|This article is written from the Real World perspective|
|Release Date||September 24, 1994|
|Season Number||1 of 11|
|Episode Number||1 of 26|
The Fantastic Four appear on a charity telethon hosted by Dick Clark. To help raise funds for scholarships they recount the tale of how they turned from four ordinary people into a superhero team. They begin with the fateful trip into space and go onto the discovery of their powers. But how did the team stay together when Puppet Master threatened to tear them apart from within? (Series Premiere)
Somewhere underwater, Human Torch dived into the water in a specially designed diving suit. He threw a ball of ignited napalm at Namor. Namor picked up a large shield and deflected the attack. The attack then headed towards Thing, Mister Fantastic, and Invisible Woman.
Thing warned the others and jumped over the attack while Woman put a shield around Fantastic. The attacks hit Fantastic and stretched him back. He then bounced the attacks back at Namor. Namor dived to dodge the attacks so they hit a statue splitting it in half.
He asks them how they got their powers. Invisible Woman replies that it's all in their newly written book, Fan 4. They wrote it just for the show to help raise money for State University, Reed Richards' former school.
Mister Fantastic starts talking about the value of education but is interrupted by Thing, who orders the people at home to buy books to help the school before he gets mad. Human Torch teases Thing about his sales pitch. Thing starts yelling at Human Torch.
Dick stops them and asks about their powers again. However, Thing wants to see "some bread first" but Invisible Woman calms him down. Thing sits down but demands to hear the phones ringing. Mister Fantastic begins to tell Dick and the audience about their origins.
Years ago in Reed's lab, the four detected a phenomenon came into their galaxy, though Thing still doesn't think it was special. The four normal humans watched and Reed noted how it traveled into their galaxy faster than the speed of light. Johnny commented on how impossible that is. Reed grabbed a device off his console and walked to the door claiming he needed to examine it at a closer range. Sue follows her sweetheart trying to stop him.
Outside, Reed was preparing a shuttle explaining to her that it could be a threat to the Earth. Sue stated that as his wife she is not letting him go alone. Ben stepped up saying that he'll pilot the shuttle since Reed is no good and it hasn't been tested yet. He also notes that there is no shield against cosmic rays.
Reed argued that recent data indicated no adverse effects from cosmic rays but that actinic solar rays have accumulative, injurious effect. He lowered an elevator on the side of the shuttle to the ground. Ben agreed but wanted Reed to not explain everything once they were up. They boarded the elevator and rode it up.
Reed calculated when they would intersect with the phenomenon's path.
However, Mister Fantastic of the present explains that the phenomenon entered a mysterious energy field and altered the normally harmless cosmic rays. Thing interrupts saying he tried to warn Mister Fantastic but no one listened.
Invisible Woman tries to calm Thing down again but he wonders how the "world's greatest scientist" didn't know anything about the rays. Dick stops him wanting to continue the story and Thing agrees. Invisible Woman continues the story saying that what happened next was both frightening and amazing.
In the shuttle, Sue saw Johnny catch on fire after his console exploded. Johnny couldn't free himself. However, he noted that the fire doesn't burn. Sue stood and tried to help him but a beam fell down on top of her. Reed told her she has to get out as the fires rage, but Sue couldn't get herself free.
Reed tried to reach out to her but she was too far away. Ben pushed a beam off of him and went to lift the beam. As Ben lifted the beam he told Sue to run.
However, the ship continued to be bombarded with the altered cosmic rays and tumbled out of control.
Later that night, the four woke up and exited the shuttle. Sue and Reed stood outside the open doorway hugging each other. She then looked to Johnny and Ben to see them alive and well. Ben claimed they're alive because of dumb luck. Sue noted how they were all lucky to be alive.
In the present, Fantastic notes how they would soon learn what happened to them. Dick cues a commercial break.
After the break, Gary Owens notes how they just passed the million and a half dollar mark. But Thing still does not believe that is enough, despite Mister Fantastic's claims to the contrary. Thing notes how expensive education is and threatens to walk off but Invisible Woman says they won't. The four begin arguing.
