Fantastic Four: TWGCM >> View Post
Post By
Reverend Meteor

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 10,278
In Reply To
Jim Mc

Member Since: Sun Jan 20, 2013
Posts: 998
Subj: Re: Did Reed ever act like Ben's "best friend" besides in college flashbacks?
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 at 09:34:25 am EDT (Viewed 167 times)
Reply Subj: Did Reed ever act like Ben's "best friend" besides in college flashbacks?
Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 at 11:40:38 pm EDT (Viewed 176 times)

Previous Post

As it looks like the return of an FF title is becoming more and more unlikely anytime soon, I often think about the untapped relationships between the four core characters. You'd think that after 50 plus years there wouldn't be much more to explore.

I disagree and think that there's still a lot of different ways the various relationships between characters can be tapped. Take for example Ben and Reed. Are they truly "best friends" as so often is stated, primarily after the events that transformed them? My answer is no. In fact I think Ben is closer to both Johnny and Sue.

I'm not bashing Reed. Yes, the burden of leadership is heavy and he has tried many times to cure his "old friend" out of a sense of guilt. Yet there were prolonged periods where Ben seemed content with his plight and at least verbally communicated that he was content with himself. During these times did Reed and Ben ever go to the bar or to the ballgame, just the two of them? Or do anything that would indicate that they are best friends? Again, I am excluding college flashbacks.

I have a hard time remembering any scenes indicating a deep friendship. Reed often talks down to Ben or calls him "old friend" in a way a father gives his child a lecture. If the FF were to ever return I'd like to see Reed and Ben hang out once in a while, talk about life, have some fun. I recall a Hickman issue where Reed sits down with Ben and has a beer in the final panel or so. Beyond that I'm struggling. Was he ever at a poker game?

In all the times Ben has been under someone's control or has temporarily "gone bad" Ben's real feelings towards Reed often come to the surface and they go beyond just being angry with him over the transformation. I think Reed and Ben have a lot to work out if they are to ever get back to "best friend" status. I'd like to see that relationship explored further.

Someone in recent years had a scene with Reed offering Ben a beer. I remember thinking the scene was odd because like you I've always seen their friendship as lip service. Ben's best friend is Johnny whether either of them wants to admit to it.

But to me the real untapped relationship in the Fantastic Four is what Reed and Johnny feel about each other. Reed's always been hard on Ben when he acts out but I've always seen that as Reed expects a certain level of excellence from Ben. He pushes Ben but he knows Ben can handle it. Conversely I've always had the impression that Reed doesn't lecture Johnny (who is way worse than Ben maturity wise) because he doesn't expect much out of him.

Reed's more or less raised Johnny since he was a teenager (15?) and Johnny never leaves the nest for long. He's always rude and hateful to Ben and can frankly be a frivolous person. I've always wondered if Reed being nice to Johnny is sincere or if he keeps the peace because he knows a rift with Johnny is about the only thing that would cause Sue to leave.

I'm just going to say it...I don't think Reed likes Johnny. I think he's always been forced to tolerate Johnny to keep Sue happy. When Johnny does wrong Reed doesn't call him on it like he does Ben. Reed has low expectations for Johnny so he never gets his feelings hurt when Johnny screws up.

That said I think Johnny probably does like Reed. But they're not really friends IMO. Reed is someone Johnny respects but IMO they're never really gotten to know each other. Reed and Johnny have zero in common outside of the family.

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