The Frightful Four
Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #9 - The Frightful Four
Original Airdate - November 11, 1978
In an isolated mansion deep in a far away forest, the super-villain known as the Wizard has invited Medusa, the Sandman and the Trapster. He tells them that they must work together as a team in order to defeat the Fantastic Four, and that they will be called the Frightful Four. Back at the Baxter Building, the Fantastic Four are alerted to a jewellery store robbery and leave to deal with it. Herbie detects the presence of the Wizard and his new team, and they carefully prepare to deal with this new menace. Reed and Sue deal with the Wizard and Medusa while Ben and Herbie are left to stop the Trapster and the Sandman. Not properly prepared to deal with the Frightful Four, the Fantastic Four are out of their depth and the Wizard's new team manages to escape from them. As the Fantastic Four have to deal with their very public defeat, the Frightful Four begin to argue among themselves before the Wizard tells them to follow his new plan. They lure the Fantastic Four to a bank, where they begin to fight among themselves as a result of one of the Wizard's spells. During the fracas, Medusa kidnaps Herbie. After the spell has worn off, the Wizard challenges the Fantastic Four to rescue their comrade from his mansion. At the Wizard's mansion, they have to survive the many traps and liberate their friend as well as ensuring that the Frightful Four are defeated for good.
Story by: Stan Lee
Teleplay by: Bob Stitzel & Bob Johnson
Notes: Based on "The Frightful Four!" from Fantastic Four #36 (March 1965), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
Review: This is certainly one of the series' highlights as aside from Dr. Doom, the Frightful Four represent one of the few really credible threats to the FF throughout the series.
It's also good to see a few more Marvel characters than usual, complete with their unique powers and abilities such as the Wizard and Sandman. Thanks to a strong collection of villains, the Frightful Four actually manage to have the FF shown as genuinely being on the defensive. Indeed, the sinister depiction of the Frightful Four even extends to their forest mansion, which is shown to be a genuinely unsettling place to an extent.
The dénouement of the Frightful Four effectively imploding upon themselves is actually quite simple, but in the context of the story, works well.