Fantastic Four #20: Reed's Stretchy Body 48

Fantastic Four #20, page 3, panel 2 Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: Dick Ayers

Lettered by: Art Simek

Fantastic Four #20 is Dick Ayers' final contribution as inker to the main Fantastic Four series. He'll still be a regular contributor as penciler and inker of Strange Tales (after a brief return from Jack Kirby). It's a shame that he had to leave with this issue, as the first appearance of the Molecule Man is one of the weakest stories from the 102 (and-a-bit) issues created by Stan and Jack.

Readers would have known that things were a bit off when the presence of a fossil in the core of a meteor is proof to Reed that some form of life can exist in outer space, forgetting about the Skrulls, Planet X-ians, Poppupians, Ovoids and Watchers that he's met so far in his adventures.

The glowy ball seen here hasn't escaped from the TinTin adventure 'The Seven Crystal Balls. Instead, it's the Watcher's way of subtly contacting the Fantastic Four without revealing his presence of inadvertently interfering in the lives of the New Yorkers terrified by the floating ball of silvery fire... Nice on Uatu!

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #20 on our twentieth episode: The (Pre-Emptive) Return of Captain America (Secret wars II Continues In This Episode)