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Fantastic Four #540: Review

Sep 2006
J. Michael Straczynski, Mike McKone

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Story Name:

Some words can never be taken back

Review & Comments

4 stars

Fantastic Four #540 Review by (August 28, 2014)
Wildstreak was an olympic athlete who was crippled by a gangster. Her father built an exoskeleton which made her much better than she was before, and she became a suprheroine to hunt down the gang boss in Annual #26 and Thunderstrike #11. She is a non-Registree captured in Civil War: Front Line #5/4. Presumably she wasn't 1 of those freed last issue. This is the end of her known career. Reed Richards hasn't always been averse to breaking laws. For instance he 'stole' the rocket the FF got their powers in. This breakup of Reed and Sue was probably meant to be equivalent to the scene in Civil War #4 which came out the month before. But there Sue just sneaked away leaving Reed a note. The Marvel Continuity Project separates the 2 scenes, and Paul Bourcier's (partial) Calendar has Sue returning home here for an unspecified reason (maybe to attempt a reconciliation? maybe to see the kids she left behind?), but this argument seals the breakup. Noticeably Sue isn't shown joining the Resistance until CW#5 after this. The MCP Calendar puts the visit by Peter and Tony the day after the rest of the issue, with #541 (Thing in Paris) and some CWFL stuff (including Reed in #9/1) in between. That visit is also depicted in a chunk of Amazing Spider-Man #535, which includes some scenes inside the prison where Iron Man tells Peter that the inmates are there for life. When he gets home Spider-Man decides to defect to the Resistance.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Fantastic Four #540 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In the Baxter Building Mr Fantastic is about to send Wildstreak through to the prison in the Negative Zone. He needs to attune the containment field to her specific powers. Suddenly an armoured guard gets too close to the field and shorts it - and Wildstreak escapes. Reed and the guards follow her into the next room, but she's disappeared.

The guards leave to search the building, but Reed Richards is suspicious. His suspicions are confirmed when a window breaks from the inside, and Wildstreak comes into view diving down the side of the building. And Sue Richards becomes visible too.

They restart their old argument. Invisible Woman is just glad to have a chance to keep a Registration resister out of the Negative Zone prison. Reed believes they have to obey the law. Sue brings out the 'Nazis only following orders' argument. Angry Reed refuses to discuss it further. But he can't help adding that he's doing it to protect her (presumably from the anti-hero backlash that the Registration Act was designed to appease).

Invisible Woman's reaction is to form a forcefield tube around herself, and project it up through the roof of the building and down to the basement, to show just how much protection she doesn't need. She responds by saying that when the law is wrong then it is up to the citizens to stand against it, even if it means death - and the man she married believed that too.

Reed turns away, and Sue's forcefield propels her out through the roof.

Reed won't talk about it when Thing comes in, so Ben just tells him he's decided to leave the country, and leave the FF. He repeats the conclusion he came to last issue - he's against the Act, and won't hunt down resisters, but he's also a patriot so he won't fight the government, which only leaves him with the option of making a protest by leaving. He's thinking of going to Paris.

Ben expects argument from Reed, but Reed's run out of arguments. Ben realises that Sue has left him.

Later Iron Man brings Peter Parker round to see the Neg Zone prison (Peter didn't actually know that's where it is). They ask about Ben and Sue, but Reed just says they're not around. He opens the portal to let them through. And a while later they return, Peter obviously troubled. He asks to speak with Reed alone for a few minutes. Tony Stark leaves them to it, but uses his armour's hearing to eavesdrop.

Peter wants to know why Reed is so in favour of Superhero Registration. Reed tells him about a beloved Uncle Ted who was a stubborn eccentric writer. When he was brought up before McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee he refused to testify and was sent to jail. Afterwards his career was ruined and he lost everything including family, leading to an early death. Peter sees him as a tragic hero, but Reed just sees him as wrong. He flouted the law, and law is what makes us civilised.

Peter and Tony leave.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Mike McKone
Andy Lanning
Paul Mounts
Adi Granov (Cover Penciler)
Adi Granov (Cover Inker)
Adi Granov (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Rus Wooton.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

(Peter Parker)

(Ben Grimm)

Plus: Wildstreak.

> Fantastic Four: Book info and issue index

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