INVISIBLE WOMAN #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mattia de Lulis
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover: Adam Hughes
Here’s the thing: I love the Fantastic Four. Seriously, I love them. The FF helped build the Marvel Universe (or MU). Jack and Stan’s first few FF issues were some of the first comics I’ve ever read and I’ve had a soft spot for the team ever since. I recommend Fantastic Four comics to people like it’s my job. So of course I was stoked when Marvel announced that Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, would be getting a solo series.
She's such a strong and interesting character with ties to a lot of corners in the MU. Frankly, the Fantastic Four would fall apart without Sue Storm. She's one of the most powerful members of the team and really just has the coolest powers of the four overall.
It’s about time that the Invisible Woman, got her own book. No, really. It’s about time! Even Squirrel Girl got her own solo series before Invisible Woman and that’s just criminal. I mean, have you seen Squirrel Girl?? Sue Storm would blow Doreen Green out the water any day. No competition.
I dig that Mark Waid was brought on to write this mini-series. Waid has been in the comics industry for a long time and has told solid and even important stories. I don't need to explain Waid's impact to you. You already know. Bringing in Mattia de Lulis as the artist doesn’t hurt, either. It also blows my mind that Adam Hughes is doing the covers for this series. The cover of INVISIBLE WOMAN #1 is an eye-catcher. It’s a cover that I’d want to frame and hang up.
Despite not having prior experience with Mattia de Lulis’ art, I fell in love within a couple pages. The most outstanding part of this book for me is de Lulis’ art. His art is… wow. It’s detailed, beautiful, sleek and realistic. Looking through this book almost feels like you’re watching a movie on paper. His art works well with the espionage story this book is trying to tell. I’m looking forward to seeing where his visuals take us next.
This isn’t Mark Waid’s first encounter with the Fantastic Four, either. If you don’t know about Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s run on the Fantastic Four, definitely check it out. Their FF was a series by two creators in their prime. Waid and Wieringo’s FF run had the fabulous foursome depicted as a family of explorers rather than superheroes. Emphasis on explorers. Double emphasis on family.
During Waid and Wieringo’s time on the book, Doctor Doom got sent to Hell, The Thing died, the FF met God, Galactus became human and the Human Torch became the CEO of the Fantastic Four. That entire Waid/Wieringo FF run is now collected in omnibus form. If you’re looking for a book with a lot of heart, big ideas and spectacular art, their run is something you could look into.
Waid knew the FF at their core during his run. That’s why I was excited to see him back on an FF-related title again. I find it interesting that this series is actually a superhero spy book. Although this first issue leaves some things to be desired, I was invested in the espionage aspect of the book. I appreciate that this won’t be just a copy and paste Fantastic Four title.
The book drops you into a flashback of Sue Storm going on a S.H.I.E.L.D extraction mission in Eastern Europe. For a few pages, you forget that this is supposed to be a superhero story. Sue has to use her powers to keep herself, her spy partner (Aidan Tintreach) and the scientist they’re saving from getting shot to death on their way to extraction.
In the kill or be killed world of espionage, I appreciate that Sue Storm has one rule: no killing. She has to use her wits and powers to get herself out of tough situations. My hope is that future issues test her no killing rule. I don’t want this book to play it safe. If this book is going to take place in the FF’s current continuity, I want it to change the character in some way. If it doesn’t, then what’s the point?
Now, there’s some banter between Sue and her spy partner, Tintreach (worst last name ever, by the way). These two have nicknames for each other and work well together. There’s some tension but it’s not necessarily sexual. It's not like the book is trying to force a relationship, either. During the flashback, you learn that it takes place when Sue was still engaged to Reed Richards. Sue makes it clear that she’s not interested in Aidan. The flashback ends with the spies taking the scientist to the extraction car driven by Nick Fury (the father of the current one). After the mission, Sue and Aidan don’t see each other again.
Flash forward to the present when Sue learns through the CIA (because S.H.I.E.L.D isn't around anymore) that Aidan has been kidnapped by people who don’t have his best interest in mind. The CIA representative who called Sue in warns her not to go after Aidan. Sue immediately takes it upon herself to go save her old partner, Tintreach (is this even a real name??). She travels to Madripoor (if you know, you know) where she runs into… Black Widow.
Wait, what? That’s the end? Yeah, it is. I didn't think I wanted an Invisible Woman and Black Widow team-up but I do now. Invisible Woman and the Widow might work well together. Hopefully Widow ups the ante in the espionage department. She’s an interesting character with a shady past and that’ll gel well with Sue Storm’s history as a spy. This won't be Waid's first time writing Natasha Romanoff. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee created one of the best Black Widow runs in recent history. (I say that they plotted out the perfect Black Widow movie in their run… *wink wink*)
So the Eastern Europe mission flashback was my favorite part of the issue. My hope is that as the issues go on, we’ll get to see more of Sue’s life as a part-time S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Also, any new flashbacks should show more of the relationship between her and Tintreach (still a terrible name). Because right now, I couldn't care less about him. Also, we don’t get to see enough of Sue being herself outside of being a part of the Fantastic Four. So the book needs to develop her as her own person.
What irks me is that the superhero aspect of the book is… the weakest part of the first issue. However, that’s not a deal breaker for me. I’m totally behind this book if it gives us more espionage flashbacks because that’s where the meat of this issue is. I'm looking forward to the team-up in the next issue, too. This issue made me curious and I want to know more about Sue Storm’s history. So I think this book did its job.
Will this book work for everyone? No, I wouldn’t say so. The first issue of INVISIBLE WOMAN raises a lot more questions than answers. At least it’s still early in the game. That gives it time to get those questions answered in the next few issues.
If Sue’s solo series sticks to being an espionage book, then I’m on board. What I want to see from this series is who Sue Storm is at her core, how her time as a spy influenced her, whether she’ll have to break her no-killing rule and how her current mission will affect her in the future. So I would still say pick up INVISIBLE WOMAN #1. Maybe you’ll get something out of it. At the very least you’ll get some beautiful art, a stunning Adam Hughes cover and an interesting spy story.