Episode 22: The Puppet Master made me do it! Mind control and the modern age. (Fantastic Four #8) -- Nov 1962


In this episode:

Mike and Ed discuss the “Puppet Master” - a villain who has the ability to control people’s minds (including a prison warden, and the Fantastic Four themselves) through his creepily realistic puppets. What are the implications of people not being in control of their bodies? Will this become a standard criminal defense? How can we know when someone is being mind-controlled? Is our political system at risk?

In this issue:

The Puppet Master is able to sculpt puppets of people and assume total control of them. He takes control of the Thing and kidnaps the Invisible Girl. The Thing is freed when he is turned back to a human temporarily with a potion that Mr. Fantastic had created. The three are then able to rescue the Invisible Girl from the Puppet Master’s lair, as the Puppet Master flees on a flying mechanical horse.

The Puppet Master has also taken control of the state prison warden and had him release all of the prisoners. The Fantastic Four put the riot down and restore order. They race back to the Puppet Master to confront him, but it is too late - he has already tripped and fallen out his apartment window, falling to his death on the street below.

This issue is also notable for introducing the Puppet Master’s blind stepdaughter Alicia Masters, an innocent drawn into her stepfather’s schemes and someone who will play a larger role in the Fantastic Four in the years to come.

Assumed before the next episode:

Lawyers are trying to figure out how best to apply the mind control defence. The rest of the public is wondering when things will return to normal - and whether they can trust those in authority, never mind each other.

This episode takes place:

After the public has learned of the prison breakout and the role that mind control played in it.