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Fantastic Four: 25 Strange Facts About The Richards Family

fantastic four

At the end of the 2008 film Iron Man, Tony Stark looked out into the crowd of people and declared that he was indeed Iron Man. In an age where everyone's pets are more famous on Instagram than you will ever be, the idea of a secret identity in modern times seems silly. People become famous for all sorts of reasons, so why not ditch the fake glasses and hat and let everyone know you're got superpowers! The Fantastic Four might be the ultimate hipsters because they've been operating without a secret identity before it was cool not to have one.

The first issue of The Fantastic Four was published in November 1961, and although they went by Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl, The Human Torch and the Thing, everyone knew in real life they were Reed Richards, his wife Sue, her brother Johnny and Reed's friend Ben Grimm. What else do you know about the Fantastic Four? Did you know that every single member of the team at one point was an Avenger? Did you know every single FF member at one point has died? Which member was a herald of Galactus? Let's see how many of these strange facts you know about the Fantastic Four!

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25 REED RICHARDS THE MAGICIAN

Reed Richards could possibly be the most intelligent person in the Marvel Comics Universe, but there are people smarter than him in certain areas. For example, Hank Pym is a better biochemist and Tony Stark has superior skills at making cool suits of armor. There is one field that Reed Richards just never wrapped his stretchy head around, though: magic! To Reed Richards, magic is something that, no matter how far he stretches, he just can't get a hold of. Richards views it as a field of science he has yet to explore. However, there was one moment in which learning magic was essential to saving his family from the doom of Doom.

Doctor Doom gained a boost to his magic powers thanks to a group of demons called the Haazareth Three. With his increase in magic, Doom was able to capture the Fantastic Four and stuck Reed in the one place he knew Mr. Fantastic couldn't escape: a library filled with magical books. With the help of the astral projection of Doctor Strange, Reed actually was able to learn enough magic to free his family and turn the tables against Doom. We don't think that Reed will be getting his own Cloak of Levitation anytime soon, but it was an interesting twist to see Reed conjuring spells for a change!

24 BILL MURRAY WAS THE HUMAN TORCH

Raise your hand if you've seen the hilarious meme that said the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been giving Human Torch actors a second chance since 2011. This of course refers to Chris Evans, who played Johnny Storm twice, and Michael B. Jordan who played the Human Torch in the 2015 reboot. However, their second acts were better choices and better characters, with Evans playing the iconic Captain America and Jordan playing the fan-favorite Killmonger from Black Panther. There's another Human Torch actor that's rarely ever talked about, and he's famous for working on a golf course as well as busting ghosts.

Believe it or not, comedic actor Bill Murray played the Human Torch in a 1975 radio drama. It was a Fantastic Four radio play that lasted for ten episodes and was narrated by Stan "The Man" Lee! They're not new adventures, being direct adaptations of comics that were produced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but that just makes them all the more charming. All 10 episodes can be found online and yes, your ears aren't deceiving you: that's young Bill Murray exclaiming "Flame on!" Who could Murray play if and when the next cinematic iteration of Fantastic Four launches? Next time if someone asks if you're the Human Torch, you say yes!

23 THEY JOINED THE AVENGERS

Believe it or not, for a very short period of time, Reed Richards and Sue Storm were members of the Avengers! To make things weirder, they still wore their Fantastic Four uniforms while on the team! So how did they join? A lot of stuff was going on at the time, specifically the crossover event Inferno. It involved the demonic takeover of New York City. The event was primarily happening in the X-Men titles but still impacted other comics. In Avengers #298 the team more or less disbanded, but Inferno would cause a very unique group of Avengers to assemble.

During Inferno, the demon N'Astirh kidnapped young Franklin and planned to use him in spells he was casting. Reed and Sue were assisted by Thor, Steve Rogers (who was operating under the guise of The Captain) and the Eternal known as Gilgamesh. After the five work together to stop an android known as The Growing Man in Avengers #300, the quintet decide to reform the Avengers. The group went on to fight brain leeches and get lost in space but after only a few issues, both Reed and Sue decided to leave the team. After all, what's more difficult: Captain America trying to give orders to Reed Richards or Reed Richards having to take orders from Captain America? Besides Reed and Sue, The Human Torch was on the Avengers Unity Squad and the Thing at one point was on both the West Coast Avengers as well as the New Avengers.

