Badass Bookworm: Something that tends to get lost in many adaptations. People like to forget that in his younger days he did some very Indiana Jones-esque missions for the US government and, oh yeah, stole a rocket and tried to fly to the moon.
Bizarre Human Biology: The body of Ultimate Marvel's Mr. Fantastic is an infinitely extensible fluid-filled sack containing, in place of an alimentary canal and other organs, just a squishable bolus of microbes that perform all metabolic functions.
Chosen Conception Partner: Double Subverted. His college sweetheart, Alyssa Moy turned him down because she believed that she should try and have children with less intelligent men to smarten up the future generation. When this didn't work out, she became interested in Reed again, but by this time, he was Happily Married.
Notable when Reed's daughter Valeria brokered a deal with Doom. Doom will work with the Future Foundation to bring down a group of amoral alternate Reed Richards. In exchange, they would heal his super-intelligence crippling brain damage. Doom upon being restored gathers a summit of the FF's most intelligent enemies to work on strategies to kill the Reeds. At the Foundation's headquarters.
Master of Disguise: Mr. Fantastic has infrequently used his stretching powers to assume a different face.
My Greatest Failure: Being responsible for changing Ben into the Thing, as well as his failure in being able to reverse it, gives Reed a lot of grief.
To a lesser extent, he feels like he wrecked Sue and Johnny as well, having ruined all three of their chances to live normal lives; it being his idea to steal the starship that led to the events granting them their powers. His formation of the Fantastic Four and turning the team into celebrities is his attempt to make up for it.
Nay-Theist: Reed is stated to be a humanist, although he does believe in the existence of God.
Fridge Brilliance: Reed and the others have all met God face to face, and He even brought Ben Back from the Dead. What kind of pathetic excuse for a scientist would he have to be to meet God in person and reject the scientific evidence that he exists? It doesn't mean the experience would have to change his philosophy though, which is why Reed still identifies as humanist.
Not So Different: With Victor. Although they're on opposite ends of the good vs. evil thing, both Reed and Doom are insanely intelligent, somewhat condescending, and often only care about completing whatever task at hand will best benefit whatever, tossing aside everything else.
Also subverted in that he does invent many things that have everyday uses. Most of them are bought by companies with competing products in order to keep them from hitting the streets and putting them out of business.
Small Steps Hero: What originally made Reed different from Doom. While Doom believes Utopia Justifies the Means, Reed will forego scientific progress if it harms too many people. Later stories, however, started to revoke this.
The Smart Guy: Even by Marvel standards where everyone seems to have a minimum IQ of 240, Reed is recognised as the go to guy for intelligence.
Teen Genius: Entered university at age 14, had doctorates by the age of 20.
What the Hell, Hero?: Reed will usually always pick out the easiest solution, not giving any foresight to matters such as tact, emotions, feelings, practicality, or possible future consequences (such as permanently shrinking an alien race to evacuate them off a doomed planet, or turning Skrulls into cows without considering the ramifications of ingesting alien flesh or the morality of it). When this happens, Sue will usually call him out on it.
One of the interesting common threads in alternate-universe Marvel stories is that in the event something terrible happens to Sue, Franklin, and/or Valeria, Reed will immediately go straight off the deep end. He's relying so heavily upon his family to keep him in check that if the unthinkable happens, he rapidly goes through all the stages of grief and right into insanity. This can be seen most clearly in the What If? where Sue died while giving birth to Franklin; Reed ignores the baby in favor of going on a suicide run against Annihilus. In more modern stories, Reed goes instantly nuts in the Marvel Zombies universe when Franklin and Valeria are killed.
Made a plot-point in Jonathan Hickman's run. Reed is faced with two choices. One: run off and join an interdimensional Council of Reeds from different universes committed to making creation itself a better place—ahem, by any means necessary, up to and including murdering Beyonders, killing Galactuses and carving up solar systems. The other choice is to stay at home in the 616 with his loving family and be the father to Franklin that Nathaniel never was to Reed. The Council of Reeds is by far the more logical choice—Valeria and even Nathaniel (a little) call him out on it—but Reed stalwartly refuses. Why? One reason: Franklin. The one thing our Reed created that all those other Reeds, with all their science and vast machinery and good intentions never could.
