A little over a week ago we talked about what happens when people keep secrets from one another. In that article we addressed the fact that Batman has been keeping plenty of secrets from the other members of the Bat-Family -- particularly when it pertains to dealing with the Joker. This week we wanted to apply a similar theme to a Marvel character; Reed Richards.
If you have been keeping up with the relaunch of Marvel NOW! and you've read the first few issues of Matt Fraction's FF and FANTASTIC FOUR series then you might already know what we are referring to. In the current series, Reed discovers that there is something very wrong with his biological make-up, and he chooses in issue #2 of FANTASTIC FOUR to share his secret with Ant-Man, Scott Lang, and requests that Lang not only keep it to himself, but to also help him figure out how to combat his disease. What is Reed Richards to do? As you probably know, the stories in FF and FANTASTIC FOUR are relatively intertwined in that they complement one another. If you are current on the series then you might recall that in issue #2 of FANTASTIC FOUR Reed Richards asked all the members of the Fantastic Four to nominate and bring together a group of heroes to replace the team for "only" four minutes while the Richards family, Ben and Johnny take off in a space ship to travel across the galaxy for a cure. As you could have probably figured, the team is gone for longer than four minutes. The question remains though, why are they not questioning the reason behind this trip?== TEASER ==
By issue #2 readers are left with the impression that the team has embarked on a rather dangerous mission. I mean, why else would they seek replacements? And if the journey is treacherous (which is very likely) is keeping a secret like the rapid spread of cancer cells something Reed should be keeping to himself? And why didn't Sue ask the tough questions? Why would she go along on a trip without wondering why? And what will the repercussions of Reed's actions ultimately be if he isn't able to find a cure, the disease spreads, and he dies?
You could argue that keeping the secret of his cancerous disease might be a good choice for Reed. There have been times in the past that Reed has helped and shared his scientific opinion with, say, Peter Parker. Asking a genius like Parker wouldn't be completely out of the question, would it? However with the recent events of ASM #700, maybe opting to keep this secret from Peter isn't a bad idea after-all. But what about keeping it from the rest of his family? Sure Sue, Ben, Johnny and the children would be upset; but this wouldn't be the first time that Reed has stepped down and let someone else take the Fantastic Four reigns of leadership. Looking back at FANTASTIC FOUR #284 we saw the progression of Sue into a leadership position following the death of Reed Richards. Additionally, Johnny has shown he is capable of being a leader when he was thought to be dead following the events of FANTASTIC FOUR #587. There is, however, one character that perhaps shouldn't know of Reed's debilitating disease: his daughter, Valeria Richards. During Hickman's FANTASTIC FOUR run Valeria went behind the backs of her parents and met in confidence with Doctor Doom, Reed's rival. It would certainly put the world in a bit of danger if a character like Doom discovered the status of Reed's condition.
What do you think of all this? Should Reed continue to keep his illness a secret? Should he tell his family the purpose of their trip? Do you think he will find a cure for the disease, or will be be forced to step down as leader of the Fantastic Four?