Superhero Origins: The Fantastic Four

Marvel’s first superhero team, The Fantastic Four is a unique and lovingly dysfunctional superhero family with an unstable mix of personalities. Created by exposure to cosmic rays, the group is made up of Reed Richards, Susan Storm, her brother Johnny Storm, and US test pilot Ben Grimm, who respectively became Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing. Using their powers for the benefit of mankind, the team has continued to fight off numerous threats to the Earth, including aliens invasions and their arch nemesis Doctor Doom. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origins of The Fantastic Four.
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Superhero Origins: The Fantastic Four

This superhero team uses their powers for the benefit of humanity! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origins of The Fantastic Four.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline, which unfolded in 1961’s Fantastic Four #1.

Marvel’s first superhero team, comic readers were introduced to The Fantastic Four through their leader Mr. Fantastic, otherwise known as Reed Richards. Richards was presented as a brilliant scientist with an unparalleled knowledge of physics who had been working tirelessly to create the first spacecraft that could take astronauts beyond the reaches of the moon. Unfortunately, the government suddenly decided to cut funding to his project, even though his ship was finished and ready for launch.

Unwilling to see his years of research and work go to waste, Richards decided to move up the launch before the decision could be formally announced. Requiring a team to accompany him, he invited several friends to join him as his crew. These included his girlfriend Susan Storm, her brother Johnny Storm, and former college roommate turned US test pilot Ben Grimm.

Despite his new moved-up timetable, Richards once again hit a roadblock when fears over cosmic rays caused the spaceport to scrap his flight. Willing to take the risk, Reed and his crew waited until later that evening to sneak back onto the ship and take off before the military could intercept them.

Pushing through the Earth’s atmosphere, they were immediately struck by a massive cosmic ray storm. Penetrating the hull, it made Richards and his crew too ill to continue the mission. This prompted them to return to Earth by making an emergency crash-landing.

Surviving touchdown, they each discovered that the cosmic rays had changed their bodies. Sue found herself able to become invisible, and would later develop the ability to create force fields. Ben’s skin had become heavy and stone-like, giving him a monstrous appearance and increased strength. Reed’s body had become fully elastic, and Johnny gained the ability to burst into flames as well as fly.

Realizing that the rays had altered their atomic structures, Reed proposed to the team that they had been given incredible power, and should use it to help mankind. Individually, they picked out the superhero names Mister Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing.

Adopting a base of operations within the Baxter Building skyscraper, the team made use of Richard’s knowledge of science to create tools to help them. These included special outfits that complimented and adapted with their powers as well as their flying Fantasticar, which could split apart and be driven by each member individually.

Meanwhile, they began using their powers to fight crime and defend the planet from countless dangers. These included aliens called the Skrulls, their arch nemesis Doctor Doom, and the planet-devouring entity called Galactus. They even revealed their real identities to become celebrities, taking credit for their many heroic deeds and prompting the public to both admire and distrust them.

A unique, if lovingly dysfunctional superhero family with an unstable mix of personalities, the Fantastic Four have continued to appear in various media over the years, including crossovers and solo adventures. These include several animated series and two Big Budget Hollywood Blockbusters. The Fantastic Four have likewise become a staple of popular culture, being candidly parodied in Pixar’s “The Increadibles” and “The Venture Bros” animated comedy series.
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