Susan Storm-Richards (The Invisible Girl/Woman)
Susan Storm-Richards (The Invisible Girl/Woman)
Action Girl: She's generally portrayed as the strongest member of the team these days. Doctor Doom is more afraid of her than he is of The Thing.
Beware the Nice Ones: During the Civil War storyline, she confronted Reed about his pro-registration stance and Reed stated that he did it all to protect Sue. Sue then proceeded to send an invisible column above and below all 35 floors of the Baxter building and asked Reed if she looked like she needed protection.
Guile Hero: Invisible Woman should be portrayed as this. She shamed Ben Grimm into piloting the ship during the first issue. She was also told to distract many of the Silver Age male supervillains. After Psycho Man temporarily turned her into Malice she used her knowledge of Reed and Psycho Man's personalities to track him down and take revenge on him. When Dr. Doom stole the power cosmic from the Silver Surfer, she tricked him into flying into a mountain. During the Civil War, she spied on Reed. As any real chessmaster/manipulative bastard/guile hero would tell you, the greatest achievements in theses tropes is to make certain that your opponents don't realize you are a social expert.
Most Common Super Power: For a time during the mid-90s, the Invisible Woman wore a skimpy costume with a cut-out "4" on her cleavage. This was before writers and editors realized that they didn't have to dress Sue up in a slinky costume to make her sexy — she was already a MILF.
Ms. Fanservice: Her regular costume(s) already flatter her, but her sex appeal often gets dialed up in alternate universes, especially ones where her invisibility is tweaked to put her in Naked People Are Funny situations (as seen in 1602).
Spontaneous Weapon Creation: One of the many possible uses of her force fields. In one X-Men/Fantastic Four miniseries, she has a Mama Bear moment and uses a force sword to slay a Brood queen in close combat, leaving the males of both teams rather shocked.
Stripperific: Unusual for a comic series in that the team's main female member only rarely falls under this trope, preferring a modest blue bodysuit identical to the ones Reed and Johnny wear, but it does happen - like when she wore a certain costume for a few years in the 1990s. The change was widely panned by fans and removed.
Book Dumb: Ben Grimm is much smarter than most folks gives him credit. A college graduate and former marine, he was a test pilot and astronaut (which requires two Master's degrees or a PhD to be even considered for that kind of duty) as well as gifted mechanic before his transformation. He might not be a scientific genius like Reed or Doctor Doom, but he more than makes up for it with the street smarts he earned growing up in a rough lower-class neighborhood. It's a trait that comes up several times in the comics when he manages to outsmart several villains who think he's an idiot. Sadly this is something that's lost in many adaptations, the live-action movie kept it in though.
Not only is he a college graduate (a fairly common thing nowadays) but he's a graduate of the same college that Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom (the two smartest people on the planet) went to. Probably a pretty good school.
Other ones include, "My sweet aunt Petunia" and "Whotta revoltin' development!"
Custom Uniform: In the team costumes' first appearance in issue 3, Ben ripped his up until only shorts were left, because according to him he couldn't move in the full bodysuit. Since then he's usually worn just the trunks, but he's alternated with a belted singlet, full pants with no top, pants with a tank top, and yes, even a full bodysuit.
Elemental Baggage: The Thing's rocky exterior makes him incredibly heavy, to the point where he has to use an elevator by himself to avoid overcoming the max lift weight and everything meant to accommodate him has to be built very large and reinforced.
Genius Bruiser: Although his smarts are usually overshadowed by super-genius Reed. Ben lampshades this as he assembles a cosmic ray device, musing that he's watched Reed long enough to play Mad Scientist himself. There is also the fact that Grimm was a highly qualified test pilot before he became The Thing; no mean feat brain-wise.
The idea of The Thing being simultaneously physically strong, ugly, and smart was seen as revolutionary in comics.
Hope Spot: During the early days of the series' run, Ben would periodically revert back to his old human self for a few minutes before turning back into The Thing again. Not only did this give Ben hope that the power of the cosmic rays were weakening on him, but it gave the rest of the four hope it might do the same for their powers.
