Classic Marvel Universe
superhero team, consisting of:
The characters first appeared in "Fantastic Four
" vol. 1 #1 (November, 1961), created by Stan Lee
and Jack Kirby
. The four were connected even before the same Negative Space Wedgie
gave them all their powers — Reed and Sue were sweethearts and eventually got married, Johnny is Sue's younger brother, Ben is Reed's best friend since college (previously Reed's buddy from World War II
, until Comic-Book Time
forced a Retcon
) — and are as much a family
(if occasionally a dysfunctional one) as a team.
Reed is the World's Smartest Man, and his genius is often at least as useful as the powers he got from the accident. The royalty payments from all his inventions fund the Four's adventures, despite the fact that they never get implemented in the world around them
, and lets them live in high style in the time between.
Their number one recurring enemy is Victor von Doom (Doctor Doom
to you), who was at college with Reed and Ben
and holds an almighty grudge against Reed for "sabotaging" one of his experiments: the experiment actually failed because of Doom's own error, which Reed noticed and tried to warn him about, but Doom's pride will not permit him to accept the truth. Reed may have Doom (narrowly) beat for the title of World's Smartest Man, but Doom is well ahead for the title of World's Vainest
(though he's not the one calling himself "Mr. Fantastic"...
). It really didn't help that the experiment in question literally blew up in Doom's face, marring his previously flawless good looks
. These days he wears an iron mask at all times, usually as part of a full suit of battle armor
Their book kick started the success of Marvel Comics
, and led to Spider-Man
, the X-Men
, and all the others. It also created many tropes
; the FF were the first superheroes
without a Secret Identity
, the first super-team where the members fought each other as much as the villains, and the first place that Kirby Dots
appeared, among others.
The series spun off another book FF
, meaning Future Foundation
. Originally a temporary replacement for the regular Fantastic Four
book, the Foundation is a scientific organization working for the betterment of mankind. The book features Reed and Sue's children, Franklin and Valeria; and notably includes Spider-Man
and Doctor Doom
as members. With the Marvel NOW!
relaunch the new volume of the Future Foundation stars Scott Lang
and Johnny Storm's current girlfriend, Darla Deering, while the main family is on a intergalactic vacation.
There have been several TV adaptations of the family, all animated
; The Fantastic Four (1967)
, a 1967 Hanna-Barbera
series with many episode plots taken straight from the comics, The Fantastic Four (1978)
, the 1978 series with H.E.R.B.I.E the Robot in place of the Human Torch, Fantastic Four
, a 1990s series that aired along with Iron Man
as part of the "Marvel Action Hour/Marvel Action Universe", and Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes
, a 2006 animesque French co-production
. Ben also appeared in his own show in the late 1970s as part of Fred and Barney Meet the Thing
; on that show he was reimagined as a mild-mannered teenager, who had the power to turn back and forth from the comic-book alter ego with the help of a magic ring. ("Thing Ring, do your thing!") The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
features the four as allies to the eponymous team.
In the mid-'70s, there was even a radio adaptation, which faithfully represented many key early Lee/Kirby plots, and which is notable for being one of the first acting roles for a just-starting-out Bill Murray
(who played the Human Torch).
In 1994, The Fantastic Four
, a low-budget movie never intended to be released, was made by Roger Corman
. Eleven years later, Fantastic Four
, a big-budget movie, was released; it was followed in 2007 with a sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
. An unrelated Continuity Reboot
, also called Fantastic Four
, is scheduled for release in Summer 2015.
In 1999, Lee and Kirby's original run was ranked #31 in The Comics Journal
's list of the Top 100 Comic Books of the 20th Century, honored alongside the works of such greats as Carl Barks
, Al Capp
, Charles M. Schulz
and Bill Watterson
. While not the only mainstream superhero series to make the list, it was the highest ranked of any them.
In 2012, they got video game incarnations as playable heroes in the Facebook Marvel: Avengers Alliance
game. In 2014, Marvel announced they would be cancelling the Fantastic Four
comic, partially as a result of legal issues
with 20th Century Fox over the franchise's film rights.
