Why the Eternals' Villain Secretly Caused the Fantastic Four's First Fight

Today, we see how one of the Eternals' greatest foes (and also someone who was really close to the Eternals, especially Thena) was secretly behind the Fantastic Fours' first mission as a team.

This is "Foundationed Deep," a feature where we look at particular odd/strange/interesting instances of retroactively connecting different comic book characters (for instance, Uncanny X-Men #268 retroactively established that Wolverine knew both Captain America and the Black Widow from World War II).

As a quick aside, I enjoy spotlighting these interesting retroactive connections between comic book characters, but do note what I pointed out just an hour or so ago, these retroactive connections are just fun story bits and interesting pieces of continuity, don't rely on them for, like, buying retroactive first appearances of characters. That's just silly.

As you may or may not know, before the introduction of the Fantastic Four, the company that would become known as Marvel (the funny thing about the company is that it sort of frequently vacillated between names and it was pretty much just "Martin Goodman's comic book company," so it had been referred to as Marvel Comics before what we call the "Marvel Age of Comics," but GENERALLY SPEAKING, during the 1940s it was known as Timely Comics, during the 1950s it was Atlas Comics and then from the 1960s to today it was Marvel Comics, outside of a brief period where it was Fancy Dan Comics...that might have been just a dream) was mostly known for reacting to trends and then sort of inundating the market with comic books tying into those trends, with its biggest success directly preceding the debut of the Fantastic Four being its monster comic books in comics like Tales to Astonish and Strange Tales.

Therefore, it was only natural that when the Fantastic Four debuted, the first two covers sort of "hid" that it was actually a superhero comic book....

including the fact that they didn't actually wear costumes...

They don't look all that dissimilar to the other monster comics released that same month...

I mean, there's definitely a difference, but it just isn't all that substantial...

In any event, it still made it fitting that the very first mission that the Fantastic Four went on as a team, in the comic book that would signify the company's transition from a monster comic book company to a superhero comic book company, would involve these superheroes fighting, well, you know...monsters!

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After an extensive introduction to the team as they respond to Mister Fantastic's signal that he finally needs their help as a team (and then a flashback to their origin), we see why Mister Fantastic needs help - monsters are attacking atomic power plants all throughout the globe!

Mr. Fantastic figures that the attacks are coming from Monster Isle, so the team heads to that mysterious island, even though the Thing thinks that it is all a myth. It is soon very apparent that it is not a myth...

The heroes are soon captured by the leader of the monsters of Monster Isle, a man known as the Mole Man...

He plans on using the subterranean tunnels connecting the island to the rest of the world to attack the world en masse once all of Earth's atomic weapons are gone...

The Fantastic Four defeat him and seal him and his monsters in an his response was to nuke his own island!!!

That is an oddly bleak ending for a first issue, but the origin stuff and the introductory stuff were SO good that I think people were willing to look a bit past the not-quite-as-good Mole Man story, since the opening parts of the comic were SHOCKING for the era in how good and character-driven it all was.

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Okay, years later, Marvel tried out a really cool series written by Roger Stern called simply Marvel Universe, where Stern would tell stories set in the past of the Marvel Universe. Sadly, it only lasted seven issues, but they were great seven issues. Few writers are able to weave in continuity and make the stories still be GOOD like Roger Stern can. And in the final four-issue arc of the series (working with artists Mike Manley, Jason Armstrong and Bret Blevins), Stern told a new adventure set in the days leading up to the birt of the "Marvel Age" of comics. In Marvel Universe #4, monsters are attacking all over the globe...

We briefly meet a pre-Mole Man Mole Man...

and then we see a collection of 1950s era Marvel characters, led by Doctor Druid, who plan to tackle this huge monster threat. They have a mysterious man with them that is some sort of agent, but no one is sure exactly what his deal is...

By the sixth issue, the heroes have begun to clearly track down the monsters and they can tell that they are using subterranean tunnels to travel around the globe...

And this ultimately leads Doctor Druid to realize that the monsters are all coming from one specific island. A....monster island, if you will.

Meanwhile, as I detailed in an old Foundationed Deep, the mysterious agent was actually the Eternal known as Makkari and in #7, he is captured on Monster Island by his old enemy, who is revealed to be Kro from the Deviants (Kro is a stand-in for the villains that Makkari fought as a superhero during the Golden Age. It's all in that previous Foundationed Deep)....

Kro (who, at least nominally, was the main Deviant villain in the Eternals movie, even if the character only shared his name) reveals that he created the monsters on the island as part of a plot to rule the world...

The heroes defeat Kro and they all leave the island, and then the pre-Mole Man shows up at the end, only now he is basically Mole Man and thus the clock starts ticking for the start of the Marvel Age of Comics...

Thanks to my pal, Tom A. for suggesting this one! If anyone else has a suggestion for a Foundationed Deep (retroactive connections between characters), feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]

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About The Author
Brian Cronin (15301 Articles Published)

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over fifteen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you'd like to see featured at [email protected]!

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