www.cbr.com

At The Four-Front: 15 Fantastic Four Teams Way Better Than The Original

better fantastic four

It's official: after a long absence from comics, the Fantastic Four are finally returning to the Marvel Universe. For the team's legions of fans, it's been a long wait, and the return couldn't have come sooner. After all, as one of Marvel's premier super-teams, the disappearance of the FF was noticeable. These blue-clad science adventurers have served as a cornerstone in the Marvel universe, and thus, fans were left scratching their heads over Marvel's decision to shelve the team. But while the original Fantastic Four are certainly beloved, the team of Reed Richards, Susan and Johnny Storm, and of course Ben Grimm aren't the only incarnation of the FF. In fact, the OG Fantastic Four aren't even the best incarnation of the FF.

Throughout the years, members have joined and left the Fantastic Four, alternate-reality versions of the FF have been revealed, and teams bearing the 4 moniker have cropped up, despite having little to do with the original team. Some of these teams were bad, some of these teams were forgettable, but there were plenty of FF incarnations that were downright great! So join CBR as we bring you 15 Fantastic Four Teams Better Than The OG Team!

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Fantastic Four Nova
Start Now

15 NOVA FANTASTIC FOUR

Fantastic Four Nova

We all know that old folk saying: "Having a team with one dude that can control fire is good, but having a team with two dudes that can control fire is great." Clearly, Reed Richards and crew were firm believers in this saying, as the team briefly included the fiery Frankie Raye, aka Nova.

A friend of the team in the '70s, Nova would begin to join the FF on adventures. With her fire-controlling powers complimenting the fire power set of the Human Torch, Nova proved herself a capable team member, and became such an invaluable addition to the Fantastic Four that the team briefly considered changing the name of the team to the Fantastic Five. Unfortunately, Nova would depart the team to serve as the herald of Galactus, putting an end to this powerful and capable incarnation of the FF.

14 FANTASTIC FIVE

Fantastic Five

Back in the '90s, Marvel started the MC2 line, which whisked readers away to an alternate reality in which heroes aged in real time, leading to the sons and daughters of popular characters taking on the mantles of their parents. In the MC2 universe, Johnny Storm would head his own version of the FF after the apparent death of Sue Storm, which he would dub the Fantastic Five.

With Johnny leading, the team was rounded out with Johnny's shape-shifting Skrull wife Lyja, a partially bionic Ben Grimm, a teenage Franklin Richards (now going by the name Psi-Lord), and the brain of Reed Richards in a flying robot. The team would eventually grow past five members, taking on new heroes such as Torus Storm (son of Johnny and Lyja), a revived Invisible Woman, and even Kristoff Vernard, adopted son of Dr. Doom, making for one strong FF.

13 FIN FANG FOUR

Fin Fang Four

There have been plenty of oddball teams in the Marvel Universe over the years. We've seen the Pet Avengers, the Deadpool Corps, and even the Great Lakes Avengers.  But you would be hard pressed to find a weirder team than the Fin Fang Four, an all-monster version of the Fantastic Four lead by a dragon in purple underpants.

The story goes like this: four monstrous former foes of the Fantastic Four (Fin Fang Foom, Elektro, Googam, and Gorgilla) are shrunken to human size and given jobs at the FF's Four Freedoms Plaza. The monsters struggle to adjust to their new lives as cooks and window washers, and are eventually forced to band together as the Fin Fang Four to fight the tyrannical monster Tim Boo Ba for the fate of the world. It's silly, it's ridiculous, and we love it. Forget the Fantastic Four; we need more Fin Fang Four.

12 ULTIMATE FUTURE FOUNDATION

Ultimate FF

Listen, we enjoy the Ultimate Fantastic Four, but let's face facts: it's tough to make the argument that the team is better than the OG Fantastic Four, considering the fact that the team was led by Ultimate Reed Richards, who would go on to become one of the most feared super villains in multiple universes. But the Ultimate Future Foundation? Now there's a team better than the original!

Springing up in the aftermath of Galactus's attack on Earth, the Ultimate FF was assembled as the last line of defense against intergalactic threats. Led by Sue Storm, the team was composed of Iron Man, The Falcon, and Machine Man, with Dr. Doom joining the team. With a stacked roster like that, the Ultimate FF blows the original FF out of the water.

11 CHALLENGERS OF THE FANTASTIC

Challengers of the Fantastic

In the film industry, when two films are released around the same time bearing similar plots, they are referred to as "twin films." This phenomenon isn't exclusive to films, as the comic industry has seen plenty of characters and teams pop up over the years bearing striking similarities to characters and teams from other companies. Case in point: Marvel's Fantastic Four and DC's Challengers of the Unknown. Both teams consist of four jumpsuit-clad scientific heroes, and both teams embark upon strange adventures. While Marvel and DC could point fingers, the companies opted to embrace the sameness and create a team combining the two teams: the Challengers of the Fantastic.

