Invisible Girl is Worthless

Bloggified by Jake on Thursday, May 4, 2006

As I've been hyping all week, Invisible Girl was rather poorly written when Fantastic Four first hit the shelves. It should be noted, however, that the same can be said about the other three members of the team as well. For the first twenty issues (and maybe beyond... I haven't gotten to the second Essentials volume), calling the characters one-dimensional is being generous. Ben is angry, Johnny is cocky, Reed is smart, and Sue is... a girl.

Unfortunately, when it was pointed out by letter writers that Sue's character was as poorly developed as the others, but lacked any kind of useful powers to make up for the lack of depth, Stan Lee got a little offended and took it out on readers by having Reed threaten children.Okay, let's give Sue the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she really is an important cog in the FF wheel and we just haven't recognized it because Stan Lee's writing is so subtle and nuanced (which reminds me of another post I wanted to write regarding Essential Iron Man titled "Did Happy Hogan Ever Risk His Own Life to Save Tony Stark's and If So, Why Did Tony Go Four Whole Frames Without Mentioning It?").

Let's listen to the case for why Sue is important.Uh... huh? This was really the best argument Stan could make? Is he trying to say Sue's like the team's mom? Because I love my mom a ton, but if I had to fight Skrulls or Dr. Doom, she'd stay her ass at home. No matter what kind of influence she's had on making me the man I am, when I have to go toe to toe with Red Ghost, her knees just wouldn't hold up, even if she could turn invisible.

Frankly, if I took my mom into a fight with Sub-Mariner and someone wrote me a letter suggesting I'd be better off taking Iron Man or Captain America or Spider-Man, I'd be hard pressed to argue with them, much less make a case for why my mom should be there in the first place.

Also, it should be considered that a comic book about Lincoln could safely contain several pages of scenes involving his mother as long as her influence was portrayed as important and there was an obvious connection to what she taught Abe and how it made him into the man whose face is on the five dollar bill.

If, instead, it's full of a bunch of scenes of his mother sitting around pining for the Prince of Atlantis, getting taken hostage every issue, and criticizing Commies, readers probably will question her value to the story, regardless of what the president might have said about her.

I'll accept that Abe's mom was a huge influence on his life, but if you're going to tell me a story about it, I expect that to be shown. Likewise, I'll accept that Invisible Girl is an important force in the Fantastic Four, but just saying it doesn't make it so. I need some proof, and Reed is willing to provide it.First off, wasn't Reed's point a minute ago that Abe Lincoln's mom didn't fight his enemies? Now he's trying to show Sue's importance by illustrating a time she fought an enemy?

While Reed is correct that Sue took part in this fight, she tripped a Skrull who was running away from the other three members of the FF. Certainly she may have prevented Reed from having to stretch his arm out and grab the Skrull's ankle or saved Johnny from having to fly a hundred or so yards in pursuit of the fleeing Skrull, it might be hyperbole to suggest they might not have won the fight without her.

This is generally how Invisible Girl participates in fights. Check out how she helped quell a prison riot in FF #8. Thing beats up a few dozen guys and builds a prison cell out of twisted girders. Reed uses himself as a shield to protect the team from some prisoners who have gotten ahold of machine guns, then disarms them from afar with his stretchy arm. Johnny traps a bunch of guys in a flaming circle. Sue...... convinces one guy he's gone crazy by waving a gun in his face while invisible.

You know what's equally effective? Waving a gun in his face while not invisible.

Reed still has more case to make.Again, while true, the circumstances are a little more revealing than the conclusion. Why wasn't Sue in the airless room with the rest of the team? Because Dr. Doom was using her as a hostage. He caught the entire team, then took Sue to his side because he knew she posed no threat.

Furthermore, the only reason she was able to spring them from the death chamber is because Doom got stupid and stopped paying attention to her. Aunt May could have done that, but she'd have done it with more panache and without openly lusting for Namor in front of Uncle Ben.

Oddly, the whole rant about the terrible readers who can't recognize Sue's value is interupted by a trouble alert from Johnny. Thing, Reed, and Sue rush to see what's wrong and find a birthday cake for Sue. Reed and Ben admit they've been keeping her busy while Johnny set up the surpise party, which implies Reed and Ben might have just made up the bad letters to keep her distracted.

Instead, I chalk it up to Stan Lee's furthering his lame explanation of how great Sue is through emotional manipulation. Earlier, he used the ploys of patriotism and motherhood, suggesting anyone who doesn't like Sue must also hate the mother of the Abraham Lincoln; now we're supposed to feel guilty for ruining her birthday.

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