22 FANTASTIC FOUR: THE MOVIE

Not all Marvel films are runaway smash hits. We all know the 1990 film Captain America that starred J.D. Salinger's son was kind of a dud. It may not have been as well-written as The Catcher in the Rye, but co-star Ronnie Cox did say that the film had the finest screenplay he had ever read and was shocked at how they messed up the movie. You might also remember the 2015 attempt at the Fantastic Four, directed by Chronicle's Josh Trank. His vision of the FF did not translate well on the big screen, but how many people know of the 1994 Fantastic Four movie that never aired?

The film was directed by "the Pope of Pop Cinema" Roger Corman.  Instead of cosmic rays, a passing comet is what gives the team their powers, and the plot revolves around a diamond that everyone wants to get their hands on. One of the film's biggest issues was the limited special effects available at the time. Reed's stretching ability looked downright silly and the animatronics in the Thing's face that allowed him to speak looked scary! The Fantastic Four deserved a better treatment and now that Marvel has their cinematic rights just at their fingertips, that just may happen. If you look hard enough, you can probably find a bootleg version of the film online, possibly in the same playlist as the never aired 1997 Justice League of America pilot!

21 THEIR POWERS ARE BASED ON EARTH ELEMENTS

Why did the Fantastic Four each receive a power that was appropriate to their personality? Johnny Storm was always a hot-head, so being able to turn into the Human Torch seemed apt. Ben Grimm is stoic just like the Thing's rocky exterior. Reed's intelligence relates to the elasticity of his thoughts and Sue possibly embodied the women's liberation movement, where women wanted to be more visible in a male-dominated society. Although the pairing of power to personality may have been spot on, the powers of the Fantastic Four relate less to their personas and more to Earth's elements.

The obvious one is the Human Torch Johnny Storm representing the element of fire. Ben Grimm's Thing represents earth due to his rock-like exterior. Since Sue's Invisible Woman can't be seen but is a clear presence, she represents the element of air. Mister Fantastic can't change into water, but his ability to bend and stretch his body into fluid shapes makes it logical for him to represent the element. With their power combined, they form Captain Planet! Ok so maybe they're not Planeteers, but the Fantastic Four have saved the Earth from threats more times than we can count on Ben Grimm's four-fingered hands.

20 DOCTOR DOOM NAMED THEIR DAUGHTER

Characters like Magneto and Juggernaut have been both villain and ally to a number of superheroes in the Marvel Universe, but Doctor Doom has consistently been an adversary to Reed Richards and his family. He's gone as far as horribly scarring Reed's face as well as sending Franklin Richards to Hell to get tortured. Doctor Doom's first act when he wakes up in the morning is to think how he can make the life of the Richards family as awful as possible. So why is it that Doctor Doom was the one that got to name Reed and Sue's daughter?

Although cosmic rays gave Sue Storm superpowers, it also made the birth of their second child very difficult. Reed was not present to assist in the birth, so Johnny took desperate measures to save his sister. Johnny called upon the family's nemesis, Doctor Doom, to assist in the birth, because when you're a doctor that means you can deliver a baby no matter what kind of doctor you are. In exchange for the successful delivery of Sue's healthy girl, Doom wanted permission to name their child. Doom chose the name Valeria, and the FF would later find out that it was the name of a woman that he loved in the past (he also killed her as well). What was Valeria's first word? Doom.

19 EVERY CHARACTER HAS DIED

Not to be grim (or Ben Grimm, for that matter) but every member of the Fantastic Four has died at one point or another. Hey, being a crime fighter is hard, and if you think Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin is tough, so is battling planet-eating Galactus. The Fantastic Four don't fight street thugs, they fight villains that threaten to unravel time or destroy the very fabric of reality, so with that level of danger you're going to experience fatalities. Fortunately, the Fantastic Four are tough, so tough that whenever they died, they found a way to come back to the land of the living.

