The Mole Man
Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #6 - The Mole Man
Original Airdate - September 23, 1978
In Europe, a large power plant sinks into the ground, the latest such occurrence. The Fantastic Four are contacted for help, and Reed mentions that a mysterious individual known as the Mole Man is the one who is apparently responsible for the power plants' disappearances. After feeding him the necessary data, Herbie predicts the next plant to disappear will be Russia's largest power plant. The Four travel to Russia and witness the power plant sinking into the Earth's surface. After other plants are sunk into the ground, Herbie tracks the Mole Man's base to the legendary Monster Isle, and the team sets out to find him. Experiencing bad weather conditions, the Four are forced to land on the island, with Ben and Herbie ending up in the Mole Man's lair. He tells them of how he was once a respected scientist who was convinced of the existence of Monster Isle and was ridiculed because of it. He eventually found the island and discovered strange mindless creatures that regarded him as their god. Having dwelt in the darkness for so long also made him develop a radar sense which he demonstrates by avoiding one of Ben's attacks. With Ben and Herbie helpless, the Mole Man tells them that he intends to make the world defenseless while his subterranean armies take over the surface. Reed and Sue track Ben and Herbie down, and together they must stop the Mole Man's armies and return all of the captured power plants to the surface.
Story by: Stan Lee
Teleplay by: Stan Lee
Notes: Ben mentions that he doesn't want to miss Spider-Man on TV, which is presumably a reference to the short-lived live-action show of the late 70s, produced at the same time as this series.
Review: This episode starts of very well, with the large mystery of disappearing power plants compounded by the discovery that whoever is responsible is simply named the Mole Man. It makes a welcome change from the FF knowing everything (or at least a lot) about who they're about to face.
As befitting the Mole Man's base being on Monster Isle, there are a few appropriately outlandish Jack Kirby-designed creatures for the FF to overcome, along with some imaginative underground locations. The Mole Man himself isn't that special though, which is disappointing considering the build up his character had at the start of the story.
This is ultimately a very simplistic episode, with quite a nondescript interpretation of the Mole Man, who simply wants to take over the world to prove that his island exists.