During the company-merging crossover event Amalgam, the FF and the CotU were mashed together to create a new team. Consisting of super-scientist Reed Richards, senator and adventurer Ben Grimm, flame thrower wielding Jonathan Storm, and strong-willed Susan Storm, the team embarked upon "death-cheating" adventures in the name of science.

10 MEGASCALE METATALENT RESPONSE TEAM FANTASTIC FOUR

Megascale Metatalent Response Team Fantastic Four

Try to say that name ten times fast. This mouthful of a Fantastic Four team hails from Marvel's anime-inspired Mangaverse, and, like the rest of the Mangaverse, it might resemble the OG team they derive their name from, but this team is quite different from the Fantastic Four you know.

The story goes like this: a scientific base is established on the moon to research the "Descriptor Theory." An experiment goes awry, the base is destroyed, half of the moon is shunted to an alternate universe, and only four scientists survive, receiving amazing powers in the process. Reed Richards gains the ability to stretch his brain, Ben Grimm becomes a geokinetic, Sioux Storm gains the ability to create forcefields, and Sioux's sister Jonatha can now surround herself in burning plasma. Together, the group takes the name Megascale Metatalent Response Team Fantastic Four. This anime-inspired reimagining of the FF is completely ridiculous, and that's why we love them.

9 ULTIMATE FUTURE FANTASTIC FOUR

Ultimate Future Fantastic Four

So you're Sue Storm, and your beloved brother has been killed by the Ultimatum Wave. What's a girl to do? If you answered "form an evil Fantastic Four, recruit an army of Sentinels, and set out to rid the world of superpowered individuals," well, that's a very specific answer, but you are correct! This brings us to the Ultimate Future Fantastic Four, a twisted incarnation of the FF that are as interesting as they are evil.

Appearing in Ultimate Fantastic Four/X-Men Annual #1, the Ultimate Future Fantastic Four (or UFFF for short) ruled the alternate-future Earth from which they hailed with an iron first. A grief-stricken Susan trapped Reed in the N-Zone, and led a team composed of an armor clad human Ben Grimm, Ben's fire-engulfed love interest Liz Allan, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. A despotic Sue Storm working to kill all superheroes with her Fantastic Four? We'll take that story over the OG FF any day of the week!

8 FF

FF Scott Lang Medusa Miss Thing She-Hulk

The Fantastic Four is composed of some of the greatest heroes the world has ever known! The FF? Not so much. But that is what makes this underdog team so great: while Reed Richards and crew regularly saved the planet and embarked upon galaxy-spanning adventures, the FF was composed of a team of well-meaning heroes that didn't regularly deal with intergalactic threats. This was a team that just wanted to do the FF name proud.

Assembled by the Fantastic Four as a precautionary measure before a trip through time and space, the FF was composed of Ant-Man (aka Scott Lang), She-Hulk, Medusa, and Darla Deering (aka Miss Thing). Forced to assume the duties of the Fantastic Four when the original team does not return as scheduled from an interdimensional trip, the FF must learn on the job and protect the planet. A rookie Fantastic Four group made for a fun read, and we'd much prefer these underdogs over the tried and true original team.

7 FEARSOME FOUR

Fearsome Four

As one of comicdom's premier super teams, the Fantastic Four laid the foundation for how a four person super team should be constructed: headed by an intelligent leader, his love interest working at his side, with the team rounded out with a hotheaded jerk and a super-strong muscle man. The Fantastic Four-inspired Fearsome Four takes that formula, throws it out the window, and gives us a team led by Howard the Duck.

A ragtag group of heroes composed of Mr. The Duck, She-Hulk, Nighthawk, and Frankenstein's Monster, the team was assembled by circumstance during the events of Fear Itself, coming together out of necessity to stop the Psycho-Man from manipulating a fear-overloaded Man-Thing. The team fought alternate-reality heroes, confronted their own fears, and ultimately stopped Man-Thing from destroying reality. Not bad for a team fronted by a baseball bat-wielding duck.

6 MARVEL BULLPEN FANTASTIC FOUR

Marvel Bullpen Fantastic Four

Once upon a time, the Fantastic Four was just an idea; a gleam in the eyes of writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Together, this legendary creative team birthed the FF, and the rest is history. But what if Lee and Kirby hadn't created the Fantastic Four? What if, instead, the duo had become the Fantastic Four themselves? That brings us to the weird, bizarre, and totally awesome Marvel Bullpen Fantastic Four.