Large Ham: Especially when he and Johnny are bickering or arguing.
Layman's Terms: Ben usually dumbs down the complex explanations Reed Richards comes up with for the people around him. When Reed starts speaking too Star-Trek even for him, it's also Ben who normally snaps at him to "Speak English, Stretcho!"
Lightning Bruiser: Another thing that's often overlooked is that he's just as fast and agile as he was as a human. He's studied multiple martial arts and has even tutored other members of the team in them, the only thing that's suffered is his manual dexterity due to his fingers being the size of sausages.
Made of Iron: Being transformed into the Thing sucks in a number of ways, but it does come in mighty handy when you end up fighting guys like the Incredible Hulk and he punches you with a blow that would reduce any ordinary human to paste.
And he can go for a spacewalk without a suit, needing only a air supply to keep him from suffocating.
Monster Modesty: Despite his issues with his appearance, he wears the least of the 4 - his standard "costume" is a pair of pants / shorts. At present, he's upgraded to a Sleeves Are for Wimps version of the "Future Foundation" suit.
Personality Powers: Ben is very solid and stubborn and, appropriately, Ben as The Thing is made of rock and stone.
Power Creep: One of the most severe cases in Marvel, actually. Originally Grimm could lift around 5 tons (which was more or less Spider-Man's maximum limit at the time, though Grimm was always tougher), but he got stronger and stronger until he could press about 90 tons. However he often displays feats of superhuman strength way beyond this theoretical limits (hauling skyscrapers, anchoring spaceships taking off from Earth) even though Marvel still swears up and down he can only do 90 tons.
A future version of Ben managed to easily overpower him, stating "We keep getting stronger for the rest of our life."
Powered Armor: At one point, Ben was turned back into a human and lost his powers as the Thing. Since he still wanted to help the rest of the team out, Reed constructed an Iron Man-like suit of armor for him that resembles his rocky Thing form. The suit allowed Ben to simulate the strength and durability he had when he was the actual Thing, albeit not quite on the same level.
Pro Wrestling Is Real: The Thing, as well as several other super strong characters are a part of a superhuman wrestling federation called Unlimited Championship Wrestling.
The Rival: To Incredible Hulk, which is an amusing case given that the Hulk is usually portrayed as vastly stronger than the Thing physically.
True, but Grimm can hold his own against the Hulk in combat by way of being a far more skilled martial artist.
There was one time he defeated the Hulk, and that was the period when Ben mutated even further into a craggy, rocky form even stronger than his previous "smoother" body, and the incarnation he was facing was the grey/"Joe Fixit" Hulk whose base strength is even weaker than any of green versions. Also, their earliest encounters had them roughly even in strength.
Rock Monster: The Thing looks like he's made of rocks (even though he isn't) and many who don't know who he is think he's a monster.
Running Gag: Ben's never-ending war against the Yancy Street Gang, a group of off-screen Harmless Villain street youths he sometimes obsesses over.
Status Quo Is God: The Thing gets turned into a human about once every few years, but always gets turned back, usually because he needs to help someone out.
It's something of a running gag. Sometimes when it happens he actively tries to regain his powers as he feels useless and naked without them.
In one story arc, Reed tried to remove Ben's mutation and add it to his own elasticity, but Ben refused to let him. "You're you an' I'm me, an' that's the cosmic plan."
Cruelly played with in the 'Three' storyline, where Ben is given a formula that allows him to become human for one day a year. It just so happens that the day he choses is the day Annihilus tries to invade via the Baxter Building, meaning Ben has to watch as Johnny sacrifices himself to save the Earth.
What Have I Become?: In the first few issues of the series back in the 1960s, Ben didn't take being transformed into a living pile of orange rocks too well. He's still not all that happy about it, but he's mostly come to terms with it.
As Reed says "He has his good days and his bad days."
Wolverine Publicity: He's starting to lapse into it, as a member of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers simultaneously, plus appearing in FF.
Elemental Baggage: For Johnny's power source in creating flame. Occasionally justified by him feeling tired or very hungry after using extremely hot flames.
