Sue's Force Fields of Awesome

Fantastic Four #34: Sue's Force-Fields Of Awesome 22

 Fantastic Four #34, page 12, panel 1

Fantastic Four #34, page 12, panel 1

Fantastic Four #34: Sue's Force-Fields Of Awesome 22

Rapturously Written by Stan Lee

Deliciously Drawn by Jack Kirby

Impeccably Inked by Chic Stone

Lavishly Lettered by Artie Simek

The fight finally comes together. Sue once again shows how strong her command of force-fields is, as she keeps a rampaging, Skrull-obsessed Ben (and his lump of pre-war New York masonry) from turning Reed and his manually-retracting legs into a... what's the word... squish.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #34 on our thirty-eighth episode: Two Not-That-Fat Men On Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four #34: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 21

 Fantastic Four #34, page 8, panels 5-6

Fantastic Four #34, page 8, panels 5-6

Fantastic Four #34: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 21

Rapturously Written by Stan Lee

Deliciously Drawn by Jack Kirby

Impeccably Inked by Chic Stone

Lavishly Lettered by Artie Simek

We've not often seen Sue's force-fields in action against Johnny's flame, so it's good to here that Sue is both capable of withstanding a blast from her brother, and find a way of removing him from the conflict without causing destruction. I rather like the expanding bubble of force field, how it curves away once it pops out of the front door.

One thing - if Johnny believes that Sue is only mind-controlled by the Puppet Master, why does he hit her with an intense blast of flame? It's still her, not a duplicate. If she had been controlled, could she have got the force-field up in time, and if not, would she be a crispy Sue-stick by now?

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #34 on our thirty-eighth episode: Two Not-That-Fat Men On Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four #33: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 20

 Fantastic Four #33, page 15, panels 3-4

Fantastic Four #33, page 15, panels 3-4

Fantastic Four #33: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 20

Script: Smilin' Stan Lee

Art: Jolly Jack Kirby

Inks: Chucklin' Chic Stone

Lettering: Amiable Art Simek

Another great use of Sue's fields in a moment very in-keeping with the style of this issue. With the Fantastic Four stealthily supporting Namor without his knowledge, Sue comes up with a great way to use to her force-fields to take out a sound-wave machine (and it's Attuma-supporting operators) without anyone knowing it was her.

A tactical Sue isn't one we see often in the pre-Byrne era, and it's always a cause for celebration when she gets to flex the full potential of her powers and her abilities.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #33 on our thirty-seventh episode: Yes, Mr Lister, Sir!

Fantastic Four #31: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 19

 Fantastic Four #31, page 18, panel 2

Fantastic Four #31, page 18, panel 2

I'm less interested in Sue in the this panel (helpless, pinned against the wall, no sign of independence or ability to do anything other than wait for a man to rescue her) than I am in the moloids. Because I love moloids. I love their swarm-like mentality, their ability to use number to achieve their goal. I also live their curiosity - there are two in the panel above with their faces pressed against Sue's force-fields in curious wonder.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #31 on our thirty-fifth episode: House of the Fallen Storm

Fantastic Four #31: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 18

 Fantastic Four #31, page 17, panel 3

Fantastic Four #31, page 17, panel 3

Fantastic Four #31: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 18

Written by: Stan Lee, The Man With The Talented Typewriter!

Illustrated by: Jack Kirby, The Man With The Power-Packed Pencil!

Inked by: Chic Stone, The Man With The Panoramic Paint-Brush!

Lettered by: S. Rosen - The Man With The Leaky Lettering Pen!

I wish that any live-action incarnation of the Invisible Girl realised the potential of Sue's force-fields as seen here. Kate Mara got closest, when we clearly saw her training her fields in ways that weren't purely defensive, but I'd give anything to see Sue in close-quarters combat, wielding her force-fields like a third arm. It's not the easiest thing to realise, but come the inevitable next live-action Fantastic Four film, it's something I'll be very eager to see. 

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #31 on our thirty-fifth episode: House of the Fallen Storm

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 17

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 23, panel 1

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 23, panel 1

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 17

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

After a few months away as a result of being very busy and disorganised, we're back. Our Patreon briefly dipped below the blogging goal, and then back up again, so the tireless and thankless task of chronicling the tropes of the Fantastic Four continue.

