The Fantastic Four are an iconic foursome that has been an important Marvel Comics property. The original Fantastic Four series helped bolster Marvel from a relatively small publisher to the behemoth it is today. The Fantastic Four is responsible for a lot of firsts for the company, including being the first Marvel superhero team.
With adaptations into films, video games, and TV series, the Fantastic Four continues to be an important part of Marvel history. Given the importance of The Fantastic Four, the comic’s big, watershed moments span decades and creative teams. As a result, the book and team originate some integral moments in Marvel lore.
12 Fantastic Four’s First Appearance
1961’s The Fantastic Four #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is the comic that started it all, introducing audiences to the Fantastic Four team. Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, Sue Storm, and Reed Richards are turned into the Thing, Human Torch, Invisible Girl (later Invisible Woman), and Mr. Fantastic after cosmic radiation exposure during a space mission. From the beginning, the Fantastic Four were not like any other superheroes: they do not hide their identities and enjoy both the perks of fame and the dangers of being known. The first superhero team created by Kirby and Lee, this book set in motion an iconic artistic partnership that would see more joint creations for years to come.
11 Skrulls Are Introduced To Marvel Lore
An integral part of Marvel storytelling, the Skrulls were first introduced in Fantastic Four #2 by Lee and Kirby. In this issue, the Skrulls shapeshift into the Fantastic Four and commit a number of foul deeds, hellbent on destroying the heroes’ reputation to make way for their invasion. The real team saves the day with some good old-fashioned trickery that thwarts the Skrulls and redeems their reputation. The Skrulls are now woven through the entirety of the Marvel Universe. Moreover, the Skrulls have had their own essential storylines, like Secret Invasion and Meet the Skrulls. The fictional alien race has also made an impact on the MCU, playing major parts Captain Marvel and Secret Invasion.
10 The Team Take On The Hulk
In Fantastic Four #25 and #26 by Lee and Kirby, the Fantastic Four assist the Avengers in stopping the Hulk as he rampages through New York. This is the first time the Fantastic Four and the Avengers work together, and they would go on to team-up many times throughout the years. This event also catalyzes the beginning of an enduring rivalry between Hulk and Thing. One would assume that, given how much the two characters have in common, they’d be fast friends. But given that their first exposure to each other includes pounding each other to a pulp, it’s easy to see why a rivalry was established. The Hulk ultimately wins this battle, but they clash frequently down the road.
9 Inhumans Introduced To Marvel Lore
The Inhumans debuted in a five-issue storyline that began in Fantastic Four #44 by Lee and Kirby. Through Medusa, the Fantastic Four meets the Royal Family of the genetically-engineered Inhumans. Johnny falls in love with Medusa’s sister Crystal, but the pair have to separate after the Inhuman’s home is torn apart, and Johnny and Crystal go their separate ways. Many seeds of future events were planted in this first meeting, and it leads to such events as the creation of the Atmo-Gun. Since their debut, the Inhumans have made their mark in their own storylines in both comics and movies alike.
8 The Team Turn Back Galactus And Redeem The Silver Surfer
The Fantastic Four’s villains are considered more cosmic than other Marvel antagonists. The important Galactus-Silver Surfer storyline — also known as the Galactus Trilogy — began with Fantastic Four #48 by Lee and Kirby. The story introduces Galactus as an extremely powerful being who consumes planets without a care. He does so only after sending his herald, the Silver Surfer, to scout out the new worlds. This backfires on Galactus when the Silver Surfer, with the Fantastic Four’s help, decides Earth is worth protecting and turns his back on his master. This storyline introduced two compelling characters who would go on to have major roles in Marvel’s larger story, with the Silver Surfer even receiving his own comic series.
7 Sue Storm And Reed Richards Have Children
The birth of Reed and Sue’s children, Franklin and Valeria, is a major milestone for the team. Franklin’s birth occurred in Fantastic Four Annual #6 by Lee and Kirby, but he did not receive his name until Fantastic Four #94 a few years later. Born a mutant, Franklin showed powers as a toddler, cementing a new character that made the team even more powerful than before. The addition of Franklin and Valeria adds to the unique quality of the Fantastic Four as a biological family. Not many superhero teams can say they’re related, but sets the Fantastic Four apart from other heroes.
