Saturday, July 26, 2014

Intervention for the Richards Children


When it comes to the Fantastic Four, we're often curious as to how this super-group copes with the day-to-day matters that you and I must tend to on a regular basis. Fortunately, we don't have to drop everything (and, if we have children, everyone) when a crisis arises that demands our intervention--that is to say, we don't have to do so nearly as often as the FF seem to. Nor do we have to cope with "home invasions" on anything like the scale the FF find themselves victims of.

So in their down time, the FF find solace in attending to maintenance or other domestic matters, or attending a symposium, or spending more time with the kids. Sue and Reed, of course, being parents, are probably on any number of contact lists for children's associations or foundations, and certainly local bureaucratic offices that need to meet with them from time to time:




But the meeting between Sue and Ms. Debouvier won't exactly be filled with pleasantries.




This meeting has no doubt been a long time coming--at least for readers. Since we're on "Marvel time" where the Richards family is concerned, we can't really be sure how long it took their family's circumstances to show up on the desk of someone in the city's child welfare division. But regardless of Franklin's age in this story (he looks to be around 7 or so?), we can assume that a lot of water has gone under the bridge in terms of the number of hostile incidences in the Baxter Building as well as his parents being off-site and incommunicado for extended time periods--so someone from the city wanting to make a home visit on behalf of their children is not only overdue, but completely warranted.

And yet, even with Sue's efforts in the past to find a safe environment for raising Franklin, look how completely surprised she is by Ms. Debouvier's concerns:




The fact that Ms. Debouvier has caught Sue flat-footed is of course precisely the right time for an investigation of this nature to gather the kind of information it needs: unrehearsed. But in that respect, it's Franklin who will prove to be the most informative:




Franklin's disclosure is, as we know, disturbingly only the tip of the iceberg. And if you and I are shaken up by what we're hearing (frankly, I would have said "whoa... back up a sec..." at the part about this child being transported to hell), how do you think someone from child welfare is going to react?

Oh, probably like this.



Fortunately, Ms. Debouvier is a professonal, and better trained in these matters than I am, and so she keeps her composure and calmly presses for more information. And by the time she's ready to leave, she's quite civil in response to Sue's attempts to put the children's circumstances into context, but also frank:




It was a no-win situation for Sue from the start--realities that she once recognized and tried to deal with in the past, but seems to have pushed to the back burner some time ago. It's no wonder that the points raised here are hitting her like a splash of cold water. It almost appears as if she's rationalized the well-being of the children, factoring in the dangers to Valeria and Franklin as part of the life the FF must lead. It's obviously not a perspective Ms. Debouvier is sympathetic to. The surprising thing, though, is that Sue, while understandably a little shaken by the meeting, regards it (in a later panel) as something of a bureaucratic annoyance--which had me thinking, "Jeez, what's happened to this woman?"

To give you a heads-up, this development isn't going to have Sue racing out the door on yet another house-hunting mission--but Ms. Debouvier will be following up, as she said, and it remains to be seen how Sue and Reed will deal with this crisis. At least, I hope they're regarding it as a crisis--otherwise, I'm in Simone's corner all the way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Persons of dubious character."
Yeah, that sums up Annihilus allright. Sheesh.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...