Also see Ultimate Fantastic Four
, an (obviously) Ultimate Universe
version where the main difference is that the Four are younger and a little less mature. The book lasted until the Ultimatum
event, after which Johnny moved to Ultimate Spider-Man
and then Ultimate X-Men
. And the FF mythos went off the rails completely when a disgruntled Reed became a supervillain.
Their series contain examples of:
- Action Girl: Invisible Woman, and there have been two female stand-ins for Ben Grimm: She-Hulk, and Sharon Ventura, who was transformed into a Distaff Counterpart of The Thing. Crystal of the Inhumans also once filled in for Sue. So did Medusa, Crystal's sister.
- Action Mom: Invisible Woman, mother of two and still telekinetic butt-kicker supreme.
- Actually Pretty Funny: In issue 518 of the 1998 series:
Johnny: AAAUUGH! It's horrible! Make it invisible! Make it invisible!
—>Sue: Then how is Ben supposed to hit it?
Johnny: I was talking about Ben.
Ben: You little...naw, wait, that wuz a good one.
- Alliterative Name: Reed Richards, Susan Storm.
- In fact, Stan Lee has commented that he used this to help keep the names straight. Eventually, Sue's name would cease to be alliterative, although the hyphenate Sue Storm-Richards is sometimes used.
- All Your Powers Combined: The Super Skrull has all the powers of the Fantastic Four. When Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came out, the Super Skrull was on the roster as their gameplay equivalent.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Jack Kirby originally reworked his old DC Comics Challengers Of The Unknown to create the Four.
- DC later gave us two equivalents:
- Alternate Universe: Many, many of them. The FF have the highest number of canon AU stories. And whenever they needed to be avoided from a crossover; their absence is usually handwaved with: "The FF are away in an alternate dimension..." At one point, it's even revealed that Reed Richards often holds trans dimensional conferences with numerous alternate versions of himself at the same time.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Benjamin Jacob Grimm, until it became canon a few years back; and he undertook a second Bar Mitzvah to commemorate the occasion of his 13th Anniversary of turning into The Thing. His very look is loosely inspired by the Jewish folktale of the Golem.
- And You Were There: Ben does this at the end of the seminal comic book issue "Fantastic Four Annual 1998".
- Anyone Can Die: The focus of the Three storyline. It was Johnny — but of course he got better.
- Appropriated Appellation: In the first story, Sue was the first person to call Ben a "Thing".
- Arch-Enemy: Doom and Reed, one of the most strongly It's Personal pair of nemeses in all of comics, although in practice the enmity extends to the rest of the team as well.
- Artifact of Death: The Ultimate Nullifier.
- Artifact Title: Membership changes and flash-forwards often show the "Four" in the team's name ends up an artifact title, with various continuities including HERBIE, Kristoff von Doom, She-Hulk, and Franklin and Valeria Richards as official team-members. This was especially noticeable at the end of the "Fantastic Five" Flash Forward series where the team expanded at the end to include eight members.
- Bachelor Auction: Fantastic Four Volume 3, #50 backup story "In The Eye Of The Beholder".
- Badass Bookworm: Reed Richards happens to be not only elastic, but the biggest nerd on Earth.
- Ben Grimm should also qualify, at least by implication. They don't let Book Dumb bruisers become test pilots and astronauts (in Real Life you have to have at least two Master's degrees or a PhD to be considered for space missions), and apparently Reed found him qualified to fly an experimental spacecraft. He also can follow Reed's Technobabble well enough to translate it into Layman's Terms,
- Barrier Warrior: Invisible Woman pretty much is the archetype.
- Battle Strip: Ben Grimm, in the very first issue, had the habit of ripping off a trenchcoat, pair of pants, sunglasses, and a fedora every time he went into battle.
- Beauty to Beast: Ben, and possibly Doom.
- Been There, Shaped History: Blackbeard is actually Ben.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Appears to have happened to Johnny at the hands of Annihilus.
