The Mysterious Molecule Man
Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #10 - The Mysterious Molecule Man
Notes: Based on "The Mysterious Molecule Man!" from Fantastic Four #20 (November 1963), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
Original Airdate - January 13, 1968
A meteor from deep space lands on a remote farm, and after Reed studies it back at the Baxter Building, he discovers that it has energy-absorbing properties. As the meteor is sealed in the lab's vault, the team notice a strange green glow outside, and an individual calling himself the Molecule Man performing seemingly impossible feats. He proclaims himself leader of the city, but the Four quickly appear to challenge him. He tells the team that he was once a lab technician who was transformed in an atomic accident, and now has the power to rearrange all molecules. The Molecule Man then meets with the Pentagon and forces them to accept his rule. Reed develops an electrode gun to prevent Molecule Man's powers from working on specific objects, while the villain himself takes over the city. Reed manages to drive the Molecule Man off with the use of the electrode gun, and then use it to coat one of the last tanks unaltered by him. The team then use the tank to confront the Molecule Man for the final battle.
Review: This is the first episode with traditional background paintings like most animated shows, but unlike the previous episodes of this Fantastic Four series so far, where the background were rendered in a 'cel-like' fashion. It makes for an interesting contrast to the rest of the episodes, and indeed the general quality of the animation seems to have been stepped up slightly.
Faced with someone who can literally do anything, Molecule Man's responses to the Fantastic Four's attacks were quite effective and original. This episode shows Reed's analytical nature better than every other one so far, with only his wits to help him since the FF's powers are useless against the ultimate power of the Molecule Man.
The best thing about the Molecule Man, is just how serious a threat he was portrayed as; no bad jokes or standard super-villain humor from him, just a very credible threat!