When you've been saving the world for over half a century, your outfit is bound to go through a couple of changes (at least we hope it does!). The Fantastic Four have been defending the world across time and dimensions since 1961, and have appeared in hundreds of comics, several movies, and even a few TV shows. With so much history, it's not surprising that the team's look has been updated or completely changed time and time again. It's even less surprising when you factor in the team's frequent time traveling, and battles in different dimensions and pocket universes.
Some of the costume changes were fairly subtle, as the original look was updated and reimagined as it changed creative hands. Then, of course, we have costumes from specific comic events, outfits that mark tragic events in the characters' lives, one-time outfits from future versions of the team, alternate-universe outfits, uniforms from a couple of different movies, a suped-up manga uniform, and even outfits from a TV show or two. Some were (you guessed it) fantastic, and others were slightly less so. From a superhero career spanning more than 50 years, we've picked 15 Fantastic Four looks and ranked them from drab to awesome.
15 FUTURE FOUR
When time travel is an everyday occurrence, you're bound to run into some costumes from the future. This particular uniform comes from two issues in the 1998-2012 Fantastic Four series, where a future version of Dr. Doom travels back in time to prevent Mr. Fantastic from implementing an idea that supposedly brings destruction to the future world. A future Fantastic Four comes to their rescue wearing the uniforms shown above.
The are several differences from the original look. The suits are mostly gray, and the boots and gloves are that same color. The "4" is blue and runs from the waist to the chest, and the collar, waist, and forearms all have white and blue stripes. Not exactly the fashion sense you'd you hope to see on your older selves, but they tried.
While not nearly as exciting as the events around it, the Fantastic Four donned this uniform for the 16 issues of the 2012-2014 Fantastic Four series. The series followed the group as Reed Richards discovered his team's molecular composition was breaking down. He set out to find a cure without informing the rest of the Fantastic Four (or the rest of his family) of their dangerous condition.
The black and white color scheme gives a nod to the previous Future Foundation uniforms, while the most original portion of the uniform is the black stripe down the middle. Apart from the "4" logo, they kind of look like extras from a space-age first-person shooter game, so maybe it's a good thing the look was only around for a few issues.
The Onslaught uniform first appeared in the Onslaught event near the end of the original Fantastic Four series. The costume change only lasted a few issues, but a nearly identical version of the uniform made a comeback starting in issue #12 of the 1998 series.
We get two main changes with this costume. The first is the added detail on areas like the belt, including the addition of a pouch. The second is the combination of the collar and "4" emblem, with the collar being much longer and the "4" emblem now off to the side. The color of the suit is darker than the original as well, although that change came from the previous costume update, courtesy of an explosion in the Negative Zone.
12 SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Nothing like a superhero team up, right? In episode 61 of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spider-Man summons The Fantastic Four along with some of the Avengers and X-Men to aid him in a test set up by the being called the Beyonder. The Fantastic Four arrive in this Secret War-styled scenario wearing the uniforms shown above.
While we can tell it's still the Fantastic Four, this TV version has a few changes. The black from the original costume is replaced with another blue, and the collar also includes the section covering the shoulders. This uniform is one of the few costumes that does not have black or white (except on the emblem). The "4" emblem is also a little smaller and is off to side.
11 ORIGINAL UNIFORM
You can't have a Fantastic Four fashion list without including the original 1961 outfits, can you? What's interesting about their first official costume is that the Fantastic Four originally didn't have uniforms. It took until issue #3 for Sue Storm to decide that she would design a costume for everyone.
This original design is very simplistic: blue one-piece with a black collar, black gloves, black boots, and a white and blue 4 emblem. When the Fantastic Four first used this costume, the Thing's costume was the same as the rest of the Fantastic Four. By the end of the issue though, he had ripped the top half to move more easily when fighting. The Fantastic Four kept this original design for more than half of their original series without making any major changes to it.
All sorts of things happen in the Negative Zone, even costume changes. in Issue #256 of the original Fantastic Four series, the Fantastic Four work to stop Annihilus from using null fields to destroy both the Negative Zone and their own universe. In an explosive conclusion, the team finds one result of the near cataclysmic event is that their costumes have changed into "negative" renditions of their uniforms.
What this meant was that the blue on the uniform was much darker and the black portions changed to white. It was the first time the Fantastic Four uniforms majorly changed though, so if you're going to wait 250+ issues before you change your costume, why not do it in a giant explosion that almost wipes out two dimensions?
9 FANTASTIC FOUR (2005)
Remember when Chris Evans was the Human Torch instead of Captain America? The 2005 Fantastic Four wasn't the greatest movie ever (not by a long shot), but it did give us a live-action remake of the original Fantastic Four uniforms. In the movie, the uniforms come from the jumpsuits the FF wore during the accident that gives them their powers. Because the suits changed with them, they react to their powers like a second skin.
This costume stays pretty close to the original design: black collar, black boots, black gloves, and of course a few embellishments we'd expect in a live action adaption. The main differences are that the "4" is off to one side, and the addition of the black chevron designs across the front and on the sleeves.