- The Bermuda Triangle: A recurring foe, Mole Man, has a home on Monster Island, which is suggested to be either somewhere in this region or off the coast of Japan, Depending on the Writer.
- Berserk Button: They're a family, and harming any of them is a bad idea.
- Blessed with Suck: The Thing, who has been permanently transformed into a superstrong but hideous rock monster.
- Body Horror. Johnny getting revived by worms, after he died in the Negative Zone.◊ EW!◊
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: A memorable moment in Issue #10, from a series not known for breaking the fourth wall on a regular basis. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, struggling to write a plot for that issue, reflect on the mistake of sending Doctor Doom into space. Then, almost as if on cue, Doom barges into their office and threatens the pair to call Mr. Fantastic to "discuss a new plot". Then, at that moment, Johnny answers the phone, telling Reed that it is Lee and Kirby, wanting to discuss a new plot, to which Richards questions it, stating that they just discussed working on a plot the previous day.
- Broke Episode: Issue #9, and the first 12 issues of their Marvel Knights series.
- Butt Monkey: The Trapster, despite being one of their longest recurring villains, is almost always treated as this. He was once defeated by the Baxter Building's automated defences when the FF were out.
- Canon Immigrant: Several robots based on HERBIE from The Fantastic Four (1978) have shown up from time to time.
- Catch Phrase: "IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!" "FLAME ON!!"
- Chest Insignia: The "4" symbol.
- Clock King: The Mad Thinker.
- Comic-Book Time: Perhaps more visibly in force here than in any other comic. Franklin was born in 1968, and has yet to reach puberty despite the fact that he really ought to be older than many, many Marvel Comics characters that are older than him despite having been born decades later.
- Best reflected in the fact that Kitty Pryde in one issue of The Uncanny X Men mused about offering to babysit Franklin to work off unwitting vandalism to the Fantastic Four's lab (It Makes Sense in Context). Going by her introduction year of 1980, and her stated age at the time of 13, she's actually only one year older than Franklin (to be 13 in 1980 meant she was born in 1967).
- Dagwood Sandwich: Ben Grimm loves these.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Thing. Johnny likes to think he's one too.
- Deadly Training Area
- Deaf Composer: Alicia Masters is a blind sculptress. More impressive because she makes lifelike statues based purely on description.
- Death Is Cheap: Happens quite often, most recently Johnny Storm.
- De Construction: the series as a whole, especially in the early days, lampshades and subverted common superhero tropes like secret identities, team unity and family issues, and even a secret base. Instead of a cave or fortress and masks, the team was out and proud. Later writers, like Mark Waid, have made this a purposeful event in the team's creation: Reed made them celebrities to atone for the accident that robbed them of a normal life.
- Mark Waid's run also throws a dark mirror on the Reed-Doom relationship. Both have always been shown with varying levels of Not So Different but Waid accentuates it. Reed takes over Latveria and gets as obsessed with the then-dead Victor as Victor gets with him. Overall it's a fairly chilling look at how isolated and driven two intelligent men are, and how defined by each other they have become.
- Depending on the Writer: Reed's disposition varies from series to series. Sometimes he's nice but a bit unnecessarily gruff, sometimes he's a complete Jerk Ass, sometimes he's just absent minded.
- Detachment Combat: The Fantasti-car separates into four smaller vehicles for each of its passengers.
- Determinator: The Thing. The Champion declared him Earth's greatest hero, because even if he's not the most powerful, he will not yield.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The FF probably has more moments like this than anyone else in the Marvel Universe, but one of the most notable examples was when Sue killed (or at least disincorporated) a Celestial (thanks to some handy advice from Uatu).
- Didn't See That Coming: The Mad Thinker's main flaw. Reed and Doom are occasional sufferers as well.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Considering that Reed had absolutely nothing to do with Doom's experiment failure or his injuries, Doom's grudge is completely unwarranted in the first place; but the sheer lengths that Doom goes to in his search for vengeance frequently go way beyond 'excessive'.
