Fantastic Four (1st series) #104

Issue Date: 
November 1970
Story Title: 
Our World… Enslaved!

Stan Lee (writer), John Romita, Sr (pencils), John Verpoorten (inks), Artie Simek (letters)

Brief Description: 

The Fantastic Four and Namor are both helpless to do anything about the invasion of New York harbor by Magneto and the Atlantean troops. However, Reed convinces Namor to pretend he has become Magneto’s ally, so it can buy them a little time to come up with a battle strategy. Namor agrees and heads toward Magneto’s flaghship. There, he and Magneto agree that Namor leads the attack on the city, so they can successfully invade it. Magneto heads back into the ship, and discusses the events with his prisoners Sue and Lady Dorma. Sue goads Magneto so that he accidentally releases her. Sue tries to escape but, when Magneto threatens to kill Dorma, she has no choice but to surrender again. The three of them head topside, where Magneto goes to sit in a throne, imprisons Sue and Dorma in life-size cylinders and awaits the arrival of the Fantastic Four. At the Baxter Building, the FF share a discussion with the president, who has lost faith in the team because the country’s largest city has been invaded. Reed promises he’ll come up with a plan, and the president agrees to give him a little more time. While the other members of the FF defend the building against Atlantean troops, Reed manages to build a weapon, a gun, which is actually an electronic converter. Once all the soldiers are defeated, the Fantastic Four fly to Magneto and attack him with the weapon. When Magneto fires his powers at the weapon, the device turns Magneto’s power against him and creates a giant cone in which the villain is trapped! With the disaster diverted, Sue and Dorma are rescued. Afterward, Namor and the other Atlanteans head back home, but Namor declares that this victory still doesn’t make them friends. The crisis passed and with the cone around Magneto last until the Army can arrive to arrest him, the Fantastic Four head home.

Full Summary: 

The Fantastic Four and Namor fly back towards the New York harbor, only to find it fully under siege by Magneto and the Atlantean troops. Observing the damage from their Fantasti-Car, Reed feels helpless because they can’t do anything to stop the villain, at least not if they want to ensure the lives of their captured loved ones.

Ben wonders why the Army can’t do anything to stop the madman, but Johnny realizes that Magneto keeps stopping their weapons using his magnetic powers. Namor points out to the Reed and how Magneto amplifies his own magnetic energy by extending his range through his former fleet’s dynamos. Ben understands that’s why their hardware isn’t functioning well.

Namor points out that, on the ground below, Magneto’s magnetic impulses have neutralized the engines of several jets, grounding them – just as he makes their warships float aimlessly, out control. He also magnetized their rockets’ warheads, causing them to detonate too soon, and diverts their mightiest missiles to the upper atmosphere.

Namor angrily declares that he isn’t either weak or helpless and wants to rush into action. Reed quickly stretches his body and grabs Namor tight, reminding him that even Lady Dorma is a prisoner now. Brought back to his senses, Namor remembers and calms down. Reed releases Namor, with him admitting that in his blind fury he had almost forgotten about that fact.

Ben doesn’t think Namor can be trusted and wants to fight him, but Reed holds Ben back, realizing there is no time to fight among themselves. Johnny reminds them that their common enemy is Magneto, and he has to be beaten. Reed agrees, saying that it was Magneto who started this war, and who managed to set everyone up against each other. He believes that there is only one way to defeat the evil mutant… Namor has to fake that he has become his ally! Namor refuses to do that, because he is the Lord of Atlantis and doesn’t serve anyone. Reed tells Namor that he has no choice, because when he’s got the chance he can destroy Magneto from the inside.

Namor understands, but only because he thirsts of action and wants to do something. He flies towards Magneto, but not without warning Reed that he won’t wait too long.

Meanwhile, in the main deck of Magneto’s flagship…

The sailors inside the ship warn Magneto of the Sub-Mariner’s arrival, as they can see him on their viewing screens. Magneto is glad Namor chose to serve him, confident that the other humans will follow into serving the monarch of mutants! Magneto opens the door of his ship, and greets Namor on the deck.

Namor explains that the humans hate him as much as they hate Magneto. Magneto already thought so, and tells Namor that his place is alongside him – fighting. Magneto orders Namor to head to the battle cruisers and lead the command, but in his name. Namor agrees to do that, but he has only one order for Magneto: he has to make certain that his female prisoners don’t come any harm, or else no place on Earth will keep Magneto safe from his fury.

As Namor flies away again, Magneto heads back into the ship, triumphing that Namor had no clue how close he was to his prisoners. The mutant walks towards his bound and gagged prisoners, admitting that he also doesn’t care much about Namor’s threat. He notices that Lady Dorma has already woken up, while Sue is still unconscious. But, he tells them both that it will make no difference, because neither of them will ever know freedom again!

The Baxter Building…

The Fantastic Four arrive home and park their Fantasti-Car on the roof. The team heads back inside, with Reed commanding that they’ve strategy to plan, and don’t have any second to waste. Crystal meets up with her teammates, and Johnny wants to tell her what happened, but she is already aware, as she witnessed everything on the scanner. Johnny calms Crys down, promising that even though things look grim, Reed still has a plan. Crystal can only hope it isn’t too late yet for making plans.