Meanwhile, Gary decides to show off the world's greatest dog act: Fritz and Cooty. The man and his dog run out on stage and begin dancing. Thing doesn't like the dog act and gets Mister Fantastic to continue. He says that while they didn't get to understand the streaking phenomenon, they were still alive.
In the past, Reed didn't know if they would be any side effects. Just then, Sue commented that she felt strange. Ben hoped she wouldn't throw up. She then began to fade away and the others called out to her. She called out to Reed just as she disappeared.
The three men began searching for her while Sue asked what happened. Reed explained that the streak must have destabilized the cosmic rays altering her atomic structure. Reed bumped into her realizing she must be invisible. Just then Sue briefly appeared in front of him.
She wondered how long she would be this way and Reed had no way of knowing. Johnny wondered if they'll ever see her again, but Ben quickly noted that she was then appearing as normal next to them. She claimed she just thought about being normal and it happened. Reed was glad she was fine and they hugged.
But Ben wondered if anything worse would happen to them. His voice began to grow deeper and more gravelly. Reed didn't know and pointed out that scientific exploration is dangerous. Ben, not wanting to let Reed go so easily, walked over to a tree. Suddenly he burst out of his suit and his skin turned orange and rock-like.
He picked up a tree out of the ground. Sue claimed he turned into a thing. She dodged out of the way as the Ben swung the tree at Reed. Reed dodged it by unknowingly stretching the middle of his body out of the way. He begged Ben to stop and think.
Ben stopped, but quickly raised the tree to clobber Reed. Reed stretched his upper body forward to tie up Ben's arms. Ben then noticed that Reed was stretching. Reed uncoiled and wondered what happened.
Johnny claimed the two other guys became monsters. Just then he burst into flames. He then flew into the air and began doing aerial stunts. Johnny then landed near Ben and Reed. Johnny turned off the flames as Ben thought he should cool down.
Reed realized that no other four human beings have had so much power. Ben realized that Reed would want to use their powers to help mankind and Reed agreed. Johnny took on the name Human Torch while Sue the name Invisible Woman. She then suggested Mister Fantastic for Reed, who thought it was presumptuous but had a certain ring to it.
The three put their hands together. However, Ben was hesitant to join but Sue convinced him. But he felt that he wasn't Ben anymore and took on Sue's name for him: the Thing. He finally adds his hand to the four.
In the past inside the Baxter Building a Miss Forbes showed them an empty apartment. She noted that Sue is Reeds wife making Johnny, blowing a gum bubble, his brother-in-law but wondered how Thing was related. He stood off to the side gazing out the window at the city. Thing told her it was none of her business.
Miss Forbes then asked about Reed's experiments asking if they would be dangerous, noisy, or smelly. Thing picked up a piano and claimed he was all those things. He asked what she would do. He claimed that for the high rent they would be paying they should be able to breed hogs. He threw the piano at her just as she ran away.
Reed noted how the rent was high but they were not ordinary tenants. Reed explained that they were going shopping but sopped when he saw Johnny making himself a grilled cheese sandwich in his hand. Sue put a shield over the sandwich and floated it over to the kitchen area telling him to do his cooking there.
Outside, the four wandered the streets getting strange looks from bystanders. They looked up to see a young man climbing the suspension cables on the Queensboro Bridge.
The man reached the top and looked out over the side with a blank, haunted look.
Elsewhere, a small clay figure of the man stood on the same spot on a model of the bridge. A bald man held the figurine in place wavering it back and forth. On the news a reporter claimed that the unidentified man seemed to be in a trance. The bald man claimed he was a nobody he saw on the subway. He made a neurokinetic clay doll in his image to control him.
Reed tried to stretch to grab the man but he could not stretch far enough. His body wouldn't go far enough.
The bald man saw Reed on the television thinking it is impossible and worrying that Reed's powers were greater than his.
