WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Invisible Woman #4, by Mark Waid and Mattia de Iulis, available now.
If there was any doubt before that the Invisible Woman was the Fantastic Four's most powerful member, her new solo series makes the point abundantly... ahem... clear. After already introducing new powers and applications for her abilities in previous issues, Invisible Woman #4 adds yet another power to Susan Storm's roster: invisibility vision.
The power may come as something of a head-scratcher, but it actually makes perfect sense. At the issue's beginning Sue is held captive and rendered blind by those holding her. Little do her captors realize that her vision is fundamentally different from most human beings'. As Sue herself explains, "Ordinary retinas register objects through reflected light, but mine also interpolate shapes based on reflected cosmic rays."
Since cosmic rays permeate the atmosphere, the ability essentially expands Sue's field of vision beyond the normal human scope. The consequences for the issue where the ability is introduced is that Sue is able to make out the shapes and persons around her well enough to fight back (and restore the full faculties of her vision), but it is also used to explain how she is capable of perceiving her own invisible force fields. Over the years, this was an issue, given very little attention, and few writers ever stopped to explain how Sue could wield her invisible forcefields with such precision if they were, well, invisible.
The insight helps prove why a solo for the Invisible Woman has long since been overdue. While her fellows in the Fantastic Four like Human Torch and Thing already received multiple solos over the years (in addition to team-up books and abundant guest spots in other comics), each issue of the Invisible Woman series answers so many questions and proves so much about what the character is capable of. While it is nothing new for Sue's powers to expand steadily over the years, only four issues into her solo title, she displays a variety of powers and applications for them never before detailed.
She can now manipulate light along the entire spectrum to change the colors of her appearance, create ear plugs to guard herself from sonic attacks, make entire vehicles invisible as she crashes them into her opponents, and explode firearms from the inside-out just by looking at them. The opportunity to see Sue strike out on her own offers an assortment of situations where she is really able to shine, and each new issue proves just how underrated she's been over the years.
While the character's roots in the comics were less than empowering, casting her as a frequent damsel-in-distress and oftentimes more a hindrance to the team than a help, the past five decades really saw her grow into her own. After displays of astonishing levels of power that allowed her to duke it out with cosmic entities, the recent insights into her clandestine missions as a secret agent show that she has the skills and cunning to accompany her brawn. If there was any question before whether she was the FF's most powerful member, it seems thoroughly answered now.