> Reprinted in: Fantastic Four Masterworks Volume 2  •  Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 1

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Cease this useless conflict! The Watcher commands you!"

- - The Watcher, page 12

When good cosmic rays go bad!


Fantastic Four #13
April 1963 • 22 pages

Publication Date: January 3, 1963

Letters Page: Page OnePage Two

House Ad: Ad #1

I: Feature Story: "The Red Ghost and His Indescribable Super-Apes!"
Part 2: "Menace on the Moon"
Part 3: "The Watcher Appears!"
Part 4: "Duel in the Dead City!"

Pages: 23

Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Steve Ditko
Letters: Artie Simek

First Appearance: Red Ghost/Ivan Kragoff, Super-Apes, Watcher

Villain: Red Ghost, Super-Apes

Origin: Red Ghost/Ivan Kragoff, Super-Apes, Watcher

Guest Appearance: Watcher

Marvel Milestones: First mention of "Marvel" Limbo, FF become first humans to return from a trip to the moon

Gadgets & Technology: Atmo-Web Suit, Syntho-Matter, Freeze Gun, Paralysis Ray

Setting: Blue Area of the Moon

Synopsis: A fire breaks out in Reed's lab! Johnny flies over the blaze but Reed, in an asbestos suit, snatches him away from the dangerous fumes. He has invented a new rocket fuel, derived from a meteor, that's powerful enough to carry them to the moon, and more importantly beat the Reds in the space race! Reed plans to test this formula, but the team won't let him go alone. Things stuffs him into a test tube until he agrees to bring them all along.

Meanwhile, behind the Iron Curtain, a Red scientist named Ivan Kragoff trains his apes- a gorilla, a baboon, and an orangutan- to fly his space ship, make repairs and fire weapons. His team is ready and he takes off for the moon at the same time as the Fantastic Four. However, Kragoff's ship has one key difference. Kragoff knows cosmic rays gave the FF their powers, so in a bid to achieve fantastic powers of his own, he's constructed his ship with no shielding. The unfiltered rays bombard Kragoff and his apes.

The Fantastic Four see the Communist ship in space and Johnny, in a special chemical suit, flies over for a closer look. On the outside of the ship, he sees the Communist hammer and sickle insignia, and inside the ship, he sees Kragoff and his apes exhibiting new powers. The Gorilla has fantastic strength, the baboon has shape-shifting abilities and the orangutan exhibits magnetic powers. They spot Johnny outside and repel him back to the FF ship with the orangutan's power of magnetism.

The FF collect their stunned comrade and Johnny fills them in on what he has seen. Meanwhile, the FF are ready to land in the mysterious "blue area" of the moon. The Fantastic Four explore the area and find the remnants of an ancient civilization. They also realize that they have atmosphere that they can breathe in! Just then the baboon, camouflaged in the shape of a rock, grabs the Thing's leg. Kragoff and the other apes ambush him. Thing throws a punch at Kragoff but his fist goes right through the Russian, who stands in apparitional form. He is now the Red Ghost! He prepares to hit Thing with a club but just then, the Watcher appears!

The Watcher captures the apes in floating "syntho-matter" globes and pulls the Ghost out of hiding. The Watcher explains that his race comes from a planet-sized computer and their mission is to explore the universe to silently observe alien races. This is the first time a Watcher has broken silence, in order to issue the edict that the Cold War must not extend to the moon- the Watcher's domain. Therefore, the two teams must represent their nations and fight it out here, away from the Watcher's home. The Thing is poised to knock the Red Ghost's block off, but Reed grabs him from a distance and pulls him back with the rest of the team. The FF have discovered the Watcher's home and are set to explore it, when the Watcher sweeps them into the heart of the Blue Area.

The Red Ghost is waiting for them and hits Reed with a freeze ray. The baboon turns into an asbestos wrap to defeat Torch as the Gorilla proves himself much stronger than the Thing. The orangutan magnetically binds Sue and they take her hostage. They steal a pneumatic car and drive deep into the lost city. Once the three men have recovered, Johnny turns a cylinder into a jet engine so they can follow the Ghost.

The Red Ghost leaves Sue behind a force field guarded by the ravenous apes. The Red Ghost has set up a plan in which he keeps the apes under his control by denying them access to food. Kragoff takes off to lure the rest of the FF into his trap. Once he leaves, Sue is able to deactivate the force field, and the apes ignore her and tear into the food stocks behind her. Now fully fed and freed of Kragoff's control, they break through the iron door and Sue follows.

The Red Ghost sees the rest of the team coming and prepares a disintegrator ray to fire on them. Sue warns them in time and the Red Ghost flees through the walls, emerging inside the Watcher's home. He tries to steal the Watcher's secrets but his human mind can't even comprehend the artifacts he finds. The Watcher discovers him and after threatening him with exile through time, space and Limbo, expels him back onto the moon surface where the Fantastic Four capture him. Reed fires a paralysis ray that he developed from the alien technology that is able to attack the Red Ghost's "atomic body structure."

The Watcher reveals himself to the Fantastic Four and relates that he is leaving the moon. He declares that man is coming too close for him to quietly observe. The gorilla has found a gun which he turns on Kragoff. The Red Ghost flees his apes, which are very angry with him for his abuse, as the Fantastic Four heads for home.

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

--letters pages and house ad provided by Crusher Creel

Issues Reprinted
Fantastic Four #11-20 and Fantastic Four Annual #1

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


FF #11

FF #12

FF #13

FF #14

FF #15

FF #16

FF #17

FF #18

FF #19

FF #20

Ann #1


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