Ben believes that all this is Reed’s fault, because he didn’t let him flatten Magneto when they had the chance. Reed tries to make Ben understand that he never had a chance, but promises the time will come. Ben doesn’t think he has much choice but to trust Reed on this. Reed orders Johnny to get to the view-screens and contact the president at the White House again, because he wants to talk to him. Ben has to check all of the security systems and he wants Crystal to call Agatha Harkness, to make sure that his son is safe.

Johnny succeeds in reaching the president at the capitol. However, the president can’t help but feel disappointed in Reed, because he promised he could stop Namor. Reed explains that Namor isn’t the enemy, but someone else more dangerous: Magneto. The president is no longer impressed by Reed’s rhetoric, declaring that this is a sad day for America because their largest city has been invaded by legions of Atlantean troops, who are being led by Namor! The president finds it thus hard to believe that the Sub-Mariner isn’t their enemy. Their citizens are being herded by a brutal, alien force, and the country can’t do anything to help them, at least not without killing everyone. He believes that he never should have listened to Richards, despite what Tricia told him.

Reed tells the president that he understands his disappointment, but promises there is still hope since he and his partners have a plan. All he asks is that the president is not judge the Sub-Mariner too soon. The president thinks that the time has come for them “to lower their voices.” However, he asks Richards to remember one thing: America has never lost a war before and they don’t intend to loose one now. Ben doesn’t think that’s such a big deal: there are lots of wars going on right now and, if they lose this one, the country can just points it attention to another. Reed tells Ben to stop clowning and orders Johnny to head into the air, and go try and find Namor.

Johnny flames on, and flies outside. Soon afterward, he finds Namor and his troops in the city. The soldiers believe that the Torch is their enemy and fire their cannon at him! Namor pulls the soldier away from the cannon, causing the blast to misfire and luckily doesn’t hit Johnny. Namor flies up into the air and heads toward Johnny, wanting to talk to him. He explains that he has news for Richards: Magneto intends to turn New York into his base of operations. He is landing there right now, to proclaim himself overlord of Earth!

The Torch realizes that means they’re almost running out of time, and have to stop Magneto now or they might never again get a chance. When Namor wants to know why Earth’s mightiest weapons haven’t been thrown at Magneto yet, Johnny explains that’s impossible. Magneto’s forces are in the heart of the city, thus the country can’t risk killing their own people. However, he’s confident that Reed will think of something.

Namor believes that may already be too late, as he notices something happening in the city. Johnny sees Magneto arriving in his ship, planning on taking over the city. Namor tells Johnny to tell Reed that, if he doesn’t act soon, he’ll act all by himself. Johnny decides to quickly head back to the FF’s headquarters to inform Reed about these new events.

Inside his ship, Magneto points his attention toward Sue and Dorma. He is glad to hear his troops cheer for him outside, thinking he’ll soon be the master of mankind. Dorma defends that Magneto will never be her master, and Sue agrees, because Magneto is a coward for tying them up like this. Magneto doesn’t like to be called a coward, and prove his power by releasing her with a simple gesture. Now free, Sue quickly turns invisible and tries to escape. Magneto realizes that Sue goaded him intentionally.

Dorma shouts at Sue to run into safety, but Magneto declares that there isn’t a safe place, at least not as long as he wields his magnetic powers. He quickly uses his powers cause ever loose bit of metal to metal to fly through the cabin, floating hither and yon until they eventually come in contact with her body – serving to expose her as clearly as she were visible.

Her location revelead, Sue turns visible again, but now protects herself by creating a forcefield around her body. Magneto doesn’t think that makes much difference, as he now threatens to kill Dorma if Sue doesn’t reveal herself again. Sue obeys because she can’t let Magneto kill her.

Dorma fears that they are both doomed now, but Sue disagrees, realizing that Magneto won’t dare to harm them for, as long as the Fantastic Four and Namor are out there and able to strike back at him. Magneto laughs at that statement, wanting to show the two women how wrong they are. He releases Dorma from her chains and leads them outside. He shows them how the city in front of them has fallen for his might and how his troops are everywhere. He declares that the others cities will soon follow, and on that moment, the world shall belong to him!

Seconds later…

Magneto sits in his throne, and has both Sue and Dorma next to him, trapped in giant, life-sized cylinders. Magneto shouts that everything is ready now, and both the Fantastic Four and Namor can come pledge their allegiance to him. Dorma can already see her beloved approaching in the sky, but doesn’t think there’s anything he can do.

However, Namor comes alone. When Magneto asks where the rest of the Fantastic Four are, Namor replies that he doesn’t care about the FF. He explains that he promised not to do anything until they were ready, but now that time runs short and Magneto holds his Lady imprisoned like a pet. His patience is running shorter. Namor orders Magneto to release his prisoners, but Magneto refuses to do that until Richards and his team are there. Magneto orders his troops to capture Namor and to head to the Baxter Building. They can even destroy the Fantastic Four if they resist.

