Several of this week's Marvel Comics carries a surprise eight-page backup story commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Soon after, Marvel made it available for free on Marvel Unlimited, Marvel.com (opens in new tab), and other major digital platforms.
'The Four Fives' centers on Spider-Man and Captain America as they honor the victims of that American tragedy by taking part in a memorial service at ground zero of the World Trade Center attacks, and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum that now stands in its place.(opens in new tab)
Marvel Comics' executive vice president/creative director Joe Quesada has written this memorable story, partnering with long-time friend John Romita Jr. The eight-page story is inked by Scott Hanna, colored by Marte Gracia, and lettered by Joe Caramagna. The story was edited by Tom Brevoort, Annalise Bissa, and Martin Biro.
'The Four Fives' is in some ways a spiritual sequel to December 1, 2001's Amazing Spider-Man #36 (opens in new tab) by Romita Jr. and writer J. MIchael Straczynski, a quickly-created one-off issue exploring how Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and other Marvel heroes (and a few villains) react in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. Quesada was Marvel's editor-in-chief at the time of this issue.
The story's title, 'The Four Fives,' refers to four series of five bell strikes that are performed to honor a firefighter that has died in the line of duty. Quesada has a long connection with firefighters, even before the September 11th attacks. He and long-time friend Jimmy Palmiotti created the superhero firefighter Ash in the '90s, and Quesada was one of the primary people involved with the series of firefighter comics Marvel published in the two years immediately following the September 11 attacks.
Marvel itself published a commemorative one-shot to the September 11th attacks in February 2002 called A Moment of Silence.
'The Four Fives' will appear in select Marvel Comics this month, including September 8's Amazing Spider-Man #73 (opens in new tab), Excalibur #23 (opens in new tab), X-Force #23 (opens in new tab), Daredevil #34 (opens in new tab), and Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land #1 (opens in new tab).
Make sure you've read the best Marvel Comics stories of all time.