Episode 183: The Most Elite Engagement Party (Fantastic Four #36) -- March 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss Reed and Sue’s engagement party. Why were only superheroes invited? Was there another non-superpowered person party that was kept secret? Also: the Wizard has recruited Paste Pot Pete, Sandman and Medusa to become the “Frightful Four”. Why did he stop with four villains? If he really wanted to defeat the Fantastic Four, he should have created the Terrible Twelve or the Amazing Eighteen. Why are the villains fighting fair? At least they waited until the party was over.
Behind the issue:
This is the first appearance of Medusa, who is clearly tied to Greek Mythology at this point. Later she will be retroactively changed to being the noble Queen of the Inhumans, but there is no sign of that at this point.
In this issue:
The media are abuzz, and falling over themselves, with the news of Reed and Sue’s engagement. Meanwhile, the Wizard has gathered together three other super-powered people to create his own Frightful Four - the Sandman and Paste Pot Pete, who happened to be flying by the Wizard as he floated through the atmosphere weightlessly after his last misadventure, and Medusa. The newly formed Frightful Four attack the Fantastic Four at their headquarters after Reed and Sue’s engagement party (which was full of superheroes) and nearly defeat them, although they are ultimately defeated, with the Frightful Four mysteriously disappearing from the fray.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are more interested in who attended the party than the FF’s battle with the other FF.
This episode takes place:
After the Fantastic Four have seemingly defeated their apparently evil counterparts.
Edward: I don't think any journalists were invited to this engagement party. Mike, did you get an invitation?
Michael: No, and I was looking for it. But sadly, no.
Edward: Reed Richards and Sue Storm are now officially engaged. I think they were unofficially engaged before, but now this is like a, kinda like they're coming out big party and a big, big giant celebration at the Baxter building.
And, well I say big, but it was probably more intimate in that it was really only other superheroes that were invited to this party.
Michael: It's sort of funny you'd think that they would've parlay, I mean, the superheroes, like the Fantastic Four are the most celebrity focused kind of superhero, I think the most media friendly superheroes.
You'd think that that would lead to them parlaying that celebrity into connecting with other celebrities outside of their particular field. Because you look at Hollywood parties, it's not necessarily that rock musicians only hang out with rock musicians when they throw parties.
All forms of entertainment types seem to gather. So it's sort of funny that superheroes only invite superheroes for their big party.
Edward: Seems that's even weirder than that. You think about if, Reed and Sue, presumably like they've not been superheroes for that long, we're talking about a few years now, four years, did they not have any friends or family from prior to them being superheroes that, maybe would wanna invite to their party?
This engagement party was such a publicity event okay, so some rockstar gets, I'm sure like celebrities know celebrities and some rockstar gets married to some other rockstar. They invite a lot of rock stars, but presumably they also invite their brother and their I don't know, their, friend that they had from when they were a kid. These people have these entourages doesn't look like Reed and Sue do it looks like their only real friends to invite to this party were the X-Men and the Avengers.
Michael: Shows they have a complete dissociation to their past life. It just seems odd. Maybe this, actually, I've been thinking about this this whole time.
We're talking, what if this is just the public one?
Edward: Oh, I see. They're having another one
Michael: This is a celebrity one, right? The photos. That's true because the media we're there. I don't know, maybe let's play it out this way. If you are Sue storm's cousin, would you really want to go where there's all these nosy tabloid photographers because there were a ton there, right?
Edward: More than that. We know that every time these superheroes have some public event, they're attacked by super villains and see, do you want, do you want your cousin to show up and be attacked by the wizard?
Michael: So maybe what they did here was. Okay. At first I thought was just weird, but now it kind of, it makes a little bit of sense. Okay, we're gonna have this, and we know that the tabloids would rather have a picture of say the Human Torch standing next to Thor. You know what I mean? So we'll have, we'll throw that and that that'll give the tabloid. Reporters and photographers a chance to write their story and take their photographs and that's the public one.
And then there's more personal and intimate one that's with their friends who aren't in the game. And that way you don't put them at risk. That's true actually, that makes a lot of sense to me.
Edward: Does make a ton of sense. It's interesting cause I say there was only superheroes invited, There were, there were two non superheroes invited to the party. One was Professor Xavier, who's an expert. The mutant genes. And how these mutants are happening. And the second was Bruce Banner, who was the, the guy who saved the world , from the alien invasion a couple years back. So I guess when you, save the world from an alien invasion, you're an honorary superhero.
Michael: Yeah. And they didn't care about the safety of those two guys, I guess, . Wow. Well, they're very smart. They can, they can figure, they can respond.
Edward: I guess the other thing around safety is , we know that, when Spider-Man shows up at his fan club, they, get attacked. And when Reed Richards goes and talks at his alma mater he gets attacked, but in this case, you had to be a pretty ballsy superhero to go and attack the Fantastic Four and the X Man and the Avengers all in the same place at the same time.
Michael: So maybe it could have had Aung Pentunia show up, but I don't know. It doesn't seem to make, I think I can see why they split this up.
Edward: It's interesting that I talked about, these, villains attacking, the Baxter Building was attacked by super villains, but I guess they waited until the party was over. Let's wait until Thor vacates the building before we attack Reed Richards.
Michael: Smart. They're getting smarter Ed. They're just getting smarter. .
Edward: Well, the Wizard is one of the, the smartest, villains. Well, one of the smartest people in the world. Right? He was known as well before he became a villain. He was one of the smartest people in the world didn't, he still hasn't been able to defeat the Fantastic Four using, incredible brilliance.
But he has been able to recruit, a more substantial team. He's realized that trying to take them on, on his own is not the way to go. And so now he's recruited, uh, pop. Yeah. How Pace pot. Pot pee., yep. Who he's worked with before, but now he's also recruited the Sandman and this new, super villa villains super villainous, named Medusa, at his side.
And so, I guess four on four is probably, better odds. And as far as, as far as we know, it was kind of a stalemate, right? So they, they, they did not successfully hurt the Fantastic Four, but they also escaped fairly unharmed.
Michael: Well, yeah. It's interesting though, it seems like the wizards figured out, like you say, he might have stand a better chance if he has a team of his own, but it seems like incredibly personal, his whole purpose of his team seems to be to match up perfectly with the Fantastic four, apparently they're called the Frightful Four , and it's just
Edward: He's just trolling them now. He's just trolling them with that.
Michael: He's trolling them. Like, I mean, like I, I took issue with, there's been some unimaginative team names, like Fantastic Four is one of them. It just seems like it's a
Edward: Terrible trio. Remember the terrible trio?
Micheal: Yeah, that's right. But they're just trying to like, No, no, no. I'm not looking about world going for world domination anymore. I'm just doing this because I'm a better, smarter person than read Richards, it seems to be what seems to be what the Wizard's trying to go for it
Edward: And clearly getting, getting four of them together is, gives them better odds and trying to take him on like one on four. But it's funny that he can go further. Like why? Why stop at four? And then why even limit yourself with your branding, the Frightful Four? Why not be be like the terrible 12 and that that yeah, your odds are gonna be a lot better.
Michael: Yeah, exactly. So maybe, maybe the wizard isn't as smart as he thinks. .
Edward: He needs a few more. He needs a few more.