8 EARTH'S GREATEST HEROES
If you're going to have a cartoon series about the Fantastic Four, you want them in their classic blue and black look, right? Not if you're the Cartoon Network creation Fantastic Four: Earth's Greatest Heroes. The show aired in 2006 and 2007, although the full series didn't come out until it aired as reruns on Boomerang.
One of the more distinct Fantastic Four looks, the Earth's Greatest Heroes costume is quite different from the original design. The torso area is white and comes to a point, and the lower half of the body is a darker blue. The collar and shoulder area is a different blue and also contains the "4" emblem. The "4" emblem on this costume has an orange background, and an orange stripe also runs down the middle of the costume.
While the 2015 Fantastic Four movie may have been a bit (or a lot more than a bit) of a letdown, the costumes were certainly a distinct new look. These costumes were designed specifically to help the Fantastic Four hone their powers, which were dangerous and debilitating when not under control. This explains the presence of various electrical components and why each suit is designed differently, as they were made to control a particular set of powers.
The most notable differences between this particular set and nearly all other Fantastic Four uniforms is that we don't see a four anywhere on the costume, as the Fantastic Four took their iconic name after they defeated Dr. Doom. Apart from a few metal components, the suits are also all black, where the majority of the Fantastic Four costumes are mostly blue or white.
6 HEROES REBORN
Along with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four nearly died at the end of the "Onslaught" event. They ended up on Counter-Earth in a pocket universe Franklin Richards created where they temporarily lived out an alternate timeline. On Counter-Earth, the Fantastic Four first suited up in that dimension's S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms to help Nick Fury fight off the Sub-Mariner. To make it clear they were not working for S.H.I.E.L.D., Sue removed the patches on the uniforms and added the "4" emblem with some tape.
The suit is mostly gray and features the classic '90s touch of belts with pouches, as well as some interesting wristband-things that are different for each member. The main black portions on the shoulders and on one arm and leg sort of form a giant "4" and in case that goes unnoticed, the "4" emblem is in three different places.
5 MARVEL AGE
Sooner or later, comic characters are bound to get some kind of reboot. This was the idea behind the Marvel Age Fantastic Four series, which retold the Fantastic Four story in a modern setting for a younger audience. And of course, you can't use the exact same costume when you revamp a team, can you?
The Marvel Age uniform is a good update of the old uniform. The blue is a little lighter and the black is replaced with silver. The belt has more detail, and the collar is a little smaller. The biggest change is the silver stripes that run down the sides and connect to the "4" four logo. We still get the old Fantastic Four feel, but it doesn't look like it was made in the '60s, either.
4 FALL OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Just a few years back, the Fantastic Four changed up their uniforms (black and white at the time) to a more eye-catching red and black style. It's not a color scheme typically used by the group, but it marked a season of change for the Fantastic Four and mimicked the peril and trials the group faced at that time. These uniforms debuted in the first issue of Robinson and Kirk's Fantastic Four series, which started up in 2014.
Aside from the new colors, the belt if gone, the "4" insignia is much larger than most of the styles where it's in the middle, and the black that is typically on the collar covers much of the top half and sleeves. Usually, Reed, Sue and Johnny's costumes are basically the same, but here the colors on Sue's uniform are switched.
In 2002, the Fantastic Four appeared in the Magnaverse with an entirely different feel from their mainstream counterparts. The first Mangaverse Fantastic Four series introduced a Fantastic Four with a female Human Torch, a sociopathic Invisible Woman, a human-looking Ben Grimm, and a Mr. Fantastic whose only stretched his brain cells unless aided by his super-suit.
Unlike the original Fantastic Four, the Mangaverse team's powers came from the power packs on the back of their suits. These gave them "Megascale Metatalents," or powers that were loosely inspired by the original Fantastic Four's abilities. In full combat mode, the Magnaverse uniforms were heavily mechanized suits of armor, complete with a breastplate and shoulder pads, as well as several glowing circles and a glowing "4" insignia.
2 FUTURE FOUNDATION
The Future Foundation uniform marked some of the most dramatic changes to the Fantastic Four team as a whole. It came after Johnny Storm died fighting a billion-bug army in the Negative Zone. The group changed their name to the Future Foundation, and while they were no longer the Fantastic Four, they did recruit Spider-Man to be their fourth member.
Their costumes were redesigned as white suits with black accents that didn't bear any resemblance to their traditional look, and the Fantastic Four emblems were replaced with the Future Foundation logo. While the white uniforms stayed until the end of the series, the Future Foundation logo did not. In typical comic fashion, Johnny came back to life and the logo was changed back when he rejoined the team.
Another alternate retelling, the Ultimate Fantastic Four series followed the Fantastic Four from the Ultimate dimension. This version of the team gained their powers from an explosion caused by a malfunctioning teleporter. This version of the team was also a little younger than the original Fantastic Four. The Ultimate uniform kept the basic look of the costume with some added detail and slight modifications that make it a bit more sophisticated.
The suit has two shades of blue, the black on the collar covers the shoulders and parts of the chest area, the black gloves have added detail, and the belt is gone. Unlike the classic outfit, the Thing wears a sleeveless version of the suit. It's all the sentiment from the old costume with about 40 years of improved drawing style.