Marvel’s first family, better known throughout the world as the Fantastic Four, have been around since the company’s early years. It can even be argued this team of intrepid adventurers turned superheroes put the company on the map and helped them become the titan of the industry it is today. Unfortunately, due to some less than stellar outings in the cinemas and behind the scenes drama, this team isn’t very well known outside of comic book fans. So in an effort to get you more familiar with the team, here’s a taste of their background in the comics.
10. There Was Once An Alternate Team
Like many heroes in comic books, the Fantastic Four have died on more than one occasion. In one such instance, the team was temporarily substituted by another superpowered quartet. This temporary team’s roster was filled by Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, and the intelligent alternate reality Hulk, Mr. Fixit. The team was short-lived however, as it was soon revealed that they had been tricked by a Skrull into going after Mole Man. And while their partnership was short lived, the team would reform through the years on occasion.
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9. Spider-Man Tried To Join Them
Hot off the heels of his introduction in Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man’s first solo outing saw the young hero attempting to join the ranks of the Fantastic Four. At the time, Spidey, and by extension Aunt May, were suffering from some financial troubles, and he hoped to be employed by the team of adventurers. Much to his dismay, he discovered the Fantastic Four’s enterprises were purely volunteer work. As the team paid their bills with the money that Mr. Fantastic’s invention patents brought. Despite initially being turned away, Spider-Man would go on to join the team when the Human Torch went missing.
8. The Thing Is Blackbeard
Throughout their publication history, the Fantastic Four have been equal parts explorers and heroes. The team’s exploits have led them to far off worlds and even alternate dimensions and timelines. During their earlier years, one particular excursion led to the team traveling back in time to the golden age of piracy. Due to Doctor Doom’s machinations, the team had to steal the treasure of the notorious pirate Blackbeard. This in turn led to a temporal anomaly that resulted in The Thing taking Blackbeard’s place. The resulting swap went on to become historical fact in universe, and the character has even made multiple appearances since his first issue.
7. The Thing’s Willpower
Easily the most recognizable member of the group, The Thing is most famous for his nigh indestructible orange skin. This rocky exterior endows him with near limitless durability and nearly unmatched strength. Both of these have allowed him to go toe to toe with the likes of the Hulk, but The Thing’s greatest asset is something a little harder to define. In the Marvel universe, characters with exceptional strength of will can power through even the greatest of adversities. On more than one occasion The Thing’s willpower has proven more valuable to the hero than his rocky physique.
6. The Human Torch Becomes Plasma
Johnny Storm, better known as The Human Torch, is famous for the fire power that is his namesake. Through the years, his powers have mostly remained the same, revolving around his manipulation of flames. A recent addition to the canon though has added that he doesn’t simply have control over fire, when he flames on, he becomes pure plasma. In this state he is impervious to most forms of attack, as they simply pass through him. A convenient side effect of this transformation also allows Johnny to forgo traditional hygiene regimens, as all harmful and unsavory foreign contaminants, including viruses and bacteria, are incinerated by his intense heat.
5. Cosmic Radiation
It’s well known to most fans how the Fantastic Four gained their superhuman abilities. An ill-fated space flight propelled the quartet into a cosmic storm, exposing them to its radiation. The team we know and love have learned to use these gifts to the fullest to the benefit of mankind, but that wasn’t always the case. Originally the team’s powers were shackled with adverse side effects. Stretching his body would cause Reed great pain, Sue permanently remained invisible and had to wear a mask to be seen, and Johnny could only use his powers whenever he was in a heightened state of excitement. Only The Thing remained the same in the earlier iterations.
4. They Are All Avengers
Like most heroes in the massive Marvel universe, every member of the Fantastic Four has been an Avenger at some point in their career. Both Reed Richards and Sue Storm have been members of the main Avengers team, and The Thing was once a member of the New Avengers. Johnny Storm would later become a member of the Avengers Unity Division after the Fantastic Four was disbanded following the events of 2015’s Secret Wars.
3. The Future Foundation
In their more recent stories, the Fantastic Four has expanded, becoming the new organization known as The Future Foundation. The brainchild of Reed Richards, this idea was formed after Reed became disillusioned with the state of the world and its dated mindset on the application of science. This foundation is his solution, the culmination of the best and brightest young minds in the world. The current roster is too large to name in full, but it does have all of the original Fantastic Four and their extended family, minus the late Johnny Storm, as well as Spider-Man.
2. They Have A Robotic Assistant
The Highly Engineered Robot Built for Interdimensional Exploration, or simply HERBIE, is a robot designed by Reed Richards to aid the team in their efforts. Initially he was built to help track the infamous world eater known as Galactus but has since gone on to be a valued member of the team. More often than not, the little robot can be found assisting Reed with his latest experiments. And when the team went on to add Reed and Sue’s children to the mix, HERBIE quickly filled the role of their babysitter.
1. The Baxter Building
Every superhero team worth their salt needs a place to hang their tights. For the Fantastic Four, their base of operations is the New York skyscraper known as the Baxter Building. As the home of the most famous team of adventurers and the smartest man on the planet, there’s more to this building than meets the eye. Reed has packed the building from the first floor to the roof with the latest and greatest technological advancements. In addition to being the staging grounds for their many adventures, the building also serves as the team’s home in their downtime.
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Written By Micah Mitchells
Syndicated From Culture Slate