Susan Storm Richards
Baroness Von Doom, Stormy Sue, Malice, Mistress of Hate, Susan Benjamin, Invisible Girl
Place of Birth
Glenville, Long Island, New York
Fantastic Four #1 (1961)
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 modelling 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.