It seems like Marvel only just finished telling the story of the “wedding of the century” and already they’ve just set up another wedding that been in the works since the very beginnings of the Marvel Universe.
SPOILERS for Fantastic Four #1 by Dan Slott, Sara Pichelli, and Marte Garcia.
The Richards family may be missing from the Marvel Universe, but life goes on for the other members of the Fantastic Four, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm. Today’s issue of Fantastic Four begins with both characters taking some time away from their superhero roles as the Human Torch and the Thing to appreciate their civilian lives.
For Ben, that means spending some time with his longtime girlfriend Alicia Masters. Alicia is a blind sculptor who first appeared in all the way back in Fantastic Four #8 in 1962, during the earliest days of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s original run. Alicia became immediately interested in Ben, primarily for his personality, and her sculptor’s hands gave her a unique appreciation for his stone body. While their relationship has had its up and downs - like that one time a Skrull imposter replaced Alicia and married Johnny Storm - it remains one of the longest-lasting in Marvel history.
In this issue, Alicia and Ben are at what appears to be a farmer’s market where they come upon a woman selling kittens. Ben is at first put off by the idea but warms to it once the cats are crawling all over him and after Alicia lets slip a telling line, beginning “I always thought that someday we’d…” and then correcting herself to say “that I’d have pets.”
The moment is interrupted when the Fantastic Four’s flare signal goes off in the sky, turning Ben’s mood sour. He leaves Alicia to go handle the problem, but the moment at the market sticks with him. That conversation, along with some time reminiscing about one of the good adventures he had as part of the Fantastic Four, convinces Ben that it's time to move on to the next stage of his life.
With that in mind, Ben is soon dressed in a suit and down on one knee outside of Alicia’s apartment. She gives him an answer before he even finishes popping the question.
Ben is eager to share the good news with Johnny. Ben asks the Human Torch to be his best man. Johnny has a surprising response, yelling at Ben that only Reed Richards could possibly serve as Ben’s best man. He nearly spoils the moment before flying off into the sky and begging Reed and Sue to send him a sign that they’re still out there. When that doesn’t happen, he finally accepts that Reed and Sue are not coming home and flies back down to embrace Ben and Alicia.1comments
Of course, it is only another moment before Reed and Sue do actually send a sign to Johnny and Ben in the form of a cosmic-sized “4” appearing over Earth. It seems the Richards family may make it Ben and Alicia’s wedding after all.
Fantastic Four #1 is on sale now.