Place of Formation: California
Creators: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961)
When many think of Marvel teams the X-Men and now the Avengers are the first teams they think of. The Fantastic Four actually predate those teams by a few years. The original family of Marvel, Dr. Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Sue Storm and Johnny Storm have been an mainstay in Marvel. I was first introduced to the Fantastic Four in the cartoon series, Fantastic Four: The Animated Series. It was the third animated series for the Fantastic Four characters, that aired from September 24, 1994 until February 24, 1996. The series largely retold classic 60’s FF comic book stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
For those who don’t know, the Fantastic Four were a family of heroes. They are funded by the massive wealth that Dr. Reed Richards gained from his many patents. The FF gained their powers after being exposed to cosmic radiation. This radiation resulted in the FF becoming mutated. Reed gained the ability of “plasticity – able to convert t he mass of his entire body into a highly malleable state at will.” He can change his shape, stretch his body and even contain explosions. His biggest asset of course is his high intelligence, Reed is considered one of the most intelligent beings on Earth.
Sue Storm developed the ability to ” manipulate ambient cosmic energy for a variety of effects, including the rendering of herself and other objects invisible, and she can construction of solid, invisible force fields. Sue Storm developed the ability to.” She can also create psionic force fields and can use them to create shock waves. Then there’s her brother Johnny Storm, who possess the ability to “control ambient heat energy and the physical ability to transform his entire body, or portions of his body into a fiery, plasma-like state of will.” He can fly and control the heat energy in the surrounding area even when he isn’t aflame.
Finally, there’s the wise cracking, sarcastic and hot tempered Ben Grimm. He developed rock like skin, musculature, bone structure, internal organ composition, soft tissue structure, and skin to greatly increase in toughness and density. He doesn’t age (basically immortal), possess super strength, Stamina and durability. He’s an expert pilot and is an astronaut.
As is the case in most Marvel teams occasionally members are replaced by other Marvel heroes, the FF has included Black Panther, Iceman, Crystal, Medusa, Spider-man and Storm as former members. Overall, the Fantastic Four is a team that I always enjoyed watching. Dr. Richards using his intellect to work out plans and explain the Marvel universe was always interesting to me. Finally, I liked how the family dynamic played, between husband and wife, siblings and friends.
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