Thursday, 28 April 2011

The only wedding that matters round here. Fantastic Four Annual #3.

Fantastic Four Annual #3, dr doom and the royal wedding, splash page
This could be trouble!
April 28th, 2011, and events in good old Blighty are being dominated by one big event - the wedding of Prince Wotsisname to Wotserface.

As you can see, like the rest of the nation, I've been following events closely - and I feel there're two questions that must be asked in response to the forthcoming nuptials.

1) Who are these people and why can't I understand anything they say?


2) What does Dr Doom make of it all?

I have no doubt he makes of it what he made of that other legendary wedding all those years ago, the one between Reed Richards and Sue Storm.

Fantastic Four Annual #3, the wedding of Reed and Sue, Dr Doom, cover
Unlike whoever it is who's getting married tomorrow or Saturday or whenever it is, Reed and Sue didn't come from regal stock but they were still comic book royalty, the bedrock of the team that launched Marvel Comics on its road to greatness. And Fantastic Four Annual #3 was where they finally tied the knot.

Dr Doom, the epic party pooper, is having none of it and uses his newly invented Emotion Charger to make all the world's super-villains angry enough to attack the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building HQ simultaneously.

Fortunately for the FF, their wedding guest list's made up of every super-hero in the world, meaning that, instead of Dr Doom's planned massacre, we get a mass brawl that goes on for page after page after page.

In truth you couldn't call the wedding of Reed and Sue a complex and involved piece of story telling. It's not exactly The Wire. It's just one big fight. But it is probably the greatest fight ever committed to paper. Where else would you see Thor battle the Super-Skrull as the X-Men take on Electro, the Mandarin, Unicorn, the Melter and the Beetle, as Daredevil takes on Hydra while Iron Man tangles with the Mad Thinker?

The wedding of Reed and Sue, mass brawl
Personally I always feel there're two phrases the use of which should result in the instant electrocution of the critic using them.

One is, "Mary Sue."

The other is, "Deus Ex Machina."

But it's impossible not to use the latter cliché here as, after pages of punch-ups, the Watcher appears from nowhere and offers Mr Fantastic free use of any of the handily devastating devices he happens to have in his giant space house. Mr Fantastic chooses what appears to be the Watcher's vacuum cleaner which he then uses to send all the bad guys back to where they came from, and simultaneously robs Dr Doom of all memory of his plans, meaning Reed and Sue are at last able to commence their wedding and finally get some super-nookie.

Despite its dramatic crudity, it's an impossible tale to not love because it gives us what we've all secretly dreamed off; every Marvel hero vs every Marvel villain. The one downside of the tale is Vince Colletta's inking. Although I'm a defender of Colletta's work on Thor, here his work's truly dreadful, thin-lined and sketchy, creating the feeling it was one of his legendary rush jobs.

Happily, that's not enough to detract from all the good stuff the book has to offer, and the tale's highlight has to be Attuma's entire armada showing up, only to be instantly despatched back beneath the waves by Daredevil inadvertently hitting them with Hydra's Vortex Bomb. As Dr Doom could tell you, the best laid plans of mice and menace...

The wedding of Reed and Sue, Reed and Sue kiss


cerebus660 said...

If there was a supervillain incursion at The Wedding tomorrow, I might just consider watching the highlights on the news. But that's as far as it goes...

I haven't read this story for years but always remember loving all the crazy action and the Lee & Kirby cameos. Gonna have to treat myself to a copy...

Kid said...

I re-inked and restored this cover for its original Masterworks printing - it's been printed in quite a few other publications since then as well. Good to see the original - which I also have.

Steve said...

Why was it re-inked, Kid? Was that something they did with all the covers, or just ones that there was felt to be a specific problem with?

Anonymous said...

so now we can call him Kid Colletta?

B Smith

Kid said...

They'd lost the page - simple as that. By 'lost', I mean they just didn't know where to lay hands on a good printable copy. The cover art had been used as an ad in some of the Power Comics back in the '60s - to advertise the merger of SMASH! and POW! (I think), but most of the linework had dropped out, a couple of characters had been deleted, and the lettering had been changed. I had to restore it to its former glory (or as close as I could get in the time allowed). A fuller account is on my blog at - hunt down the post entitled 'Restoring the King'.

If you have a first printing of Marvel Masterworks Vol. 25 (or 26), you'll see my name on the credits page.

Kid said...

I should add that the recent Omnibus and softcover Masterworks editions replaced many pages from better sources, this cover included, but 'my' version has appeared in quite a few other publications.

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