I read these two issue pretty much back to back and discovered something in them that I’d actually been missing from Marvel Comics and shared universe comics in general for quite some time. Unfortunately it is heavily spoiler-laden so the rest of the post is behind the cut…
Last week we had Amazing Spider-Man #535 an issue in which Peter finally decided that he had chosen the wrong side in the registration conflict. Essentially the whole issue was Peter reflecting on how Tony Stark and Reed Richards were both profiting from the Negative Zone prison, and the entire act as a whole. Finally, after a discussion with Reed involving his McCarthy era Uncle (Not too obvious hammering of the civil rights issue…) Peter told Aunt May and Mary Jane to run and was attacked by asshat Tony Stark.
Now, I don’t even need to go into how horrendous the character of Stark is acting. That has been discussed left and right throught the blogoverse. What I was interested in was how JMS actually tried to put a human perspective on Reed Richards through his conversation with Peter. While his talk isn’t enough to convince anyone of the validity of the law, it’s enough to show that he does in fact have some doubts and therefore could in fact be on the road to redemption. He’s trapped in a prison of his own making and is, at this point, too deep to escape without losing everything he’s worked so hard to build. I can relate to that and actually feel sorry for him. Then we come to this week’s Fantastic Four #540, which makes me question the very existence of editors.
In this week’s issue of Fantastic Four, we had, in essence, the dissolution of the FF. Ben finally left for Paris (with the stupidest reasoning I’ve ever heard…I mean seriously…expatriates who went to Paris to escape the war…anyway, not the point of the post) and Sue left Reed. How did Sue leave Reed you might ask…well, you shouldn’t have to since we saw it all on panel in Civil War #4, but see…that’s not how she leaves in this issue…at all. We had an extremely out of character Sue leaving Reed in Civil War which boggled the mind and only made sense if you knew the character, and knew which side she would lean towards based on past history alone. This issue had a much more in-character version of her departure…but it totally voided the departure in Civil War #4.
This issue Sue basically exploded after trying to have a reasonable discussion with Reed about where his priorities lay. She did some property damage to prove her point, and she actually made a convincing point as to why exactly she was leaving. Which was great, and was definitely a plus point for the character’s handling. But nowhere was there a mention of immunity sex or Reed taking care of the kids, or hell, even oxidant wine! What’s really mind-boggling is that Tom Brevoort edits both Civil War and FF…and with the delays involved he could easily have had the two be in sync…but no, that would be too much like doing someone’s job wouldn’t it.
Now, as to what Marvel or more specifically, JMS did right. In Amazing Spider-Man, JMS had Peter talk to Tony and Reed and gave us the story through Peter’s perspective. In Fantastic Four, he did the same thing and gave us the story from Reed’s perspective. And not only that, he also added some extra details that enhance the reading experience from ASM and FF if you read them both, but if you only read one, you get a pretty good picture of what’s going on too. I mean, Tony “asshat” Stark was actually spying on Peter and Reed!! There’s no way in hell that can be justified in my opinion. Also, by giving the story from Reed’s POV, we get a more human picture of him and feel more sorry for him. I actually didn’t hate Reed anymore after this issue, and that’s a very good thing. Also, two different editors on the books, and they have more correlation between the two then the two books by one editor…just thought I’d mention it.
So, in 2 issues, Marvel managed to run the gamut between totally dropping the ball and actually really redeeming a failing character…I would say I’m impressed, but I’m just…amused. It’s hilarious how horribly Civil War clashes with FF. I can’t wait to read Brevoort’s explanation for this.