Fantastic Four #99 c. June 1970
Writer: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
What happens when the Human Torch goes wild?
The other day I was in my back issue shop looking through some old comics when I came upon an issue of the FF that said “In Battle Against The Uncanny Inhumans!” I was elated because with everything going on in Infinity right now with the Terrigan Mist and the Inhumans, it was cool to see a classic issue with the character drawn by the man himself Jack Kirby, add in that this story was written by Stan Lee himself and you have a book from the dynamic duo of the comic book world.
The Human Torch has gone rogue after his girlfriend Crystal had gone back to the hidden stronghold of the Inhumans. Convinced that she was brainwashed, Johnny leaves the Baxter Building in the dead of the night to go rescue her. Knowing that he is making a huge mistake the rest of the FF set out to cut him off and stave off any fighting. Unfortunately they find themselves bombarded by a meteor shower and are forced to make an emergency landing for repairs, thus hindering their pursuit. By this time however Johnny has stumbled upon the Yeti (making his first appearance) who seeing the flames from his hands mistakes him for an Inhuman and accidentally leads him to the hidden city.
This is when the battle ensues between Johnny and the Inhumans, Triton, Karnak, Yeti and Medusa. Believing that Crystal is not in her right mind the Torch proceeds to single handedly battle each of the Inhumans at the same time. After some fantastic artwork depicting each of the characters in action it was time for Crystal to step in and try to immobilize her boyfriend before any more harm can be done. This does not go over well as Johnny feels betrayed and plans to burn the city to ashes, if not for the timely intervention of Mr. Fantastic he might have succeeded. Once everyone comes together we learn of the whole misunderstanding of why Crystal had to leave. Turns out she needed to help an ailing Black Bolt while awaiting the return of Gorgon with a cure for his illness. Johnny and Crystal reconcile their relationship and good old Ben states he might be able to make his ski vacation with Alicia after all.
This issue is classic Kirby in every way shape and form. The way he drew the characters, to me, is the definitive way they should be drawn. His style was so above and beyond anything else that it simply takes my breath away. Even the cover, which depicts the Human Torch and the entire clan of the Inhumans, is beautiful and it was the cover that first caught my eye when I was looking. Seeing Black Bolt and Medusa on the cover is a sight to behold. Looking at it you see the multiple planes of existence that Medusa’s hair takes on. It is not drawn in simply one way, it is depicted in multiple arcs and curves all over the cover, and it only gets better inside. His way of drawing is unmatched by anything else in the comic industry. The Splash page showing all the Inhumans is probably the highlight of the entire issue and one that I wish I had framed on my wall.
Going along side Jack’s art is the story from Stan, to put it in simple words it is spectacular. You feel for Johnny in this issue and when his heart breaks because of his stubbornness you really do go through a wave of emotions. You feel sorry for him that he feels betrayed but at the same time you are asking him why don’t you just stop and let her explain. That and his text boxes makes you feel as if he is talking right to you. It is not the inner monologues of the characters, it is Stan speaking right to the reader and going through the story with you. That is classic Stan and it makes you feel like you are a part of the story, like you are really a part of this fantastic world. The dialogue in this issue is not dated in the least and it still holds up today and if given the chance it is something you must read.
While a near mint copy of this issue will run you about $70, you may be able to find one in good condition for a much lower price much like I did. If you can find it I would highly recommend picking it up because experiencing the works of Jack “The King” Kirby and Stan “The Man” Lee is something you don’t want to miss.
From Spin to all of you this Classic gets a…
5 out of 5 nerds