Or is it barren?
If The Fantastic Four #98's to be believed, beneath that cratered surface lurks a menacing mass of something or other, just waiting to sabotage any attempt by man to set foot there.
Intercepting an alien message, Reed Richards quickly realises it must involve a plot by the Kree to wreck the upcoming moon shot. So, in a rerun of Fantastic Four #64, the FF - minus Sue who has to stay behind to mind the baby and help Alicia Masters look helpless and female - head for a mysterious island where they fight the Kree Sentry at the heart of it all. I'm still not sure if this is the same one they fought last time out or not. There're places where it seems it is and places where it seems it isn't. I suspect Jack Kirby intended it to be the same one and Stan Lee decided it couldn't be.
TM. The moon shot's saved and Neil Armstrong gets to plant boot on dust. Interestingly, while he fluffed his, "One small step for a man," speech in real life, in the world of Marvel Comics, he gets it right.
You do wonder how much attention the Kree have been paying over the years. By the time this tale was published, the Fantastic Four'd already been to the Andromeda Galaxy and - even more impressively - the home world of Kurrgo, Lord of Planet X. So I suppose you can question why the Kree thought it so vital to sabotage NASA's relatively modest efforts. You also wonder why the FF seem to have totally forgotten they themselves have been to the moon more times than I've been to my local supermarket. Judging by this issue's evidence, the Russians also seem to have forgotten that the Red Ghost and his apes've been there too.
There's really not a lot to the tale. As I said earlier, with its, "The Fantastic Four go to an island and fight a Sentry before the island blows up," plotline, it's a straight retread of issue #64 but with the interesting revelation of a long-forgotten alien race removed. I also wonder why there's great play made of the fact the Sentry's island's designed to resemble the surface of the moon, when no reason for this design strategy is ever given or even hinted at.
|Are they sure Jack Kirby was holding back?|
It's just the lack of new ideas, that disappoints, and the out-of-placeness of an issue dedicated to the real-life moon landing in a fictional world where space travel was commonplace. Given how exciting the first moon landing must've been at the time - and how heroic the crew must have seemed - I can understand why Kirby in particular would want to do his tribute but, in context of the comic, it really doesn't make much sense.
I also can't help wondering just what the Watcher made of having a menacing mass moving about under his home world.
But maybe he was too busy watching the moon landing on TV to notice.