Johnny lit up and flew to the top of the tower. He grabbed the man saying that burns were better than "going splat."
The bald man was furious saying that only he could control his puppets. He grabbed the figurine but burnt his hand. He watched on television as Human Torch set the man down, noting that the flames had hurt him.
A blind woman named Alicia came in after hearing him in pain asked if her father was alright. The man reminded her that he is merely her step-father. She only wanted to help, but the man pushed Alicia away as she was blocking his view of the television.
Thing grabbed a truck intending to use it to help save the man. The trucker asked what he was doing. Thing told him to get out since his friend was coming in for a landing.
The man glared at the television as people cheered the four heroes on. He said that no one would steal his power or glory.
Back at the telethon, Dick shows that they almost reach three million dollars. But Thing walks up still not believing that's good enough. He decides to offer the next hundred people who pledge a thousand dollars his personal fitness program. He lifts up the camera and camera man to demonstrate. Another camera moves in to watch him.
Thing begins bench pressing his load. Dick tells the cameras to go back to Mister Fantastic. Dick ask about the Puppet Master and Fantastic goes back to the story. Mister Fantastic explains that Puppet Master had a startling and dangerous grasp of science.
In the past, Puppet Master, the bald man, mixed something in a large cauldron inside his house. He scooped some out and poured it into a special matrix. A clock and three figurines sat next to the matrix. Later, Puppet Master opened it to reveal a small figure of the Thing.
He took the figure out of the matrix and began painting it orange. Puppet Master claimed that this person, whoever and whatever he was, would serve him first. He dressed it in a trench coat, sunglasses, and fedora. He took it over to a wall and pressed a button. The wall turned revealing a doll house on the other side. He claimed that he will use Thing to control the others and that nothing would stop Thing from coming to him. He put the figure in the doll house saying Thing will come to him.
Elsewhere, Thing tried to get into Mister Fantastic's lab but Invisible Woman stopped him. Just then a Puppet Master's voice came to him saying to come. Thing tries to shake the voice off. Mister Fantastic said he's wasn't ready to show vistors his new experiment, but Thing pointed out that he wasn't a mere visitor and they are a team. Puppet Master's voice returned once again.
Thing walked way and Mister Fantastic thought he was offended. Invisible Woman decided to keep an eye on him knowing that Thing would be mad if Fantastic or Johnny was seen. She turned pinned a communicator to her chest, turned invisible, and walked away.
Mister Fantastic wondered where she went when Human Torch noted she left. He sat on the couch and ignited his finger to twirl around. He claimed he think she left since he didn't really know.
Mister Fantastic enlarged his hand and tried to wave Torch's finger out saying he shouldn't play with fire in the house. Torch then blew it out himself.
That night, Thing wandered the street in his clothes with Invisible Woman secretly trailing him. He crossed Sullivan Street and walked into a building. Invisible Woman narrated this into a communicator and followed him in.
She found him at the bottom of the stairs and the bald man at the top. He beckoned Thing to join him and Invisible Woman followed. Thing entered the room at the top and Woman ran off to the side to watch.
Alicia asked if they had guests. Puppet Master told her to make Thing comfortable. She introduced herself and asked what his name is, but Puppet Master claimed it wasn't important. She touched Thing's face feeling that he is strong but gentle. She also noted a sadness in it.
Just then Alicia sensed Invisible Woman hiding and told her step-father that his other guest arrived. But he passed it off as nothing. Alicia knows someone is there and strongly believes it is a woman. Puppet Master leads Alicia and Thing into another room. Invisible Woman secretly follows.
The three stood on a platform and Puppet Master pulled a skull-headed lever. Then, a large glass tube dropped down and surrounded them. He learned to trust her instincts. Puppet Master turned a switch that began to fill the room with sleep gas pouring out of an elephant head figure and mask.
As the room filled up Invisible Woman began coughing. Puppet Master realized that Alicia was right. However, Alicia wondered why her step-father would use sleep gas to welcome someone. Invisible Woman struggled to stay awake but soon collapsed and became visible.
