Fantastic Four #24: Flame On 59

Fantastic Four, Flame On, Human Torch, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, George Roussos

Fantastic Four #24, page 14, panel 5

Lovingly written by Stan Lee

Tenderly drawn by Jack Kirby

Heroically inked by George Roussos

Neatly lettered by Sam Rosen

I’m rather glad that we’ve gone from page 1 to page 14 without hitting any tropes of the title, and that this panel is so generic that I don’t have to write anything about the plot. This issue is the ‘Enfant Terrible’ issue, a story that is right up there with the first appearance of the Molecule Man for uninspired plotting and generic running around until the page count has been completed. Both Fantastic Four #20 and, especially, this issue are effectively retreads of the Impossible Man story from Fantastic Four #11, with the team going up against an adversary who can do absolutely anything. In theory, this should allow Jack Kirby to go wild with his artwork but, as the late 1960s and early 1970s would show, the best results from Kirby come when there’s a strong narrative to complement his visuals. When working with the weak story presented in this book, Kirby’s art seems rushed and uninspired.

I strongly suspect that the ‘Flame On’ in this panel was an afterthought, put in at the request of Stan once the rest of the dialogue had been put in. ‘Flame On’ as a sound effect (that is, not contained in some form of speech bubble, and not appearing to come directly from Johnny) is a fairly rare occurrence, and this one feels like it was put in to make the unusual story feel a bit more like a Fantastic Four plot.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #24 on our twenty-fourth episode: An Enfant Terrible Is Not Literally A Terrible Infant

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