Fantastic Four faces fatal subtraction — Marvel says only three will live

Dec. 22, 2010 | 5:48 p.m.

From the Associated Press

fantastic four 1 Fantastic Four faces fatal subtraction    Marvel says only three will liveThe 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.

fabulous fantastic four back Fantastic Four faces fatal subtraction    Marvel says only three will live

Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, supposedly died, but that was just a ruse. Similarly, her husband, Reed Richards, a.k.a. 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.”

— Associated Press


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11 Responses to Fantastic Four faces fatal subtraction — Marvel says only three will live

  1. Dennis says:

    Death doesn't really mean much in the DC and Marvel Universes. Just, wait, and the character will return.

  2. Skeptical Skeeter says:

    I call bull. Marvel just wants you to think this time is different. They’ve done this crap before. Sure, the changes may last longer than most short-lived decisions to kill off characters or change Marvel canon wholesale (see Captain America’s death, Civil War, Spiderman’s marriage to Mary Jane, oh and of course… the Thing’s [first] death). None of this crap lasted more than 2 years tops. Why should anyone believe this time is any different?

    With that in mind, they will of course probably go for the most shocking route by killing off the Thing again or Mr. Fantastic. That will increase sales, so that in 2 years, they’ll just retcon the whole thing and do it over. And you guys will keep buying it up.

  3. Jason says:

    I’m going to say it’s Sue. Shame but probably nessesary.

  4. D.W. Rose says:

    This book has been uninteresting to me, even though I've been purchasing it since Hickman began on the series. I'm dropping it after this months issue, and will leave the Fantastic Four book to those who can enjoy and to those who can find it interesting.

    But as to the poll, I believe it to be Johnny Storm, who will die. His character is irrelevant to any 'Fantastic' story-line, so many will debate my decision. But in his return, he will be a stronger and more interesting character. Thus why, he'll die.

  5. Horace Austin says:

    I remember reading Uncanny X-Men back in '79 as a youngster. Jean Grey's death in issue #137 wasn't hyped. None of the house ads in issues leading up to #137 ever suggested that someone was gonna die. Her death was a genuine surprise. It was the culmination of a great story. And, it made sense in that story.

    Today, it's all about Events. Marvel announces to the Associated Press that a member of Fantastic Four is gonna die. They even reveal the issue number. All hype to sell more books.

  6. mike says:

    The only Marvel property who is going to stay dead will be Stan Lee, and hopefully not soon.

  7. Mike N says:

    Who can read this tripe anymore? Gone are the good stories that actually drew you in and really got you excited. Today's Marvel consists of disrespectful shoe-horned retcons….yes, I'm referencing Spiderman's nonmarriage to Mary Jane, Professor X's dubious past, and the whole of the Sentry's history.
    Honestly, how do you take a character who was the equivalent of MLK and make him into some self serving ass?
    Daredevil replaced by the Black Panther, Iron Man a govt. stooge in Civil War, just stop. Oh and one last one, Spiderman with a new costume to replace Mr. Fantastic in the Fantastic Four, just wait.
    I give up, at least I won't be reading it and hopefully many others won't either.

  8. bimplebean says:

    I have enjoyed a lot of the Marvel stories over the past five years, naysayers and haters notwithstanding. Still, I can't see this lasting. The death of a major character been undone to death (sorry) scores of times.

    Brought back from the dead: Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Martian Manhunter, The Thing, Mr. Fantastic, Marvel's Captain Marvel… and these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

    This shall not stand.

  9. Paul Wilson says:


  10. Paul Wilson says:

    The previous post was to see if I would get a lot of log-on crap.

    Frankly, I stopped reading Marvel because of all the unending changes and deaths, X-Men and Alpha Flight. Byrne butchered every member of the team by poor pacing and writing, redefining and killing off, and ,despite his excellent art, left nobody unscathed.
    Also retconning and plot twists are getting less & less convincing. It doesn't matter whether or not Johnny Storm gets offed (and replaced by a small robot) or what (not the Thing: the constant angst of the Thing gave the FF series it's strength over the years)., I'm not around to check. I gave up on Marvel years ago. When the Death of Captain Marvel and X-Men #137 (made necessary due to John Byrne's having Phoenix genocide an entire world !) it started Marvel on a killing/changing/retconning spree -and my departure. Same for DC and its constantly changing the past.

    • Horace Austin says:

      Chris Claremont was the writer on Uncanny X-Men when Byrne was penciler. The stories they did together are among the best X-Men stories ever told.

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