Puppet Master noted that she was the woman of the group and felt it was a delightful development. He cleared the room of gas, the glass lifted up, and the three walked over to Invisible Woman. Puppet Master looked at the unconscious heroine and noted how similar she and Alicia look. He pulled her away saying he had work for her.
Later, Puppet Master fixes a wig making Alicia look just like Invisible Woman. Looking into a vanity mirror, he claimed that she will finally repay his debt after her mother ran away in fear and loathing, too terrified to return for her daughter, forcing him to care for her. He turned to look at Sue, who was chained to a chair. Both Alicia and Sue wore the exact same white nightgown.
Master told her to open her eyes. The contact lenses Alicia wore make her look exactly the same. He hands Alicia the Fantastic Four uniform telling her to change. He yelled at her and she quickly ran to change.
He walked over to Thing claiming that the other two will not be able to tell the difference. He ordered Thing to destroy Human Torch and Mister Fantastic as soon as they let Thing and Alicia in.
Alicia walked in, now wearing the uniform, wondering about the purpose of dressing up. Puppet Master claimed it was a joke. He pointed out how she felt goodness in Thing and Sue. She grabbed Thing's hand and the two walked out.
Once they were gone, Master walked over to a model of a prison. He picked one up with a scar on its face claiming that once Thing destroyed his friends he would activate his criminal army. He would use the army to terrorize and dominate the city so he could control anyone he wishes. He set the figure back down.
In a prison somewhere, three men who look just like the figures stood in a line. The one with a scar ran forward screaming.
Back in the present, Dick tells the audience to stay tuned for the rest of the story. Invisible Woman tells them that the story will be continued. Thing stands in front of the camera telling them to keep calling, or else.
"Blast off with the Fantastic Four as they recollect the origin of their powers and their first encounter with the brilliant but sinister Puppet Master. Then, watch for Dick Clark as he makes a guest appearance as himself. Oh boy. Hold onto your seats. This is gonna be a good one."
- -Stan Lee's introduction
"Eat napalm, fish breath. It burns underwater!"
- -Past Human Torch, first line of the series
- -Past 'Thing, first line
"Looks like Namor got himself a date for the party. That means IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!"
- -Past Thing, first time using his iconic line
"Fantastic, and I mean that in the most respectful sense of the word. But I think what telethon viewers really want to know is how you got your fantastic powers."
"The whole story's here in our book, Dick. We wrote it specially for your telethon to help raise money for State University, Reed's alma mater."
"Yes, the intrinsic value of a college education..."
- -Dick Clark, Invisible Woman and Mister Fantastic, first lines
"Hey! Education's a good cause. So you out there, get on the phone and start buying books. Before I get steamed."
"That's a real smooth pitch, Ben."
"Hey, don't get cute with me, you walking hot foot."
- -Thing and Human Torch
"Well Dick, our story begins several years back when an amazing phenomenon came streaking into our galaxy."
- -Mister Fantastic
"Wha...are you kiddin' me? I've seen wilder stuff in Captain Louie's Video Arcade."
- -Past Ben Grimm
"Whatever the streaking phenomenon is it may pose a threat to the Earth."
"You're my husband. I can't let you go alone."
"Me either, Braino. Cause you're no pilot. I-I still don't like it. You're new doohicky hasn't even been road tested. Besides Rich, you've got no shields for cosmic ray protection."
"Recent data indicate no negative effects from exposure to cosmic rays. However, actinic solar rays have accumulative, injurious effect..."
"Well okay. Alright, alright. Just promise not to explain everything when we're up there."
- -Past Reed Richards, Sue Richards, and Ben Grimm
"Reed! Johnny's on fire!"
"I-I can't let go. But...it doesn't hurt."
- -Past Sue Richards and Johnny Storm
"We'll be right back after this important and extremely commercial message."
- -Dick Clark
"Welcome back, friend. This is Gary Owens, and we just passed the one and half million dollar plateau. Truly a fantastic tribute to the Fantastic Four."
