Perhaps the most oft repeated observation about the Fantastic Four is they are a family first, superheroes second. This piece of their identity has been their cornerstone since Stan Lee ushered in the “Marvel Age of Comics” with their creation in 1961. With the FF poised to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dan Slott was given the reins of “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” in 2018. Understanding the nature of the FF – a family of explorers and travelers who save the day when needed – he uses it to examine a captivating concept which seems uniquely suited to the Fantastic Four. When their explorations take them to the planet Spyre, Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Sue Storm/the Invisible Woman, Johnny Storm/the Human Torch, and Ben Grimm/the Thing meet the Overseer, the leader of the Spyricans, a people who have technology they claim will show you your Soul Mate with absolute certainty. Families are born in the bonds of love and there’s no love like a Soul Mate…should such a thing exist. What better place to drop explorers defined by their family than the questions raised at the intersection of loving communion and a technology that can predict the mystical movements of the heart?!!?
As readers we can’t help but take this journey with the Fantastic Four and wonder are Soul Mates real? And if they are, would we want to know?
I love being a teacher; I really do. I consider myself incredibly blessed to be able to do what I do every day – to work where I work, to teach what I teach, and to see my students wrestle with the BIG questions the study of Theology demands of us – if we take it seriously – each and every day. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to leave my job for another (unless I could be a Ghostbuster (and I mean an actual Ghostbuster, with a proton pack, PKE meter, traps, and a cool car like the Ecto-1 NOT one of those lame “ghost hunters” on Discovery or TLC with infrared cameras and a stupid compass)). However, the profession of teaching is often presented (both cinematically and literarily) in…let’s say less than accurate ways. And, while I may dig his hat and love his adventures, there are few worse offenders of this than Indiana Jones. So Indy, let’s see how you misled a young Michael about what his future career would entail. Continue reading
What do we make of today? With the inauguration of our 45th president we, the American people, are facing an unprecedented age. It was a difficult, divisive election to be sure. We looked deeply into our own darkness, leaving many wounds in need of healing. Hostile foreign powers played with our politics and we, by and large, let them. Republicans didn’t care because it helped them claim the power they so desperately coveted. Democrats didn’t say much either, afraid that they’d appear to be using foreign affairs to play dirty partisan politics like their rivals. Now we have a carnival huckster, a reality TV showman ascending to the highest elected office in our land – a man who seems to know little of, and care even less for, our Constitution. It all feels unreal, like a dystopian novel. What will the presidency of Donald Trump herald? I have no idea. What do we do? For that, I have a clearer picture. For that, we have Captain America to guide us. Continue reading