Susan "Sue" Storm-Richards, better known as the Invisible Woman (previously the Invisible Girl), is a Marvel Comics character created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, first appearing in The Fantastic Four #1 (dated Nov. 1961).
If the Fantastic Four can be considered the "first family" of the Marvel Universe, then Sue Storm is their first lady. While she's not technically the first female superhero created by the company note , Sue was the only one with any sort of substantial focus for quite some time. By comparison, Jean Grey hit the scene nearly two years after Sue's introduction, though many think she didn't hit her own stride until The '70s.
Sue, alongside the rest of the F4, is a classic case of Silver Age science fiction. While on an expedition in outer space, Sue —with her younger brother Johnny, boyfriend Dr. Reed Richards, and his friend Ben Grimm— experienced cosmic radiation, gaining invisibility (and later, force fields) as a result. With them, she became a founding member of the Fantastic Four, using their powers for the betterment of humanity.
In the following decades since her superhero genesis, Sue goes through lots of character development, including (but not limited to) marrying Reed, becoming a mother, and being tasked with the reconstruction of the multiverse. She also notably transitions from being the Invisible Girl to the Invisible Woman, which is reflected by her increase in confidence and self-esteem.
As one of Marvel's first family, Sue has obviously appeared quite frequently in other media. She's been a leading character of every Fantastic Four movie made to date, most notably portrayed by Jessica Alba and Kate Mara in their 2005 and 2015 film adaptations.
The Invisible Woman appears in:
- The Fantastic Four (1967 — 1968), voiced by Jo Ann Pflug
- The Fantastic Four (1978), voiced by Ginny Tyler
- Fantastic Four (1994 — 1996), voiced by Lori Alan
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994 — 1998), voiced by Gail Matthius
- Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (2006 — 2017), voiced by Lara Gilchrist
- The Super Hero Squad Show (2009 — 2011), voiced by Tara Strong
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! (2010 — 2013), voiced by Erin Torpey
- Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (2013 — 2015), voiced by Kari Wahlgren
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006), voiced by Danica McKellar
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009)
- LittleBigPlanet (2010) as DLC skin
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012)
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (2013), voiced by Kari Wahlgren
- Marvel Puzzle Quest (added in 2014)
- Marvel Heroes (added in 2016), voiced by Erin Torpey
- Marvel Future Fight (added in 2019)
The Invisible Woman provides examples of:
- Action Girl: She's generally portrayed as the strongest member of the team these days. Doctor Doom is more afraid of her than he is of The Thing.
- Action Mom: She is a mother of two, and still the strongest member of the four. Do not hurt her children if you know what's good for you.
- Alliterative Name: Before she got married, anyway. Susan "Sue" Storm
- Barrier Warrior: As a veteran superhero, she's gotten quite good at using her forcefields offensively, such as threatening to use them to create a brain embolism/aneurysm at one point.
- Beware the Nice Ones: During the Civil War storyline, she confronted Reed about his pro-registration stance and Reed stated that he did it all to protect Sue. Sue then proceeded to send an invisible column above and below all 35 floors of the Baxter building and asked Reed if she looked like she needed protection.
- Big Sister Instinct: Towards Johnny.
- Cleavage Window: She had one, shaped like the figure 4, in her Stripperific 1990s outfit. On more than one occasion has it been pointed out the physical improbability of maintaining the appearance of a number 4 in such a manner.
- Cool Big Sis: To Johnny.
- Custom Uniform: Early on, Sue experimented with a miniskirt variation that didn't last. Then came the Stripperific outfit in the 90s, followed by a more modest variation.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Deadly Force Field: Sue Storm is the poster girl for Took a Level in Badass precisely because of this trope. In the original comics, she had a more passive role, often playing the Damsel in Distress. The writers gave her invisibility powers a force field aspect to make her more active and useful, other writers gave her more creative ways to use them, and now "lil' Suzie" is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, period. Notably, she can deal out all four main manners of death this trope describes: cutting, crushing, popping, and internal blockage.
- Faux Action Girl: She started off as one of these, but Character Development kicked in.
