The Fantastic Four Meet Doctor Doom
Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #8 - The Fantastic Four Meet Doctor Doom
Original Airdate - October 21, 1978
In Latveria, Doctor Doom plans to defeat the Fantastic Four before ruling the world himself. Doom travels to New York and ensnares the Baxter Building with a giant electrical wire. He reveals himself to the Fantastic Four, and Reed recognizes Doom. Reed tells the others of how he and Victor Von Doom were once classmates at college years ago and that Doom's forbidden experiments resulted in an explosion which scarred his face and resulted in his expulsion. Doom travelled the world in search of specialists to restore his face, but to no avail. He eventually ended up in Tibet and obtained many secrets of science and sorcery from a remote monastery, along with a suit of armor. Reed agrees to go to Latveria in order to face up to Doom's challenge, and the rest of the team go with him. In Doom's homeland, he tells the Four of how he needs more wealth in order to rule the world and gets Reed, Ben and Herbie to travel back in time to take the treasure of Blackbeard the pirate, while holding Sue hostage. Back in the past, the rest of the team dress up as pirates in order to be less conspicuous, and end up joining a pirate ship's crew. They search the ship and find the treasure in the captain's quarters. After defeating the crew, Ben is hailed as being the greatest of all pirates by the crew, who dub him Blackbeard. With the real identity of Blackbeard discovered, Reed has to figure out a way of keeping the treasure safe from Doom before they return to the future and to then rescue Sue.
Story by: Stan Lee
Teleplay by: Stan Lee
Notes: Based on "Prisoners of Doctor Doom!" from Fantastic Four #5 (July 1962), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
· This episode was later adapted into comic form, and known as "The Challenge of Dr. Doom!" from Fantastic Four #236 (November 1981), written by Stan Lee, with Jack Kirby's storyboards for this episode used as the artwork.
Review: This is the first episode that can truly be said to be based on a specific Fantastic Four comic, and since both the comic and episode had the talents of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby behind them, this episode is a fairly good adaptation of the original story into the television medium.
Doom's origin, as with the earlier 1967 show, is virtually identical to the original comics, even if it is a bit brief. Any faults with the story actually lie with the original comic that it was based on, with the central plot of going back in time to retrieve Blackbeard's treasure a pretty strange one for the mighty Dr. Doom.
The scenes set in the past do stretch credibility in having Herbie simply dress up in period clothing along with Reed and Ben, but this is a forgivable shortcut for the episode, considering the original story had Johnny in it instead. The twist that Ben himself is actually Blackbeard the pirate is a clever one, even if this again stretches the story's credibility!
A smart (and amusing at times) episode that serves as a fair introduction of the FF's greatest adversary, even if he's absent from a lot of the episode by necessity (something that was repeated with the Marvel Action Hour version of the story, even though they used three episodes to tell it!).