Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Killer, The Car

From what we've seen of the Fantasti-Car in action over the years, we all probably have some words of advice for General Ross, as he prepares to accompany the Fantastic Four to the Army's desert base:

Namely:  "Run for your life, General! This thing is a death trap!"

Whether or not Johnny succeeded in making the car look like less of a "bathtub" is debatable, though artist Jack Kirby managed to streamline it toward the end of his run on the book:

But nobody managed to make this puppy more safe, and less of a hazard to civilians (or even to its owners). Should the Fantasti-Car be scrapped? Given what we're about to see of her in operation, she appears to be well on the way to taking care of that herself--and maybe taking the FF along for the ride, so to speak.

For instance, the Fantasti-Car has proven to be vulnerable to any number of weapons. How about a "neutrak" ray fired from, of all things, a 35mm camera?

Whew! You know what they say: "Any landing you can swim away from..."

Then there's your standard energy beam, which will understandably do a little more damage than a Pentax and force the car's occupants to abandon ship:

Even Nick Fury (in disguise) has his sights on the car, when he's out testing new weaponry for S.H.I.E.L.D.:

Boy, it's never a good sign when Reed starts cursing his own equipment! But the question is, can he get a grip on himself and pull out of this dive? Sure he can--by letting the Thing wreck those controls in mid-dive!

Then there are those pesky tractor beams, which can cause the Fantasti-Car to virtually destroy itself:

Sometimes, however, a foe will prefer the personal touch in dealing with the FF and their transportation--such as giant alien gorillas who think they're King Kong.

There's also operator negligence that's been responsible for some close calls with the car. Take Reed, for instance, who picks the absolute wrong time and place to succumb to exhaustion:

(A bucket load of demerits for Johnny, as well, for failing to equip this rumble-seat airship with seatbelts.)

If Ben is on his way up to the cockpit, you just know your vital controls are going to get trashed--but thank goodness Reed's wife has the presence of mind to stick with it and use her, uh, "presence of mind" to save both the Fantasti-Car and a good number of civilians in the streets.

And what does it say about you when your vehicle becomes too darn complicated for even YOU to fly?

Of course, even when Reed is in full possession of his faculties, he doesn't always make the best driver for the Fantasti-Car.

As for Ben, our hotshot test pilot, he's aces in a crisis when he remembers to treat his controls like egg shells. But slipping up on preventive maintenance can result in harried situations both in mid-air and on the ground.

And last but by no means least, wouldn't you say it's a huge red flag on this piece of equipment when it can be used against you??

Stay sharp, Reed. That's one near-fatal incident involving the Fantasti-Car down--but plenty more coming your way.


George Chambers said...

I wasn't aware that the Fantasticar had been trashed so often, but I see it as a manifestation of what I call "If We Can Break it, We Will" syndrome in comics. Since most superhero comics work on a no-kill paradigm, anybody or anything that can get its body trashed without death ensuing, will get trashed, over and over and over again. The best example is the Doom Patrol's Robotman, where any given story would read like torture porn if Cliff Steele could feel anything. A Marvel universe example would be Iron Man's Telepresence Armor, from Len Kaminski's run. Despite the fact that it should have been the toughest suit to date, since it didn't have to contain a human body, it inexplicably got perforated like Swiss cheese in virtually every appearance until Ultimo finally pulled it to pieces like it was an old GI Joe.

Colin Jones said...

What happened if it was raining ? Did the Fantasti-Car's sections have covers that slid into place when needed ?

Colin Jones said...

Silly me - Sue would just create an invisible shield to keep the rain off :)

Comicsfan said...

Colin, the F-car indeed has a roll-over windshield that completely covers each section, and it's bulletproof as well. (Let's hope Reed or Johnny had the good sense to install windshield wipers in the cockpit section--these guys have enough accidents flying this thing as it is!)

Anonymous said...

George, remember when the Red Tornado was in the Justice league?
He'd get demolished all the time, just like Robotman.
Sorry, C.F., it's a bit off-topic! But you know how it is with comic book guys.
Hey, any thought about an article about everybody's favorite golden gorilla Gorr? I had forgotten about him till I read this!


Comicsfan said...

I don't know, M.P.--Gorr took a back seat to the affairs of the High Evolutionary and Galactus (with the Impossible Man thrown in for good measure). And if you end up in the Stranger's lab, you know you've reached rock bottom.

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