And then there's the part about his body and his powers both needing oxygen to function. There have been times when he's been trapped in airtight spaces, causing him to pass out when his flame powers used up all the oxygen.
Kid-Appeal Character: When the series started, he was the teenager in a cast of adults. Early on in the series, he was extremely popular and was the Breakout Character with his own spinoff within a year after the series started. His popularity was one of the reasons why Marvel created other teen superheroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men.
Uncle Wolf: Just to round it off; although he doesn't take that much seriously, messing with his nephew and niece is a good way to increase your chances of being reduced to charcoal in the near future.
Status Quo Is God: Johnny dying a year before the FF's 50th anniversary. Yeaaaah, that'll stick.
All part of the plan - Johnny ends up in the Negative Zone leading a Five-Man Band to overthrow Annihilus and gains control over the Annihilation Wave. Took a Level in Badass indeed.
There have been dozens of "Johnny-learns-to-act-more-mature" stories over the decades. Then the next writer comes along and it starts all over again.
Other Me Annoys Me: Subverted - Present Franklin and Future Adult Franklin get along great, happily calling each other Kid Franklin and Mister Franklin. Then again, Franklin has the power of being superhumanly well-adjusted, far more than any kid who's been repeatedly kidnapped, has seen every one of his relatives die at least once, sometimes possesses godlike powers, and was once trapped in hell has any right to be.
Timey-Wimey Ball: Franklin is stuck eternally as a young kid, usually no more than ten. Meanwhile, his alternate universe love interest Rachel Summers, is currently around nineteen. The Power Pack, his best friends, aging in relative real-time makes this even crazier.
Kid from the Future: She was introduced this way as Valeria Von Doom (A.K.A. Marvel Girl), with Doctor Doom as her father (Sue was still her mother). Her current incarnation is named Valeria Richards, yet she still has connections to Doctor Doom, given that he had a hand in her delivery and named her after a girl he loved (and Valeria was even his familiar at one point).
The Mole: First incarnation of HERBIE was taken over by a villain named Doctor Sun, who tried to take out the Fantastic Four within the Baxter Building. When he eventually left HERBIE to take over the building's computers, it sacrificed itself to destroy them both.
It seems this plot twist was supposed to tie up how Kang the Conqueror, who has his name, could be the descendant of Doctor Doom as well. Doom apparently was supposed to be the child Nathaniel fathered in the alternate Earth
Poor Communication Kills: Kidnapped his grandson Franklin, sent him and raised him in the future, trained him in the usage of his powers and didn't even tell his own son/Franklin's father Reed why until he returned with Franklin as a teenager to the time just moments after he did so. He eventually revealed its so prevent the deaths of the Fantastic Four by a Conqueror From The Future who turned out to be Franklin's ownKid from the Future grown up.
Second Love: His first wife and Reed's mother, Evelyn, died when Reed was young. In his travels through time, he ended up in a timeline where he found a new wife, Cassandra. It's too bad she loved power more than him.
Disproportionate Retribution: Reed didn't even do what Doom blames him for. This has not stopped Doom from repeatedly trying to kill / destroy / crush / annihilate / insert grandiose adjective here Reed and his entire family in various over-the-top ways on numerous occasions in vengeance.
Enemy Mine: Is currently a member of the Freedom Foundation.
Large Ham: TREMBLE WITH FEAR BEFORE DOOM'S TITANIC MONOLOGUES!
Minor Injury Overreaction: The accident he blames Richards for was actually caused by the demon Mephisto, who merely gave him a long, thin scar by scratching his face. He's not exagerrating now, though, since when he first put on his armour it was molten hot, because he didn't wait for it to cool, so underneath he's genuinelly covered head to toe in third degree burns.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Despite his reputation of a joke, he has proven himself quite dangerous since he started to use his glue in lethal ways. He has successfully framed Spider-Man for his murder once, which forced Spidey to take four temporary secret identities.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant:At first, he was exclusively a foe of the Torch and the Thing. It didn't take him long to include Reed and Sue in his grudge, though. He later became a recurring foe of Spider-Man, but fared no better against the wall-crawler, either.