"Oh yeah, Mister Hands-Over-Your-Ears, it ain't good enough."
"Oh, on the contrary I think it's great."
"Oh I think it's great.' Great schmeat. Do you know what education costs these days? Hey! You folks out there. You better get back on those phones and start kicking in some real dough or we're walkin'!"
"We will do no such thing."
- -Gary Owens, Thing, Mister Fantastic, and Invisible Woman
"Just as I was saying we still don't know if they're will be after effects from the flight."
- -Past Reed Richards
"What is it? Wha-what's wrong? Oh, Reed. Reed!"
"Sue! Speak to us."
"Reed, what happened to me?"
"The streaking phenomenon must have destabilized the cosmic rays. They altered your atomic structure making you invi...invisible."
"Oh, sweetheart. How long will I be this way?"
"I...there's no way of knowing."
- -Past Sue Richards/Invisible Woman and Reed Richards
"But what if she never gets visible again?"
"No. Look-look there everybody. She's coming back."
"I did it myself. Just by thinking about it."
"Oh, thank heavens your alright."
- -Past Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm, Sue Richards, and Reed Richards
"How do you know she ain't gonna turn invisible again? How do you know...that something...even more rotten ain't gonna happen to the rest of us."
"I don't. No one does. Scientific exploration is dangerous."
"Stop trying to talk your way out of this. You were too big headed to try to listen when I talked to you. It's time you learned a lesson."
"He's turned into a...thing!"
- -Past Ben Grim/Thing, Reed Richards, and Sue Richards
No Ben! Stop and think! You've got to think about it. Think, Ben!"
"Okay, I think you need clobberin'!"
- -Past Thing and Reed Richards
"What's with this stretcho jazz? Hey, what's going on?"
"What's happened to us all?"
- -Past Thing and Reed Richards
"Those cosmic rays turned you into monsters. This is making me crazy. I mean..." [Bursts into flames] "No wonder I've been feeling warm and funny. I've changed too. Uh, I can fly! Whoa! Ah. Ah man, that was fantastic."
"Huh, you can say that again, Mr. Blowtorch. You better chill out."
- -Past Johnny Storm/Human Torch and Thing
"Together, we have more power than four beings have ever possessed."
"Ah, come on. Stand back folks. Here it comes. I suppose you're gonna give us some sheep dip about using our powers for the good of mankind. Right!?"
"Right, Ben. Absolutely right."
- -Past Reed Richards and Thing
"I'm gonna call myself...the Human Torch."
"And I'll be with you as...the Invisible Woman. Oh, and maybe you should call yourself Mister Fantastic."
"Well, rather presumptuous. But it does have a ring to it. Mister Fantastic it is."
"One of us is missing. Ben?"
"Oh, I'm in. But I...I ain't Ben no more. Look, like Sue said, I'm just a muscle-bound Thing."
- -Past Johnny Storm, Sue Richards, Reed Richards, and Thing
"But thing's weren't easy for us, Dick."
"Let me get by violin before I start sobbin'."
- -Mister Fantastic and Thing
"Then it'll be the four of your, Professor Richards. You, your wife, your brother-in-law Johnathan Storm."
"Uh, that's just Johnny."
"And Benjamin J. Grimm. What is your relation to the others, may I ask."
"Uh, none of your business, may I answer."
- -Past Lavinia Forbes, first lines, Johnny Storm, and Thing
"Now then, about your experiments, Professor. They won't be dangerous, noisy, or smelly will they?"
"Hey! I'm dangerous, noisy, and smelly. You don't like it, what am I supposed to do? Sleep in the park? Hey, for the rent your charging us you shouldn't care if we're breeding hogs in here."
"You're rude. Very rude."
"Oh yeah? You're a dingbat!"
- -Past Lavinia Forbes and Thing
"The rent is high, Ben. But you must admit that were rather...uh...unusual tenants."
- -Past Reed Richards
"Darling, did I hear you say shopping?"
