The delightful Fantastic Four

The past few articles have been significantly violent.  Let’s do something lighter.

You must know of the superhero family the Fantastic Four.  Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), the smartest person in the Marvel universe with a body made of rubber.  Sue Richards (Invisible Woman), Reed’s wife who turns invisible and manipulates force fields.  Johnny Storm (Human Torch), Sue’s brother and living fire/playboy.  Ben Grimm (Thing), the lovable rock monster with a thick New York accent.  They outted themselves to the public long ago, happily living in the super lab/skyscraper Baxter Building.  Also, Reed and Sue’s kids aren’t slouches either.  Valeria has the same brain smarts as her father and Franklin can alter reality.  Fancy stuff.  Now you’re caught up.

Shall we check in on the Fantastic Four?

Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman

Being the smartest person in the world gives you far less free time than you think.  He has to juggle all the responsibilities of creating new technology and saving the world alongside spending quality time with his wife and children.  Reed’s not terribly good at balancing that.  So despite Sue not being the smartest person in the world, she has a genius idea of her own:

Who’s Namor you ask?  He’s the shirtless king of Atlantis and member of the X-Men.  Also, this royal has had a major crush on the Inivsible Woman for decades and doesn’t really worry about stuff like husbands or boyfriends.  Fortunately, Reed’s not above jealousy.

Don’t think Sue’s being unfair.  Entire Fantastic Four stories have been devoted to how badly Reed ignores his responsibilities as a family man.  But let’s be realistic here.  You don’t get to be a super genius by being dumb.  And Mr. Fantastic has a super genius solution.

See?  Marital bliss!

Despite Reed’s hair, his youthful flirting and adventurous spirit never went prematurely gray.  Now back to business, the microuniverse isn’t going to save itself.

The Thing

Can’t argue that’s an awful superhero name.  But he’s one of the most complex and well-liked characters in the Marvel universe.  Stuck as an orange rock creature, he struggles constantly between his desire for a normal life and having the power to protect his friends and family.  Plus, his “It’s clobberin’ time!” catch phrase has warmed the hearts of preteens everywhere for over forty years.  Oh, and did you know he’s Jewish?

Jewish superheroes certainly exist, but you don’t see a lot of faith in the comic world.  The X-Man Kitty Pryde has worn a Star of David around her neck on several occasions.  Magneto may not be religious, but his Judaism got him sent to a concentration camp during World War II.  The X-Man Iceman is half Jewish, and no, I’m not sure which parent.  But to see half an issue devoted to a religious ceremony that doesn’t end with ninjas jumping through the roof or a crazy guy in robes performing a Satanic blood ritual, that’s almost unheard of.

Though Judaism is nothing without rules, so what qualifies the Thing to have a bar mitzvah?

My favorite part of the above picture is the tiny reading glasses.  Getting soaked in cosmic rays probably fixes any cataract problems.  Yet bar mitzvahs take months and months of memorization, practicing, and not spending every other afternoon brawling with Galactus.  Luckily, I guess it was a light half a year of invading world devourers, because all his family and buddies arrived for the big day.

Do superheroes have formal costumes?  I’m glad Wolverine showed up for the Thing’s ceremony, nevertheless, I don’t think bare arms are appropriate for synagogue.

Still, you know the best part of becoming a man?  Doing man things:

Sure he’s fictional, but let it be known that even street-talking rock creatures can get attractive non-rock girlfriends.  All it takes is a sweet personality and the ability to lift small buildings.

However, we can’t forget the final member of the team.  Let’s check in with Johnny Storm.

The Human Torch

Never mind.

3 Comments on “The delightful Fantastic Four”

  1. ducunal says:

    LOL; “never mind”

  2. Henry Cuevas says:

    Just curious. Why hadn’t Reed someone to fall back on? Sue always had Subby and in one issue the Black Panther. She even left Reed to be with Subby at one time. I think it was in the ’70s. The writers not only portrayed her as short sighted and selfish, but also the last candidate to be ever be considered Mother of the Year. Her then only child Franklyn was left behind in a comma. I remember that even female FF fans reacted in such a strong way–they wanted her butt.

    Reed can’t be even a quarter of a man if he puts up with her flirts with Namor. Come to think of it, if they were a real life couple, do you think she would have respect for a man who took her back after walking out on him three times?

    Back to non-masculine Reed, why didn’t he have someone to catch his eye? Why was he the only one to be a breath away from losing a love-interest? Was it to have Fanboys with no chance of getting a date to identify with him?

    In my previous post I wondered about Jean “Phoenix” Grey. She or a female intellectual relative of Dr. Doom would be a good choice.

    • Jason Levine says:

      Reed does have someone to make Sue jealous! Her name is Alyssa Moy and she served a large part in Mark Millar’s Fantastic Four run as well as a minor part in Claremont’s run. And you’re right about Reed not being able to match Namor’s physicality. But Alyssa is introduced as Reed’s intellectual equal, making Sue (smart, but not a genius) jealous and nervous about Alyssa being around. If you can get a hold of Millar’s run starting at Fantastic Four #554, I think you’ll be satisfied.

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