TITLE: Fantastic Four: A Death in the Family
YEAR: July 2006
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Writer: Kart Kesel
Pencils: Lee Weeks
Inks: Rob Campanella
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Sotocolor’s J. Brown
Letters: Artmonkey’s Dave Lanphear
Editor: Molly Lazer
Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley
As a big fan of the “Fantastic Four”, I came across a special one-shot issue of “Fantastic Four: A Death in the Family” and figured, I need to give it a try!
The inside page featuring a distraught Reed holding his wife with a blast in the middle of her chest, while Ben and Johnny in the background in shock.
The story begins with Ben (The Thing) waking up Johnny (The Human Torch) and telling him it’s the annual clean day, which Susan (the Invisible Woman) really goes nuts if people don’t do their job and clean up their room.
Johnny asks for Ben to help him out since he had forgotten and to stall time before she goes into her room and he can hide all the mess under his bed. Needless to say, Susan is upset when she finds out what Johnny did and tells him to clean up.
Meanwhile, as she goes to check to see if her husband and cleaned the lab, everything looks clean but when Johnny goes to open the laboratory closet, all of Richard’s gadgets fall out. Upsetting, Sue.
But unknown to the others, one of the gadgets contained a Cephalopod ala Visi-Gog came through a trans-dimensional rift from the device that fell out of the closet and Richard tries to find a way to send it back. But as Sue puts a force field around her and Reed, to give him time to look for the device needed to send the Cephalod back to where it belonged, it shoots a blast through Sue’s force field. Killing her immediately.
Johnny uses the time machine to go back one hour in time in hopes he can prevent the disaster that took his sister. But will it work?
Personally, while I did enjoy the story, I didn’t like the fact that the story was too short.
I expected a one-shot with a main comic book story to make it worthy of a one-shot but what you actually get is a short story and a reprint of “Fantastic Four” issue #245.
In some ways, two stories that have no true connection but the fact that they feature the Fantastic Four.
Issue #245 was an issue written and drawn by John Byrne, colored by Bob Sharen, featuring graphics by Jim Novak and produced by Jim Salicrup. It’s actually an entertaining series that I read back in the ’80s and enjoyed it as it showed an independent side to Susan Richards.
The story begins with her being interviewed by Barbara Walker for “Woman to Woman” and Walker is trying to extract information from Susan about being weak, being subservient with Susan holding her own in the interview and that she chose her name and one should not think her powers are ineffectual.
When she gets home to the Baxter Building, she finds Reed, Ben down and Human Torch being held by a powerful being with long blonde hair and a beard. Who is this mysterious person that attacked the members of the Fantastic Four?
Overall, when it comes to Marvel Comics One-Shots, while a story and a reprint is nothing new, I felt that it was an odd selection for a reprint.
The one-shot story is a Johnny Storm (Human Torch) storyline, and there are many stories that could be chosen featuring The Human Torch. But if the goal was to showcase how mothering and important Susan Storm is, then I can see why issue #245 was selected.
But I would have hoped that “A Death in the Family” would be the primary story with the longest page-count, but that isn’t the case. I enjoyed it, but I also felt a little let down for how short it was.
Still, a one-shot worth picking up if you can find it for a great price.