- What's amazing is Doctor Doom's quest for revenge is often as petty as it is insanely over the top. For instance, he's actually tried to break up Reed Richards' marriage as often as kill him.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Reed Richards used to smoke a pipe from time to time, before it became PC not to smoke.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Doctor DOOM!
- Draconic Humanoid: Dragon Man is an android built in the shape of one of these.
- The Dreaded:
Richards: So I said to them "I am Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, and I..."
Susan: Go on.
Richards: Actually, that's as far as I got. It was enough to send them running.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Franklin's special dreams.
- Egocentric Team Naming
- 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.
- 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.
- Enemy Mine: Happens a lot with major antagonists for Reed such as with Doctor Doom and Galactus.
- 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.
- Evil Counterpart: Quite a few -
- The Frightful Four, with varying line-ups, but almost always including the Wizard as Reed's particular counterpart. Most recent line-ups have also included Hydro-Man as a counterpart to Johnny.
- Kl'rt the Super-Skrull has the powers of all four members of the Fantastic Four. Originally purely a villain but has often found himself in Enemy Mine situations with assorted Marvel characters.
- The U-Foes have a similar origin, line-up and powers, but are criminals. They have also never fought the Fantastic Four, being primarily Hulk villains. They are probably best known as the guys Volstagg fought at the start of Siege.
- Evil-Detecting Baby: In one issue, Doctor Doom walks the streets of New York in civilian clothes (with a less ornate mask replacing his usual one). He passes a baby boy, who begins screaming and crying uncontrollably. Doom apologises to the boy's mother for frightening the child; the mother replies that the baby is blind.
- Exact Words: In an early storyline, Mr. Fantastic, Thing, and Torch are sent back in time to retrieve Blackbeard's treasure or Doctor Doom will kill Sue. Mr. Fantastic decides to dupe him, saying technically they promised to bring back the treasure chest, so even if it's a chest filled with chains they've fulfilled their word.
- Fakeout Escape: There's a sequence in Fantastic Four #2 where Sue turns invisible when government officials come to check on her, then runs out the doorway during their confusion; this was enough of an Establishing Character Moment that it gets repeated in both the Ultimate and filmed versions.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Fantastic Four #606.
- Faux Action Girl: The Invisible Girl, originally; though she slowly got better over time, it wasn't until the John Byrne run in the 1980s that she toughened up into a real Action Girl.
- Finger in a Barrel: When the Fantastic Four first encounter Prince Namor, the Submariner is preparing an invasion of New York to combat "the human filth." At one point, some Atlantian soldiers are preparing a large gun for firing when Ben Grimm stuffs his whole arm down the barrel, causing the weapon to explode. Ben then brings four dazed and unconscious Atlantians to Reed's laboratory, saying, "Hey, Reed: I found ya four volunteers."
- Fire/Water Juxtaposition: The Sub-Mariner's rivalry with the first Human Torch carries over into his characterization in this series, where he's a proud, stoic monarch who serves as a frequent dramatic foil to the compassionate, fun-loving daredevil Johnny Storm.
- Follow the Leader: By Stan Lee's own account, the Fantastic Four were conceived as a way to cash in on the success of DC's Justice League of America series.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Reed is Melancholic, Susan is Phlegmatic, Ben is Choleric and Johnny is Sanguine.
- Flaming Emblem: Johnny often creates fire in the shape of the "4" logo, usually as a flare for the rest of the team to come to his aid. Sometimes, he does it on covers and othe rpromotional material as well.
- Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow: The Watcher, who does some acting from time to time.
- Friendly Enemy: Johnny and Spider-Man have a friendly rivalry with each other; so do Ben and Wolverine. Encounters of the two duos are common in crossovers; usually Hilarity Ensues.
- To say nothing of the rivalry between The Thing and The Hulk, which is born of equal parts hatred, admiration, and respect. Whenever they meet they refer to each other almost exclusively as "Grimm" and "Banner."
- Game of Nerds: Reed Richards makes the occasional baseball analogy.
