Strange Tales #102: Atomic Power! 4

Strange Tales #102, page 4, panel 3 Uncredited Writers: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber

Uncredited Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Dick Ayers

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

I'm not sure we've come across anything as crazy as today's example of Atomic Power. It's a real favourite of mine.

When the Wizard first appears, there is almost no hint of the deadly menace he would later become. For a start, he's completely obsessed with defeating the Human Torch, rather than Reed Richards. Then, he gets lumbered with the worst facial hair ever seen in comics. In short, he's a one-shot throwaway villain who somehow completely shakes off his origins and becomes one of the key Fantastic Four villains.

Here, he relates the story of one of his latest tricks, involving being chained up in a safe, which is dunked into the ocean. He escapes from the chains, not through contortionism or by swallowing the key, but by having a miniature buzzsaw powered by a nuclear reactor secreted in his ring.

I'm sure today's scientists would love to know how the Wizard managed to create a nuclear power source that fits into a signet ring. If I was the Wizard, I'd patent my ring and go and make a bucketload of cash.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #8 - with special guest Joshua Lapin-Bertone - on our sixth episode: Like A Puppet On A String