All-time Top Ten Members of the Fantastic Four1 of 12
The Fantastic Four have been absent from Marvel's line since the end of Secret Wars in January 2016 - but that hasn't stopped people talking about them.
Now, in "Legacy" Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm are reuniting to find the Richards family in Marvel Two-In-One - and with any luck, take the first step on the journey to bring back the FF.
But Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben aren't the only members of the team - they aren't even the only important and iconic ones.
Here's our list of the 10 greatest FF members of all time (yes, including the founders).
The "New" Fantastic Four2 of 12
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 for this oddball team-up 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 status quo for a different franchise - the Avengers?
This four have teamed up again a few times, with Spidey even becoming a full-time member of the team for a while, but it's the unexpected combo of this fearsome foursome that earns them a collective spot.
Ant-Man/Scott Lang3 of 12
Scott Lang served as a substitute member of the Fantastic Four several times before taking the reins as the team's leader while the original members were adventuring in space and time.
But it was in those years, as the head of the Future Foundation, that Scott, whose driving force had always been his family, learned what it means to be part of something bigger than himself.
Along the way, he also mastered the power of Pym Particles in a way that even the guy they're named after hasn't matched, and he beat up Doctor Doom to boot.
Not too shabby!
Medusa4 of 12
Medusa actually started out as an FF villain as part of the Frightful Four. But when her family the Inhumans became allied with the team - and she recovered from her amnesia - Medusa became a staunch ally to the team.
Yes, Medusa's sister Crystal beat her to FF membership by a few years, but her tenure was brief and she was more of a placeholder for Sue Storm. Like Crystal, the first time she joined the FF was to replace Sue. But when the entire team disappeared years later, Medusa became a core member in her own right.
Also like Crystal, Medusa carried on a relationship with Johnny Storm for a time - though this happened after the seeming end of the FF.
Black Panther & Storm5 of 12
When Reed & Sue Richards took some time off to patch up their marriage after the original Civil War, then newlyweds Ororo and T'Challa took their place at the head of the Fantastic Four.
Given T'Challa's long history with the FF and his vast intellect, he made perfect sense as a replacement leader for the team. And with Storm's mutant powers adding even more raw power to the roster, the FF was in good shape under their control.
Of course, Reed & Sue eventually rejoined their family - and T'Challa and Ororo's marriage ended almost as abruptly as it began. But this pair filled a perfect niche for the team.
Spider-Man6 of 12
Spider-Man's first solo adventure in his own title (in Amazing Spider-Man #1, to be exact) actually involved Peter Parker trying out for the team.
Considering that history - and Peter's Best-Frenemies scenario with Johnny Storm - it's no wonder he eventually became a core member of the team after Johnny seemingly died in the Negative Zone.
In fact, with his recent Parker Industries fortune, Peter purchased the Baxter Building to preserve it in the hopes that the Fantastic Four will be able to inhabit it again someday.
(Yes, we included him in the "New" Fantastic Four entry, but he made enough contributions outside that to get a solo spot as well).
She-Hulk7 of 12In 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.
Shulkie made her way back to the team in Matt Fraction and Mike Allred's FF, in which she was one of the members of a replacement FF that held down the Baxter Building (and the Future Foundation) in the Richards family's last long absence.
Human Torch8 of 12
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.
However, Johnny is one of the two remaining founders while the Richards family is absent from the Marvel Universe - and one of the co-leads setting out to find them in the newly revived Marvel Two-In-One as part of "Legacy."
Mr. Fantastic9 of 12
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, Reed still loses a couple of points for acting like such an a-hole over and over again - especially in times like Civil War when his philosophical disagreement with Sue Richards nearly split them up.
Still, without that same arrogance Reed likely would not have been able to rebuild Marvel's multiverse from scratch in the wake of Secret Wars.
The Thing10 of 12
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 (basically, 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).
One of those classic "Thing boom" 70s titles is making a comeback in December as part of "Legacy," with the newly revived Marvel Two-In-One bringing Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm back together to find the Richardses.
Invisible Woman11 of 12
Just squeaking in a hair over the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing, Sue Storm gets the top nod, mostly for character growth.
Compare her most modern appearances to the "Invisible Girl" of those early FF issues, and you see a character that personifies vast changes in American society that we still take for granted today.
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.
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