Friday, July 10, 2015

Fantastic Four #51

How do you follow up a classic story that changed the face of comic books forever?

Back in the mid 1960s Marvel Comics' writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby created a trio of comic book issues that revolutionized and altered the world of comic book publishing forever. 

Its effects can still be seen and felt in comic books today.

I'm referring to the ground-breaking 'Galactus Trilogy' that introduced the world to the World Devourer, the Silver Surfer and the Cosmic Storyline.

Never before had a comic book series tackled such a large all encompassing scope of a story.  It had everything from a godlike antagonist, universe-spanning adventures, strange and exotic worlds and locations and a thrilling story.  How do you top that?

Somehow Kirby and Lee did.

Just after the three issue run (#s 48, 49 and 50) Kirby and Lee opted for a simpler more personal story.  They succeeded in what many consider the 'best' Fantastic Four story ever written and drawn. 

Issue #51 involved a scientist who was insanely jealous of Reed Richard's success.  He succeeded in stealing the Thing's appearance and powers and planned to kill Reed Richards.

But after witnessing the friendship and family bond of the Fantastic Four the scientist sacrificed his life to save Reed from the Negative Zone.

It is one of the most touching and poignant FF stories ever told and rightly deserves its place in comic book history.

What the Galactus Trilogy did for universe-spanning stories issue #51 proved that comic books were more than just big fights and grandiose stories, they could also be heartfelt and touching.  

The cover features the Thing with head down and arms spread with the story's title printed in green in a black box.  It reads 'This Man...This Monster.'  A true classic.