Monday, July 20, 2015

Blue Area of the Moon

On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the immortal worlds...

"That's one small step for [a] man, and one giant leap for mankind".

(This scene, from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four #98, May, 1970 entitled "Doomsday on the Moon!"...

....wherein three of the Fantastic Four were behind the scenes, fighting Kree Sentry #9168, while Sue was still back on Earth, recovering from the birth of her son, Franklin Richards!  The "a" was something Neil Armstrong said he had said, but static interfered with it in the transmission to Earth).

Quite a moving scene..

....but, the Fantastic Four had been to the moon before!

Feels Like The First Time

Back in Fantastic Four #13 (April, 1963, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby), the Fantastic Four completed the mission that originally got them their powers, by getting to the moon...this time, in competition with the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes (Miklho, Peotor and Igor), and while the Fantastic Four had proper shielding this time, the Russians didn't, so they got super-powers on their way to the moon.  Both groups were headed toward the Blue Area of the Moon, which, they discovered had an abandoned city, as well as an Earth-like atmosphere...and one resident...the Watcher!

Watching You

Uatu the Watcher was part of an alien race that watched over beings in the universe, who had a strict noninterference code to not aid the races they watched (due to previous interference by other Watchers, that resulted in an immature race getting nuclear weapons and destroying themselves thanks to the Watchers interference, as told in Tales of Suspense #53, May, 1964).

But, Uatu seemed to like the Fantastic Four, interfering with the Molecule Man (Fantastic Four #20, November, 1963), the wedding of Reed and Sue (Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965), and trying to hide Earth from planet-eater Galactus (Fantastic Four #48, March, 1966)!  Uatu was even placed on trial for these acts (but was sentenced to continue his job, with less interference in Captain Marvel #37 to #39 in 1975).  The Watcher even had his own back-up series in Tales of Suspense (starting in #49, January, 1964, and running to #58, October, 1964), as well as telling tales of alternate timelines of the Marvel Universe (Earth-616), starting with What If? #1 (February, 1977)...but, perhaps it's best not to open that can of worms just yet...

Love Is A Battlefield

The X-Men ended up on the Blue Area of the Moon, thanks to Professor X's love and head the Shi'ar, and the X-Men battled the Imperial Guard for the life of what they thought was Jean Grey (really, the Phoenix) all in X-Men #137 (September, 1980 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne).  Wolverine even has a brief encounter with the Watcher in his citadel (that does not go well for Wolverine).

The teams fight under the observation of Skrull and Kree agents (the Skrull and Kree are intergalactic races introduced on Earth in the Fantastic Four, and they have been warring for a long time... and the Kree were creators of the Blue City, left in ruins, on the moon, while the Skrulls had created the Blue Area of the Moon, to test the Kree and the Cotati, who created the atmosphere of the area...all a million years ago!).  This moment was also revisited by the Watcher a few times in What If?.

Moving On Up 

The Inhumans even became neighbors to the Watcher for a time...

...after the Earth had become too polluted for them to live their, even in their hidden city of Attilan (also called the Great Refuge).

 (The city of Attilan first appeared in Fantastic Four #47 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, February, 1966 and the Inhumans as a whole first appeared in Fantastic Four #45, December, 1965, also by Lee and Kirby), with Attilan moving to the moon in Fantastic Four #240 (March, 1982, by John Byrne).

The moon proved a good home for the Inhumans...

...and a reawakening of their Kree genes, as the Inhumans were descendants of humans experimented on by the Kree.

Randac was a leader of the Inhumans, and he discovered the Terrigen Mist, which is what the Inhumans needed to be exposed to in order to gain their powers. 

These powers were often unpredictable....and changed the recipients in unexpected ways. 

Randac's story started in Thor #146 (November, 1967), with more tales of the early Inhumans (pre-Fantastic Four meeting) coming in Thor #147 (in December, 1967, with Sentry #459 being activated by Randac's work as Randac planned to expose all his people to the Terrigan Mist), and the youth of Inhumans leader Black Bolt, getting his time and powers with the mist, in Thor #148 (January, 1968) and Black Bolt, Medusa, Maximus and Triton history until Thor #152 (May, 1968).

The Inhumans knew they could move their home, as they had done it before from the North Atlantic Ocean to the Himalayas, with the help of the Eternals (another ancient super-powered race, hidden on Earth, and created by Jack Kirby), as revealed in What If? #29 and #30 (October and November, 1981), all before Black Bolt met the FF in Fantastic Four #45, and well before the Inhumans first stand alone series in the first ten issues of Amazing Adventures (from August, 1970 to August, 1972)...and the Inhumans getting involved in the Kree-Skrull War in Avengers #95 (January, 1972).

So, with all this, you can see how connected all of Lee and Kirby's creations are, and that the imagination to take us to the moon, also connected to our fantasies of how we see ourselves in the stars and how we are all connected in our dreams!

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