Poor Ben Grimm has died a few times. The Thing was possessed by the sprit of Doctor Doom and was killed by Reed Richards. The FF went to Heaven and brought Ben back to life. The Thing also received an Asgardian Hammer and transformed into Angrir, Breaker of Souls. He was killed in battle by Thor but was revived by Franklin. While in the Negative Zone fighting Annihilus, Johnny Storm was killed but was later revived. During the 2015 series Secret Wars Reed constructed a ship that would protect a select few from the destruction of the universe, but the ship's hull was compromised and Sue along with the children are killed. She's resurrected by Doctor Doom when he recreates all of reality. Reed even died while fighting Doctor Doom. After being wounded in battle, Doom disintegrated himself, taking Reed with him into oblivion. In actuality, their deaths were undone by Hyperstorm, Reed's grandson from an alternate dimension.

18 BEN GRIMM ONCE WORE A THING SUIT

Thanks to the incredible strength of the Thing, he can proclaim that "It's Clobberin' Time!" and then smash the heck out of whatever stands in his way. There have been times, either by choice or by situation, in which The Thing no longer was covered in an orange rocky exterior and was his regular human Ben Grimm self. Grimm is loyal to his teammates, and being a human with no super-powers won't stop him from helping out his friends in battle! For a brief period of time when Ben couldn't become the Thing, Reed came up with a solution that was either really weird or really cool.

Since Reed Richards is a genius inventor, Reed made an exo-skeleton that looked exactly like the Thing's rocky skin. When Ben Grimm put on the suit it gave him durability and strength that was comparable to when he was the actual Thing, but the question is: why does he have to wear a Thing costume? Couldn't he wear an armored suit similar to Tony Stark that looked nothing like the Thing? Oddly enough the answer may be a legal one: the Fantastic Four was apparently required to have four super-powered members to maintain their charter as a superhero team. Apparently Ben needed the suit and pretend to be the Thing so the Fantastic Four could keep its incorporation charter! Also, we've said this before: superheroes love branding!

17 JOHNNY STORM: HERALD OF GALACTUS

Of all the Fantastic Four members to be a herald of Galactus, why would The Human Torch be chosen? Johnny's not the most responsible member of the bunch and his powers are very close to Frankie Raye, a flame-wielding human who took the name Nova and was also at one point the herald of Galactus. It turns out Galactus actually wanted to make Johnny's sister his herald; Galactus needed her invisibility powers to de-cloak several planets that where hiding from him. Reed Richards had swapped the powers of the Storm siblings so now Sue could flame on and Johnny could go invisible.

Galactus had abducted Johnny Storm and, like all heralds, gave him the Power Cosmic. Although he was looking for uninhabited planets for Galactus to consume, he was also assisting Reed Richards and the Protector of the Universe named Quasar to construct a device that would stop Galactus once and for all. The machine worked and Galactus was de-powered, reverting to his original form of Galen. Who knew that Johnny could be such a cunning strategist! Was it the Power Cosmic that supercharged his ability to plan, or was it the byproduct of hanging out with Reed all these years?

16 FANTASTIC FOUR GO TO HELL (AND HEAVEN)

Reed has stated that he doesn't believe in magic, but that hasn't stopped him from casting spells as well as visiting Heaven and Hell. When it comes to Hell, Marvel Comics treats it like it was another dimension that's ruled by a demon named Mephisto. As far as Marvel's views on Heaven, it changes from time to time but the Fantastic Four's take on it was quite unique, bringing their viewpoint of the afterlife back to their literal origins. Ben Grimm was possessed by the spirit of Doctor Doom and was threatening to kill Johnny. Reed was forced to kill the Thing, but refusing to let his good friend go, Mr. Fantastic used a machine made by Doctor Doom to travel to Heaven to retrieve Ben's soul.

The FF go to the Heaven dimension in Fantastic Four #511 and discover that God is a comic book artist who looks a lot like Jack Kirby! The Almighty brings The Thing to life and returns them to Earth. After going to Heaven, a trip in the opposite direction happened for the team, courtesy of Doctor Doom. Victor helped in the delivery of Sue and Reed's second child, but unbeknownst to the Fantastic Four he had cast a spell on her. That subsequent spell allowed for him to launch a magical attack that placed their son Franklin in Hell. With assistance from the astral projection of Doctor Strange, the team is able to free Franklin and have Doom trapped in Hell instead.