We're getting very close to the end of Fantastic Four Annual #2. At this point in the story, Doom has been lured to the Baxter Building, and all Reed needs is a few more minutes to complete his serum that will allow him to win the day. With Johnny still recovering from his ordeal and Ben pinned to the ground by Doom's miniature paralysis gun, it's up to Sue to buy Doom the time he needs.

First, she throws him off guard by turning him invisible. Then, she deploys her force-fields in one of the most innovative ways we've seen to date. She creates little invisible pellets underneath Doom's feet to throw him off-balance. It's intelligent, creative, and effective, as Doom goes crashing into a nearby computer bank. It's great stuff from Sue.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 16

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 17, panels 3-4

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 17, panels 3-4

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 16

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

Once again, hay is made from the idea that Sue's force fields are an unknown quantity to foes of the Fantastic Four. Although Doctor Doom has faced off against the Invisible Girl since she developed these new abilities, she used them in a stealthy manner, projecting them through a wall.

I really like this use of the force-field, protecting against a blaster before defenestrating Doctor Doom. More people should be thrown through windows by invisible force-fields in Fantastic Four comics.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 15

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 15, panel 4

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 15, panel 4

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 15

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

Visually, I'm not a fan of this panel. If I was battling Reed, I'd be looking to control his extremities, keeping his arms and legs restrained. His stomach is not that much of a threat. The depiction of the force-field also make me feel like the letterer forgot to fill in the 'speech' in a thought balloon.

What I do like is that this is the first time Sue has used her force-fields offensively against Reed. She protected him from Namor in Fantastic Four #27, but here, influenced by Doctor Doom and believing she's seen Reed snogging another woman, she really goes for him.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 14

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 14, panel 5

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 14, panel 5

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 14

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

The gimmick of this story is that, aided by a spiked drink which increases their susceptibility, Doctor Doom has been creating illusions of the team to foster distrust amongst them, tipping them into a place where they will fight each other. Just how this illusion managed to trip Johnny is a bit beyond me, but we'll move on.

Although the panel doesn't do the greatest job of portraying it, Sue is happy to use her force-field to extinguish Johnny's flame. In my mind, she'd do this by encasing his body in the field momentarily, starving his flame of oxygen without suffocating him. Here, Kirby depicts it more as a winding, the force of the impact into his stomach knocking the flame out.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Fantastic Four #27: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 13

Fantastic Four #27, page 22, panels 4-5
Fantastic Four #27, page 22, panels 4-5

fantastic four #27: sue's force fields of awesome 13

Presented by the most talked-about team in comics: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, author and illustrator extraordinary

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: S. Rosen

Our final entry from Fantastic Four #27 returns the focus to the object of this story, Sue Storm. I use the word object very deliberately, as, up to this point, this is how she's been portrayed. She's a thing for both Reed and Namor to covet, from the cheesecake portrait at the start of the issue, to Namor's stalking and kidnapping, to Reed's uncharacteristic rage when he can't have the thing he considers his. At one point, she was literally put into a glass display case in Namor's throne room.

What saves Sue is her defining moment of awesome shown here, stepping up and using her fields to force her combating suitors apart. A rare moment of authority from Sue, these two panels allow her to be actualised somewhat, although the conclusion of the story has her committing to Reed and him being distrustful of her intentions, rather than a more interesting dramatic twist of having Sue temporarily reject Reed following his behaviour in this issue.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #27 on our thirtieth episode: Horny Namor

Fantastic Four #27: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 12

Fantastic Four #27, page 17, panel 1
Fantastic Four #27, page 17, panel 1

fantastic four #27: sue's force fields of awesome 12

Presented by the most talked-about team in comics: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, author and illustrator extraordinary

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: S. Rosen

Now, this is a bit more like it. Sue's faced off against many forces in the six issues in which she's had her force-field powers, but arguably this is one of her greatest challenges yet - holding back the pressure of the ocean itself. Johnny's plan to turn the encroaching water to steam doesn't make a lick of sense, considering how unlikely it is that the Atlanteans store water in tanks. Surely the water is coming from the ocean itself, meaning that Johnny is basically taking on the entirety of the Pacific Ocean.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #27 on our thirtieth episode: Horny Namor

