Sure, the Fantastic Four are arguably the most "steady" and iconic super-team in the history of comics in terms of its "line-up". Everyone knows the FF is The Thing, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, and Mr. Fantastic. But other heroes have served as full-fledged members of the exclusive team from time-to-time, so today Newsarama is going to look at the somewhat ironic All-time Top Ten Members of the Fantastic Four.
Yes, she was a member of the Fantastic Four for a cup of coffee, but do you remember anything about her?? Even if you do, do you care? 'Nuff said.
Sure it only lasted two issues (circa 1991) and sure Marvel made it pretty clear it was just for kicks and giggles from the start, but they get a nod just for the pure star wattage. And who knew a decade and a half later what seemed like a gimmick at the time (Spidey and Wolverine serving on a super-team team together) would preview eventual reality (New Avengers)?
As cool a character that he is, the FF is always about family and duty and he was a flat out hired gun back in the day. We've got no problem with anyone getting paid, but it's not in keeping with the spirit of this team.
Sure, the Inhumans are still one of Lee & Kirby's coolest inventions during that first 100 issues, but besides filling the female quota on the team from time to time, did either of the Attilian Royal Family do anything of distinction as members of the FF?
The FF is a family, so hey, if Reed and Sue are going to take time off, doesn't it make sense for newlyweds Black Panther (who in fact debuted in the pages of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's legendary FF run) and Storm (who didn't) fill their shoes? Though perhaps some points get deducted for the still somewhat hasty circumstances of their nuptials.
In good part due to writer/artist John Bryne's hand, She-Hulk is perhaps thought of as the one true member of the team not among the founding four. Byrne took what was then a somewhat floundering, redundant character of questionable origin and kick-started her evolution into one of all of comics most iconic and memorable female characters. It's been over 20 years since she served, but no doubt many hardcore FF fans would gladly welcome her back to this day.
Okay, so how do distinguish between the founding four members? Let's just say the margins are extremely close from #4 through #1 but Johnny finished a close fourth for us. Like his sister Sue he's managed to grow far beyond his origins (the impetuous, wise-cracking teen), but he still arguably lacks that extra, extra-special quality that makes his teammates so groundbreaking. Plus, he got replaced by H.e.r.b.i.e. the Robot in that 70's animated series. That's hard to live down
Sure, the Four wouldn't be so 'Fantastic' without Reed's technical wizardry and scientific brilliance, and he gets further credit for being an atypical superhero the super-intellectual. But if we have to rank them, well then Reed still loses a couple of points for acting like such an a-hole during Marvel's recent 'Civil War', all subsequent explanations of his conduct aside.
Many younger FF fans may not even remember the time (mostly the 70's) when the "Ever-lovin' Blue-eyed Thing" was second in popularity at Marvel Comics only to Spider-Man and a corporate icon (he was Wolverine before Wolverine was Wolverine). But his mix of tragedy, pathos, and humor perhaps best exemplified what distinguished Marvel characters from the competition in those early years. And he starred in perhaps one of the great superhero comic book stories of all time "This Man, This Monster" (Fantastic Four #51, 1966).
Just squeaking in a hair over Big Ben, Sue Storm gets the top nod mostly for character growth. Compare her today to the "Invisible Girl" of those early FF issues, and you see a character that personifies vast changes in American society that we take for granted in 2008. And remember the old saying "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels?" Well, Susan has done everything her founding partners have done, but managed to give birth a few times in the process. That gets our nod.