- -Past Sue Richards
"What is that, Morris?"
"You got me, Harold."
"Although witnesses report that the young man seems to be in some sort of trance there are no known identities..."
"Identity, indeed. He is nothing. A mere nobody I observed on the subway one day. But now that I have crafted his likeness in a special neurokinetic clay he is mine to control."
- -Past News Reporter and Puppet Master, first lines
"Hey, this may burn but it's better than going splat."
- -Past Human Torch
"Father! I heard you cry out in pain. How did you burn yourself?"
"Don't call me father. How many times must I remind you I'm your step-father. You're no child of mine."
"I want to help you if you've been hurt."
"You're blocking my view, Alicia. You may be blind but I can see perfectly."
- -Past Alicia Masters, first lines, and Puppet Master
"Okay, Dick. We're doing better. But now I'm gonna put us over the top. Alright ya gonzos. I'm gonna give the first hundred of you couch potatoes that pledge a thousand bucks or more my personal body building lessons absolutely free." [Lifts camera] "One...Two...Five, six. No bully is gonna kick sand in your face not when yours truly gets done with putting biceps on your triceps. In only ten quick steps..."
"Kill camera two. Put camera four on Reed."
- -Thing and Dick Clark
"Now Reed, you were telling us about the Puppet Master."
"We had no idea what a deadly and cunning adversary he'd prove to be. His grasp of strange science was as startling as it was dangerous."
- -Dick Clark and Mister Fantastic
"Whoever, and whatever you are, you shall be the first to serve me. And through you I shall conquer and control your powerful friends. There, now no force on Earth can prevent you from coming to me, your new master. Come, my puppet. Come."
- -Past Puppet Master
"How many times have I told you, don't play with fire in the house."
"Well, excuse me."
- -Past Mister Fantastic and Human Torch
"What a strong, gentle man you are. With a strange sadness I can feel in my heart."
- -Past Alicia Masters talking about Thing
"Oh, hello. Your other guest has arrived, step-father."
"Huh, you're imagining things, girl."
"No I'm not. I can sense her presence. Yes, her. I feel sure it's a woman."
"You're indoors too much, Alicia. You're mind is playing tricks. I long ago learned to trust your instincts. If we do have an uninvited guest this sleep gas will deal with her."
[Invisible Woman begins coughing]
"There is someone after all. Good work, Alicia."
"I don't understand. Why are you using sleep gas to greet someone?"
- -Past Alicia Masters and Puppet Master
"That woman was on television with our other guest earlier today. What a delightful development. I could not have planned it better."
"You're scaring me, step-father. What's happening?"
"Stop your prattling, girl. I'm trying to think. Yes, the resemblance is uncanny. It shall be no problem for the Puppet Master. Come, I have work for you!"
- -Past Puppet Master and Alicia Masters
"There, my child. You will at last pay your debt to me for caring for you when your mother ran away from me in fear and loathing, too terrified to even return for you."
- -Past Puppet Master
"My step-daughter's presence at your side will convince the flaming torch and the man who stretches that their friends have returned. When they let you in, DESTROY THEM!"
- -Past Puppet Master
"I am ready, step-father. But I don't understand the purpose of this masquerade."
"It's a friendly joke, child. You said you could sense my guests' goodness. Would he ever engage in wrongdoing?"
"No, of course not."
- -Past Alicia Masters and Puppet Master
"Now, my great world begins. Once my obedient puppet is destroyed his powerful friends, I will activate my criminal army and quickly terrorize and dominate the city. I SHALL BE MASTER! MASTER OF ANYONE I WISH! HA HA HA HA!"
- -Past Puppet Master
"Stay tuned to the telecast for the rest of the story of the origin of the Fantastic Four."
"To be continued."
"And keep them calls coming in. Or else."
- -Dick Clark, Invisible Woman, and Thing, last lines of the episode
- Human Torch has a specially designed diving suit that allows him to turn his flames on. Reed Richards must have found a special mixture so he did not burn up his entire oxygen supply or blow up the tanks.