15 SUE AND REED HAD THEIR KIDS TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM

Sue and Reed have gone on some truly fantastic adventures. They have traveled to the bottom of the ocean, explored unknown areas of space, discovered new dimensions and prevented the Earth from being destroyed hundreds of times from creatures more powerful than our minds can comprehend. Given how busy the two of them are, when do they have time to be parents? Sue and Reed in the past asked family friend Alicia Masters to help with babysitting duties and also employed Agatha Harkness as a Governess. Reed also designed a robot named H.U.B.E.R.T. (Hyper-Ultronic Brain Employing Randomized Tracings) to be a babysitter for young Franklin. At the end of the day, parents are still responsible for the well-being of their children.

Save the world, or be good parents? Certainly that's not the easiest of choices to make, and Sue and Reed did the best job they could as both parents to their children Franklin and Valeria as well as leaders of the Fantastic Four and protectors of the Earth. After an attack on New York City, the Fantastic Four were taken to court. The city was furious at the FF for all the damage they've caused over the years. The court declared Sue and Reed unfit parents, and not only are the children at the Future Foundation taken away from them, so are their children. Eventually it's revealed that these actions were due in part to a villain named the Quiet Man.

14 WRESTLING THING

Being a superhero isn't easy. The gig doesn't have steady hours or a guaranteed paycheck. It helped that Tony Stark was a billionaire industrialist when he wasn't Iron Man, as opposed to Peter Parker who was in school and making money by working for a newspaper that hated Spider-Man. Even Wonder Man took on acting roles in Hollywood from time to time. So what does a superhero do when they don't want to be a superhero anymore? What's a good transferable skill? For Ben Grimm, after learning his girlfriend was romantically involved with his teammate Johnny, he quit the Fantastic Four and became a wrestler.

After fighting the Hulk for so many years, you'd think he'd jump at the chance to fight Hulk Hogan. Grimm unfortunately didn't join the World Wrestling Federation, though. He joined an organization called the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, a group that consisted primarily of wrestlers with superhuman powers. In UCWF was Vance Astrovik (who would later become Marvel Boy and join The New Warriors), Demolition Murphy (who would become D-Man and partner with Captain America) and Sharon Ventura (who would become one of the many heroes named Ms. Marvel). After quitting UCWF he joined the West Coast Avengers for a brief period of time but eventually came back to the Fantastic Four.

13 VILLANOUS REED RICHARDS

The Ultimates Universe (formerly known as Earth-1610) gave readers a glimpse at some of our favorite superheroes and villains reimagined. The Avengers on Earth-1610 were known as the Ultimates, and the origins were different for the Hulk (failed attempt at the Super Soldier Serum), and Iron Man (turned his life around due to a brain tumor). The Fantastic Four also had a change to their origins. We are introduced to the characters much earlier in their lives and their powers are gained not due to exposure to cosmic rays but to a plane of reality called the Negative Zone. In the Ultimates Universe, we also see Reed Richards become a villain.

In the Ultimates Universe, there's an event called Ultimatum, in which Magneto causes the death of millions of people and many heroes die in the process. No reset button is hit and the world is changed for the worse. Reed fakes his death, kills his parents and spends 1,000 years living in the future. He comes back using the name Maker, and fights against the Ultimates as a villain. During the events of the 2015 series Secret Wars, the Maker is killed by the Molecule Man when he's literally turned into pizza. He's able to survive the reformation of all reality and enters the Prime Marvel Universe, forming the evil science group W.H.I.S.P.E.R. and taking on the Avengers.

12 VILLANOUS SUE STORM

When the Magus obtained the Infinity Gauntlet, he expelled all good and evil from his system in order to make dispassionate, logical decisions. Vulcans in Star Trek are known for suppressing their emotions and being a race totally devoted to logic and devoid of emotion. For humans, every day can be a battle against one's feelings. Unfortunately for Sue Storm, her inner battle became an external one against her teammates. When the Fantastic Four fought the Hate-Monger and Psycho-Man, the two manifested Sue Storm's dark side into the character Malice. She had Sue's powers but Malice's rage took away any restraint she had in using her abilities.

The Fantastic Four fought Malice and eventually were able to defeat her and bring back Sue's personality. The experience did have some positive effects; Sue switched her FF name from Invisible Girl to Invisible Woman and she had increased control over her abilities. During the crossover Infinity War, superheroes were attacked by their evil doppelgangers. Sue was forced to face Malice and instead of defeating it, she absorbed it into herself, with Malice's personality now haunting her. Eventually Malice's personality was taken from Sue thanks to Psi-Lord. However, can a person truly get rid of their dark side for good?

