Appearing in "The Return of the Mole Man!"
- Fantastic Four
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Return of the Mole Man!"
The Fantastic Four has gathered to watch as Reed Richards conducts a test on Sue to examine the full extent of her invisibility powers. She shows off the ability to create an invisible force field and invisible objects that are strong enough to withstand both the Thing's most powerful blows and the Torch's flame powers.[Continuity 1] The test is interrupted when a police officer arrives to inform them that they have received complaints from the people in the neighborhood regarding the ICBM that the Fantastic Four uses on their missions. While the Thing deals with a flood of angry phone calls from area residents, the Torch deals with an artist who is threatening to sue, due to his claims that one of his works of art was melted into slag one day when Johnny flew past his window. With these disruptions dealt with, the Fantastic Four continue to watch Sue's demonstration of her powers. They witness as she can turn herself or other objects invisible, but they learn that she only has the ability to turn one object or herself invisible at a time. The demonstration is interrupted once again, this time by the Women's Canasta and Mah Jong Society, who complain about Reed's dangerous experiments. After they are scared off by the Thing, Reed ponders the recent spate of complaints and decides that perhaps it is time to move some of the FF's more dangerous experiments and equipment to a safer location. Coincidentally, Reed received a pamphlet in the mail regarding an island for sale in New Jersey that he believes fits those needs.
The Fantastic Four fly out in their U-Car to check out the island, but while they are exploring, their ship sinks into the water, trapping them on the island. Spotting a figure in the shadows running away, the FF follow after it into a cave. There they are surprised to see that the man they were pursuing is their old foe the Mole Man, who reveals that the entire series of events leading up to their coming to the island was all part of his plan to get revenge against the Fantastic Four. When the Mole Man activates a trap door, the Fantastic Four fall into an arena-like trap that is surrounded by a ring of lethal radioactive energy that prevents them from leaving. The Mole Man then explains that he survived their last encounter by escaping the destruction of Monster Island using the various tunnels within Subterranea.[Continuity 2] He then reveals his plan to lower New York City and Moscow below the surface of the Earth, in the hopes that both governments will blame each other for the strange occurrence and kick off World War III and eradicate everyone on the surface, so the Mole Man can claim it for himself.
However, before the Mole Man can hit the trigger button, Sue puts a force field around it. While the Mole Man is distracted, she creates another one around herself and her teammates, so they can get past the radioactive barrier that was keeping them prisoner. But their attack on the Mole Man is thwarted when their foe unleashes various traps that are designed to counter-act their powers. The Fantastic Four manage to break loose of these traps and chase the Mole Man. But their foe manages to escape under the cover of darkness, due to his radar-like senses. As the Fantastic Four find their U-Car and flee the scene, the Mole Man gets back to his throne room. When he activates the trigger button, he realizes too late that Reed Richards had rewired the device, so that it sinks the Mole Man's island instead.[Continuity 3]
- This issue marks the first expansion of Sue's powers; however the nature of her powers early on in her career was expanded in Fantastic Four: First Family. That series states that Sue always had the ability to create invisible force fields and could turn other objects invisible. However, at that time, she had little to no control over them. Often, she was only able to use them out of reflex.
- The Mole Man states that Monster Island was destroyed following his previous encounter with the Fantastic Four back in Fantastic Four #1. However, the island actually endured and has been seen many times since. Chronologically it was next visited by the X-Men in X-Men First Class (Vol. 2) #2–3.
- Although it is implied that the Mole Man perished when his island sank at the end of this story, he resurfaces alive again in Fantastic Four #31.
- Letter writer Dave Cockrum tells how much he enjoys the X-Men. He likes Jack Kirby's art, but not the inks. Incidentally, Cockrum would later lead the X-Men's revival as artist and as one of the new team's legendary co-creators.
- This issue also contains a full page ad for Amazing Spider-Man #8.
- Although his name is not revealed, the patrolman who comes to the Baxter Building modeled after Fred Gwynne from the television show Car 54, Where Are You?.
- This issue features a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Dave Cockrum, John Lasruk, Wayne Howard, Jack Harris, Bobby Rollins, Roy Thomas, and Stephen Erickson.
- The letters page also features "Marvel Miniatures", a sentence or line from selected readers letters. "Miniatures" are published from Larry Howard, Bob Kennedy, Ralph Perlowvsky, Jaff Baker, Norma Ryan, Russell Paini, Kenneth Chance, Todd Borden, Mitchell, Gruskin, Ken Tutton, and Lee Whittlesey. The issue also contains a "Special Announcement Section".
- In this issue, the Thing says his future catchphrase "It's Clobberin' Time" for the very first time.
- Also in this issue, Invisible Girl first uses her powers to create force fields and transfer her invisibility to other objects.
- References: Fantastic Four Annual #1 and Fantastic Four #1 x2