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Demon of the Deep
Review and Media by Jon T

Episode #12 - Demon of the Deep
Original Airdate - November 11, 1967

Reed has been elected to ask the villainous Professor Gamma to surrender himself and to destroy his Island X base in order to answer for his crimes against the world. Reed and the rest of the Four then attack the island and defeat the Professor's henchmen, destroying the Professor's nuclear missiles. Gamma himself was not on the island and due to the radiation released from his nuclear warhead, is mutated into an amphibious form and now calls himself the Gamma Ray. Johnny, having been told to rest after the last mission, gets angry and leaves the team, staying in a slum hotel. There, he is told a tall tale by one of the residents who says that he saw a strange creature at sea calling himself the Gamma Ray the other day. Suspecting a link to Professor Gamma, Johnny decides to investigate for himself and quickly finds Gamma Ray. They fight, and Gamma Ray then mutates a giant whale into a creature named Giganto, who then begins to walk towards New York. As the creature gets to New York, the Four then have to devise a plan to stop it, and its master, Gamma Ray.

Notes: Based on "The Coming Of The Sub-Mariner!" from Fantastic Four #4 (May 1962), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.

Review: A nice change is this episode starting in situ, with the Fantastic Four already having cornered Professor Gamma, thus ridding the episode of any needless exposition. Gamma-Ray himself of the series' first totally original super-villain, but unfortunately he's not very original (especially compared to actual Lee-Kirby creations), and is actually quite comical-looking. He's basically a plot device with simplistic characterization who's there in order to drive the story in similar fashion to the original comic (which featured Dr. Doom and Sub-Mariner).

Johnny's tensions with the rest of the team aren't hinted at before he finally leaves, making his decision seem very sudden. Nevertheless, it's nice to finally see that Johnny's being written as the hot-tempered guy he can be at times, and that all is not always perfect on the team, unlike Hanna-Barbera's many later Super Friends shows were everyone always go along in almost all the episodes.

As I said in the notes, Giganto's killing (by a giant bomb in his stomach - we even see his still-smoking remains!) is something that wouldn't have been seen in many similar shows subjected to harsh censorship, so it's a surprise to see that they actually kept this part in the story as it was in the original comic. From a story point of view, it does make sense, since I doubt the FF would willingly leave such a dangerous monster to roam the seven seas again!