3. (1965) The Marriage of Reed Richards and Sue Storm

Fantastic Four Annual Three 3

Annual Three

The marriage of Reed and Sue is one of the milestones of comic narrative history, and I’m not saying that lightly, or just because everyone does. There are very few examples of comicbook characters who make such lifelong commitments to each other. For where comicbooks are now, which is still mostly a ‘return to status quo’ art form. There have been 43 issues and two annuals before this one and some attempt to create dramatic tension by creating a Namor/Sue/Reed love triangle, and some character conflict between Reed and Sue in his reluctance to express his feelings to Sue. It’s a great development and it changes the dynamic to one which isn’t present in any other superhero group.

As far as the story itself goes, it is rather fun. It’s remarkably like what a real wedding is like, emotionally speaking. Everyone you know is there (in this case, the whole Marvel Universe), and there are dozens of small crises that need to be handled, either by those closest in the planning of the wedding (Reed, Sue, The Thing, etc.), or just whoever happens to be around (Daredevil, the X-Men, etc.). True, not every wedding has a criminal mastermind genius trying to destroy it (not every wedding) as this one does, but at least it’s consistent with the Fantastic Four ethos.Fantastic Four Annual Three 3And that’s really all there is to say about this issue. It’s not as long a story as the last two annuals — the new material is only as long as a standard issue. Fantastic Four Annual Three 3Seeing the issues leading up to this one, 41, 42, & 43,  it’s fairly clear that Stan and Jack are pretty overworked, when you think that they’re also handling writing/art duties on X-Men, Jack is penciling about three quarters of all the covers that Marvel is producing, and Stan is probably writing half of the output as well as acting as editor-in-chief. So although this could have been a long epic in the scope of the previous two annuals, it doesn’t quite measure up. It is fun seeing all the Marvel U heroes together, however, and fighting different foes than usual. Have the X-Men ever battled the Mole Man since? Probably, but most likely without the same amount of exuberance.

EVALUATION: 7/10Fantastic Four Annual Three 3

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