6 Doctor Doom Becomes Valeria’s Godfather
The rivalry between Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom has shaped Marvel’s history. The twist of all twists occurred when Reed’s detested opponent became his daughter’s godfather, forever cemented as a bizarre member of the family in Fantastic Four #54 by Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Marin, Karl Kesel, Mark Bagley, Scott Koblish, Al Vey, Liquid!, Richard Starkings, and Albert Deschesne. After a series of mishaps, Valeria was delivered by Doctor Doom using both magic and medicine. Sue and Reed were so thankful, they allowed Doom to name the child and be her godfather. It would turn out to be a mistake: Doom put an enchantment on newborn Valeria that makes her his familiar, but hindsight is 20/20.
5 Council of the Reeds Takes the Stage
The Council of Reeds was introduced in Fantastic Four #570 by Jonathan Hickman, Dale Eaglesham, Paul Mounts, and Rus Wooton, which sees Earth-616 Reed use the Bridge to travel across multiverses. He’s then invited to join the Council, an organization composed entirely of alternate versions of Reeds who operate outside of time and space for the betterment of the universes. The establishing of the Council of Reeds laid the groundwork for how Marvel conceives of and depicts its multiverse. In fact, the Hulk even has his own Council of Reeds. Given that the Marvel multiverse has made its way into the MCU, perhaps fans will see the Council on the big screen before long.
4 Mr. Fantastic Saves and Rebuilds the Entire Multiverse
2015’s Secret Wars #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribić, Ive Svorcina, and Chris Eliopoulos showed Reed as a high-ranking contender for the most powerful Marvel hero when he saved and rebuilt the entire multiverse. When the multiverse was destroyed, only Battleworld was inhabitable, but it was ruled by a Molecule Man-powered Doctor Doom. After an intense face-off, Molecule Man instead gave Reed the mythological-like powers. His new power upgrade not only allowed him to destroy Battleworld and rebuild the entire multiverse, but also return his dead family to life — among other feats. The 2015 Secret Wars storyline introduced the concept of realities colliding with one another — known as “incursions” — to Marvel lore.
3 The Thing And Alicia Marry After Years Of Upheaval
The Thing’s love story with Alicia Masters was not always easy. Alicia being impersonated by a Skrull — who only had eyes for Johnny Storm — was just one of their many hardships. However, this on-and-off couple finally got back together after Ben Grimm was lost in grief when he thought Reed and Sue were dead. Ben proposed, and the pair finally made things official when they married in a small ceremony in 2018’s Fantastic Four #5 By Dan Slott, Michael Allred, Aaron Kuder, Adam Hughes, Marte Gracia, Laura Allred, Erick Arciniega, and Joe Caramagna. This event neatly tied up a long-running relationship plot line that fans were happy to see get a happy ending.
2 The Thing Adopts Two Children
Jo-Venn and N’Kalla are a Kree child soldier and a Skrull child soldier, respectively, who were adopted by the Thing and his wife Alicia in Empyre Fallout: Fantastic Four #1 by Dan Slott, Sean Izaakse, Marcio Menyz, and Joe Caramagna. When the Profiteer tries to take back control of the kids after they catalyze the Skrull-Kree alliance, the emperor of the alliance, Emperor Hulkling, squashes her plans and gives guardianship of the kids to the Thing. Jo-Venn and N’Kalla have become new members of the team (and family) who each have their own powers that they bring to the table. Both children are master combatants and chronicles of their species.
1 Franklin’s Full Powers Manifest
Franklin starts off with immense powers from a young age that continued to grow as he got older. He has a reality-warping ability and the power to manipulate matter — in addition to a number of psionic abilities. Numerous characters have spoken of Franklin’s unfathomably powerful abilities. To name just a few, Eternity and Infinity have cited Franklin as having powers on par with the Celestials. Examples of his fortitude include his healing of Galactus in Fantastic Four #604 by Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting, Rick Magyar, Paul Mounts, and Clayton Cowles and his ability to create pocket universes. The abilities that he has had since a young age make him Marvel’s most powerful hero.