FANTASTIC FOUR #52-54/480-483 (2002): 1st Valeria Richards

The covers to these issues all align vertically. That’s kinda cool.

Pacheco and Marin end their very good run with a Doctor Doom story. But first, they take Franklin to boarding school.

fantastic four 51

Reed is a nerd.

Anyway, the Inhumans are looking for a new place to park Attilan, and Doom offers them Latverian real estate for cheap. And he does it by interrupting a speech by Reed Richards at the United Nations.

Doom explains that he was once a homeless gypsy, and Latveria gave him a place to live, and now he wants to return the favor. But then, in the same speech, he offers an anti-alien immigration pitch to the U.N., saying that he will protect Earth from extraterrestrials by killing all alien life on Earth.

When it’s over, Reed concedes that Doom can make a great speech. But it’s not good enough to overcome anti-Inhuman hate.

The xenophobia increases across the story arc and it’s an interesting–albeit inconsequential–story. The villains are a subspecies of Inhumans who are never seen again. Johnny is trying to be an actor and has to get called from the set to join the battle…

Where’s he’s starring as Rawhide Kid in a movie. That counts as cosplay.

Also Sue is pregnant and this is kind of creepy:

The most important part is that Sue’s pregnancy ends when she gives birth in battle, and guess who delivers the baby?

Yeah. Dr. Doom delivered Reed and Sue’s second child, while Mr. Fantastic is mired down in the storyline. But Doom’s bargain with Sue was that he would help with the birth (which was complicated by Sue’s powers) if he got to name her.


And so…Valeria debuts.

Next issue, Karl Kesel takes the reins for a few issues, then Adam Warren(!), before Mark Waid signs on for a long-ass term as head F4 scribe.

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