- The Kraken has two rows of teeth.
- Reed Richards is said to have gone to State University, but it's not said which one. It's likely Empire State University, one of the schools he went to in the comics, which is the college of fellow superhero genius Peter Parker.
- After the commercial break the telethon has $1,540,000 pledged. After the second commercial break the telethon as 2,999,000 pledged. At the end of the episode it is at 3,076,312. It is the only time it is not evened off to the nearest thousand.
- As Ben Grimm he is the tallest of the four. As Thing he is the shortest. However, it was changed in the second season.
- Miss Forbes reveals that Thing's name is Benjamin J. Grimm. In the comics, his middle name is Jacob.
- The Fantastic Four could not possibly know what happened with Puppet Master while no one was around. While this could be an inconsistency, it could also be an example of an unreliable narrator.
- According the clock next to the matrix, it takes about two hours to make a figurine.
- Alicia says good afternoon to Thing even though it is clearly night. However, she is blind and may not know the exact time of day.
- The prison seen at the end could be Ryker's Island.
- The episode was released as a comic book in Marvel Action Hour: Fantastic Four #1.
- Napalm does not burn underwater. Flames require oxygen to burn so it certainly could not be thrown. For example, an underwater blowtorch has its own oxygen supply.
- Thing, Mister Fantastic, and Invisible Woman have nothing to breathe with underwater. They shouldn't be alive let alone talking. This is retroactively explained in "Now Comes the Sub-Mariner" to be due to oxygenating fluid.
- Where was there a camera underwater? Better yet, why would they be recording their battle with Namor?
- At the beginning of the flashback, Ben Grimm is speaking yet his mouth does not move. It could be the present Thing making a comment, which just makes it confusing since the shot focuses on him.
- Reed Richards was the scientist studying the phenomenon. Ben Grimm was the pilot of the shuttle. Sue Richards supported her husband. But no explanation was given as to why Johnny Storm went or was even allowed on the mission.
- There are many problems with the way the shuttle launched.
- Space shuttles are not exactly something people have laying around just waiting to be used. It requires a lot of preparation and anticipation to launch one. It would not be a spur of the moment decision.
- A shuttle launch occurs in secluded areas, much like the John Jameson Space Probe did. The four launch in the middle of the city with no apparent regard for the damage the blast of the engines would cause or what the sound could do to the surrounding areas.
- Additionally, there is no apparent consideration given to the problems they would have with the air space above the city.
- When the shuttle takes off there are mountains across the water. There are no mountains near New York City.
- With the phenomenon later revealed to be Silver Surfer, it is unknown why he didn't immediately call Galactus then.
- When the shuttle begins to fall into Earth's orbit the fires around Johnny Storm disappear.
- The shuttle crash lands in the daytime and they leave while it's still light out, but a second later it's nighttime.
- The numbers on the telethon board move up in increments of 10,000.
- After the crash and before his transformation, Ben Grimm's hair is grey but nobody seems to pay any attention to it.
- The space suits should not be affected by the Fantastic Four's transformation. An explanation is given in the first Fantastic Four film, where the suits they were wearing changed with the wearer. However, this came long after the series. Also, if Reed Richard's suit stretched and Johnny Storm's didn't burn up, why wouldn't Ben Grimm's become big and rocky?
- Reed Richards claims that no other four people have had such powers. He seems to be forgetting mutants, the X-Men, Captain America, and the Six American Warriors among many other superpowered beings and teams on Earth.
- Why did they move into a new building? What happened to the building where they built and launched a space shuttle?
- When the hypnotized man is climbing the bridge he appears to be the size of a semi truck.
- Reed Richard's business suit stretches with him. Even if it was a stretchable material it should not stretch with him unless it is skin tight.
- While Puppet Master watches television, Sue Storm has suddenly changed into her team uniform for some unknown reason. Later during the same broadcast, she is back in her civilian clothing.
- Puppet Master must have a very low self esteem if he thinks Reed Richard's stretching ability is superior to his ability to control others.
