Second Union

Second Union


Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Dick Ayers
“Captives of the Deadly Duo” 
June 5, 1962

To start off, I have to say I absolutely love this cover. With the bold red background for the title in yellow, this is still the best logo for the Fantastic Four ever. Then add to it, the striking figures of Doctor Doom and the Submariner squaring off against our heroes, all posing with their powers activated, I can almost hear Stan Lee entering, “Have the Fantastic Four at last met their match?”

The story opens with the Torch returning to the Baxter Building to report on his search for information on Doctor Doom. Sue sees him and makes her way back as well. And with her arrival, we’re treated to something fans of the comics loved, schematics of something related to the characters in the book – in this case, the Baxter Building itself. Have to wonder if all the rooms were ever accessed or at least referenced over time before the building itself was destroyed. I was always interested in the “Projection Room with closed circuit TV control”.

Johnny has no news and so Reed has been using the time to catch up on fan mail that the Four have received, including a letter from a hospitalized boy who wants to meet him. Reed obliges by stretching himself across the street from the Baxter Building to the hospital, surprising the boy by coming through the window in his room.

It is also in this issue that we are introduced to the Yancy Street Gang, a group of city youths who will prove to be a comical pain in the neck for the Thing. While we don’t see them here, they have written to the Thing challenging him to a fight. He sends them a twisted-up 6-inch block of titanium steel with his regards.

Meanwhile, as Namor frolics with a pod of dolphins, he is observed by Doctor Doom. Doom is given an audience in Namor’s swanky underwater villa. Doom reminds him of his quest for revenge and how it seems to have cooled. What’s cooled it is Namor’s feelings for Sue Storm. He agrees to help Doom with his revenge, but will not allow Sue to be harmed in the process.

Namor gives him a device that can lift objects of great density. He sends Namor off, under the guise of peace, to the Baxter Building. And in the Baxter Building, we see Sue holds a bit of a torch for Namor as well when Johnny finds a picture of him hidden among some books on a bookshelf. My question is, where did Namor find the time to have a portrait taken and how did he get it to Sue as a keepsake?

Namor arrives at the Baxter Building and is met with distrust by the three men, but Sue sticks up for him, even putting herself between him and the other three when they move to attack. They check every floor on their monitors and find all is well, but then suddenly the building begins to quake. Looking out the window, they can see it lifting off the ground and moving up into the sky.

As they rise, they note that Doom is following in a plane. The air begins to get thin and Reed points out the air will last longer in their section of the building because of the nature of the windows they used that will trap it in better. Uh, what about everyone else in the building? I know the Four will have issues with folks in the building over the years, but after this incident, I’d be evicting them.

The building reaches orbit and the team put helmets on for oxygen. Even Johnny forgets where he is as he tries to fly out to Doom’s ship. Again, the other residents of the building, what’s happening with them and why isn’t Reed doing something about them?

There are further wrinkles as gravity is lost and then Doom guides the building towards the sun! Those poor residents in the building! As he casts it off, a meteor shower passes by. It’s the perfect opportunity for Namor. He dives into a water tank in the building to replenish his strength and then bursts from the building, hoping from meteor to meteor until he reaches Doom’s craft.

Doom tries to fry Namor with electricity, but like an eel, Namor absorbs it and redirects it back at Doom. Doom is forced to escape from his craft, finding refuge on one of the meteors as it carries him off into space. Namor returns the building to Earth and then ditches the spacecraft. It’s interesting to see that the Fantastic Four were really spectators in all this for the most part. There are some attempts by them to change the situation, but they prove useless. The Thing’s only feat of strength is his twisting the block of titanium.

And I end it with the same question, what about the other residents of the building? There should be consequences for these actions, even if the Fantastic Four were not at fault for it happening. Having them as residents in the building may give the place some notoriety, but it also makes everyone a target. There’s also the physics of the building being lifted from its foundation and then being just put back in place. Will we see the foundation being repaired in the next issue? Stay tuned, True Believers!

Meanwhile, were you one of the people who entered the contest in issue 4 to determine how a gem disappeared in the issue? Now, Marvel has contests all the time, but usually, the victor gets a “No-Prize”. Here, the winner got $5. Considering the amount, I’m surprised Marvel just didn’t offer a year’s worth of their comics at the time.

Related Articles