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The Origin of the Fantastic Four, Part 1
Review and Media by Stu

Episode 01 - The Origin Of The Fantastic Four, Part 1
Original Airdate 24th September 1994

In an effort to raise money for education, The Fantastic Four tell Dick Clark the origin of their amazing powers, and their first confrontation with The Puppet Master, a villain who uses small clay replicas of people to take over their minds.

Written By: Ron Friedman
Music By: Giorgio Moroder
Guest Starring: Lori Alan as Sue Richards/Invisible Woman, Chuck McCann as Ben Grimm/The Thing, Beau Weaver as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Brian Austin Green as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, Neil Ross as The Puppet Master, Pauline Lomas as Alicia Masters
Based on Fantastic Four # 1 and #8

Review: Having had great success with both their Spider-Man and X-Men properties on FOX KIDS both in regards to ratings and the money they made from the merchandising, Marvel decided to get more of their characters on the small screen in their own cartoons. According to Stan Lee, who has served as Executive Producer on all of Marvelís animated seriesí, there was no discussion as whom they would be bringing to the small screen next, after they had already used their heavy hitters in Spidey and the mutants. The Fantastic Four, in ĎThe Manísí opinion, was that obvious a choice for their next show. This makes you wonder how the hell it was done so poorly. Nearly everything about this first season absolutely stinks. The designs are terrible. Using what looks to be some of the most dated colouring palettes in the history of animation, the show is an eyesore, which isnít helped by the lacklustre animation that plagued the show.

Due to the poor shading, the characters often looked two-dimensional and more often than not, rubbery. The Thing is the worst of the bunch. The Idol of Millions is absolutely butchered here, showing none of the charm that has made the comic version so popular. Credit to the creative team however Ė they cast him perfectly. Chuck McCann does great with what very little he had in this season and is pitch perfect when he had decent lines to deliver in season two.

The stories, mostly adapted from the Lee/Kirby run, completely suck. Since completing this site, Iíve managed to read some of their run in the various Essential Fantastic Four books that Marvel has published, and the comics are great fun which manage to tell wonderful stories featuring interesting characters, none of which are found in the cartoon version. The cartoon version really is the comic without the heart. Considering just how good Spider-Man and X-Men were at the time, one canít help but feel insulted with the quality of both this and Iron Man.

This episode highlights just how much the crew simply donít get The Fantastic Four. It tells the story of how they became The Fantastic Four, and credit it to them, they updated the ďWe have to be the commies into space!Ē plot from the 60ís and even added an interesting twist to the cosmic rays. It turns out the normally harmless cosmic rays where actually effected by the presence of The Silver Surfer who was roaming space, presumably looking for a planet that Galactus could devour. As far as intelligence goes however, this is as far as the episode goes. The episode is horribly rushed, resulting in a lot of silly errors and overlooking of valid plot points. Why did Johnny go into space with them? Why did they decide to become superheroes to being with? Thereís no real explanation Ė they simply move into a new tower when they arrive back at home and decide to fight crime and explore strange new worlds or whatever. Itís a very jarring experience and simply becomes laughable after a few minutes.

Sadly, the series only got worse. Whilst this truly is one of the worst pilots Iíve ever, ever seen, even this could not prepare me for the horrors of some of the upcoming episodes.

The Origin Of The Fantastic Four is a terrible, terrible start to a horrifically bad season.