Review: Fantastic Four #103

Fantastic Four #103 cover
Cover by John Romita and John Verpoorten

Fantastic Four #103
Published and © by Marvel, October 1970

Title: “At War With Atlantis!”
Synopsis: The Sub-Mariner and Magneto team to take on the Fantastic Four and the world – until one villain betrays the other!

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Romita
Inker: John Verpoorten

Review: To many, Fantastic Four #103 marks the beginning of the Bronze Age at Marvel (the other contender to that title, Conan the Barbarian #1, was published the same month). From a story standpoint, not much has changed: this is a thrilling, action-packed issue, typical of Stan Lee’s run on FF. (It also displays Lee’s dated treatment of women.) What’s different here is who’s missing: Jack Kirby, who’d moved on to DC. John Romita fills in admirably, providing a nice bridge to John Buscema, the artist whose work would come to typify the characters during the early Bronze era.

Grade: B+

Second opinion: “Without Kirby’s creative input after #102, Stan Lee’s scripts were never enough to carry the comic alone and #103-125 are best avoided.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: A new era dawns for the Fantastic Four.
Not-so-cool factor: Losing the King is never cool.

Notable: First post-Kirby issue helps usher in the Bronze Age. … Richard Nixon cameo.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 1/- British variant of this issue

Character quotable: “Our armed forces will be ready – in case you fail!” – President Richard Nixon (that should make everyone feel better!)

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on July 1, 2009.

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