Re-reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. The last time we saw our heroes, they were under attack by the mysterious Inhumans, whose masked leader Black Bolt made his first appearance. Now, in issue #46, we get a little more about who these Inhumans are and what their deal is.
In an abandoned neighborhood, which is somehow in the middle of Manhattan, Black Bolt wastes no time duking it out with the FF. No matter how hard Ben fights back, Black Bolt has him overpowered. Meanwhile, Johnny’s flame is snuffed by the hooded, robed Triton. Reed deduces that the robes are actually moisture bags filled with water. Triton is an aquatic, fishman-type, who need to be in water to survive. Triton runs to the nearby docks (where is this?) and dives into the water. Karnak and Gorgon attack Reed and Sue, with a few ominous words about someone called “the Seeker.”
Conveniently, we then cut to the Seeker, a mustachioed large-hatted villain who is in the process of breaking into Fantastic Four headquarters. He says his life has been dedicated to tracking down the Inhumans. Inside, they come across a sedated Dragon Man, whom you’ll remember recently moved in with the FF. The Seeker and his lackeys capture Dragon Man and take him into the Seeker’s blimp-like ship.
We then get several pages of Ben fighting Black Bolt, again showcasing Black Bolt’s awesome strength, with Ben noting that the Inhuman doesn’t speak a single word during the entire fight. Black Bolt uses his “Master Punch” to stun Ben, but this also uses up the last of Black Bolt’s electron energy, weakening him. The giant dog Lockjaw appears out of nowhere to fight Ben and Johnny, while Karnak and Gorgon continue to pummel away at Sue and Reed.
Finally, Crystal shows up and insists that everyone stop fighting. She says Triton has gone missing, and that could only mean the Seeker has taken him. The Inhumans, who now have Medusa back with them, announce they want to leave the FF behind and pursue the Seeker instead. Crystal wants to stay, worrying about Johnny, but the other Inhumans insist that the FF are still the enemy. Lockjaw, who can teleport, teleports the Inhumans away, leaving the FF behind to sort out what’s happened. Reed describes the Inhumans as a different form of life, adding that they’ve combined use of their powers to live in secret. Johnny doesn’t care so much, he just wants to see Crystal again.
Back at headquarters, the FF discover Dragon Man is gone and security cameras show the Seeker is responsible. Reed says he can use heat particles to follow the Seeker. Meanwhile, we learn that the Seeker has indeed captured Triton, keeping him in a water-filled cage. The Seeker discovers that Dragon Man is not an Inhuman and therefore wants to destroy the big lizard (harsh). The FF arrive at the Seeker’s hideout, which isn’t hidden at all, but a huge futuristic structure in the middle of the city. They confront the Seeker, who goes back on his earlier threat and says he will return Dragon Man to the FF. The Seeker then gets talkative, filling us in on the history of the Inhumans. Back in prehistoric times, when humans were mere cavemen, the Inhumans already developed advanced society, including genetic engineering. Outnumbered by the savage humans, the Inhumans decided to live in secret in the Great Refuge, which is still their home today. Medusa left the Great Refuge to explore the outside world, and all this craziness has been about finding her and bringing her back. (The Seeker lights up a cigarette as he says all this. Some advanced civilization!)
With all that exposition out of the way, now’s the perfect time for Dragon Man to wake up. He smashes up the place real good and escapes. In the chaos, Triton’s cage is broken, and without water, he’s on the verge of dying. The FF watch, seemingly helpless, as Dragon Man flies out over New York, about to destroy it all.
To be continued!
Unstable molecule: Reed spends most of the issue sitting back and theorizing about stuff the reader already knows. His security camera, called an “automatic TV recorder” comes in handy.
Fade out: After Karnak brags on and on about being able find a weakness in anything, Sue shuts him after he can’t find a weakness in her invisible force fields.
Clobberin’ time: Ben survives for several pages duking it out with the seemingly unstoppable Black Bolt. He also gets the best line of the issue, describing his encounter with the Inhumans as, “like the kinda dream ya have after eatin’ pickles n’ gooseberries!”
Fade out: Johnny continually pines for Crystal, even though they’ve just met. He insists that she’s as human as anyone, despite what anyone else calls her.
Trivia time: We’ll get a lot more about the Inhumans and their background in the next issue, especially with regards to Black Bolt. We’re shown how mega-powerful he is, but nothing about who is or why he’s important.
Aside from an appearance in the next issue, the Seeker pretty much disappears into Marvel continuity limbo. As far as I know, his super powers have never been revealed.
Fantastic or frightful: This issue is basically a bunch of dominos that get set up to be knocked over in the next issue. There’s a lot of action in the classic Jack Kirby style, which alone makes this one worth reading. (Don’t forget: Galactus is coming!)
Next week: Circus Maximus!
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