June 2022 sees the release of New Fantastic Four #1, and I wanted to take a look at the history of this obscure group of anti-heroes. For decades, the Fantastic Four has hosted several fill-in/temporary members. For example, when Invisible Woman was pregnant with Franklin, Crystal took her spot. At various times, Luke Cage and She-Hulk filled in for The Thing. At one time, Black Panther and Storm joined the team when Reed Richards and Sue needed time for themselves. With New Fantastic Four #1 coming this month (June), Peter David (writer) and Alan Robinson (artist) revisit the time Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider took over as the Fantastic Four.
The Fantastic Four Up to Now
Before getting to their story from Fantastic Four #347-349, we should discuss the Fantastic Four’s status. Reed Richards and Sue Storm were raising their young son Franklin. Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) married Alicia Masters, though he would eventually discover she was a Skrull. Meanwhile, Ben Grimm regained his human form and wore a Thing-shaped suit of armor. They were also joined by Sharon Ventura (She-Thing), who had also turned rocky thanks to her own exposure to Cosmic Rays.
During writer Walt Simonson‘s run on Fantastic Four, he managed to reembrace the stranger vibe of the team and the more significant sci-fi ideas that came with it. His run began with the tie-in series, “Acts of Vengeance” in Fantastic Four #334-336, and a time-traveling collaboration with Iron Man and Thor that also involved the Celestials and Galactus in Fantastic Four #337-341.
After a brief run-in with some dinosaurs from #345-346, Fantastic Four #347 kicked off a fascinating three-part series with Art Adams on pencils. It begins with a Skrull crash-landing on Earth while the Fantastic Four are back home in Four Freedoms Plaza. Then, the alien, De’Lila, sneaks her way into the headquarters, changing into various different characters and using a synapse disrupter to knock the entire team into next week.
The Old ‘New Fantastic Four’
De’Lila created a new team consisting of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Danny Ketch’s Ghost Rider, and gray Hulk using their computers. Meanwhile, a different group of Skrulls found De’Lila’s ship on Monster Island and controlled a group of natives to create trouble on Earth. Also, to get the new Fantastic Four on her side, De’Lila, posing as Sue Richards, called upon her team and convinced them that the rest of the group had been murdered by the same people controlling the giant monsters. What a tangled web!
Ghost Rider in the Fantastic Four 1990
So far, Ketch had only been Ghost Rider for about a year in real-time, debuting in GHOST RIDER #1 in the spring of 1990. Then, in the fall of 1990, Larry Hama and Marc Silvestri started their renowned run on WOLVERINE #31 as he traveled the world, often seen in his brown costume and slicing and dicing his way through enemies.
Gray Hulk in the Fantastic Four 1986
Green Hulk first went gray in 1986’s Incredible Hulk #324. Peter David began his legendary run on Incredible Hulk with #331 with Todd McFarlane, and by #333, gray Hulk was the standard, which lasted for years. This version was more human, less intense, and a bit craftier. He was still gray Hulk when he joined this new Fantastic Four squad, although he was his green self again by issue #377.
Spider-Man in the Fantastic Four 1990s
Spider-Man and the FF go way back. The first issues of What if…? involved Spider-Man joining the FF in the 1970s. The early ’90s were also a tumultuous time for Spider-Man, in the comics and real-world, with Venom’s debut and the fluctuations of writers and artists. Despite their adventures, these heroes came together to help fill the shoes of the Fantastic Four, or so they thought. Finally, the truth came out, and the new squad teamed with the old one to defeat the villains. Afterward, the unusual foursome went their separate ways…for the most part.
After a reappearance in Fantastic Four #374, the team split up for some time. However, in more recent times, during the Kree-Skrull-Cotati battle near Earth, Franklin and Val Richards teamed up with Spider-Man and Wolverine in Fantastic Four #21-23. The Richards kids even used image enhancers to make themselves look like Hulk and Ghost Rider, with all four wearing matching blue and black costumes.
Wolverine in the Fantastic Four 2000s
The New Fantastic Four did not have a long run on Earth-616; however, the idea gave birth to various alternate reality storylines. In 2000, Erik Larsen and Roger Cruz created Wolverine #148 as part of the “Ages of Apocalypse” event to briefly examine various Earths. This one featured the established Fantastic Four operating out of their NYC headquarters. The 2008 one-shot, What If…? Newer Fantastic Four, Paul Tobin, and Patrick Scherberger examined a world where De’Lila murdered the original team for real this time.
Fantastic Four in Alternate Universe’s
Another version came out of the Nexus of All Realities when Man-Thing went berserk in Fear Itself: Fearsome Four, mixing it up with She-Hulk, Howard the Dark (that’s not a typo), Nighthawk, and Frankenstein’s Monster. Finally, yet another version of Man-Thing hunted down transgressors for God Doom, as seen in Secret Wars: Battleworld #1.
With David and Robinson’s New Fantastic Four, the clock will be dialed back to the days of the original coming-together. You can expect all sorts of era-appropriate guest stars, team-ups, and villains. This sounds like a blast! New Fantastic Four #1 dropped on June 22, 2022, and without giving it all away it’s a hell of a demonic story loaded with monsters!
A Little About Me
My name is Eric Onkenhout, I live in Massachusetts, and Star Wars is my jam and I’ve been in this fight since I was 6 or 7 years old. Besides Star Wars, I also enjoy Marvel and Game of Thrones. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English – Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. I love to write, whether it’s fiction, reviews, or journalistic articles. I also enjoy long walks on the beach!
As far as movies, books, comic books, or tv shows, I tend to gravitate towards good writing regardless of the genre. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English-Creative Writing; I like sports like hockey, football, and soccer.