11 HOW POWERFUL IS FRANKLIN?

The Fantastic Four obtained their powers from cosmic rays in space, but what about their son, Franklin Richards? Franklin is a mutant and possibly one of the strongest mutants to have ever lived. Most parents are proud when their child makes honor roll, so imagine what Reed and Sue must think of their son, who has the ability to bend reality to his will. When the Marvel heroes fought the supervillain Onslaught, Franklin literally created a new reality that the heroes went to instead of dying. That's better than any soccer trophy!

Still not impressed? Ever hear of the Celestials, the crazy space-beings that decide whether or not to destroy planets? The Celestials at one point debated over if they should invite young Franklin to join their group. An alternate version of Franklin Richards in the series Earth X actually becomes the new Galactus. Unfortunately in the Marvel Zombies series he was eaten by zombie She-Hulk. Future versions of himself show him to be even more powerful (which is hard to even fathom) and in the storyline Days of Future Past he is in a relationship with Rachel Summers, the alternate reality daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey.

10 FF FOUGHT HITLER

Both the X-Men and The Avengers saw their first issues get published in September 1963, but The Fantastic Four #1 made its debut in November 1961. The FF is one of the oldest teams at Marvel, and they have something in common with the Avengers' leader, Captain America: both Cap and the Fantastic Four fought Hitler. How is this possible? In The Fantastic Four #21, the team encountered the villain Hate-Monger, who they later discovered to be a clone of Adolf Hitler. The Hate-Monger was using a Hate Ray to cause chaos and anger to whomever he fired it upon. Reed Richards fell victim to the ray but was saved by Nick Fury.

In Fantastic Four #292 the FF travel back in time to 1936. Their roster was missing Mister Fantastic and She-Hulk was standing in for Ben Grimm. The team was in Berlin trying to prevent S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury from assassinating Hitler and changing the timeline. Although Fury had good intentions, Sue is very concerned about changing the timeline with any actions, even well-intentioned ones. Surprisingly, Fury is successful in killing Hitler, but it's later revealed by Reed that the whole event was a shared dream brought about by a mutant named Joseph Calhoun.

9 THE FANTASTIC FOUR GOES BANKRUPT

Flying cars, gateways to other dimensions, spaceships and futuristic weapons don't come cheap. Are the Fantastic Four really good at applying for government grants? Does the Richards family have a giant trust fund? It turns out that it's all due to Reed's smarts. Besides making futuristic doohickeys for the Fantastic Four, Reed has also created a number of inventions that have been quite lucrative over the years, one of them being unstable molecules. Outfits made of unstable molecules allow for superheroes to wear uniforms and use their powers without destroying them, so Mister Fantastic can stretch in his uniform without worrying about his clothes ripping. Even Bruce Banner has been known to wear pants made of unstable molecules, so he's (literally) covered when he transforms into the Hulk.

There have been times where the Fantastic Four for one reason or another lost all of their money. One instance dates way back to Fantastic Four #9, which published in 1962. The FF go bankrupt but the film company SM Studios offers them starring roles playing themselves in a movie. They're so poor that they have to hitchhike to LA to get to set! After Reed stepped down from being the leader of Latveria, he was forced to give up a number of his patents to the government to escape legal prosecution.

8 FRED AND BARNEY MEET THE THING

Ok, to be clear, you're going to be disappointed reading this entry and rightfully so, because when you look at the title, your assumption is that Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble from the animated series The Flintstones would somehow find themselves interacting with the Thing. Your assumption would also be that a show that has the Thing in the title would feature Ben Grimm or the Thing version of Ben Grimm and possibly flirt with the idea of introducing the Fantastic Four on the show. Given the fact that Reed has created inventions that allow interdimensional travel, such a collaboration seems possible, correct? Yes and no.

Fred and Barney Meet the Thing was a Saturday morning cartoon that aired in 1979. It was a one hour show that had two 30-minute segments: The New Fred and Barney Show and The Thing. So first off, the two universes never met each other, despite what the title implied. Secondly, the Thing was there in name only! The show wasn't about an astronaut that was bombarded by cosmic rays, it was about a teenager named Benjy Grimm who was in possession of magic rings. When he placed the rings together and said "Thing ring, do your thing!" orange rocks would inexplicably come out of nowhere, attach themselves to his body, and he'd become the Thing! Don't worry, we're as confused and disappointed as you are.

