When it was announced Mark Waid would be taking on an Invisible Woman miniseries I was excited. Then I found out she has never had a solo series and I couldn’t wait to read it. The first issue was good, but it was also an entirely different take on Sue Storm aka Sue Richards. Writer Mark Waid has taken her powerset and applied it to the most logical job there is: Superspy. She can make herself invisible, shield herself from danger, and even smash folks with invisible force fields. When you think about it, it’s a no brainer and it’s an exciting 5 issue story arc, but is it good?
This book opens in an eastern European country with two nondescript people attempting to get over a border. Everything seems like a normal, high-intensity moment until an invisible person appears on the ground. Everything goes into high gear as a chase takes place and invisible powers are used a few times to escape the guards. Enter Invisible Woman; we learn she was doing some dirty work for Nick Fury way back in the day. This opening has all the intensity of a good opening to an action film. Much of the rest of this issue is about Invisible Woman’s life today and the eventual hook that drags her back into that espionage life. Waid and artist Mattia De Iulis make a strong argument for Invisible Woman to be given even more respect. She lived a hard life dodging bullets and has kept it under wraps.
A big complaint of this read, however, is how slow it is to start. It takes ages for Sue to get on her mission as she’s reluctant to get started. The opening action scene is also quite long and by the end of the book this adventure feels like a solid 2 issues of entertainment rather than its strung out five issues.
De Iulis draws an excellent series that’s very clean and realistic looking. Blurring effects ramp up the movie feel; the digital art plays with light very well too. In a quick opening issue scene, Invisible Woman walks through the park and the shadows of leaves on her face are beautiful. It adds a layer of realism you don’t see in every comic book. Props to De Iulis for making Invisible Woman’s family very weird. Thing really does look kind of like a monster and Mr. Fantastic’s elasticity is bizarrely shown. She has a weird family and the art helps remind us this espionage secret life is only half of it. Throughout the book, Invisible Woman’s powers are used in creative ways and I’d argue De Iulis makes you believe and more importantly understand how Sue is doing it. That’s a tricky thing considering Waid has her do a lot of new things.
How Invisible Woman uses her powers is the real beauty of this book. Every issue has a new use for her powers you don’t normally see in part because she’s fighting for page time with the rest of the Fantastic Four, but also because we haven’t seen her in such perilous espionage situations. I’m no Invisible Woman expert, but I can say I’ve read a ton of Fantastic Four books and had no idea she could bend light to change her skin tone and hair color. How about in another scene where she makes a hallway between two planes so she can travel between them? In another, she uses her powers to see through the ceiling of a building to track a fleeing bad guy. A major element of super spies is how they kill and that’s brought up too. Waid cleverly mixes it into the drama and reminds us she could easily kill a person in a variety of ways thanks to her powers. It all adds up to an impressive look at how Invisible Woman could be the most dangerous human on Earth if she felt like it, but it’s her morals and heroic heart that keeps her on the right side of the law.
This is an enjoyable read largely due to it playing around with Invisible Woman’s powers in new and interesting ways. You’ll gain new respect for the character and maybe even hope Marvel Studios is reading this in case they ever want to make the greatest superhero spy movie ever made (no offense Black Widow fans!).
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