- Why must we always fight among ourselves? What's wrong with us?
Appearing in "The Menace of the Miracle Man"
- Fantastic Four
- United States Army
- Lt. General Fredricks (First appearance) (Unnamed)
- Unnamed police commissioner
- Joe (First appearance)
- Several New Yorkers
Races and Species:
- Fantasti-Car (First appearance)
- Fantasti-Copter (First appearance)
- Pogo Plane MK I (First appearance) (Seen in hangar)
- Intercontinental Passenger Missile (First appearance) (Seen in hangar)
- an atomic tank
Synopsis for "The Menace of the Miracle Man"
The Miracle Man is performing at a theater. He points out the Fantastic Four and mocks them. He claims his powers are far greater than theirs and demonstrates by growing into a giant, turning into a cloud, and controlling thunder and lightning. He even upstages the Thing in a test of strength. While they head home in the Fantasti-Car, Reed wonders whether they could defeat the Miracle Man if he were a criminal. Meanwhile, the Miracle Man plots to bring a monster statue at the Bijou movie theater[Continuity 1] next door to life and use it to terrorize the public.
Chapter II:At the team's new headquarters, the Baxter Building,[Continuity 2] Johnny is watching live coverage of the premiere of "The Monsters from Mars" at the Bijou on television. Sue Storm comes in with new costumes for the entire team, including a helmet for the Thing. Johnny spots the Miracle Man, who gestures and brings the monster to life. It attacks the crowd and then vanishes. The Fantastic Four call the commissioner, who has received a note from the Miracle Man declaring his intention to conquer the world. The team is authorized to stop the Miracle Man.[Continuity 3][Continuity 4]
Mister Fantastic finds the Miracle Man and his monster robbing a jewelry store, but the Miracle Man hits him with a brick. The Human Torch finds them stealing the army's new atomic tank and confronts them.
The Invisible Girl and Thing see the fight and join in. The Thing removes his helmet and rips off his costume before joining the fight. The Human Torch burns the monster down; it was made of wood and plastic. The Thing and the Human Torch are defeated, and the Miracle Man escapes in a truck with the tank in tow, although the Invisible Girl hides aboard unseen.
Back at their headquarters, the remaining members of the Fantastic Four wait for Sue's signal. Johnny pokes fun at Ben, who loses his temper. A fight breaks out between the two, and Johnny storms off. Meanwhile, the Miracle Man is hiding the atomic tank at a junkyard, when he discovers Sue and uses his powers to put her under his command. He has Sue signal the rest of the team with the Fantasti-Flare. Ben and Reed take off in the Fantasti-Copter. Johnny sees the signal from a corner soda fountain and flies toward it.
Chapter V:At the junkyard, the Miracle Man fights Ben and Reed, and escapes with Sue and the tank again. Johnny appears, and the three follow the Miracle Man in an antique racing car. Johnny flies ahead and uses his flames to create a flash that temporarily blinds the Miracle Man, who loses his powers. In fact, he never had powers at all; he was merely a clever hypnotist. Reed brings Sue out of her trance, and the Miracle Man is apprehended.
The Thing is annoyed when he perceives that Johnny is getting all the credit for stopping the Miracle Man. Johnny, having had enough of the Thing, quits the team and flies away. Reed wonders what would happen if he were to become their enemy.
Appearing in "Trapped by the Protector!"
Races and Species:
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Trapped by the Protector!"
A jeweler named Gerald Marsh staggers to his feet. Outside, the screaming wail of an approaching police car can be heard. The police siren is detected by the tiny antennae of countless ants, dispersed throughout the city and relayed via electronic impulses to the secret laboratory of Henry Pym. Pym dons his Ant-Man costume and triggers his reducing gas, quickly shrinking to ant-size. Using his catapult, he launches himself towards the general area of 523 Elm Street. As the tiny warrior flies over the city, he uses his cybernetic helmet to contact the ants below, causing them to converge on the awning at 523 Elm Street and create a cushion for him to safely land.
As he lands, Ant-Man notices that the police are leaving. Seconds later, he makes his appearance known to Mr. Marsh, who tells him that it was the Protector who beat him up. He explains that the Protector is an inhumanly powerful criminal who has been terrorizing all of the jewelers in town and makes them pay for “Protection." The Protector came into Marsh’s store that day wanting money. Business had been bad, so Marsh couldn't pay. The Protector then yanked Marsh over the counter with one hand and then used his Electronic Disintegrating Ray to reduce his jewelry into dust. The Protector then knocked Marsh unconscious before leaving to ensure he would be obeyed. When he recovered, Marsh called the police, but like the other store owners, was too scared to sign a complaint.