- Green Lantern Ring: Her force-fields act as this. Basically, she's become an Invisible Lantern over the years, being able to shape her invisible forcefields into any sort of constructs she wants but with the added advantage that her enemies can't see them.
- Guile Hero: Invisible Woman should be portrayed as this. She shamed Ben Grimm into piloting the ship during the first issue. She was also told to distract many of the Silver Age male supervillains. After Psycho Man temporarily turned her into Malice she used her knowledge of Reed and Psycho Man's personalities to track him down and take revenge on him. When Dr. Doom stole the power cosmic from the Silver Surfer, she tricked him into flying into a mountain. During the Civil War, she spied on Reed. As any real chessmaster/manipulative bastard/guile hero would tell you, the greatest achievements in theses tropes is to make certain that your opponents don't realize you are a social expert.
- Happily Married: To Reed.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Once the writers found out some really creative ways to use her powers...
- Instant Armor: She's used her forcefields in this way once or twice.
- Leotard of Power: Her 90s outfit.
- Love at First Sight: When she was 12-13, she met a 19-year-old uni student and got a Precocious Crush on him. Fortunately, they didn't hook up until she was much older.
- Mama Bear: DO NOT mess with her children. Biological or adopted. At one point in the comics the government bars Reed and Sue from their home and their children. They call in the Avengers to do so. Ten of them, in fact, which might look like overkill at first. And then Sue loses her temper, and one panel later anyone not named Thor or Hulk is knocked flat. The original Torch intervenes before she seriously injures anyone.
- Mind over Matter: Her invisible force field basically boil down to such, with the handy trait of Invisibility at her discretion.
- Ms. Fanservice: Her regular costume(s) already flatter her, but her sex appeal often gets dialed up in alternate universes, especially ones where her invisibility is tweaked to put her in Naked People Are Funny situations (as seen in 1602).
- Only Sane Woman: She keeps Reed in check, and in the team's earlier day was usually the only thing keeping Johnny and Ben from each other's throats.
- Personality Powers: Originally, Sue was very shy and her invisible powers showcase her introverted nature.
- Precocious Crush: Sue met Reed when he was 19 and she was 12, getting a crush on him at first sight. Thankfully, they got together much later in life.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Often, when Sue is holding a forcefield against a particularly strong opponent.
- Religious Bruiser: Shes one of the strongest heroes in the universe. Shes also a very devout Christian, though her brother, Johnny Storm/Human Torch, says shes quiet about it. Indeed, every Christmas and Easter◊, she goes to the St. Patricks Cathedral (which implies shes specifically Catholic), lights the candles, and prays to her deceased parents.
- That being said, in an issue before entering into Heaven to get Ben Grimm back, she expresses skepticism that it even exists.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Her relationship with Reed.
- Spontaneous Weapon Creation: One of the many possible uses of her force fields. In one X-Men/Fantastic Four miniseries, she has a Mama Bear moment and uses a force sword to slay a Brood queen in close combat, leaving the males of both teams rather shocked.
- Stripperific: Unusual for a comic series in that the team's main female member only rarely falls under this trope, preferring a modest blue bodysuit identical to the ones Reed and Johnny wear, but it does happen - like when she wore a certain costume for a few years in the 1990s. The change was widely panned by fans and removed.
- Team Mom: Reed is usually more focused on his latest project, Ben sulking about his appearance or fighting with Johnny, and Johnny... is Johnny. Sue's usually the one keeping them all together (or in Johnny and Ben's case, apart).
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Suffered from this before getting her force field power because her only power was Invisibility, so the team was put into situations where stealth was required so her power could come off as being useful.
- Took a Level in Badass: Hoo boy. She's the page picture for a reason. See her entry on Comic Books for specifically why.
- Violently Protective Wife: It's a horrible idea to mess with Reed when Susan is around.
- Xenafication: She was originally The Chick of the team with a near useless power of invisibility. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby took partial steps to fix that early on giving her force field projecting powers. However, it was John Byrne who really powered her up by having her nifty new ways of using her powers and learning to get aggressive enough to really use them well. Today, she is now considered one of the most powerful superheroes of the Marvel Universe and even the character of Doctor Doom underestimates her at his peril.