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May 19, 2019

Fantastic Four #5 (Review) – the Wedding of the Thing and Alicia Masters


Fantastic Four #5 – the Wedding of the Thing and Alicia Masters
Marvel Comics, February 2019
Writer: Dan Slott

Weddings in American superhero comics are usually ill-omened. Batman was recently left at the aisle by Catwoman; The Flash (Wally West) had his wedding to Linda Park interrupted by the villainous Abra Kadabra; Wolverine’s first wedding to Mariko Yashida was foiled by the mind-control of the X-Men’s enemy, Mastermind, and his second wedding to the same women ended in her death. (Indeed, the only super hero wedding we can think of that went without a hitch was the wedding of Wonder Girl to her partner Terry Long in Tales of the Teen Titans #50, 1985 – but with the possibility of supervillain attack prevented by the presence of Superman, hovering high in the air above the venue.) And so, when we learned that Ben Grimm, a charter member of the superhero group called the Fantastic Four, was getting married, we assumed that this too would be interrupted by some sort of carnage. As Ben Grimm says in a dialogue exchange with Spider-Man, “You add heroes to a wedding and shenanigans happen. Well not this time!”

Of course, there is some carnage. The stag party is interrupted by an ill-considered attack of the Serpent Society (ill-considered in the sense that the attendees of the stage party include Thor, Dr Strange, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Black Panther, Rocket, Star Lord, Captain America, and others). And at the very conclusion, the wedding party receives news that Galactus is about to consume the Earth, with his landing point being the fictional Eastern European Latveria: the Four’s arch-foe Dr Doom uses a planetary broadcasting system to announce his intention to repel the cosmic being. But the increasingly eccentric Mr Fantastic (the brilliant polymath Reed Richards) uses a time-bubble, “chronal displacement” device to ensure that the wedding is brought to a conclusion.

There are some poignant moments. Sue Storm teaches Ben Grimm how to dance, and a reverie of how she and Ben almost ended up together prior to their ill-fated mission into space is a big surprise.

And the moment of the wedding is itself touching. But the issue features a lot of goofy humour:

a. Thundra is disinterested in joining the doe’s party, and instead joins the men in a poker game were she cleans them out;

b. Franklin Richards, the teenage son of Reed and Sue Richards, has dyed his hair bright blue to everyone’s horror;

c. At the doe’s night, Sue Richards describes to the blind Alicia the gyrations of the male stripper’s anatomy;

d. Johnny Storm, also known as the Human Torch, was previously married to Alicia… only she turned out to be a shapeshifting alien called a Skrull. The dialogue around this failed romance is breath-takingly funny:

Reed Richards (after taking samples of the Thing’s and Alicia’s blood): “Wanted to make sure that none of you have been replaced by duplicates. After all, we don’t want a situation like last time… when Johnny married a Skrull he thought was Alicia. Now that would be embarrassing.”

Silence.

Alecia: “Hmm. I should…go. And do… wedding.. things. Dress fittings. Seating arrangements. That kid of …stuff. Yoinks.”

Ben Grimm: “So… was kinda hoping no one was gonna bring that up…. But hey, elephant in the room. [turns to Johnny] Maybe you and I should…um… talk about that… and our… feelings. As men who…ummm…”

Johnny Storm: “Can’t! Sorry! I have to… Bachelor Party! Yes! I gotta plan it! Reed was going to. But – pfft- who’d want that? No! You want this done right, you bring on the Storm! We’re talking bachelor party for the ages! You’ll see, pal!”

The issue is an entertaining read, with the right mix of sentiment and jokes. As the team fly off, Ben Grimm says, “Next stop: Latveria! Smack down Galactus! Give Doom what for! And then back in time for some weddin’ cake!” We look forward to all of this fun chaos.

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