Fantastic Four #2
Written by Stan Lee
Pencils by Jack Kirby
Inks by George Klein
The cover is a riff on the 2/3 chapter splash that we see on page 15. Our foursome are fighting "Skrulls" though we're given no hint as to what they may be, except they're alien looking.
The book opens with the FF seemingly committing a series of crimes. The Thing tears down a drilling platform. Invisible Girl steals a ten million dollar gem (which is just handed to her). The Torch melts a statue (while the people beside it are unaffected by the heat). Reed's arm turns off the power to the city causing a black-out. Why the switch he pulled can't be put back in it's correct position is a mystery. But it's not our heroes. It is instead alien Skrulls who are able to change their shapes and use technology to impersonate the FF. They need them discredited so to pave way for an invasion. I will add that the Skrulls on the bottom of page four look a whole lot like Muppets. No really...the one on the far left could be Kermit and Fozzie's love child.
And discredited they are. Soon the FF are in hiding and "shoot to kill" orders have been issued. I find myself hoping the Skrulls did some more impersonating, because that seems excessive given the offenses. The FF is hiding out trying to decide how to address the issue. The concensus seems to be to bicker and for Ben to feel sorry for himself. That is interrupted by the Army coming to arrest them. Apparently the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 wasn't passed in the Marvel U. Of course our heroes don't fight the army but surrender...so they can break out of woefully inadequate cells. At least Johnny's cell was lined with asbestos...though it raises the issue of why he never contracted mesothelioma.
Following their escape they come up with a pretty nonsensical plan to have Johnny infiltrate the imposters. Of course it works, and he signals the team with a flare, while keeping the Skrulls trapped by his flame. Until his doppelganger shows up and they collide. Luckily the rest of the team show up and defeat the Skrulls. Using Ben's temper as a threat, they learn of the invasion and go to the Skrull mothership in a rocket water-tower impersonating the Skrull imposters and using clippings from Marvel comics to scare off the Skrull invaders. And that's not the silliest part. There is a plot hole here at least as big as the Skrull mothership.
The team defeats and ties up four Skrulls. They go to the mothership...without any Skrulls. They come back...just the four of them. But when they get back there are only three Skrulls...and they're just barely escaping. Shape-changers. Tied up. And they wait all that time to escape. OK...maybe off-camera Reed slipped them a mickey. But where is the other Skrull? According to Reed he's on the spaceship heading home. But how the Hell did he get there? Nobody knows. We know that the police now know that the Skrulls caused the damage and they leave them to Reed to take care of. He hypnotizes them in to thinking and looking like cows. Really...it wil become important later.
The team are still in Civvies. We see the recurring theme of the baddies turning society against our Marvel heroes. This is the first time Ben changes back to human, albeit only for a very short while. Again, we have a throwback to the monster mags in the alien invasion theme.
The art in this issue is pretty atrocious. Especially when it comes to Ben. His head routinely looks like a mutated Russett potato. The figures are pretty static and it's easily one of Kirby's worst books.
The toll (from the heroes): One cabin window, two jail cells (1 one melted, 1 shattered), one missile launch pad melted, one apartment trashed.
Historic score - B-
Story - C
Art - D
Still -- the first appearance of the Skrulls has got to be worth something in someone's book. They marked the expansion of the Fantastic Four's (and, subsequently, the Marvel hereos') universe out to the outer limits of space in only the second issue. I suppose these could have been throw-away villains that were never mentioned again, but that didn't happen. Apparently, Stan and/or Jack saw worth in them.
That's why I rated it a B- for historic value. Clearly the Skrulls ad a long life in the MU. I just felt the story was average and it may have been the worst art-job I've seen from Kirby.
Originally Posted by shaxper