- Thing picks up a truck claiming to need it to help Human Torch and the man. But he is never shown doing anything with it and it makes little sense for him to need it at all.
- Puppet Master's paint on the Thing doll don't match the brush strokes.
- The size inside the dollhouse does not match the size outside.
- When Thing wanders the street only the buildings and cars are moving. Thing is stepping but the sidewalk beneath him does not ever move.
- After Invisible Woman contacts Reed Richards about Thing's destination the 4 button on her left breast disappears.
- Why wouldn't Invisible Woman put up a shield to protect herself from the gas?
- Alicia Masters must not be very bright if she can't figure out that Puppet Master is doing villainous things based on his obvious actions and dialogue. If she can sense the goodness in others, why can't she sense the badness in him?
- When Sue is chained to the chair her body is in a standing position.
- Human Torch is the first character seen.
- Namor is the first guest star and could be considered the first villain.
- Namor makes a brief appearance in the episode. He would make a full appearance in the third episode "Now Comes the Sub-Mariner".
- First appearances of Dick Clark, Gary Owens, and Puppet Master. All their last appearances are "The Origin of the Fantastic Four, Part Two".
- In "The Silver Surfer and the Coming of Galactus, Part One" the phenomenon would be revealed as Silver Surfer.
- First appearance of the blue uniforms. They would last until "The Silver Surfer and the Return of Galactus". In "And a Blind Man Shall Lead Them" the team would get black uniforms along with completely redesigned animation.
- First appearance of the Baxter Building and Miss Forbes. They would also last appear in "And a Blind Man Shall Lead Them".
- The Baxter Building apartment has a view of the Chrysler Building. This is an important location in Spider-Man and appears in the Silver Surfer episode "The Origin of the Silver Surfer, Part Three".
Main Actor Role(s) Beau Weaver Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic Lori Alan Sue Richards/Invisible Woman Chuck McCann The Thing Brian Austin Green Johnny Storm/The Human Torch Dick Clark Himself Gary Owens Himself
Neil Ross The Puppet Master
Pauline Lomas Alicia Masters Joan Lee Miss Forbes Gina Tuttle Woman TV Reporter
In the series, Sue and Reed Richards are married before they get their powers. In the comics, they married after.
In the comics, Puppet Master deeply cared for Alicia Masters often putting her happiness above his own, while here he can barely tolerate her.
Miss Lavinia Forbes was created specially for the series. Though she does have a similar counterpart in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes named Courtney Bonner-Davis. She was based on the comics character Walter Collins, who rented out the apartment hoping for the prestige of having a superhero team in the building though quickly regretted the decision.
Footage of the episode was used throughout the first season to show the team's origin in the opening titles.
"Stu" of Marvel Animation Age said that after the success of X-Men it was strange that Fantastic Four, an obvious choice in who to adapt next, would have such a poorly made season. He thought that the first seasons of this and Iron Man were insults given how good X-Men and Spider-Man were at the same time. He felt that everything about the first season was awful. He thought the designs were terrible, the color palette looked dated, and the animation was lackluster. He claimed the poor shading made the characters look two-dimensional and rubbery and that Thing was the worst. Though he did note that Chuck McCann was perfectly cast at Thing and did well with what he was given, but did better in season two. He didn't like how any of the stories worked, most adapted from the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby run. He felt it was the comics without the heart. He didn't think the creators got what made Fantastic Four great. He did like how they updated the origins and alluded to the Silver Surfer, but didn't think it had any intelligence otherwise. He thought the episode was rushed, had lots of errors, and overlooked valid plot points making it feel jarring. "Sadly, the series only got worse. Whilst this truly is one of the worst pilots I've ever, ever seen, even this could not prepare me for the horrors of some of the upcoming episodes. The Origin Of The Fantastic Four is a terrible, terrible start to a horrifically bad season."
The episode has a rating of 6.9 on TV.com and 6.6 on the Internet Movie Database.