Invisible Woman #1 // Review
She’s been to the Negative Zone, halfway across the galaxy, backwards and forwards through time. She’s been a wife, a mother and...evidently a spy. Writer Mark Waid conjures an interesting secret for the Fantastic Four’s Sue Storm as her alter ego The Invisible Woman enters the first issue of her own mini-series. Waid’s interesting opening round of superhuman espionage makes it to the page courtesy of Mattia De Iulis. Sharply-rendered visuals slide through a clever story out of the corners of the Fantastic Four in a remarkably fun opening issue.
Ten years ago, Sue Storm was working with a spy on the Bahzelstan/Hungary Border when they both were attacked. He saved her life. Now she’s contacted by the CIA. She’s told by the director himself that her old spy partner had gotten himself into trouble. There was some suggestion that he wanted her to come to rescue him. Though the director warns against it, she is determined to aid an old friend. Supported by Intel from Nick Fury, Sue’s investigation takes her to the seedy nation of Madripoor, where she promptly runs into Marvel’s other famous spy.
Waid’s idea itself is remarkably smart. In the pages of the Fantastic Four, Sue Storm had always been somewhere in the background...even when she was the central focus of a story, she always managed to be out of reach in one way or another. Focussing an entire series on her and then revealing that she’s been a spy in her spare time is very, very smart stuff. Here Waid is showing another side of Sue that casts all of her previous appearances in a new light...that he’s doing it with cleverly glib wit illuminating a briskly-delivered story is just extra style.
Iulis’ art is beautiful. The opening scene in a snow-covered Eastern Europe feels pleasantly chilly. Sue is clearly identifiable, even wearing a parka, knit cap, and a black wig. Later on its summer in New York, and there’s a pleasant warmth to the scenery. Sue’s leading a relatively calm life as everyone else in the Fantastic Four is contentedly on their own. The casual emotion flitting across the face of Sue is deeply engaging thanks to Iulis’ richly textured art. Espionage might be flashy on occasion, but it thrives in a kind of subtlety not often found in the comics page. Spy stuff...even superhuman spy stuff can feel pretty lifeless in page and panel. Iulis cleverly amplifies the subtle with a first issue that carefully casts a very sophisticated light on one-quarter of Marvel’s first hero team.
It’s not often that a single issue can deliver a totally new look at a character who has been around for decades and make it feel totally natural. Waid and Iulis do a brilliant job of this in a very cleverly-crafted opening issue. A little more than 20 pages, and already it seems like Sue’s always been a spy. It’s a very engrossing start to a new mini-series.