So it is isn't it?;)
What's up people?
Today for the weekly edition of Back-Issue Spotlight, I picked one that features what has got to be the one of the worst days in the life Reed Richards ever. The day he lost what would've been his second child after his son Franklin.
That's right, I'm talking about Fantastic Four#267(Vol. 1) June 1984 "A small loss" by John Byrne.
The premise of this issue is basically that Reed's wife Sue(The Invisible Woman) is both pregnant and dangerously sick with radiation poisoning/sickness. This is due to the nature of how she and the rest of the team got their powers due to Gamma Rays. And this isn't the first time this has happened. Nope. Back in Fantastic Four Annual#6(Nov 1968) Sue was sick then too while pregnant with their first child, Franklin. And it took having to go into the Negative Zone and stealing Annihilus' Cosmic Rod to cure Sue.
So, the only other recourse is to go out and find the one expert in the field of radiation that can save Sue and her baby. But it's a dozy; it's Dr. Octopus!
At first, Reed's like "Ah hell no!"
But seeing as how there's no better alternative, and with time rapidly running down, Reed has no choice but to go and ask the not so good doctor for his help.
Reed goes to a Psychiatric facility in South Brooklyn where Doc Ock's staying to be treated for his criminal behavior due to the accident that created him.
Reed disparately appeals to the scientist and doctor side of him, and actually manages to convince Doc Ock to help him.
Everything's nice and fine until Doc Ock just happens to see a Daily Bugle billboard sign declaring Spider-Man a menace. That's all it takes to slowly but surely trigger the evil side of Doc Ock to resurface, as first his tentacles bust out of a maximum security prison, seeking Octavius out. The tentacles then go on to attack Reed, before joining back up with Doc Ock for a full-on attack on Richards.
After a brief battle, Reed once again manages to get through to Doc Ock again, and they both head back to the hospital to save Sue and their baby.
Unfortunately as in life, Reed's too late. Sue survived, but the the baby's dead......
And thus the reader, just like Reed Richards, gets punched in the gut by such an emotional and devastating blow.
It wouldn't be years later until both Reed and Sue got a second chance to have another child in Valeria, but there was a What If? dedicated to this particular issue.
Yep, What If?#30(Oct 1991) explored two realities where the child lived; In one world she brought about world peace, and in the other....not so much. In fact the Valeria child here was an evil monster that killed off the FF and even Dr. Doom, before Franklin was able to seal her off in another dimension.
One question I do have though, is if Reed knew about the complications Sue had with their first child due to the Cosmic Rays they absorbed, how come as smart as he is, he didn't come up with a solution for her just in case it happened again? I guess for the sake of the story we have to suspend belief a bit, and just go with it. But again, since Reed's so damn smart, you'd think he would've better prepared for this situation again.
Either way, this is still a very moving and solid piece of writing on John Byrne's part, and what helps make his run in FF so damn good.