The Fantastic Four #3 (vol. 1)
“The Menace of the Miracle Man!”
EIC: Stan Lee
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky
Writers: Stan Lee
Pencilers: Jack Kirby
Inkers: Sol Brodsky
Letterers: Artie Simek
Editors: Stan Lee
Cover Date: March 1962
Release Date: December 1961
Cover Price: $0.12
A stage magician called the Miracle Man recognizes the members of The Fantastic Four in his audience and calls them out by name. He then mocks their powers saying his are much greater.
The Miracle Man invites The Thing onto the stage for a contest of strength. He has two short sections of an enormous tree and asks The Thing to try and shatter one of them, which he does in three devastating blows. But the Miracle Man merely uses one finger and slices cleanly through the center of the other log.
The Thing loses his temper and slugs the Miracle Man in the chin…with no effect at all. The other members of The Fantastic Four get Ben under control and fly off in their new air conveyance, the Fantasticar. Reed muses that the world is fortunate that The Miracle man isn’t a criminal. But the Miracle Man actually is planning a criminal act. He plans to bring the statue of a giant alien monster outside a theater to life.
At the Baxter Building, as Johnny prepares to watch the live red-carpet premiere of the new giant alien movie on tv, Sue models her newly designed team costume for Reed. She has made one for each team member. Johnny spots The Miracle Man in the crowd at the televised premiere.
Suddenly, the giant statue of the alien comes to life. It begins to terrorize and destroy, but when the police prepare to shoot it with a bazooka, it vanishes instantly. The police then get a note from the Miracle Man telling them he is declaring war on the human race and intends to conquer the Earth. The police commissioner authorizes The Fantastic Four to stop The Miracle Man.
The team flies off in the Fantasticar, which separates into four individual craft so that each member of the Fantastic Four can go a different way and split up their efforts to find the Miracle Man.
A mile away, the giant alien statue monster has reappeared, smashing into a jewelry store. Mr. Fantastic arrives and stretches his rubbery body back and forth between two buildings, forming a barrier to capture the monster. But the Miracle Man hurls a brick at him and before Mr. Fantastic can recover, The Miracle Man and his monster have slipped away.
Elsewhere, the monster reappears once more, picking up a new atomic battle tank as if it was a toy. As armed soldiers shoot at it with no effect, the Human Torch shows up and begins flying fiery circles around the beast.
The monster prepares to grab Johnny out of the air when Ben and Sue arrive, Ben ripping his costume off as he complains how confining it is. The monster grabs Johnny in one enormous hand. Johnny turns up the heat of his flames and burns the statue to ashes. But the Miracle Man shoots a geyser of fire-retardant foam at the Torch, dousing his flame and causing him to fall to the ground.
The Thing approaches the Miracle Man, who makes a gesture and causes the ground to crumble under the Thing’s feet. Sue radios The Thing, telling him to order the troops back. She turns invisible and stows away on the truck the Miracle Man is using to abscond with the atomic tank.
As the other three members of the Fantastic Four plan how to find the Miracle Man and rescue Sue, The Miracle Man drives the tank to an auto junkyard and uses a crane to bury it under the hulks of old cars, effectively hiding it. Suddenly, the junkyard guard dog begins barking at something the Miracle Man can’t see. He quickly surmises that it must be the Invisible Girl. He tells her that if she doesn’t show herself immediately, he will sic the dog on her. Sue appears and the Miracle Man hypnotizes her, telling her to signal for the rest of the team to come to the junkyard, which she does.
Red and Ben arrive in a small helicopter. The Miracle Man holds a giant skeleton key which turns into a machine gun as if by magic. He fires the gun at Reed, who turns his body into a rubber ball and bounces about, making a hard target for the Miracle Man. The Thing leaps and places his body between Mr. Fantastic and the Miracle Man, his rocky hide absorbing the impact of the last few bullets before the Miracle Man is out of ammunition.
But the Miracle Man grabs Sue and races off in the atomic tank. Johnny arrives and tells Reed he saw the Miracle Man sabotage the helicopter. The three male members of the Fantastic Four leap into an antique racing car and speed of after the tank.
The Miracle Man fires a gun at them, destroying the front tire of the old car. Reed forms his body into a wheel to replace the one they lost, and they continue to give chase. The Torch flies ahead of the tank and flares his body so brightly that the Miracle Man is temporarily blinded.
Reed forces the Miracle Man to release Sue from her trance, which he does. The he tells the others that the only power the Miracle Man had was the power of hypnosis. That was how he performed all of his impossible feats. He explains that since Johnny blinded the Miracle Man for the moment, he can’t use his powers of hypnosis.
Ben grows enraged at what he perceives as Reed giving Johnny all the credit for defeating the Miracle Man. The four begin to quarrel which ends with The Human Torch telling the others that he is finished with the Fantastic Four. He flies off, leaving Reed to wonder what humanity would do if the Torch were to ever turn against them.