Episode 3: Nothing Happens (Fantastic Four #1, Part 3) -- December 1961
In this issue:
Reed Richards, his fiancee Sue Storm, Sue’s kid brother Johnny Storm, and their friend Ben Grimm, steal a spaceship that Reed has been working on for the military to fly into space in an attempt to help America get ahead of the U.S.S.R. in the space race. Unfortunately, the spaceship has insufficient shielding from the cosmic rays in space, and after the crash land, the four learn that they have been mutated by the cosmic rays, and have developed incredible powers: Reed can stretch, Sue can turn invisible, Johnny can light himself on fire and fly, and Ben has been horribly disfigured into a super strong orange monster.
Meanwhile, atomic power plants around the world are disappearing, and no one can figure out why. Reed determines that the culprits are striking out from an island most thought was a myth, “Monster Isle”. He signals his friends with a flare in the sky. When they see the flare, the team rushes to meet Reed, causing a commotion in the city. Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl, knocks people down in the street, and sneaks into a taxi cab. Ben Grimm, the Thing, busts out of a building into the street, whereupon he is attacked by the police and rips through the asphalt to escape. Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, melts a car and takes to the sky, leading to the military scrambling jets to attack the Torch, who proceeds to melt the aircraft. And Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, rescues the Torch by extending his long arms to grab the atomic missile that the military has fired at the Torch, throwing the missile out to the sea.
The team travels to Monster Isle and confronts the ruler of this island, the Mole Man. He is a misfit who made his way underground for a better life and discovered that monsters exist and that he can become their master. The Mole Man’s plan was to cripple society by having his monsters destroy the world’s atomic plants. The Four defeat the Mole Man, with the Human Torch sealing them into the earth below. The Mole Man then blows up Monster Isle as the Fantastic Four make their escape from the island.
Assumed before the next episode:
We are still discussing the ramifications of Reed’s press conference, which includes the disclosure of super-powered individuals (the Fantastic Four), monsters (under the thrall of the Mole Man), and how the Fantastic Four has solved the mystery of the disappearing atomic plants.
Nothing else of note happens until Fantastic Four #2, which takes place in January 1962.
This episode takes place:
A few weeks after the press conference and before Fantastic Four #2. It is notable that the Cold War is heating up at this time, which appears to motivate and influence our heroes (and drive their antagonists).