Popular Media Reports on the Death of a Fantastic Four Member… I Guess it Was a Slow News Day!


I’m a pretty huge fan of Jonathan Hickman’s run in Fantastic Four. It’s by far one of the best takes on the characters that I’ve ever read. Heck, it’s even pretty stiff competition for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original version! That being said, when I found out that Marvel were planning to end Fantastic Four, with the death of one of the main characters, leading to a rebooted series, with the new title of FF, I pretty much groaned out loud, and thought, “not again!”.

Killing off the main character in a superhero book has been done so many times, that it’s now become cliched. Only last year, DC killed off Batman, then just before that, Marvel killed off Captain America. Did they stay dead? No, of course not, they both… got better?! They’re never going to truly kill of such important characters, not to mention the fact that they are incredibly lucrative properties! With these two recent examples of the Big Two not following through on such dramatic events, how are we supposed to get excited about them doing it all over again? When I found out about the newest superhero death, I was so underwhelmed that I didn’t even post the news here. Well, I posted Marvel’s press release about the new title launch, but that’s it.

I was pretty surprised then to find out that the popular media has picked up this piece of news, and it’s generating a lot of hype. There is coverage on CNN, BBC News, The Associated Press, and many more. Am I wrong, or is this not exactly newsworthy? I mean, how many superheroes have we seen die, only to come back a short time later? It’s happened so many times now, that I can’t even take it seriously! When death is no longer the end for a character, how are we suppose to believe that they are ever in any sort of danger? I mean, after all, if a supervillian kills the character, it’s nothing to worry about, they’ll just get resurrected, or a version of them will come from an alternate dimension, or it’ll turn out that they never really died, and were just lost in the time stream (this happened for both Captain America and Batman). I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but it really feels like we are running out of places to take these characters, and that’s a pretty sad place to be!

Anyway, below is the AP report. Have a good Christmas!

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Fantastic Four - superheroes whose creation nearly 50 years ago helped usher in the Silver Age of comics for Marvel - is about to become a trio.

Marvel Comics said Wednesday that a member of the foursome - Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and the Thing - will die in issue No. 587 next month, a change that the company said will ripple across the Marvel Universe like never before.

But who will die? That’s a secret protected with more might than the Incredible Hulk and Sentry possess, but executive editor Tom Brevoort, who oversees the comic book, says plenty of clues have been offered during the course of writer Jonathan Hickman’s run, including the current “Three” story line.

“I think we’ve given plenty of hints as to who may die - perhaps too many, in that every one of our lead characters is left in a dire, life-threatening situation the month before,” Brevoort told The Associated Press. “So, hopefully, that will help to heighten the suspense, while preserving the surprise as to which member doesn’t make it out alive.”

Marvel is taking no chances in trying to contain that secret like it were the wish-granting Cosmic Cube itself.

Readers will find out for themselves when “Fantastic Four” No. 587 is released in January, though it’ll be wrapped in a black polybag designed to keep snoops from finding out and spilling the news.

It won’t appear on newsstands, either.

“The surprises in this issues - and what comes next - constitute one of the biggest events in Marvel history,” said David Gabriel, senior vice president for sales and circulation at Marvel.

But is death really the end and, more so, will it be permanent? After all, death has visited the Fantastic Four, which was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in 1961, before.

Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, supposedly died, but that was just a ruse. Similarly, her husband, Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, was thought dead after being caught in a blast with his archenemy, Dr. Doom. Instead of death, however, Richards and his nemesis were snatched away to another dimension.

This time, however, Marvel is adamant, noting that once the current story ends in No. 588, the Fantastic Four will cease to exist.

“We’ve been building to this story and this moment since Jonathan began writing the series around a year and a half ago,” Brevoort said. “It’s a story that will have a transformative effect on these characters - virtually nothing will be the same after the events of this story. And that was the reason to go this route - to bring about these seismic changes to the characters and to the series.”

Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said the story is part of a wider effort to not only keep readers entertained, but engaged.

“The beauty of the Marvel Universe is that it is in constant change. Things are always happening, very much like life itself,” he told AP. “For us, being stagnant just means that we’re not doing our job. At the end of the day, its about characters, soap opera, dramatic events and things that keep our readers coming back for that next installment.”

Related posts:

  1. Marvel Announces No Overprint for Polybagged Fantastic Four #587
  2. Fantastic Four #583 Sells Out and Returns with a Second Printing
  3. Preview: Your First Look at Fantastic Four #584
  4. Your First Look at Fantastic Four #583
  5. Your First Look at Fantastic Four #581!

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