Fantastic Four #19: Reed’s Stretchy Body 48

Fantastic Four #19, page 20, panel 1

Fantastic Four #19, page 20, panel 1

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Dick Ayers

Lettering: S. Rosen

Today’s panel throws up some interesting thoughts. Reed is threading himself through control circuits on Rama-Tut’s ship to locate the control, and Rama-Tut himself. Kirby, as usual, gives us a great visual, with the tilted camera angle adding to the energy and exuberant fun of the final third of this issue.

But the unintended consequence of this panel is that we have proof that Reed can change his size. We’ve seen him slip his body through a crack between a door and the floor before, but the implication is that he was just flattening his body, like rolling out ball of dough. Here, he’s working his way through what is presumably microcircuitry, with his body in proportion. Unless the rest of him is standing in a corridor with a minute tendril disappearing into the wall, he has clearly reduced the mass of his body to allow him to perform this feat.

I seem to recall that somewhere in the expanded universe of Star Trek, it was theorised that the Changelings, the shape-shifting of which Odo was a member, had the biological ability to shift a portion of their mass into another dimension, allowing them to alter their size without altering their density. I wonder if Reed’s doing the same thing here. It certainly sounds like the kind of explanation Warren Ellis would have used on Ultimate Fantastic Four, if that series hadn’t attempted to draw parallels between the Four’s powers and the elements.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #19 on our eighteenth episode: Pharoahs And Plants, Spiders And Soldiers

[audio FF_Episode_18.mp3]
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