The Early Years
Long the least visible member of the Fantastic Four in more ways than one, the once-passive Sue Richards has matured into a formidable and commanding heroine over the years-but it is still her warmly maternal presence that binds the team together. Born Susan Storm, Sue and her brother Johnny
had a happy childhood until their mother Mary died in a car crash. Their father, celebrated surgeon Doctor Franklin Storm
, survived the accident without injury but was unable to save his wife despite his best medical efforts. His spirit broken, Dr. Storm abandoned his practice, becoming a gambler and a drunk, and eventually went to prison after he accidentally killed an underworld loan shark during a struggle. Sue became more like a mother than a sister to Johnny thereafter, though both were soon placed in the custody of their loving aunt Marygay. While she was still quite young, Sue became smitten with her aunt's handsome and brilliant tenant, science prodigy Reed Richards
, then a university student.
The young Storms lived a relatively normal life with their aunt for several years, interrupted by the discovery of the mystical Amulet of Zarathos, which had been unearthed by local archaeologist Professor Henry Brandeis. Working together, Johnny, Sue, family friend Max Parrish and the Professor's daughter Cam managed to prevent the amulet from falling into the hands of vampire lord Dracula; during the conflict, Max used the amulet to become a demonic Ghost Rider, though Johnny helped Max prevent this transformation from becoming permanent. During her own college years, Sue began doing some minor acting and modeling work and renewed her contact with Reed, dating him steadily for some time. Reed's old friend Ben Grimm took an interest in Sue as well, though she remained loyal to Reed.
Out of Space and Into the Fantastic Four
When a sudden loss of funding threatened to derail Reed's experimental starship project, Reed urged his pilot, Ben, to join him in making an unauthorized test flight before the project shut down. Grimm was reluctant, but accepted the challenge after Sue questioned his courage. Sue and her brother Johnny insisted on coming along as well, wishing to share the risk. The quartet successfully launched into space, but intense cosmic rays penetrated the ship's shielding and irradiated the crew, forcing them back to Earth. On landing, they discovered they had mutated into superhumans, and Sue became the Invisible Girl. Dedicating their new powers to super-heroics and scientific exploration, the quartet became the Fantastic Four. Sue's relatively static invisibility power made her seem like a weak link in the team at first, but she soon discovered that she also had the ability to project and manipulate invisible force fields, making her a more effective combatant.
Conflicted Love and the Death of Franklin Storm
While team leader and financier Reed provided the FF with a Manhattan headquarters in the Baxter Building, Johnny and Sue maintained a suburban home in their native Glenville for some time. Johnny also tried to moonlight as a solo super hero, and his sister sometimes aided him against foes such as the Wizard
, who would become one of the FF's most relentless enemies. One of the FF's earliest foes was misguided Atlantean warrior Namor
the Sub-Mariner, who was strongly attracted to Sue and vied with Reed for her affections. Sue was drawn to Namor, who eventually became a valued friend and ally to the FF, but she remained true to Reed. When Sue was gravely injured during a battle with the Mole Man
, her father-who had just recently escaped from prison-came out of hiding to operate on her, saving her life and reconciling with his children before he willingly returned to jail. This attracted the attention of the Super-Skrull
(Kl'rt), who abducted Dr. Storm, impersonated him and attacked the FF as the Invincible Man; but in the end, the Super-Skrull was defeated and the real Dr. Storm sacrificed his life to save the FF from a Skrull booby trap, dying secure in the belief that he had redeemed himself at last.
Matrimony and Motherhood - Super Powered
Reed and Sue were finally married-despite a small army of super-villains dispatched to attack their wedding by Reed's old enemy Doctor Doom
, who had become the FF's foremost foe. Sue soon became pregnant with her first child and stepped down from active FF duty, replaced by Inhuman elemental Crystal
(then Johnny's girlfriend). Sue's cosmic-irradiated physiology complicated the pregnancy, but Reed ensured the child's safe delivery via a Cosmic Control Rod taken from Annihilus
. The baby, christened Franklin after Sue's late father, proved to be a vastly powerful mutant whose fluctuating abilities have alternately saved or menaced both the FF and the world over the years. During a period where Franklin's
powers were raging out of control, Reed was forced to shut down his son's mind for a time. Appalled by this, and frustrated by her growing belief that Reed did not regard her as an equal, Sue separated from Reed and quit the FF, taking Franklin with her. Medusa
of the Inhumans took Sue's place in the FF for an extended period, but Sue reclaimed her spot on the roster after she and Reed finally reconciled-with the aid of Namor, ironically enough. The FF broke up altogether for a time when Reed temporarily lost his powers, but they soon regrouped. Sue became pregnant a second time. Seeking a more normal family life, Reed and Sue established a household in smalltown Belle Port, Connecticut for a time, living quietly in disguise there as the Benjamin family while continuing to serve with the FF in their original identities. This baby had been conceived during a stay in the Negative Zone, exposing Sue to radiation that made this pregnancy even more complicated and dangerous than the previous one, finally resulting in a stillbirth.
The Rise of Malice and a Name Change
Still traumatized and bitter, Sue was easy prey for the Psycho-Man
and his Hate-Monger android, who used their emotion-manipulating powers to amplify Susan's darker impulses, changing her into the mad villainess Malice and turning her against the FF. Freed from their influence by Reed, Sue exacted a chilling revenge on Psycho-Man by subjecting him to his own emotion-warping technology (the Hate-Monger, meanwhile, had been slain by the vigilante Scourge
). Sobered by these events, Sue changed her costumed alias to the more mature Invisible Woman, the code-name she uses to this day.
