The Frightful Four
The Frightful Four(pop culture)
When the Wizard, the techie terror who whisks through the skies on anti-gravity discs, realized that he and his two new criminal friends—the shapeshifting Sandman and evil epoxier Paste- Pot—could best their mutual enemies the Fantastic Four (FF) by uniting as the heroes' “exact evil counterparts,” they formed the Frightful Four in Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four #36 (1965). Recruiting Madam Medusa (in her first appearance), the vixen with living hair, the Frightful Four gatecrash the FF's headquarters, the Baxter Building, just as a superhero- packed engagement party for Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards and Sue (Invisible Girl) Storm has wound down. In this story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Reed, Sue, and the Thing are sent sailing toward the heavens on the Wizard's discs until the Human Torch nets them. The villains escape to resume their attack another day. Two issues later, in FF #38 (1965), the FF were “Defeated by the Frightful Four!” (a hyperbolic cover blurb screamed, “it had to happen sooner or later!”). With Paste-Pot Pete glue-potting his nom de guerre for the moniker the Trapster (“That's a name with dignity … with drama to it!”), the Frightful Four, through teamwork and relentless attacks, got the upper hand, leaving the FF to die in an atomic explosion from which they narrowly escaped. Perniciously persistent, the Frightful Four, often anchored by its founding trio, have frequently regrouped to attempt to finish what they started. Madam Medusa didn't last long—by 1966 she was revealed to be one of the royal family the Inhumans, her crime career the result of amnesia—and was followed by other members including the sound-master Klaw, the fire-breathing Dragon Man, the female fury Titania, Spider-Man's enemy Electro, the Wonder Woman–like Thundra, the aquatic Hydro-Man, the obstinate Man-Bull, sinister Soviet Red Ghost (and his Super-Apes), and the Thing's counterpart She-Thing. Another FF opposite number was the Frightful Four's hulkish Brute, an alternate- Earth version of Mr. Fantastic. The criminally resourceful teamwork evidenced in the Frightful Four's earliest appearances evaporated after Medusa left the flock; the querulous quartet's disharmony usually accelerates its downfall. The original Frightful Four story was adapted to television in 1978 for the Fantastic Four animated series.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.