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What If Susan Richards Died In Childbirth?
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It starts off quite gently with a recap of Fantastic Four Annual #6, with the male members of the FF heading into the Negative Zone while Sue is in hospital about to give birth. There's a nice bit where she talks to Crystal about how she first met Reed and Ben, and then The Watcher tells us how this story originally ended, with the guys getting back in time to give Sue some Negative Zone energy which allows everything to work out fine. Showing this happiness feels a bit cruel as The Watcher immediately snatches us away to another version of reality, where they didn't get back in time and Sue and the baby both died. It's horrible. This is the point where Doctor Doom appears, as part of a whistle-stop tour around the Marvel Universe where we see different characters reacting to the news. Doom, as is so often his wont, has gone out onto a parapet for a bit of an old muse. Doom is a regular feature in these sort of round-the-world trips, often being used as here to represent both supervillains and places that aren't America - a very similar example of this can, for instance, be seen in Thor #271, where Doom is shown alongside various other characters, pointing out that Something Important Is Happening. The issue then gives us a lengthy look at Sue's funeral, the sombre nature of which is somewhat spoiled for me by how much it reminded me of Fantastic Four Roast! The rest of the issue follows Reed Richards as he falls into depression and heads back into the Negative Zone to take revenge on Annihilus for stopping him from getting back to our dimension in time to save his wife. Ben and Johnny, along with Namor who is staying in The Baxter Building for some reason, follow him, and there are various skirmishes which all end with Reed and Annihilus plummeting to their deaths in a Negative Zone sun. What a thoroughly gloomy and depressing read that was - it almost makes me eager for the light-hearted simplicity of "Secret Wars" which we'll be looking at next time. Almost!
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posted 24/11/2020 by Mark Hibbett
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