Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Last Days Of Sue Storm!

Reed Richards and Sue Storm didn't have a whirlwind romance by any stretch of the imagination--but when news of their engagement got out, you'd think that we *ahem* comics fans were in the presence of Hollywood royalty. However they arrived on such a pedestal, the match of Reed and Sue made them celebrities beyond the status they inherited as one-half of the Fantastic Four. And now that we have the benefit of hindsight, and since super-villains weren't likely to put their plans on hold just because these two became engaged, we can fast-forward through that time and take a look at the rocky road these two navigated as they transitioned to marriage.

And in the process, it allows us to pop the champagne cork on another

Marvel Trivia Question

Did this happy couple ever have an honest-to-gosh honeymoon?

If memory serves, Sue and Reed didn't actually put themselves on the same page as far as their long-term intentions for each other until the team visited State U., the alma mater of Reed and Ben. And after an encounter with Dragon Man and Diablo had been wrapped up, the couple (Reed and Sue, not Reed and Ben) slipped away to Lovers Lane, and stopped at the traditional "sweetheart tree."

As Ben might say, "Yecchh!" But it looks like the sweetheart tree was the springboard for the formal announcement in the next issue:

This issue marked the first appearance of the Frightful Four, who crashed the festivities in their first bold strike as a team. And they did pretty well, too, which taught the FF an important lesson: When love is in the air, chances are the Wizard's anti-grav ship is, too. The evil FF were driven off; but before things got sticky, the FF were able to enjoy sharing their good news with their friends.

(You notice that Reed is struck speechless by Thor's good wishes. Perhaps the blessings of Norse warriors destined for doom on the day of Ragnarok isn't the best omen for your hopes for a long marriage.)

The FF might as well have also invited the Frightful Four to that get-together, as often as that team attacks them in the coming issues. Next, the fiends trap the FF on an island where they rig a deadly Q-bomb to explode, resulting in the FF barely escaping with their lives but losing their powers. Afterward, Dr. Doom breaks out of the drugged state which deceived him into ceasing his attacks on the FF, and engages the team in a life-or-death battle in their own headquarters while they're at their weakest. Regaining their powers, and with the help of Daredevil, they prevail.

In the aftermath of that battle, the FF lose their most powerful member, the Thing, to (you guessed it) the Frightful Four, who stage their strongest attack yet against the team. Reed and Sue manage to retrieve Ben; but the evil FF decide to invade the Baxter Building, and, with Doom sitting out the conflict due to injury from the Thing, stand on the verge of their greatest triumph.

Nor does Reed fail now. Disabling the Wizard through careful planning and thus freeing the Torch from the Wizard's trap, the three clean up what's left of the Frightful Four, as Medusa flees to fight another day. And Ben, now free of the Wizard's influence, prepares to assume one of his proudest moments.

This battle would be the last we see of "Sue Storm" in the monthly FF title, as we segue to the 1965 Fantastic Four Annual where Reed and Sue tie the knot after hordes of super-villains meet the FF and their heroic allies in the mother of all conflicts. In the next regular FF issue, it's Mr. and Mrs. Reed Richards who, in an odd sense of symmetry, once again encounter Dragon Man and subsequently become involved with the uncanny Inhumans in their first comic book appearance.

"What A Way To Spend A Honeymoon!", indeed. Why are Sue and Reed suiting up in uniform in the Baxter Building, when they should be jetting off to a private locale in France or the Bahamas on their honeymoon? Instead, Reed builds a new dishwasher for Sue, and they spend the next ten issues battling first the Inhumans, then Galactus, then the Black Panther, before the subject of their put-on-the-back-burner honeymoon resurfaces in passing conversation:

And when they return to the Baxter Building from Wakanda, we receive the unmistakable impression that this couple plans to deal their honeymoon into their obligations as part of the Fantastic Four. And let's face it, there's nothing like the CLIK-KLAK of security machinery to stimulate the romantic thoughts of newlyweds.


Anonymous said...

But it has also been mentioned that Sue was Reed's "sweetheart" waiting for him back home while he was in Europe during World War II - obviously they didn't want to rush into marriage !!!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to contrast how nasty Medusa is here to the heroic figure that she would eventually become. Then there's the Sandman - the sort of selfish cad who thought nothing of turning Betty Ross into glass in order to cure himself. Somehow this guy was considered Avengers material. They must have both had personality transplants!


Comicsfan said...

Colin, Reed probably also put the brakes on when the Sub-Mariner entered the picture vis-a-vis Sue, a situation which took some time to get settled.

That's a fair point about the Sandman, Gaz. Yet it seems that whenever a former criminal is being voted on as an Avenger, the writer always trots out Hawkeye's past on the wrong side of the law (as well as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch), and everyone folds and votes to accept. (With the exception of the Swordsman, who was put through a rigorous period of trial and observation when he reapplied for membership.) It might be interesting to one day see an Avenger who raises their hand and points out that they're not a rehabilitation facility.