Debuting in 1978's What If? #10, this story saw Stan The Man, King Kirby, Marvel Comic's then-vice president Sol Brodsky, and secretary Flo Steinberg receiving a mysterious box that bathes the foursome in cosmic rays, turning the group into the Fantastic Four. Together, these comic-workers-turned-super-heroes fight the good fight while chronicling their adventures in the Fantastic Four comic book. Was this team meta? You bet. Was this team awesome? You bet! 'NUFF SAID!

5 FOUR FANTASTICS

Four Fantastics

It is one of the oldest "What if?" questions in comics: what if Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom had switched places? What if Doom had become the hero and Reed the villain? What if the roles were reversed? Well, a memorable issue of Exiles explored this question, and found that even when Doom is good, he's bad.

In Exiles #95, the reality-hopping team meets the Four Fantastics, a team composed of Sue and Jonathan Storm, the Hulk, and Victor Von Doom. While the team seems to have good intentions, the Exiles quickly learn from Reed Richards, who has fled underground and taken the name Mole Man, that Doom is actually a tyrant that has genetically altered the people of Earth to be subservient to him. An evil Fantastic Four led by Victor Von Doom? And they have their own Hulk? Now that's a team that would beat the OG FF any day of the week.

4 BLACK PANTHER AND STORM FANTASTIC FOUR

Black Panther Storm Fantastic Four

We've all heard the term "learning on the job." For most of us, that would mean learning how the printer works during your first week at an office gig. But for Black Panther and Storm, "learning on the job" meant learning how to deal with cosmic threats such as Galactus while serving as the newest members of the Fantastic Four! Yeah, that's a bit different from learning how to work the coffee machine in the break room.

In Fantastic Four #543, T'Challa and Ororo join the FF after Reed and Sue Richards decide to take a leave of absence from the team. With the king of Wakanda and a former leader of the X-Men on its roster, the Fantastic Four manage to go toe-to-toe with Silver Surfer and save the universe. While the royal couple's tenure with the team was short, we're confident in saying that this iteration of the Fantastic Four trumps the old-school team.

3 FANTASTIC THORS

Fantastic Thors

Hey, here's a completely ridiculous question: what if the Fantastic Four was all Thors? Sure, this question sounds like an issue of "What If?" written by a ten-year old, but this actually happened. Yes, out there in the Marvel multiverse exists a FF team composed entirely of hammer-wielding Thor-versions of the classic FF members. It's crazy, it's ridiculous, and it's undeniably awesome.

During the events of the Secret Wars event, readers were introduced to the Thor Corps, a planet-patrolling police force composed entirely of alternate-reality Thors. In Siege #4, the Thor Corps are called to aid in a fight against zombies on Battleworld. It is here that we are introduced to the Fantastic Thors, an alternate-reality version of the team clad in Asgardian armor. Sure, the OG Fantastic Four are great, but we'd prefer to read about Mjolnir-wielding versions of the Thing and Mister Fantastic any day of the week.

2 FUTURE FOUNDATION

Future Foundation

Reed Richards might be one of the smartest individuals in the Marvel Universe, but no man is an island. While the Fantastic Four is always willing to protect the planet, the team can't offer assistance in Reed's scientific pursuits. But what if Reed were to cast off the name "Fantastic Four," and open the team to those looking to improve the universe via science? This idea led Reed to creating the Future Foundation.

In the wake of the death of Johnny Storm, the team retired the "Fantastic Four" name out of respect and opened the Future Foundation. With Spider-Man joining Reed, Sue, and Ben on the main team, the Future Foundation also opened its doors to burgeoning young scientific minds, bringing in Power Pack member Alex Power, mutants Leech and Artie, Moloids, and many more to aid the team. The first Fantastic Four is great and all, but you'd be hard-pressed to top an FF backed with the brightest minds in the world.

1 NEW FANTASTIC FOUR

New Fantastic Four

There are ridiculous teams, and then there is the New Fantastic Four. While the Fantastic Four are untied in friendship and family, the New Fantastic Four is just a collection of Marvel's most popular heroes on one team. Sure, this collection of characters makes no sense, but there is no denying the fact that the New Fantastic Four are awesome.

The story goes like this: in Fantastic Four #347, the shape-shifting Skrull De'Lila captures the FF, and convinces the Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider that the team has been killed by the Mole Man, and that this motley assortment of heroes should avenge their deaths as the New Fantastic Four. Cue a ridiculously overpowered team beating the snot out of the Mole Man. Once De'Lila's plan was foiled and the Fantastic Four were revealed to be alive, the New Fantastic Four disbanded. While Reed and the gang are great, you just can't beat a team as powerful as the New Fantastic Four, and that's why this one gets top billing here!

Next Spider-Man: 10 Villains That Completely Disappeared From The Comics

More in Lists