Last week, Marvel announced that the Fantastic Four are to return to the Marvel Universe. The original team will return in the pages of Fantastic Four issue #1 in August 2018, ushering in a new era for the FF.

But do you know all the basics on Marvel’s first family? Well, if the answer is no then don’t sweat it, because today I’ve got your back.

Below is a back-to-basics guide to the Fantastic Four designed for those who know very little about Marvel’s super group. The guide should help fill in a few blanks; should give you an understanding of who the group are; and should highlight the other members of the team. Yes, there have been more than four members of the Fantastic Four.


Fantastic Four

In what year were the Fantastic Four created?

The Fantastic Four were created in 1961 and made their debut in the pages of Fantastic Four issue #1.

Who created the Fantastic Four?

Writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four for Marvel Comics.

Who are the original members of the Fantastic Four?

The original four members of the Fantastic Four are:

  • Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic)
  • Susan Richards (The Invisible Woman)
  • Johnny Storm (The Human Torch)
  • Ben Grimm (The Thing)

While each member of the team has a code name, the identities of the Fantastic Four are known to the public.

What are the Fantastic Four’s powers?

Each member of the Fantastic Four has a different super power, with each (very) loosely representing an elemental power (earth, wind, fire and water).

  • Reed Richards has the ability to stretch his body into countless shapes. Reed’s elastic abilities are are also backed up by his incredible intellect.
  • Susan Richards has the ability to turn herself and other people/objects invisible. Sue can also create invisible platforms and projectiles.
  • Johnny Storm has the ability to generate intense flames which cover his entire body. Johnny’s powers also give him the ability to fly.
  • Ben Grimm’s entire body is covered in a rock-like flesh, which gives him enhanced endurance and incredible strength.

Who is the Fantastic Four’s greatest enemy?

The Fantastic Four have had many enemies over the years, from the world-devouring Galactus to the bothersome Frightful Four, arguably the FF’s greatest enemy is Doctor Victor Von Doom (Doctor Doom).

Doom first appeared in the pages of Fantastic Four issue #5 in 1962. Over the years he has remained a constant thorn in the side of the FF and has appeared in every Fantastic Four movie adaptation and animated show.

Outside of the original four, are there any other members of the Fantastic Four?

Yes – quite a few. Other Marvel characters to have been a member of the Fantastic Four include:

  • Ant-Man (Scott Lang)
  • Black Panther (T’Challa)
  • Crystal (Crystallia Amaquelin)
  • Flux (Dennis Sykes)
  • Human Torch/Nova (Frankie Raye)
  • Luke Cage (Luke Cage)
  • Medusa (Medusalith Amaquelin)
  • Marvel/She-Thing (Sharon Ventura)
  • Thing (Darla Deering)
  • Namorita (Namorita Prentiss)
  • She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters)
  • Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
  • Storm (Ororo Munroe)

In addition, other versions of the Fantastic Four have existed including a team comprising Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), the Hulk (Bruce Banner), Spider-Man (Peter Parker) & Wolverine (Logan); a team that included Venom (Flash Thompson), Red Hulk (Thunderbolt Ross), X-23 (Laura Kinney) and Ghost Rider (Alejandra Jones); and one that included Silk (Cindy Moon), Hulk (Amadeus Cho), Wolverine (Laura Kinney) and Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes).

Who are Franklin & Valeria Richards?

Franklin & Valeria Richards are the children of Reed & Susan Richards. Franklin is a very powerful mutant, with reality-warping powers and psionic abilities, while Valeria has a genius-level intellect that far exceeds her years (and potentially even exceeds the intelligence of Reed Richards).

Who are The Freedom Foundation?

The Freedom Foundation is/was an organisation founded by Mister Fantastic, to better serve the human race – and help secure its future. The organisation superseded the Fantastic Four and included various characters, chosen for their intelligence, including Spider-Man, Doctor Doom and Franklin and Valeria Richards.

What are the best Fantastic Four stories to read?

Stories are subjective, so what is ‘the best’ to one person might not be the best to another, however, I have previously compiled a short list of my top picks which you can check out in full here.

The stories include: The Galactus Trilogy, Terror in a Tiny Town, Crossover, This Man… This Monster! and Unthinkable.

How many Fantastic Four movies are there?

To date there are four Fantastic Four movies: The Fantastic Four (1994), Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and Fantastic Four (2015). The 1994 movie has never been released to the public in an official capacity (you can find it on YouTube), but the 2005, 2007 and 2015 movies all received theatrical releases during their respective years.

How many Fantastic Four cartoons are there?

To date there have been four Fantastic Four cartoons: Fantastic Four (1967), Fantastic Four (1978), Fantastic Four (1994) and Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes (2006). In addition, the Thing also starred in the short-lived cartoon, Fred and Barney Meet the Thing (1979).

The Fantastic Four have also made guest appearances in other Marvel cartoons based on Spider-Man, the Avengers and the Hulk.

Is there anything else I need to know about the Fantastic Four?

The publication of Fantastic Four issue #1 in 1961 is cited as the birth of the Marvel Universe. While characters such as Captain America & Prince Namor appeared in comics published decades before the first issue of the Fantastic Four, it wasn’t until the FF arrived that everything came together, creating the universe that still exists to this day.

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