The Baxter Building, soon afterward…

Crystal observes on her monitors that Atlantean troops have already breached into the building. Reed declares that he needs more time to finish his plan, and orders Johnny to take the battle to the roof. Crystal has to stay at the monitors and coordinate all the movements. The two do as told, and Ben heads to the elevators to stop the attacking troops.

Ben believes that the entire world has gone bananas, since the attacking army is coming up by elevator. Ben quips that, if the elevator was out of order, they’d probably have to call off the war. He uses his massive strength to burst open the elevator door, and ties the elevator coils together so the elevator itself can’t move up anymore. However, the elevator was just one floor below, and Atlantean soldiers fire their stun guns at Ben, which knocks him out! The soldiers then quickly climb the one level and head toward the other members of the FF.

Crystal warns Reed about this, and that the soldiers are now in the corridor. Reed quickly stretches his arms to the corridor and uses his fist to knock down the soldiers. He wants to head back to his lab now because his plan is almost complete. Crystal fires her elemental powers and creates a storm in the building to hold the other soldiers back, but she warns that the storm won’t last for long.

Meanwhile on the roof, Johnny creates a tunnel of heat with his flame powers, causing the Atlantean ships’ equipment to go haywire and forcing them to land on the other side of town. He then heads back into the building with Crystal, and finds that Ben has already woken up and rejoined them as well. Crystal explains that Reed is in his lab, but she doesn’t know why.

At his lab, Reed has finished building a weapon, which looks like a giant blaster. But since there’s no time to test it out, they’ll just have to see if it works when they use it. He goes back to his teammates and orders everyone to head to the roof, because they need to get back into the Fantasti-Car and fly toward Magneto.

A short while later…

Magneto has gained word from his soldiers that the Fantastic Four dared to resist him and isn’t pleased. When Namor warns Magneto that the Fantastic Four are arriving, Magneto warns the team not to fire their weapons. His magnetic powers will stop them from crashing into them. One of the Atlantean soldiers notice the weapon Reed is holding and warns Magneto. However, Magneto fails to be impressed by it.

Suddenly, Namor calls out to the troops and takes the command again. He orders them to stand back until he tells them otherwise. Hearing this, Johnny tells Crystal that that’s her cue. Crystal uses her elemental powers to turn the skies dark and lets lightning flash. Reed mentions that’s perfect, as that’s the split-second he needed. He stretches his body toward Magneto, while Ben holds him tightly, so Reed won’t move away. Reed fires his gun at Magneto, but the villain still is unimpressed.

Reed explains that he just fired an electronic converter and that, the more energy he emits, the more it converts against him! The weapon acts like a living mirror: it reflects Magneto’s power back at him, imprisoning him within a cone of his own making! As Johnny and Namor free Sue and Dorma, Magneto realizes that, the more magnetic force he hurls, the more he traps himself within a cone! And yet, he cannot stop because it is his only power… and strength!

Reed tells Ben he can release him now, because they have won the battle. While Sue and Reed happily hug each other, Namor, with Dorma at his side, speeches to the warriors that they have conducted themselves with honor, but that the invasion has now been ended. They have to gather the arms and ships, as they will be heading back toward Atlantis. Reed hopes that this victory closed the credibility gap between the White House and the Fantastic Four. Sue is just glad that Reed succeeded in defeating Magneto without a single casualty.

Before he leaves, Reed thanks Namor for trusting them and giving them the time they needed to win the battle. Namor declares that he doesn’t need Richards’ thanks. When Reed asks if they can ever be friends, Namor declares that can never be, so long as the air-breathers hate and distrust all who are different. He wants to leave this world, which keeps having its never-ending wars. Namor and Dorma step back into their flagship and all head back to Atlantis.

Ben can’t believe Namor criticized them for always having wars, but Sue admits there was some truth in Namor’s words. The world is hostile to those who are different. Reed agrees. The world has traveled to the moon, and yet have to find brotherhood here on Earth.

Ben wants to know what they are going to do about Magneto, asking if he can clobber him just a little. Reed explains that the cone will remain until the militia has arrived. So informed, Ben remarks that then that wraps it up – the job’s finished. As the team heads back into the Fantasti-Car, Sue corrects Ben that their job will never be finished, not until the battle-ground Earth finally knows peace, and not until man calls his fellow man… brother!

Characters Involved: 

Crystal, Human Torch II, Invisible Girl, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Namor, the Sub-Mariner

Lady Dorma

Atlantean troops


American citizens (all unnamed)

(on screen)

President Richard Nixon

Atlantean troops

Story Notes: 

Years later, due to the release of X-Men: The Hidden Years #20-22, this story gets retold in those issue from the X-Men’s point of view.

“Tricia” refers to one of President Nixon’s two daughters, Tricia.

It is curious that Johnny reaches the president at the Capitol, as that is the home to the Legislative branch of government, rather than the executive.

The phrase “credibility gap” was originally a 1960s political phrase, describing President Lyndon Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War. Ironically, years after the publication of this issue, it would be applied to Nixon himself, during the Watergate scandal.

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