Monday, February 10, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 41: Reed Richards' Stimulator

Man oh man, that title's gonna get me a lot of Google traffic.

Yesterday I asked you if we thought that Reed's Power Beamer, a device created to increase the superpowers of beings, would be something he ever returned to. Now I can answer this way: and how!

Splash page from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #37 (April 1965), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Chic Stone, letters by Artie Simek

Yes, Reed Richards has designed a device to undress Johnny Storm. And who of us couldn't use one of those now and again, huh?

The Power Beamer now has a slightly altered name, the "Power-Ray," and believe me, Reed should have stuck with that nomenclature. In the meantime, here it is, and it's powered, not unlike the Fantastic Four themselves, on cosmic energy. Which means that Reed doesn't have to plug it into the wall.

Later in the issue, we see just how important a deus ex KirbyTech the Power-ray is when the FF travel to Skrullos, the Homeworld of the Skrulls. (Which would be a little like us calling Earth "Humanos.") There's something in the Skrull atmosphere (and you'd think the Skrulls would learn to isolate and capitalize on whatever it is) that dampens the Fantastic Four's super-powers. So: would you call it "Fantasticnite?"

Why, on Skrullos, Ben Grimm can't even punch his way out of the panel.

Luckily, as we saw last night, Reed has a plan but no inclination to share it with his teammates.

Reed gives the Warlord Morrat, or, as I like to call him, Morrie Skrullsterdam, the Power-Beam! But, then, uh, takes it back in the next panel and shoots Ben, Johnny, and Sue with it. Because why? Because Reed Richards is a jerk.

Then Reed tricks the Warlord into shooting him with the Power-Beam. Obviously King Skrully has never read the stories of Joel Chandler Harris or seen the motion picture Song of the South. That's because on Skrullos, it's locked deep in the Skrull Disney vault, and they're not letting it out.

And our pal Ben Grimm is once more the super-strong Thing. Yay!

Now, it's lucky that A) Reed Richards has a good memory, and 2) Marvel has a continuity, because the Fantastic Four wind up needing the Power-Ray again in only three issues, when Doctor Doom attacks while (what, again?) their powers are kaput. Daredevil is there, too, and he's been out in the winter cold without any gloves on.

Panel from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #40 (July 1965), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Artie Simek

I'm not quite certain about that footnote, Stan, because Victor von Doom met Ben Grimm when he and Reed Richards were all attending State university (the finest science university in the western world) as members of the Class of 19coughcoughcough. Anyway, how did they lose their powers? It's a long story, so here's the short version: they were caught in a nuclear blast. Oh, so that's why you should duck and you don't lose your super-powers. Luckily, Reed has found the ol' Power Beamer-slash-Power-Ray, except what is he calling it now?


I'll forgive Reed re-naming it the...ahem...Stimulator...if only for this dandy and powerful Kirby page:

So, what I take away from that page, is that Human Ben Grimm wears the Thing's unstable molecule shorts.

The Stimulator is then not seen again for a quarter of a century (which is six weeks in Marvel time), until it pops up again in Power Pack, of all places! Where it's needed, is that bouffant Jean Grey?

Panels from Power Pack #57 (July 1990), script by Michael Higgins, pencils by Tom Morgan, inks by Tom Morgan and Andy Mushynsky, colors by Nel Yomtov, letters by Joe Rosen

Actually, no. it's Nova, Richard Ryder Sam Alexander Frankie Raye, half-sister of the Original Human Torch! (Geez, I know way too much about the Marvel Universe.) And she's lost her Galactus-given gowers...I mean she's going to have Power Pack shoot her with the Stimulator. Really, they let the Stimulator appear in the same comic book as pre-teens?

Alex Power shoots Frankie with the Stimulator and WHOA WAY TOO MUCH BOOTY FRANKIE

Hooray! It worked! It gave Frankie back her powers!

And it also made her evil!

Way to go with the Stimulator, Reed.

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