Marvel comic book fans will surely have heard the news. The Fantastic Four will no longer be a fearsome foursome. The comic book creators will dispose of one member in the January issue. Who will it be? That will be a secret unveiled early next year.
Who are the Fantastic Four?
The Fantastic Four are a team of super-heroes created by writer Stan Lee. Their characters departed from the norm in that they did not have secret lives. Their identities were known to all. They were human first, super-heroes later. Their bodies were altered by the cosmic rays they were exposed to in an experimental space flight.
They are led by Dr. Reed Richards. Reed is the scientific genius. He is the elastic man, able to contort himself into varied forms, shapes and sizes. “Mr. Fantastic” is the father figure, with greying hair.
Next is Susan Storm, Reed’s girlfriend. She can render herself and others invisible. She can also generate force fields as a means of protecting herself and her allies. Her moniker: The Invisible Girl.
Johnny Storm, Susan’s brother, has the power to control fire. He can fly. He is the Human Torch.
Finally, comes Ben Grimm, aptly called just ‘The Thing’. Ben Grimm is worst affected by the accident in outer space. He becomes an ugly beast vested with superhuman strength. He does not celebrate his powers but longs to be human again so that he can lead a normal life. He has an extremely short fuse but tempers it with an acerbic sense of humour.
The foursome live together in a New York penthouse—as a family, bickering all the time. The verbal jousting that Ben and Johnny indulge in serve as an interesting sidelight to the episodes.
That was about the comic book heroes. The ATP tour have a Fantastic Four of their own. Here is a juxtaposition of the Marvel characters against the marvels we recognise as the marquee stars in the firmament of men’s tennis.