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Return of the Moleman
Review and Media by Jon T

Episode #13 - Return of the Moleman
Original Airdate - November 25, 1967

An earthquake rocks New York, and Johnny spots that the whole city block has disappeared into the Earth's surface. Reed quickly deduces that this was the work of the Mole Man. The villain himself sinks Science Hall where Sue was giving a speech to a group of leading scientists, and tells the rest of the team not to interfere with his plans. Reed, Ben and Johnny descend into the Earth's surface to the Mole Man's subterranean hideout, but after he threatens Sue, the team are returned to the surface to warn off the national guard from attacking his base. Back at the Baxter Building, Reed develops a tracker to find Sue, and Johnny digs a tunnel for Ben and Reed's hover-cycle to travel down. After freeing Sue, the now-reunited Four have to fight the Mole Man and his forces in order to free all of his hostages and raise the missing buildings.

Notes: Based on "The Mad Menace Of Macabre The Mole Man!" from Fantastic Four #31 (October 1964), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.

Review: An amusing start to this episode is seen with Ben volunteering to cook dinner since the Invisible Girl is out! Retroactive observations aside, here we have a Mole Man story that has him up to oldest tricks of lowering buildings into his subterranean world, thankfully without the convoluted coincidences of the first Mole Man episode.

Faced with the disappearance of a building full of scientists, it's good to see that the national guard is mobilized, as far too often it seems as if only the FF themselves are ready to handle world-shattering disasters with no help. It's very interesting to see that the army is partially portrayed with a 'shoot first, ask questions later attitude', with Reed, Johnny and Ben all forced to act against them in order to save all the hostages. In the hierarchy of knowledge, it's reassuring to see that it is the very experienced Fantastic Four that certainly know best!

Showing the Mole Man's underground world is much more effective in this episode, since we get to see some more imaginative locations than in the first Mole Man story, which was largely set in a (mole)man-made base.