- Heck, Ben had a baseball-nerd moment as well: he once realized he was in a slightly-different parallel universe when he read a newspaper and found that the local sports trivia didn't match the stats he'd carried around in his head.
- Genius Bruiser/Gentle Giant: The ever-lovin', blue-eyed Thing, Ben Grimm, 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.
- Goo Goo Godlike: Franklin Richards.
- Also, Infant Terrible, a Silver Age alien antagonist.
- 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.
- Valeria Richards is this too, especially when written by Jonathan Hickman. She seems to have inherited her dad's smarts - and her mom's wits.
- Happily Married: Reed and Sue, most of the time.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Johnny does this to save his niece and nephew. He succeeds, but dies in the process. (Don't worry, kids, this is a comic book).
- Heroic Spirit: Thing saves the world once just from showing how he wouldn't give up.
- A Hero To His Hometown: Doctor Doom, Gladiator and Mole Man all have good reasons to be hated by the outside world, yet are loved by their citizens
- Hidden Depths: Johnny generally acts like a teenager on hormonal overdrive, but he's generally portrayed as a skilled mechanic at the very least, and a competent planner at his best.
- As for the rest of the team: The Thing is likewise a very intelligent ex-fighter pilot. On his worst days, he's needy, pessimistic, and pushy; on his best, he is braver than Captain America. Sue is the most powerful member of her team and on her best day the Team Mom, but she's got self-esteem issues and doubts Reed's devotion to her and to the family. Most interesting of all is Reed: he's brilliant, he's rich, he's famous, he's got a great family and the name of every other superhero on his rolodex, and he's even easy on the eyes, but every so often he admits his deep guilt over causing the accident that made the Fantastic Four in the first place -ï¿½ even guilt over what happened to Victor von Doom, even though he didn't have a damn thing to do with it.
- Hidden Elf Village: The Fantastic Four discovered Attilan, a hidden city, which was the retreat of the Inhumans.
- Historical In-Joke: What was Blackbeard's true identity? Find out in Fantastic Four #5!
- Hoist By His Own Petard
- In one story Doctor Doom gloats to an imprisoned Reed Richards about a torture room he designed full of thousands of mirrors arranged in such a way that the myriad reflections are so incomprehensible to the human mind that looking at it without protective goggles can induce a Heroic BSOD. At the end of the story, about five issues later, Doom and Reed's climactic battle leads to Reed chasing Doom into the aforementioned room, where Doom beats the living crap out of Reed and strangles him while screaming about how much he hates him. However, Reed manages to tear off Doom's mask just before he passes out, and the sight of his grotesquely disfigured face reflected at him thousands of times drives Doom completely insane (he gets better).
- Fantastic Four #10. Doctor Doom develops a Shrink Ray device with the intent of using it on the Fantastic Four, but he ends up getting shrunk down to nothingness by it.
- Honorary Uncle: Ben Grimm, to Franklin and Val. Much more than honorary as Ben is also Franklin's godfather and the closest thing Reed has to family (before Sue and Johnny came into his life). And Ben always refers to Franklin and Valeria as "nephew" and "niece"; it's likely all four have forgotten they're not related by blood.
- Valeria also tends to address Doctor Doom as "Uncle Doom", which he appears to actually like.
- 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.
- I Gave My Word: Doom.
- Just Ignore It: The first time they fought the Impossible Man.
- Kaiju: The Fantastic Four fought a lot of these within the first three issues of the series. The list so far:
- Issue #1: Moleman's massive army that he managed to train while on Monster Isle.
- Issue #2: A giant snake, a massive, spike-covered golem made of iron, and an enormous bird, all of which were actually Skrulls in disguise.
- Issue #3: A papier-mâché statue of "Bijou, The Monster From Mars", which was brought to life by Miracle Man.
- Killed Off for Real
- Kirby Dots: Made their first appearance in the comic.
- Large Ham: TREMBLE WITH FEAR BEFORE DOOM'S TITANIC MONOLOGUES!
