58 years after her debut, the Invisible Woman launches her first solo series this week with writer Mark Waid and artist Mattia de Iulis. And for Waid, it's 58 years overdue.
Waid, who had a two-part landmark run on Fantastic Four with the late Mike Wieringo in the early 2000s, returns here in 2019 with stories he never got to tell the first time around - that of Sue Storm-Richards, super-spy.
Sue's espionage days were first talked about in the recent S.H.I.E.L.D. title (also by Waid), and here with this week's five-issue Invisible Woman title he's delving into that further.
"But wait, Newsarama... there's already a classic Marvel heroine who is a super-spy! Black Widow!"
Well, Natasha thinks that as well - and has something to say about it in this series.
For more, let's talk to Mark Waid.
Newsarama: Mark, this is Sue Richards’ first solo series. How did this Invisible Woman series come about?
Mark Waid: Editor Tom Brevoort asked me, that simple. During my last run on Fantastic Four, I’d had a ton of Sue Richards ideas and backstory that I never got around to revealing, so this was my chance to hit some of them.
Nrama: How does it feel to be back in this corner of the Marvel Universe?
Waid: Great. To me, the core personalities of the FF are so well-defined that their voices are easy to slip back into. Not only is it fun to write Sue, but I could write Johnny versus Ben gags all day long.
Nrama: But this is at its core about Sue. What is Sue up against as Invisible Woman kicks off?
Waid: Back from their interuniversal voyage, the FF are trying to resume life as normal for them, but Sue’s feeling slightly unanchored. Her kids are old enough to take care of themselves now, Reed’s as busy as ever, and she’s looking for a new challenge. And that’s when this one comes along.
Nrama: And that's apparent in the opening pages we have here, with Sue under a wig doing some espionage work. Sue has a secret history with S.H.I.E.L.D. How does that set the stage for this tale?
Waid: As I established in the S.H.I.E.L.D. series a few years ago, Sue’s been a part-time spy for years now. This time, however, she’s acting in defiance of official orders, making her job even more difficult.
Nrama: Invisible Woman has often been called the most powerful member of the FF. How does she take to being a solo hero here?
Waid: Great. She’s strong, independent, capable, and is so powerful that I’m honestly having difficulty coming up with endangering situations.
Nrama: Mattia de Iulis is drawing this limited series. What does Mattia bring to the table here?
Waid: The work is gorgeous. It has a painted look to it, and his characters are so unique and so expressive.
Nrama: What’s your favorite thing Mattia’s drawn for Invisible Woman so far?
Waid: There’s a scene in #2 where Sue’s chasing an assassin through the streets of Madripoor that’s just great from start to finish. Mattia’s a talent to watch.
Nrama: Future solicitations mention Sue teaming up with another Marvel super spy. What can you tell us about that?
Waid: Black Widow appears in #2, and she clearly looks down at Sue as a “part-timer” and “amateur.” Big mistake.
Nrama: What makes Sue Richards such an important part of the Marvel Universe, and what makes this the perfect time for her solo series debut?
Waid: When written well, she’s a terrifically complex character. All people act differently depending upon who they’re around at the time. You act differently around your parents than you do your friends than you do strangers. In the Marvel Universe, we don’t get to see that in play very often, but Sue exemplifies that - she’s incredibly layered. Why is this the perfect time for a solo series for her? Maybe because she’s 58 years overdue.
Nrama: Lastly, not as a downer - but I can't talk to you about Fantastic Four without talking about Mike Wieringo. How much has your partnership and friendship with Mike informed you in telling this solo story with Sue?
Waid: Working with Mike was one of the best experiences of my life. If not for him, I’d never have taken the original assignment to begin with - it was only after Tom Brevoort signed him to it that he even called me, knowing that it would be hard for me to resist. Everything I do with the FF springs from my partnership with Mike - everything.