Fantastic Four #26: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 11

Fantastic Four #26, page 13, panel 6
Fantastic Four #26, page 13, panel 6

fantastic four #26: sue's force fields of awesome 11

Unforgettably Written In The Grand Manner by: Stan Lee

Powerfully Drawn In The Heroic Manner by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: Art Simek

More unintentional chaotic fighting as Sue accidentally traps Giant Man in her force field. For some reason, her field is being treated as a bubble, trapping the first thing it comes to. It's not been seen this way before and, whilst Sue will use it many times to restrain or contain foes in battle, it'll be a very rare thing that she will have so little control that she will accidentally trap the wrong person because they got in the way.

Bonus points, however, for Giant Man's confusion at being restrained by an invisible force field. The fields are still new, and there's no reason why this development in Sue's power should be public knowledge at this time.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #26 on our twenty-seventh episode: Hulk Goes Home And Plays With His Trains with special guest-host Michael Bailey.

Fantastic Four #25: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 10

Fantastic Four #25, page 10, panel 6
Fantastic Four #25, page 10, panel 6

fantastic four #25: sue's force fields

of awesome 10

Sensational Story by: Stan Lee

Astonishing Art by: Jack Kirby

Incredible Inking by: George Roussos

Lighthearted Lettering by: S. Rosen

We're only four issues into Sue having her force-fields, and already they're having their strength put to the test. Sue gets to hold off the Hulk, resisting his strength and power to save Johnny's life.

Andy and I were big fans of George Roussos when he joined the title, but this panel is an example of why he didn't stick around for more than a few issues. Roussos's inking can be rather heavy, and by all accounts, his speed became an issue. Any backgrounds drawn in by Kirby in this panel are not present in the finished product, a technique that would become more and more common across his issues. When Chic Stone, and later Joe Sinnott, arrive on the book, these panels become rarer and rarer, and the detail in Kirby's pencils increases. This isn't all to be laid at Roussos's door - at this time, Kirby was pencilling Thor's adventures and backup strips in Journey Into Mystery, Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and more. He was heavily worked, and the artwork over the next few issues highlights both Roussos's flaws as an inker and the compromises Kirby would make to manage his workload.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #25 on our twenty-fifth episode: It'll Be Our Little Secret, with special guest-host Michael Bailey

Fantastic Four #24: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 9

Fantastic Four #24, page 16, panel 1
Fantastic Four #24, page 16, panel 1

fantastic four #24:

sue's force fields of awesome 9

Lovingly written by Stan Lee

Tenderly drawn by Jack Kirby

Heroically inked by George Roussos

Neatly lettered by Sam Rosen

We're currently recording episodes covering the period of Sue's pregnancy, meaning that her contributions to issues tend to be made whilst lying around being incredibly feverish and hysterical, unable to deal with even the slightest piece of bad news. It's rather refreshing to return to a time when Sue played a more proactive role in the team, flexing her powers inventively and holding her own amongst the boys on the battlefield.

Here, she manifests an incredibly strong force-field, not only restraining a speeding car but initially bringing it to a complete standstill. More recent issues might choose to show the strain it takes to bring a heavy vehicle travelling at speed to a full stop by messing her hair, maybe having some blood trickle from her nose. But under Kirby, Sue just needs to throw out her field and do the job with the minimum of fuss.

Love it!

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #24 on our twenty-fourth episode: An Enfant Terrible Is Not Literally A Terrible Infant

Fantastic Four #23: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 8

Fantastic Four #23, page 22, panels 5-7
Fantastic Four #23, page 22, panels 5-7

fantastic four #23:

sue's force fields of awesome 8

Written by: Stan Lee

Illustrated by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: S. Rosen

In our final extract from Fantastic Four #23, we see Sue achieving something pretty powerful - using her force-fields to successfully restrain the seemingly unstoppable Doctor Doom. It's quite a step-up for Sue, using her fields in a fully offensive capability as opposed to tactical or defensive uses seen previously.

