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Updated: January 7, 2023 @ 7:17 pm
Fantastic Four: Life Story
Fantastic Four: Life Story
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created The Fantastic Four in the early 1960s. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm Richards (Invisible Girl/Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (The Thing) have been appearing in regular adventures ever since.
As Douglas Wolk theorizes in his book, “All of the Marvels,” the timeline of Marvel Comics works roughly on the basis that it’s always been a little more than a dozen years since the Marvel Universe started. Even if, like the Fantastic Four, a story started in 1961, it’s only been about a dozen years since the FF became the FF – with decades of adventures crunched within that dozen-or-so years.
That way the characters’ stories can last forever without them ever aging out of existence … while all past plot lines remain relevant.
“Fantastic Four: Life Story,” like “Spider-Man: Life Story,” tosses out Wolk’s theory. In the “Life Story” portion of the Marvel Universe, times passes … characters age.
The six-issue mini-series takes the FF from the 1960s through 2010s, with each issue focusing on a decade in their lives.
Characters are also centered in something closer to the real world/history. Here, for example, President John F. Kennedy taps Reed Richards to help develop the American space program. When he’s removed from the program, Richards enlists Grimm and the Storms to break into the ship and try for the stars – the journey that gives the four characters their fantastic powers.
From there, the FF begins and continues to change and age. Not to give too much away but not all of the characters make it to the end of the series. In the regular FF comics, there has always been a chemistry between Sue and Namor, the Sub-Mariner; here, with Reed always working, Sue leaves her husband for Namor.
In the regular comics, Galactus has threatened to devour the Earth regularly since he was first introduced in the mid-1960s. In “Life Story,” Reed has a premonition of Galactus in the ‘60s but the cosmic being doesn’t arrive until about four decades later.
The Fantastic Four has always thrived when centered on the humanity of the characters and the possibilities and potential of humanity. “Life Story” emphasizes that humanity through the characters’ finite lifetimes.
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