their enemies learn they are powerless they are going to be dead meat. Matt Murdock is summoned as their lawyer, but it is Daredevil who lends a hand. Then in #40 "The Battle of the Baxter Building" the F.F. attacks their own headquarters, which Dr. Doom has taken over. At the climax of the battle Reed uses a stimulator to force Ben to turn back into an enraged Thing, who, stripped of his humanity, breaks down Doom's force field and literally starts ripping his armor apart. It is one of the greatest scenes in the history of the F.F. and makes for a great payoff for this two-part story that made truly made this "The World's Greatest Comic Book."
Of course, the Thing quits the F.F. right after the fight and when Volume 5 comes out we will get to see the Frightful Four finally go down, meet Black Bolt and the Inhumans, and then get to the very pinnacle of the comic book with the arrival of Galactus and his herald, the Silver Surfer. All the while the art of Jack Kirby just continues to get better and better. Keep in mind that unlike "The Essential Fantastic Four" collections, which are reprinted in black & white, these "Marvel Masterworks" volumes reprint these eleven stories in color. Volume 4 grades out at a 4.5, but since only two of the ten stories are from this key period I will curve down. But there is no doubt that the next volume is a solid 5. Even the Watcher would agree.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic Masterworks that lives up to the name. July 6 2014
By Rich M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another excellent masterworks, with the last of the wonderful Jack Kirby/Chic Stone collaborations on Fantastic Four. Really, all you need to encompass the true greatness of the "World's Greatest Comic Magazine" is the first five Marvel Masterworks (I'd have included the sixth if the reproduction was a lot better on it, but alas, it apparently is horrid).

Dragon Man makes his first appearance here, along with the Frightful Four, along with the returns of Dr. Doom, the Sub-Mariner and the Mole Man, along with a Wally Wood-inked guest-appeared by Daredevil. It's hard to go wrong with this book if you're a fan of good, old-fashioned proper comic books.
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Vol. #4 Jan. 20 2012
By Scorpio - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Featuring Fantastic Four Annual #2 (Dr. Doom) and issues #31 - #40. It has some of the best set up storylines for later issues (Vols 5 - 7). Along with giving Dr. Doom more reason to hate the F.F., it also introduces the Frightful Four. And then there's Ben Grimm. One of the most tragic figures in comics who still doesn't catch a break, even when one seems to appears before him. Reprints include the well liked "Calamity on Campus" and "Side by Side With Sub-Mariner": Great stand alone issues. When first published during the 60's, I read them out of sequence and the stories were still fabulous. If you've never read the early F.F. issues, this compilation should give you a thrill.
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