Friday, May 3, 2013

Fantastic Friendship

Had Victor Von Doom not walked out on Reed Richards and, instead, ended up rooming with him through college, there's no telling what turn their respective histories might have taken. (Assuming the college was still in one piece by the time they graduated.) Yet as we know, Ben Grimm stepped in to take his place--and one of the great partnerships and friendships of comics history was born.

Earlier, we touched on the relationship between these two men in their adventures in the Fantastic Four. For me, their history has always been one of the things that anchors the team, maybe even more than the feeling of family that the four share as a whole. Perhaps I feel that way because their friendship seemed unlikely to form deeper ties and sustain itself--the egghead science major and the football star, relating to each other from virtually two different worlds. Yet each found something in the other that drew their interest. For Reed, Ben Grimm was this larger than life figure that he cheered on in the stadium and whose company and background were so different from the formal structure of his education; while for Ben, Reed's intellect, while impressive, was something Ben felt Reed needed to put in perspective:

And so it's understandable that they continued to keep in touch and cross paths after they'd presumably gone their separate ways after graduation--and given the balance/counter-balance nature of their relationship, it's no wonder that it continued to strengthen in the FF, once Ben grew beyond the bitterness he felt at the circumstances of his change to the Thing. Reed would grow to be the decisive leader of the team--while Ben gave him room to excel in that role, yet kept him grounded in aspects of his life outside of the purely scientific. And it made for quite the partnership:

Of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing. With the pressures of life in the Fantastic Four came differences and bouts of temperament. But each knew how to handle the other when a "face front" was needed:

And at times, those differences would manifest in the midst of battle. But one of the strengths of the FF is how these four people cooperated and worked things out even in a crisis--and while Reed and Ben may exchange words, staying focused on the mission took precedence:

But it's really those glimpses into their relationship as old friends that are often the highlight of FF stories:

And just look how we've brought things full circle:

I have a hunch that Reed is still cheering him on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Only guys that really love each other can insult each other with impunity, or criticize each other and get away with it, and hope the message gets home and is considered. Whether you've been in the service, worked in a factory or just had a really good bud growing up, you'll understand.

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