7 REED RICHARDS: RULER OF LATVERIA

The biggest fear a hero can have is becoming a villain. For Reed Richards, in a Fantastic Four storyline, he literally became Doctor Doom! Reed and Victor had a climactic battle that resulted in demons known as the Haazareth Three taking Doom to Hell. Before his departure, Doom scarred Reed's face in a way that was reminiscent of Victor's own facial scars. With Victor Von Doom in Hell, there was no one in charge of his homeland of Latveria. Realizing that this power vacuum could do more harm than good, Reed Richards became the new Monarch of Latveria!

While Richards was in control of the country, he began to dismantle Doom's arsenal of powerful weapons as well as try and change the standard of living for Latverians. Even though Richards had the best of intentions, he faced international criminal charges from the United Nations. While trying to remove Doom's influence from Latveria, he was also intending on removing Victor from Hell and placing him in a pocket dimension. Reed was planning on trapping himself in that dimension alongside Doom as well, to prevent Doom from escaping or hurting anyone ever again. Reed's plan failed and the Thing was killed in a battle with Doom. Eventually Doom escaped from Hell and regained control over Latveria.

6 THE RETURN OF VALERIA

When Valeria was born, her birth was difficult due to Sue Storm's body being altered by cosmic rays. Thanks to Doctor Doom (we're just as surprised as you) Sue was able to give birth to a healthy baby girl. However, Valeria had an adventurous life before she was born. Confused? Let's rewind the clock a bit to tell the story: Reed and Sue tried to have another child after Franklin. While in the womb the baby began to emit deadly levels of radiation and when delivered the baby was unfortunately stillborn. Franklin used his powers to send the baby to an alternate reality in which she was raised by an alternate Invisible Woman who was married to Doctor Doom.

Valeria in this alternate timeline grew up wearing armor designed by Doctor Doom and went by the name Marvel Girl. She was able to return to the Earth-616 reality and met her "real" parents. It was hard for Sue and Reed to accept a daughter from a reality in which Sue was with Victor Von Doom, but eventually they do. The entity Abraxas came to threaten all of reality, and Valeria and Franklin used their powers to resurrect Galactus and restructure reality using the Ultimate Nullifier. Upon resetting reality, the timeline was altered and Valeria became a baby about to be delivered by Sue. The radiation problem still existed, and this time the birth was a success thanks to Doctor Doom's assistance. See, it all makes sense!

5 THE IMMORTAL THING

Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm all underwent a form of mutation when exposed to cosmic rays, but poor Ben had the most extreme mutation. Grimm was the only one to turn grotesque due to the exposure, with his skin turning into an orange, flexible rock-like substance. His rocky exterior is strong enough to endure punches from the Hulk, but not strong enough to resist damage from the adamantium claws of Wolverine. During the event Fear Itself, Thor threw mjolnir through the Thing's chest when he turned evil. Sure, his skin may grant him durability, but when it comes to longevity, does it play a part as well?

In theory the Thing is immortal. The Thing has been shown in the past to have blood and possibly internal organs, but his skin not only looks like orange rock, it is orange rock. Because of the composition of his "skin," in theory, the Thing shouldn't age. Granted that's not to say that he couldn't get some sort of degenerative neurological disease or perhaps his heart might give out, but for all intents and purposes, at least on the surface, the Thing is immortal. There have been occasions in which Marvel heroes have traveled to the future to see that the Thing is alive and well, so perhaps when The Immortal Hulk #1 comes out June 2018, we might see an Immortal Thing not too far after it!