Avengers Assemble, Fantastic Four Reconfigure
Seeking a more normal family life again, Reed and Sue retired from the FF altogether to concentrate on raising Franklin, leaving Ben in charge of regrouping; however, Reed and Sue's retirement was short-lived. After teaming with several Avengers
to rescue Franklin during the demonic Inferno invasion, Reed and Sue reluctantly agreed to join the Avengers, who were critically short-handed at the time. Reed and Sue amicably stepped down from active Avengers membership before long, later resigning their Avengers membership altogether after they rejoined the Fantastic Four. The FF remain staunch allies to the Avengers regardless, and Sue is friendly with various Avengers members, notably the size-changing socialite Wasp
and the super-strong She-Hulk, who had served a lengthy stint with the FF during a period when Ben was estranged from the team.
Growth and Maturity, Good and Bad
Like the other FF founders, Sue has participated in many mass super-hero gatherings over the years-notably the original Contest of Champions, during which she teamed with Iron Fist
and Sunfire as pawns of an unknown entity to battle the Grandmaster's pawns Daredevil
, Darkstar and Australian hero Talisman, ultimately teaming with Talisman to unmask the Grandmaster's opponent as Death
itself. Later, during the cosmic conflict known as the Infinity War, Sue absorbed her own evil doppelganger (a creature from the Dimension of Manifestations, controlled by Adam Warlock's dark side, the Magus), which had been dispatched against her in the form of Malice. This led to a gradual revival of Sue's Malice persona (which had been temporarily released by the cosmic In-Betweener
once before), but Franklin, temporarily transformed into the teen hero Psi-Lord, forced Malice out of his mother and absorbed the entity, apparently destroying his mother's dark counterpart. Sue never fully accepted Psi-Lord, perhaps resenting the notion of a Franklin who grew up without her as Psi-Lord did.
The Death of Reed Richards/Heroes Reborn
When Reed was seemingly killed in action, Sue took over leadership of the FF and served capably in the role, recruiting Ant-Man (Scott Lang)
as the team's new scientist; however, she refused to believe Reed was truly dead, leading an ongoing search for her husband and rejecting romantic advances from her old flame, Namor. As it turned out, Reed had been abducted and time-displaced by the villain Hyperstorm
. Once the FF finally rescued Reed, it took him some time to regain his confidence, especially since Sue had become such an effective team leader in his absence. Shortly thereafter, the entire FF seemingly died in battle with the psychic monster Onslaught
, though they secretly survived in a new "Counter-Earth" parallel world created instinctively by Franklin, and they eventually returned to their own world after a series of adventures in this alternate-reality.
A Bouncing, Baby Girl...From the Future
Soon after their return, the FF befriended the new Marvel Girl, Valeria Von Doom
, who came from an alternate future where she believed herself to be the offspring of Sue and a benevolent incarnation of Doctor Doom. Reluctant to trust or believe the girl at first, Sue gradually came to regard Valeria as a friend, even forming a familial bond with her. Later, during the team's reality-warping conflict with the cosmic being Abraxas
, Franklin revealed he had used his powers to rescue Sue's seemingly stillborn second child years earlier, and that this child had been raised in an alternate future to become the Marvel Girl they now knew. As a side-effect of Abraxas' defeat, Marvel Girl was restored to her original state, as an unborn child in Sue's womb. Yet again, it was a risky and complicated pregnancy; but Sue finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, thanks largely to the assistance of Doctor Doom, who was allowed to name the infant after his childhood sweetheart Valeria in exchange for his services. Later, Doom used Valeria as his mystical familiar in sorcerous attacks on the FF, but was ultimately defeated and cast into Hell.
Hard Times For the First Family
Reed led the FF in dismantling Doom's Latverian regime despite international condemnation of his actions, which hurt their public image and their standing with the authorities. The FF broke up, Reed and Sue split up, and Reed signed over most of his patents to the government as part of a deal to escape prosecution; however, Reed convinced Sue and Johnny to join him in a quest to resurrect Ben, returning him from the gates of Heaven itself. While the FF work to rebuild their reputations and their finances, they have recently dabbled in more conventional fields of employment, such as teaching.
Sue was recently captured by Zius, leader of a group of survivors from worlds consumed by Galactus
. Knowing Sue's power could overcome a device designed to hide planets from Galactus, Zius intended to execute her; but Reed used a device to swap Johnny and Sue's powers, duping Zius into thinking the invisibility powers had been completely neutralized. These powers were enhanced by Galactus, who claimed Johnny as his herald; but Johnny's new cosmic state helped facilitate Galactus' defeat, and Sue regained her original powers-though she also gained new respect for Johnny regarding his ability to control his dangerous fire power. Sue currently moonlights as a substitute teacher while juggling her roles as wife, mother and celebrity adventurer.
When the government of the United States instituted a Superhero Registration in light of a schoolyard tragedy in Stamford, Connecticut, Reed joined alongside Tony Stark, using his scientific genius to work against unregistered heroes. Sue disagreed with his decision, and the tension between them grew after a crowd outside a nightclub - enraged by the paranoia surrounding the country - attacked Johnny and put him into a coma. While Sue visited him daily, Reed brushed it off and lost himself in his work for the government. The tension finally came to a head and Sue left Reed in a spectacular exit that blew a hole through the ceiling and floor of the building, and joined the anti-Registration side led by Captain America
. But the Captain soon turned himself in after an all-out battle in downtown New York that devastated the people he meant to protect. Afterwards, Sue was left to pick up the pieces of her team and her marriage to Reed.