The End Is Four-ever: Reed Richards is a @#$%.
I JUST read Fantastic Four No. 642, wanting to come to the post fairly. It turns out that the Invaders fight the FF due to a misunderstanding at the wreckage of the Baxter Building, Sue is possessed by her evil, somewhat scandalous alter ego Malice, the Hulk is there not as part of the Invaders, but because he’s homeless, and we hear the bad guy’s plan. He has done all of this, and captured Reed, so that he can stage an invasion of the Earth, use the Heroes Reborn Avengers to repel it, and blame the whole thing on Reed Richards.
All because Reed went out on a date with Sue first, and published papers in college.
Not such a good offering. The end page reveal is that in order to deal with Franklin’s universe altering powers, they are going to enlist the aid of nineties era superhero the Sleepwalker.
Sigh. The art was BEAUTIFUL. The story…uninspired. The motivations of the characters in general are very hazy, and the Quiet man is more of a Straw man, a cartoonish parody of the super villain that even does the “I did it X number of minutes ago,” schtick that was great in Watchmen, but old now. Like…thirty years or so old. I’m sure to be mocking that in an upcoming post.
Still…on to the art. I drew this before getting the issue, mostly because I thought that the Quiet Man being motivated by Sue Storm choosing to date Reed as remarkably dated and more than a bit sexist. I mean…I take shots at Sue Richards’ capricious ways fairly often, but she does get to make her own decisions. Sadly, marvel has often portrayed Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four, as if Sue were a less important character, by reason of her gender. Lets take a look at some “greatest hits” of Reed being a sexist jerk (there’s a lot here):
So, you might be saying, “that’s all stuff from the sixties and seventies…of course the viewpoint is dated. It’s of the time period.” I can see where you might say that. So let’s kick the dial up a notch, and fastforward to two epic examples from John Byrne, in the eighties:
Right? That single panel is self aware enough to bring it home. Still…let’s go forward a bit more, to Sue becoming possessed by the Malice persona. Both evil and scantily clad in a leather suit, Reed decides to jar her back to her senses in a way that seems inspired by the Henry Pym School of Marital Counseling….
By comparison to the last two, my interpretation of a more modern minded Reed Richards is positively delicate. It seems that after a few years of super-heroing together, Reed and Susan get married and from that point on his time with his wife is spent alternating between condescending to her, mentally abusing her, and generally neglecting her for his work. Sheesh.
In short…having the WHOLE motivation for the Quiet Man being that Reed asked Sue out on a date first brings this trend home Big Time. I mean…the Quiet Man could have asked her out on a date later. It’s not like Sue Storm couldn’t make decisions for herself…except for the fact that the male characters in the story seem to think that is exactly the case.
Next Issue: Marvel Team-Up! The Reverse Rodeo!