Marvel Knights 4 #21

Story Title: Desperate Housewife
Reviewer: Paul Sebert

Writer: Roberto Aguirre Sacasa
Artists: Valentine Delandro & Batt
Flashback Artists: Ron Frenz & Sal Buscema
Colorist: Sotocolor’s A. Crossley
Letterer: VC’s Dave Sharpe
Editors: Warren Simone, Axel Alonso, & Joe Quesada
Publisher: The Merry Marvel Marching Society

Hard as it may be to believe it’s Sue Storm and Reed Richards’ 40th anniversary. But alas Sue Storm’s romantic plans are put on hold by Mr. Fantastic getting an emergency call to Washington. So what’s a neglected super heroine to do on her anniversary? Call together some friends like She-Hulk, Alicia Masters, Sharon “She-Thing” Ventura (!?!), and Emma Frost for a girl’s night out. Yeah… Emma Frost is in this issue. No I honestly have no idea why someone like Medusa or Crystal weren’t invited in this issue yet the White Queen is along for the ride. Ok… ok… I suppose Sacasa needed an instigator to get the plot going, but I suspect the real reason Emma’s here is that they needed an obligatory guest-star from the X-books. Oh and there’s a brief nod to that “X-4” mini-series from a few months ago.

Anyway discussion of Sue’s romantic life leads to a flashback to the FF’s early days where prior to Reed and Sue’s marriage, The Invisible Girl came within an inch of having a romantic fling with… The Black Panther?!

Yeah there’s a romantic subplot that wouldn’t have gone over so well in cira-1966, but here it’s downright pleasant subplot. The flashback sequences by the art team of Ron Frenz and Sal Buscema are drawn in a delightful Kirby-esc art style and are the true highlight of the issue. Sacasa’s script in this part of the book combines the signature snappy little patter of Stan Lee’s early works the often overwrought dialog of 50s-era romance comics.

The problem is well Sacasa plays things a little too safely and things end with the potentially unseen love triangle ending before it even really began before leading to the predictable wholesome wrap-up in the final pages. Personally I can just see how this kind of scenario might have panned out in a Bill Jemas-esque stunt, with internet message boards filled with debate and controversy. Old school fan boys shrieking with outrage over the notion that Sue might have had a sex life before she finally decided to marry Reed. Jesse Baker calling for Sacasa’s head on a silver platter in a borderline illegible screed. It would have been beautiful man.

Ok, maybe not… but if this comic accomplishes anything it shows just how far America has gone in race relations. Hard as it may seem to believe, but not that long ago but the very notion of a white woman looking longingly at a black man would have been considered shocking and possibly pulled from newsstands. Today, it’s kind of sweet, kind of quaint… and in this case kind of a dull story

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