Episode 160: Mutually Assured Destruction (Fantastic Four #32) -- November 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the true identity of the Invincible Man. Behind his mask, he was apparently Franklin Richards, father of Sue and Johnny Storm. But that identity was also fake, and behind the second mask he was the Super Skrull (which explains his duplicated Fantastic Four powers). The bigger topic of discussion is how Reed Richards obtained the ability to wipe out the entire Skrull race. He did not commit genocide, but he could have, and he threatened to do so. Does this ability make us safer, or less safe? Does it matter that it is in the hands of a private citizen instead of the Presidents of Russia and America? Was Dr. Strangelove a documentary!?!
Behind the comic:
The potential genocide we dive into in the episode is almost an aside in this issue, and as far as we are aware the capabilities are addressed in the comics again. Instead, this issue is important in Marvel continuity for providing background on the parents of Sue and Johnny. Their father was just introduced, but he dies here a “hero” - sacrificing himself to prevent a Skrull sneak attack.
In this issue:
An alien arrives on earth and assumes the form of Franklin Storm, thereafter sending Dr. Storm to another galaxy. “Dr. Storm” escapes prison as the Invincible Man, using the same powers of the Fantastic Four. He thereafter threatens the world while dressed in a bizarre costume and calling himself the Invincible Man. The Fantastic Four battle him to a standstill. The world turns on the Four, assuming they took it easy on the villain. On their second battle, Reed reveals that he knows the truth and, once he is confronted, the Invincible Man reveals his true identity, the Super Skrull. Reed threatens the Skrull home world with nuclear genocide if the real Dr. Storm is not returned to Earth. The Skrulls agree to this condition, and return Dr. Storm, although he is boobytrapped with a bomb that kills him upon his return to Earth. Dr. Storm dies a hero, or at least not as a villain.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are wondering why the Skrulls’ plan was so complicated.
This episode takes place:
After the Fantastic Four have defeated the Skrulls.