Comics

Superhero Spotlight: Fantastic Four

After three movies and one reboot, Hollywood has yet to do the Fantastic Four justice, and as a result the general audience have not been given a real insight into Marvels first family. Marvel Comics launched these characters in the 1960s, and the Four made way for Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk and so many other heroes that, thanks to cinema magic, are beloved worldwide. With reports of Disney closing in on buying Twentieth Century Fox’s movie and TV studio assets, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the team that paved the way for the heroes and movies we love today.

Reed Richards and Ben Grimm attended Empire State University, where they were roommates and best friends. Richards studied to be an aeronautical engineer whilst Grimm became a successful US Air Force Pilot. Using the majority of his large inheritance, Reed funded the construction and launch of a starship to study interstellar travel; the U.S. government also funded Reed but were losing interest fast and threatened to cut off their money. Not about to let years of work go to waste, Reed recruited Grimm, his long-time sweetheart and fiancée Sue Storm, and Sue’s brother Johnny Storm to take a test flight. Grimm, sceptical of the idea, warned the team of intense forms of cosmic radiation and the ship’s possible inadequate defences against such forces, but Reed persuaded them all to accompany him, and so they set off on a roundtrip space flight to another star system. But it wasn’t long before Grimm’s warnings would come true and the ship was bombarded with cosmic radiation, forcing the mission to be aborted and the craft to hurtle towards Earth.

The four survived, but their lives would be changed forever. Each crew member was mutated from the radiation: Reed Richards gained the ability to stretch his body and limbs; Sue could bend the light around her body, making her invisible; Johnny could fly and engulf his body in flames; and Grimm gained incredible strength but, sadly, was severely disfigured, with his body turning to solid rock. They decided to use their new abilities to serve humanity and called themselves the Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four took nicknames; Reed became Mister Fantastic, Sue the Invisible Girl, Johnny the Human Torch and Ben the Thing. Together they fought against evil and, in their headquarters in New York City called the Baxter Building, continued with their scientific experiments in order to better mankind. As a result, they  have been at the forefront of scientific discoveries. One of these was a parallel dimension called the Negative Zone, where they encountered the extra-terrestrial races known as the Skrulls and the Kree. The Fantastic Four also discovered the hidden civilization of the Inhumans and the home of Black Panther, the secret African nation of Wakanda. Reed and Sue married in the unescapable public eye, and later had a son named Franklin. The Fantastic four fell under scrutiny for many years; the team would have its shake-ups as members left and returned, but through the years one thing has always remained: all four have always been, and will forever be, a family.

The Fantastic Four are Marvel’s first family. They introduced us to iconic places and characters such as Wakanda and Black Panther, the Inhumans and Attilan, races like the Skrulls and Kree, villains like Doctor Doom, Galactus, Ulysses Klaw and Ronan the Accuser. They played big parts in Marvel Comics crossover events like Secret Wars, Civil War and The Infinity Gauntlet. Sadly, due to movie studio politics, the Four have not been able to appear in the MCU alongside the Avengers, but this could all change very soon. We still may get a Fantastic Four movie that is worthy of Marvels first superhero team, and they’ll finally get the recognition that they rightly deserve.

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