In order to do this, however, Sue has to push her fields through the wall. It's not explained how Sue is able to do this, and I'd be very surprised if she exhibited such an unusual use of her force fields again. It's almost as if, running out of space in the comic, an ambiguous drawing from Kirby was given a token explanation by Lee, hoping that the momentum of the finale would let it slide with the readers.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #23 on our twenty-third episode: (Asbestos) Grease Is The Word

Fantastic Four #23: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 7

Fantastic Four #23, page 18, panel 2
Fantastic Four #23, page 18, panel 2

fantastic four #23:

sue's force fields of awesome 7

Written by: Stan Lee

Illustrated by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: S. Rosen

Back in the world of a plot, Doom has contrived to kidnap members of the Fantastic Four, as well as disposing of his henchmen now that they've finished henching. The team are trapped in a specially designed dungeon, although they've clearly opted for the 'dormitory' package rather than individual rooms.

Sue uses her force fields to prevent Ben from receiving a fatal electric shock when he breaks his restraints. It's a very Doom-esque plan to restrain Ben in such a way that he could easily break free,  but the consequences of which would be fatal. By constantly dangling the possibility of escape, Doom makes the imprisonment more torturous.

Of course, what Doom doesn't know is that Sue's powers have developed, and here she uses her fields to interrupt the electric shock. I really like that Sue's fields are not only being used tactically in terms of placement, but in terms of timing as well, A fraction of a second too late, and Ben would be a smouldering heap of rubble. Go Sue!

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #23 on our twenty-third episode: (Asbestos) Grease Is The Word

Fantastic Four #23: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 6

Fantastic Four #23, page 8, panel 1
Fantastic Four #23, page 8, panel 1

fantastic four #23:

sue's force fields of awesome 6

Written by: Stan Lee

Illustrated by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: S. Rosen

It would be a terrible thing to suggest that this issue of The Fantastic Four is light on plot. I'm sure there are strong thematic reasons why, in an issue featuring Doctor Doom recruiting a bunch of Z-list semi-powered goons to be his henchmen, the Fantastic Four should go through a leadership crisis.

However, three pages is a bit too much, considering most of this time is spent on Johnny and Ben fighting. Any thematic links are lost by making the election a joke, and when Sue gets fed up and breaks up the fight, the reader can't help but empathise with her.

Strongly.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #23 on our twenty-third episode: (Asbestos) Grease Is The Word

Fantastic Four #23: Sue's Force Fields Of Awesome 5

Fantastic Four #23, page 2, panel 2 Written by: Stan Lee

Illustrated by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: S. Rosen

How could I resist posting a panel featuring a confused baby raptor encased in an invisible force field projected by a girl in a party frock? Especially when it's got Johnny in the background complaining about being splashed with a plant pot and having his flames put out!

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #23 on our twenty-third episode: (Asbestos) Grease Is The Word

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_23.mp3]

Fantastic Four #22: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 4

Fantastic Four #22, page 15, panels 1-3 Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: Sam Rosen

Wouldn't you have guessed it? The island bought by the Fantastic Four has the Mole Man's base right underneath it! I wonder if 'concealing a super-villain's hideout' is a good enough reason to take your estate agent to court...

Anyway, the Mole Man has concocted a scheme whereby he can steal cities from the Earth's surface, and only has one switch with which to trigger this. Because Sue has only just manifested her force fields, she is able to take him completely by surprise, preventing him from activating the switch. Which means that we get the rather funny sight of the Mole Man, infuriated by his inability to set his plans in motion, trying to whack the switch with his cane.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #22 on our twenty-second episode: Going Underground.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_22.mp3]

Fantastic Four #22: Sue's Force Fields of Awesome 2-3

Fantastic Four #22, page 3, panels 1-3 Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: Sam Rosen

A good rule of thumb with any superhero movie, especially one that features the origins of superpowers, is that the sequence featuring the hero discovering how to use his or her powers is normally a highlight. Remember Iron Man taking his first flight and icing up, or Spider-Man (the real one, not the current one) going for this first web-sling? And one of the best bits of Man of Steel was Superman's first delightful flight, a rare moment of peace and joy in that film.

This scene is played a little more for laughs, but the joy of Sue realising that she can do something new is palpable, and it's shared by the rest of the team, especially Reed. Both the 'squashy bubble' and the stronger shield are great and different visuals, and it's clear from the start that this issue has higher ambitions than just another run-of-the-mill fight issue.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #22 on our twenty-second episode: Going Underground.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_22.mp3]