4 GRANDPA RICHARDS WORKED WITH LEONARDO DA VINCI

The S.H.I.E.L.D. acronym has changed over the years. It started out as the Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division, but recently was reconfigured to be the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. The spy organization premiered in Strange Tales #135 back in 1965, but there's another version of Shield that dates back thousands of years ago starting with Imhotep fighting against an alien race called the Brood. Turns out, the Brotherhood of the Shield has been working behind the scenes for hundreds of years to protect humanity from world-ending threats. Howard Stark (Tony's dad), Nathaniel Richards (Reed's dad) and Leonardo da Vinci were agents of Shield (but not agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

If you thought the Starks and Richards families were smart, wait until you see Leonardo da Vinci in action. Da Vinci created a time machine and ventured through time to assist Shield in its endeavors. While traveling through time, da Vinci worked with such historical icons as Nostradamus, Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton and Michelangelo. Eventually he caught up with Nathaniel Richards after he's recruited a man named Leonid from Russia during the 1950s. Leonid is the biological son of Sir Isaac Newton and his destiny deals with the "final fate of Man." Leonid, Richards, and da Vinci also deal with the political fallout of Shield being divided into two factions, one led by Newton and the other by da Vinci. What's cooler: seeing the dads of Tony Stark and Reed Richards working together or seeing Da Vinci fighting against Nikola Tesla?

3 THE THING COULD TRANSFORM BACK INTO HUMAN FORM

After the Fantastic Four gained their powers, Ben Grimm felt like he got the short end of the stick. If Reed, Sue and Johnny never used their powers, people would never know that they had superhuman abilities. Ben, on the other hand, had a profound physical mutation, and you can spot The Thing's rocky orange hide from miles away. Having such a tuff exterior but being a kind, gentle person is what makes the Thing so endearing. However, there was a time when Ben Grimm could transform himself from the Thing back to his human form.

The 1984 crossover series Secret Wars featured the majority of Earth's heroes and villains on an alien planet called Battleworld fighting it out while being observed by an entity called the Beyonder. During the series he learned he had the ability to switch between being the Thing and being Ben Grimm. Once the series ended everyone found a way to return to Earth but the Thing elected to stay on Battleworld so he could control his transformations. His exploits on Battleworld was featured in The Thing solo comic that ran from 1983-1986. The Thing sadly learned that the planet had nothing to do with his ability to change back and forth and that Reed had lied to him. Eventually, Grimm returns back to Earth only to find his girlfriend was cheating on him with Johnny Storm. Insert sad orange rocky emoticon here.

2 INTERDIMENSIONAL COUNCIL OF REEDS

If you're a fan of the adult animated series Rick and Morty, you know that the Council of Ricks was a group of Ricks who protected other Ricks from enemies, settled disputes and made sure that each Rick had the appropriate Morty. They were stationed at the Citadel of Ricks and consisted of six powerful Ricks from alternate timelines. It's a hilarious and ingenious idea but it's borrowed from a concept from the Fantastic Four. Instead of the Council of Ricks you have the Interdimensional Council of Reeds and yes it's as cool as it sounds.

Instead of a six-person council, there were three Reeds from different dimensions. They had two things in common: they grew up without having their father Nathaniel Richards in their lives and they were in possession of their reality's Infinity Gauntlet. Reed declines membership into the group because the cost would have been leaving his family. At one point, Mr. Fantastic had to work with his enemies to fight against the Council of Reeds but they were eventually destroyed after being attacked by Celestials. If Reed is Rick, then who would be the equivalent to his Morty? The Thing? Instead of Rick and Morty we get Reed and Thingy?

1 THE FAMILY THAT STAYS TOGETHER...

Whereas most superhero teams claim to be a family, the Fantastic Four actually are a family. With the exception of Ben Grimm, the team members are related to each other. Johnny is Sue's sister and sue is married to Reed. Ben is old friends with Reed and is practically a member of the family. Besides their ability to stretch, create force fields, project flame and have rocks for skin, the team's greatest strength is their love and devotion to each other. We're going to argue that love isn't a superpower, but the Fantastic Four being a family might be the source of their powers.

After the 2015 series Secret Wars, Johnny and Ben returned to Earth while Sue and Reed, along with the Owen Reece the Molecule Man, went to parts unknown to recreate the multiverse. Ben Grimm went to space to join the Guardians of the Galaxy and Johnny joined the Avengers Unity Squad. However, both men returned to Earth realizing their powers were diminishing. It turns out that the Fantastic Four can't be fantastic unless all four are together. If the four of them are apart for long periods of time with long distances between them, all four will begin to lose their power. Since we haven't seen Reed and Sue in awhile, we can only assume the same is happening to them as well. Looks like if they're stuck with each other if they want to have superpowers!

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