As Ant-Man leaves, a large figure observes him through a pair of binoculars. When he reaches the curb, he takes out a lasso of thread and skilfully tosses at the bumper of a passing car and hitches a ride. The shadowy figure observing him muses that he got away, but next time would be different.
Later, back in his laboratory, Henry Pym uses his cybernetic devices to station ants in front of all the jewelry stores in the city and instructs them to respond to verbal stimuli such as the words “Protector" and “Disintegrating Ray". For two days, nothing happens. On the third day he receives a message.
Part 2: Face-to-Face with the Protector!
The Protector is at 600 Harley Avenue extorting money from a jeweler. Ant-Man uses his catapult to launch himself through the air towards Harley Avenue, but finds the street crowded, blocking his path to his cushion of ants. He manages to maneuver in mid-air in order to land in a baby carriage.
Safely on the ground, Ant-Man gathers a swarm of ants and rushes into the jewelry store where he finds the Protector attempting to extort money from the owner. Ant-Man commands his ants to climb the display case from where he confronts the Protector. As the menacing Protector comes towards the Ant-Man, the ants move a necklace from the display case and drop it on the floor. The string of pearls breaks and the pearls scatter when they hit the floor, causing the Protector to slip and fall. Ant-Man decides to lead the fight outside where he can find more ants to help him. As the Protector steps from the store, he grabs a water pistol from a passing boy and nearly manages to wash Ant-Man down a nearby storm drain. Ant-Man saves himself by commanding some nearby ants to drop a stick across the sewer grate. By the time Ant-Man recovers, the Protector has escaped.
Returning to his laboratory, Ant-Man devises a plan to defeat the Protector by baiting him. One week later, Henry Pym rents a store front and sets up a jewelry store. The days pass slowly until one afternoon the Protector finally shows up. He lifts up a display case and then blasts it with his disintegrating gun, reducing it and its contents to dust. As he leaves, he tells Pym that if he doesn’t want these awful things to happen, he had better pay him three hundred dollars a week, and if he tells the cops about this, he would use his disintegrator on him.
As soon as the Protector leaves, Henry Pym rushes to the back of the shop, changes into his costume and uses his reducing gas to become ant-size. As he runs to the door, he passes drops of machine oil too small to be noticed by a normal-sized person, on the ground, right where the Protector had stood. Ant-Man says that “Now it all fits together!" and muses that it was a good thing that he was prepared. When the Protector had entered the shop, Pym had pressed a button which sent electronic impulses to all of the ants in the area. Following prearranged instructions, a few ants climbed onto the Protector’s boots as he left the store. While the Protector drove away, the ants emitted signals through their antennae, which were picked up by other ants in the street, allowing Ant-Man to follow the Protector’s trail using his cybernetic helmet.
An hour later, Ant-Man has tracked the Protector to a vacant, old tenement. Sending out another electronic message, he gathers together a few ants and enters the building. Suddenly he hears a loud Whirrrrrrr from above and is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. Peering down into the vacuum bag, the Protector gloats about his success and seals up the opening of the bag with glue to prevent Ant-Man from escaping. Using his normal-sized strength, Ant-Man punches through the paper vacuum bag and escapes. Seeing a fan on a nearby table gives Ant-Man an idea. Moments later, the Protector returns and notices the hole in the vacuum bag. He removes his goggles so he can look for the ant-sized hero. Just then, Ant-Man turns on the fan, blowing all the dust from the vacuum bag into the Protector’s face.
A moment later, the police have arrived and apprehend the Protector. Ant-Man had sent an electronic message to the ants stationed at the nearby police station, commanding them to spell out a message leading the police to the vacant tenement. Ant-Man instructs the police to remove the Protector’s outer clothing, revealing him to be the jeweler Gerald Marsh. Wearing platform shoes and an mechanical exoskeleton that allowed him to perform his feats of strength.
Ant-Man states that he first suspected Marsh when he told him that the Protector had beaten him up even though his business was poor. He had guessed that the Protector would be too smart to try and shake down someone who didn’t have the money to pay. Later, when he found machine oil where the Protector had been standing, he guessed the secret of his great strength. As for the Disintegrating gun, it created a puff of dense smoke, under the cover of which the Protector would steal the jewels and replace them with grains of sand. Ant-Man tells the police that they would find the “disintegrated" jewels in Marsh’s safe.
Appearing in "Nothing Can Stop... the Sandman!"
- Sandman (Flint Marko) (First appearance) (Origin revealed)
- Principal Davis (First appearance)
- Peter Parker's High School Classmates
- Unnamed petty crooks
- Human Torch (Johnny Storm) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- Spider-Man's Suit and Web-Shooters
- Spider-Man's Utility Belt
- Spider-Man's Spider-Signal
- Spider-Man's Belt Camera
Synopsis for "Nothing Can Stop... the Sandman!"
