The Micro World of Dr. Doom
Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #16 - The Micro World of Dr. Doom
Notes: Based on "The Micro-World of Doctor Doom!" from Fantastic Four #16 (July 1963), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
Original Airdate - December 30, 1967
Whilst Ben is delivering a piano across town, he starts shrinking until only a couple of inches tall. The same thing happens to Sue while out shopping, Reed while testing a new aircraft and Johnny while fixing his car. They all eventually make it back to the Baxter Building where they hear a voice warning them to beware Dr. Doom. The Four are nearly sucked into an air vent, while Doom and his captive, Princess Pearla watch. The team escape thanks to Johnny's help, and are then shrunk further until they end up on a micro world controlled by Doom. The fight Doom's new army, but he shrinks them even further and tells the team how he accidentally discovered and subsequently conquered the micro world. Now captured by Doom, the miniature team meet up with the King and his daughter. In their prison, Doom tells the team of how he will use lizard-men from a nearby micro world to help him in his conquest of the micro-universe. The Four must escape their confinement and stop Doom's plans.
Review: Having characters shrunk down in size is a common plot device, but at least here there's a reason for it rather than an accident being involved (for the FF, at least). The idea of entire worlds inside atoms is very imaginative, and places the shrinking aspect of this story onto a whole new level.
It's a pity that the rest of the story is so pedestrian, with Doom in charge of this micro-world simply by deposing the rightful ruler. Naturally the FF are locked up with the King and together they escape. There isn't really an original or distinctive spin on how the rest of the story plays out.
One point worthy of noting is that this episode also contains the single most dated sexist situation in the series regarding the Invisible Girl; while the other three members of the FF are fated to be given appropriate tasks by Doom (Reed forced to use his knowledge, Ben forced to mine with his strength...), Sue is to be relegated to a 'kitchen drudge'!