Episode 87: The Constitutional Rights of Molecule Man (Fantastic Four #20) -- November 1963

  
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In this episode:

Mike and Ed discuss the most powerful super-powered villain encountered so far, the Molecule Man, can rearrange molecules and everything is made of molecules. After defeating the Fantastic Four in public, Reed Richards claims that his team defeated the villain in secret. How was a man so powerful defeated? Was he killed? If not, how can a man who can turn a jail cell into a rose garden being held against his will? Does the Molecule Man have any constitutional rights? And if not, where do we draw the line on who the Fantastic Four or the government are allowed to “deal with” extra-legally?

In this issue:

The Fantastic Four respond to a threat in the middle of New York City, which turns out to be a gateway to the dimension occupied by the Watcher, a mysterious alien whom we will learn more about as this series continues, but who for the purposes of this issue you should know simply observes but does not interfere. The Watcher explains that an Earthling known as the Molecule Man, who was accidentally created due to a mistake with atomic devices, poses an existential threat to the multiverse. Imbued with his powers to change molecules at his whim, the Molecule Man has been settling petty scores, and the Watcher is concerned that he will not stop until he destroys the solar system and beyond. The Fantastic Four return to Earth and take on the Molecule Man, who has already tried to take over the Earth. They do battle, but the Molecule Man comes out on top. He is nigh omnipotent, and has no problem demonstrating his amazing powers. All seems lost until the Thing’s girlfriend, the blind sculptor Alicia Masters, tricks the Molecule Man into believing that he cannot control the molecules in clay statues that Alicia has created of the Fantastic Four. It turns out that they are not statutes but in fact the Fantastic Four, covered in clay. The Watcher then re-enters the picture and spirits the Molecule Man away, rationalizing that because the Fantastic Four, at that very moment, technically defeated the Molecule Man, he can intercede and remove the Molecule Man from the equation.

Assumed before the next episode:

People wonder what happened to the supremely powerful Molecule Man.

This episode takes place:

After the Molecule Man disappears.