> Reprinted in: Fantastic Four Masterworks Volume 1  •  Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 1

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Why must we always fight among ourselves? What's wrong with us?"

- - Reed Richards, page 16

Elements of the Atlas Era monster comics genre still reside in early issues of Fantastic Four!


Fantastic Four #3
March 1962 • 24 pages

Publication Date: December 12, 1961

Letters Page: Page One

I: Feature Story: Chapter Titles:
Chapter 1: "The Menace of the Miracle Man"
Chapter 2: "The Monster Lives!"
Chapter 3: "The Flame That Died!"
Chapter 4: "In the Shadow of Defeat!"
Chapter 5: "The Final Challenge"

Pages: 23

Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Sol Brodsky
Letters: Artie Simek

First Appearance: Miracle Man

Villain: Miracle Man, "The Monster From Mars"

Origin Retelling: Fantastic Four

Marvel Milestones: Fantastic Four uniforms, First appearance of Baxter Building (unnamed)

Gadgets & Technology: Fantasticar, Pogo Plane, Fantasticopter, Long Range Passenger Missile, Atomic Tank

Synopsis: The Miracle Man is performing a magic show to a large audience when he notices the Fantastic Four in the front row. He boasts that his powers are greater than the theirs and demonstrates. He grows to a massive size at will, changes into gaseous form and fires lightning bolts from his hands. An insulted Thing plows through the crowd to reach him on stage and prove that he's not as great as the FF. The Miracle Man has two tree trunks waiting for him and challenges Thing to shatter one. Thing pounds through his trunk in three blasts with his fist, but the Miracle Man slices through his trunk with little effort, appearing to cut it in half with just his one finger. The Miracle Man then dares Thing to punch him right in the face. He laughs as the rocky fist connects, and the rest of the Fantastic Four restrain Thing from tackling him in frustration.

After the show, the Fantastic Four fly across the city in their new Fantasticar, with Reed worrying about what could happen if the Miracle Man went bad. The car automatically lands on top of their secret skyscraper headquarters. As they settle in, Sue unveils the new costumes she has designed. Thing thinks that's kid stuff, but Sue maintains "If we're a team, we should look like a team." Thing's version comes with a helmet that covers his entire head.

Meanwhile, the Miracle Man has decided to show the world the extent of his power and brought a giant monster display to life at the movie premiere of "The Monster From Mars" playing at the Bijou. Under his control, the "Monster From Mars" goes on a rampage, smashing cars and chasing pedestrians. Suddenly, the monster disappears. Johnny has witnessed all the action on a live television broadcast of the gala premiere, and he sees the Miracle Man amongst the crowd, seemingly directing the actions of the huge monster. At that moment, the Police Commissioner receives a note from the Miracle Man, declaring war on the human race! The Commissioner calls on the FF to take the lead in fighting him.

The Fantastic Four split the Fantasticar into four pieces and scour the city. The monster now is robbing jewelry stores by smashing his fist into them. Mr. Fantastic spots the giant and stretches himself across the street to net the monster. But the Miracle Man knocks Reed upside the head with a brick. Reed snaps back to normal form from the impact and they escape. The Police Commissioner gives Reed a really hard time for their inability to stop the Miracle Man menace.

The Human Torch is next to spot the monster stealing an atomic tank from a military complex. He buzzes around the monster and leads Thing and Invisible Girl to his location. Ben and Sue land their cars and leap into action. Thing immediately tears his shirt off and tosses his helmet, claiming his costume is more of a "monkey suit." The monster grabs the Torch and burns to the ground, as it was nothing but wood and plaster. The Miracle Man hits the Torch with a blast of chemical foam, downing him from the sky. Thing charges in to aid Johnny, but the Miracle Man seems to cause him to sink into the ground . The Miracle Man then steals a truck and hauls the atomic tank away. Sue, in her invisible form, stows away inside.

After another origin recap, the Thing gripes about being trapped as a monster. He admits he wants Sue to look at him the way she does at Reed. Johnny laughs and taunts him by saying "She wouldn't go for you if you looked like Rock Hudson!!" Thing throws at a punch at Johnny that goes through the wall. Johnny flames on around him and gets insulted, and the two bicker even more before Johnny storms out, leaving Reed and Ben to rescue Sue alone.

The Miracle Man, with Sue stowed away in the truck, reach a junkyard where he is stashing the atomic tank. A dog catches Sue's scent and Miracle Man commands her to materialize. He hypnotizes her and she sends up an FF flare. Reed and Ben take their helicopter to the location while Johnny, sulking in a soda fountain with his friends, also sees the flare. He takes off alone.

Reed and Ben find the Miracle Man holding them at bay with a giant key. He turns the key into a machine gun and starts to fire. Reed turns into a bouncing rubber ball and hops out of the hail of gunfire. Thing throws himself in between Reed and the bullets, letting his body absorb the blasts. The Miracle Man grabs Sue and speeds away in the atomic tank. The Torch arrives and the three chase after the tank in an antique racing car parked in the junkyard. The Miracle man shoots out a tire but Reed takes its place, using his rubbery stretching ability to transform himself into a replacement tire. The Torch flies in front of the tank, and in a nova blast, blinds the Miracle Man, who surrenders.

Reed reveals that the Miracle Man had no super powers. He was merely a hypnotist, that if he truly had the powers he claimed, he could have conjured jewels from thin air, rather than having to steal them. But Johnny's blinding flash has taken even his hypnotic powers away, which are transmitted through his gaze. Thing complains that the Torch is getting credit he doesn't deserve, prompting Johnny to quit the team and fly away.

II: Pinup: "The Human Torch"

Pages: 1

Image of Johnny Storm inset against the Torch flying in the sky.

--synopsis by Jonathan Clarke, aka doesitmatter, with Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Fantastic Four #1-10

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


FF #1

FF #2

FF #3

FF #4

FF #5

FF #6

FF #7

FF #8

FF #9

FF #10


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