Spider-Man sees a few punks casing a jewelry store and webs them up before they can rob it. However, the thugs threaten to sue Spider-Man for assault and battery! Spider-Man must flee when they call the cops, since all the evidence makes him look guilty. Spider-Man blames Jameson for this treatment and leaves him a little souvenir in his office. After leaving Jameson's office, Spider-Man runs into the Sandman on a rooftop. Sandman gets the best of Spider-Man, and Spider-Man's mask is torn in the process, so he must flee before his identity is revealed. While at home sewing up his mask, Peter Parker learns the identity of the Sandman during a news bulletin. Originally an escaped convict, Sandman hid on a beach at a radioactive testing facility. During one of the tests, he was exposed to radioactivity, and his body gained the power to act as if it were made of sand. The bulletin also shows Sandman robbing a bank and fleeing the police.
The next morning, Peter decides to try to ask Jameson for an advance before he heads to class, but the newspaperman angrily throws him out of the office. Peter heads off to school, and overhears Flash asking Liz about going on a date with Peter. Peter had forgotten all about it and has to cancel, so that he can capture Sandman. Of course, Liz does not take this too well. Meanwhile, Sandman starts to realize that he can't keep on the run and must hide out. As fate would have it, he decides Midtown High looks like a good place. Sandman barges into a classroom to hide. This classroom, however, is full of students getting a lecture from the principal. Sandman demands a diploma and threatens to teach the principal a lesson when the diploma demand is rejected. Peter, running errands in the hallway, overhears the dispute.
Peter quickly changes, and Spider-Man bursts in, knocking Sandman back. They battle it out before Spider-Man tricks Sandman into turning into sand and vacuums him up with an industrial vacuum cleaner. Spider-Man realizes that he should have gotten pictures for the Bugle, so he uses a bucket of sand and some acting to stage photos. Spider-Man hands the vacuum bag with Sandman in it to the police, while Jameson tries to convince the Captain to arrest Spider-Man as well. Spider-Man ducks back into the school and, after another quick costume change, bumps into Jameson as Peter and gives him the film of the Sandman battle. Peter finds Liz to let her know that he can still take her out, but she has made other plans with Flash. Flash makes one too many insults, and Peter finally has had enough and threatens to wipe the smile off Flash's face. Before he throws a punch, Peter realizes that his super-strength could seriously injure Flash. Peter lets him go and walks away, making everyone think he's chicken. As Peter walks home from school, he hears everyone agreeing with Jameson's opinions of Spider-Man. Alone in his room, Peter searches his soul for the reason he decided to be Spider-Man.
- ↑ The depiction of the Bijou Theater in this story should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The Bijou was demolished in 1982
- ↑ The setting of this story is never explicitly given, but the location of the Baxter Building is later given as New York City. Some facts about the Baxter Building: (1) Prior to the Fantastic Four living here, it was briefly the headquarters to the All-Winners Squad in the 1950s as revealed in All Winners Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1. The top floors of the building had recently been reconstructed prior to the FF's residency there following the events of Marvel: The Lost Generation #11. (2) The building was suggested to the Fantastic Four by their military liaison in Fantastic Four: First Family #3 (3) The headquarters was co-designed by Reed and his colleague and former teacher Noah Baxter, as revealed in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #38. (4) Per Fantastic Four #244, Reed purchased the top five floors outright, although he was forced to sell them later when the group hit financial problems in Fantastic Four #9.
- ↑ As revealed in in Fantastic Four: First Family #3 their uniforms were based on the space suits the team wore into space.
- ↑ This story provides a schematic of the FF's headquarters in the Baxter Building for the first time. This version shows the Fantastic Four habituating at least three floors. The schematics are expanded upon in Fantastic Four Annual #1.
- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
- ↑ The Fantastic Four's classic blue costumes debuted this issue. The Thing discarded his costume (and helmet) mid-issue. Parts of this costume were worn by Ben at different occasions later in his career: First in Fantastic Four #239, Ben was forced to wear his costume so as not to frighten the already panic-stricken people of Benson, Arizona. Although he had the helmet along with him, he did not wear it. Ben started wearing a similar helmet after being wounded by Wolverine in Fantastic Four #374, but it lasted only a brief period (until Fantastic Four #386).
- ↑ The events of this story are witnessed from the perspective of other characters who would become active superhumans: The Sub-Mariner: Namor's time as a homeless derelict prior to this story were revealed in Tales of the Marvels: Inner Demons #1, parts of that story overlap with this one. Spider-Man: Peter Parker observes Mister Fantastic and the Human Torch battling the monster from afar in Spider-Man: With Great Power... #3.
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