FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (1962): 1st Doctor Doom, 1st Time Travel…And the Single Greatest Comic Book of All Time

A guy named Doctor Doom messes with the FF.

Obviously, a very important issue. It starts with a comic book.

Okay, so there have been a couple pranks before, but this is the first issue where Johnny mocks Ben and Ben busts stuff up.  Note that Johnny is reading an issue of The Hulk (another example of the shared universe, and building to the idea that Marvel Comics exists in the 616 but instead of fiction it produces nonfiction stories about superheroes, and also moving towards having the creators themselves appear in comics). 

Hulk and Thing were pretty similar characters, in that they were the subject of three-panel metamorphoses on a regular basis, they were big, ugly, and strong, etc.  The thing (pun intended) that made Ben a more interesting and versatile character was his familial relationship to his teammates.  The F4 was, after all, the first comic about a superhero family–unless you count D.C.’s Marvel Family (aka Shazam), which I don’t.

Anyway, Doctor Doom manages to capture the FF. Thing tries to get his hands on Doom, only…

It is the first Doombot!

This is our first time meeting him–the man who found a happy nation and fixed it.

Doom sends the team back in time to retrieve pirate treasure.

Once in the past, Ben is believed to be Blackbeard the Pirate.

On the ship, Thing busts through the floor.

Trust me, there’s only been two instances of it so far, but “Thing in a Hole” is gonna be a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby trope.

Thing loves that he was is beloved as a pirate that he has a hard time coming back to the present.

Sue, who was not sent back in time because Dr. Doom is a sexist, saves the day in the end…

This is one of the top 10 Dr. Doom comics of all time! See the rest here. It’s also the best single issue story and the best comic of all time, according to this objectively accurate list.

Also, Steve Rude thinks the cover is great, and I agree.

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