Continuing the read-through of as many Avengers and Fantastic Four–related Marvel comics as possible!
Fantastic Four #44-51; Journey Into Mystery (starring Thor) #124, 125; Thor (Hey, look, he got promoted!) #126-130; Tales to Astonish (starring the Hulk) #75-79; Strange Tales (starring Nick Fury & SHIELD) #145; Tales of Suspense (starring Iron Man and Captain America) #73-78; The Avengers #25-29; year: 1966.
The Inhumans debut in Fantastic Four #45. Viewers of the Agents of SHIELD TV series have met this hidden, ancient society of super-powered people—but not the comic universe’s main cast of Inhumans, who I suspect are being saved for the upcoming movie, which is slated for 2019. In the comics, we’ve already met Medusa, but in #44 we meet Gorgon and in #45 we meet the rest: Crystal (introduced as a potential love interest for the Human Torch), Black Bolt, Karnak, Triton, and dog Lockjaw. In #47, we meet their nemesis, Maximus.
Immediately after that adventure, Galactus develops his first craving for the Earth in FF #48, during which the Silver Surfer debuts, initially as the herald of the world-devourer. Yes, this is where the second Fantastic Four movie, Rise of the Silver Surfer, draws its inspiration, but ignore that film and read these instead.
And then, because the FF are on such a roll here, Mr. Fantastic visits the Negative Zone for the first time in #51.
Peggy Carter, the character Hayley Atwell has made famous in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, debuts in a flashback Captain America tale in Tales of Suspense #77, though she is never identified by name.
Many of the Olympus gods debut in Thor #129, including Ares, who will join the Avengers a long, long time from this point.
The Collector (Benicio Del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy) first fights the Avengers in #28 as a pretty basic villain who uses his vast collection as weapons (using magic beans to summon giants to fight Giant-Man, for example).
Rest In—oh, never mind
The Black Widow, briefly presumed dead, is back in action—but brainwashed this time so she’ll remain loyal to those wicked Soviets. Hawkeye remains stupidly obsessed with her, and the fact that this hasn’t killed him yet is miraculous.
The Revolving Door of Avengers Mansion
Retirement didn’t take for Giant-Man and the Wasp, so they’re back on the team—only now Giant-Man is calling himself Goliath, because Hank Pym needed a third superhero identity in the course of five of our years (starting with Ant-Man, for those just tuning in). Fortunately, the Scarlet Witch took the liberty of sewing a new costume for this man she hardly knows.
The Status is Not Quo
–In the Marvel Universe, secret identities are not forever. Happy Hogan learns that his boss Tony Stark is Iron Man. Thor finally says to Hel with his father’s wishes and tells his beloved Jane Foster that he and Dr. Donald Blake are one and the same (though Dr. Blake has been showing up less and less lately). Goliath and the Wasp reveal their true names to the new Avengers. And Rick Jones, thinking his buddy the Bruce Banner has died, blabs the secret of the Hulk to everyone. Clearly Rick hasn’t been a comic book character long enough at this point to have learned the big rule: No body, no fatality. Heck, even if there is a body, there might not be a fatality.
–Peggy Carter, however, has no idea who Captain America really is. (more…)