Fortunately there're people in this world you can turn to, to look after your children while you're busy with such matters. And so it is that Marvel's answer to Mary Poppins - Agatha Harkness - makes her debut.
I've complained in the past that the last two years of Jack Kirby's tenure on the strip saw what for me was a marked decline in quality. But, in the interest of fairness, I should say that a quick glance at my battered old copy of Essential Fantastic Four Vol 5, suggests that, even during this period, there was a short-lived upturn, as that volume kicks off with The Prisoner-inspired Dr Doom tale before giving us the Thing's first encounter with Torgo and then this outing.
Admittedly, in between the Doc Doom and Torgo tales, there's a truly woeful Mole Man two-parter that makes no sense whatsoever but it's probably best we draw a veil over that one.
In Fantastic Four #94, Reed and Sue Richards decide that, as their lives are in constant danger, they should temporarily leave their baby Franklin with someone who can look after him.
To make matters worse, after God knows how many years' absence from the strip, the Frightful Four decide to make a comeback and attack the FF as they stay at Harkness's house.
The Thing, Mr Fantastic and the Human Torch are quickly taken out by the Frightful Four's sneak attack and deadly powers, while the Invisible Girl's defeated by their dramatic act of... ...locking her in her bedroom. No doubt the house promptly reverberated with cries of, "Help! Help! Let me out of my bedroom!" And to think people have accused Stan Lee and Jack Kirby of not being able to create empowered females.
Still, as General Thunderbolt Ross once remarked, the Invisible Girl was really only there to keep everyone's morale up by looking nice.
Fortunately, with the Fantastic Four helpless, Medusa's on hand to
This, of course, should mean our heroes are doomed. But the villains haven't counted on the presence of Agatha Harkness who promptly unleashes her sinister powers on them.
Another clear parallel is how the tale's ending leaves it noticeably ambiguous as to whether the supernatural threats the Frightfuls face in her home are real or just products of their imagination - exactly the same approach Night of the Demon director Jacques Tourneur tried to take with his film before the producers decided such ambiguity was bad for box office, and added a bunch of decidedly unambiguous shots of a giant demon.
Of course, not all's perfect. There is the question of how the Frightful Four knew about the secret passages in Harkness's house in order to use them for their attack and, while Agatha Harkness can clearly defend her latest charge, you do wonder at any parents who'd happily leave their child with someone so blatantly involved with dark forces.
But we all know this blog likes to be so hard-hitting that even Frank Miller daren't look at it for fear of its controversy, and so I'll say that, in my opinion, Fantastic Four #94 was Jack Kirby's last genuinely outstanding Fantastic Four tale.
But then again, what do I know? You may have other ideas. So, here's your chance to share them. What do you think was Jack Kirby's last outstanding FF tale?