This issue featured a change to the cover adding a boast of “The Greatest Comic Magazine In The World”, and although it is reworded in subsequent issues, this statement stays on the cover for some time. Also in this issue we are given a nice cut-away side view of the Baxter Building, seeing some of its layout. This definitely appeals to my inner child as being kind of cool.
Also their costumes make an appearance in this issue, including a shirt and helmet for the Thing which is quickly disregarded.
The issue itself starts with the Fantastic Four out in civilian clothes (although they are still identified as the Fantastic Four) watching a magic show. The Thing once again looses his temper, still ridiculously so until the writing for the series changes years down the road, at being shown up by the performing magician. After the show the Miracle Man, who as the performer at the magic show, decides it is time to take over the world.
In the battles, where the Fantastic Four is defeated one by one, the Human Torch is also first extinguished by a liquid (in this case chemical foam). The only one not directly defeated is the Invisible Girl, who sneaks a ride with the Miracle Man. There is also another flashback to their origin story, which seems to keep happening issue after issue for longer then should be necessary for a serial comic. Sue is finally discovered and mesmerized, summoning the FF into a trap. A chase ensues that is nothing so absurd it borders on being funny.
After capturing him, Reed explains that he only a hypnotist. The ending has the makings of being a let down, but Reed’s explanation of it saves that. His monologue is actually not half bad.
Unfortunately that is ruined by Johnny quiting the team in a childish tantrum. The way he is continuing to be written, you would think the Human Torch was the most spoiled kid every to grow up this way. And the Thing rivals that with a far fetched level of jealousy. The forced and unbelievable drama written into the characters is the stuff of very bad daytime TV.
The issue ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, hinting that they might have to fight against Johnny. This is by far the weakest of the first three issues of the Fantastic Four, as the characters seem to get more one-dimensional and the dialogue is painfully bad.