- Ben and Johnny tend to ham it up when they're bickering, particularly Johnny's fire-based pranks, Ben's threats that he hardly ever follows through with, and his endless fire-based insults (match-head, flame-brain, etc.)
- IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!
- Last Name Basis: The Thing seems to be on a permanent last-name basis with Bruce Banner (possibly having to do with his main rival being Bruce's alter-ego, and when he gets sufficiently pissed at Reed he'll start referring to him exclusively as "Richards".
- See also Doom, whose cries of "RICHARRDSSSSSSSSSSSS!" are almost as well-known as his talking about himself in the third person.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In the early days of the series, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby made an appearance, faces hidden from view, just to be bullied by Doctor Doom into altering that issue's plot in his favor.
- Another time, Johnny purposely used a intentionally-crudely-drawn version of the first issue of "The Incredible Hulk" to rile Ben. Needless to say, it worked, and even before Ben could tear the issue up himself, Johnny accidentally burned it to cinders while trying to grab it.
- 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!"
- Leave Him to Me: Happened in an old comic, as shown here◊. Mr. Fantastic tells The Thing to leave Namor to him.
- Legacy Character: The Human Torch is loosely based on the Golden Age Human Torch.
- Legend Fades to Myth: In one arc, they come across a town suffering from Decade Inside Second Outside; inside the town the Fantastic Four are considered legendary heroes (even more so than in Earth-616 Real Life) and the inhabitants are quite upset when they find out about what they're really like.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Thing is just as agile and well-trained in martial arts as he was before his transformation, lots of people forget that. Woe on them.
- Mama Bear: Sue to the rest of the team, especially to Franklin and Valeria.
- Master of Disguise: Mr. Fantastic has infrequently used his stretching powers to assume a different face.
- May-December Romance: Sue met Reed when he was 19 and she was 12, getting a crush on him at first sight (okay, so maybe more of a March/May, but you get the idea). Thankfully, they got together much later in life.
- Medium Blending: Some of the Jack Kirby-drawn issues featured photographed models of objects in place of drawn art.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: Dr. Doom, to Reed, as explained above.
- Mistaken Age
- Monster Modesty: Even though the Thing has been horrified by his monstrous appearance, he often runs around in blue short-pants and nothing else.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Doom never actually finished his doctorate, but he sounds scarier with a "Doctor" in front of his name. Reed Richards, who finished several doctorates, chooses to go by Mr. Fantastic.
- Then again, it's (maybe) possible Victor'd already had at least one doctorate under his belt and was pursuing another one at the time of the accident that scarred him.
- Or, perhaps when he took over Latveria he had one of its universities give him an honorary degree.
- Or it doesn't matter. Even most doctors aren't smart enough to steal powers from cosmic beings.
- 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.
- Mr. Exposition: In their early appearances the Inhumans come across as an entire race of these. This is partly because they have to speak for their mute leader Black Bolt, and partly because they would appear Once per Episode as part of a story arc and have to recap everything for casual readers.
- My Greatest Failure: Reed feels responsible for what happened to the others, particularly Ben.
- Mysterious Parent: Nathaniel Richards
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Ben Grimm, Victor Von Doom.
- The Nicknamer: Ben. Some of his nicknames include "Stretcho" for Reed, "Bic-head" and "Matchstick" for Johnny, "Suzie-Q" for Susan, "Jade-Jaws" for Hulk, etc.
- Not So Different: 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.
- Not Wearing Tights: For the first two issues. They only started wearing them because of fan demand.
- The Notable Numeral: The eponymous heroes and their enemies The Frightful Four, headed by the Wizard.
- One Extra Member: Not normally but for short periods of time or in alternate universes. This is occasionally lampshaded, such as in the Fantastic Five stories of Marvel Comics 2 which at one point had the team with six official members and a good number of their children (And Ben's ex) as acting members.
- The One Who Made It Out: Ben Grimm is a former member of the Yancy Street Gang, and they resent him for forgetting his roots.
- Orphean Rescue: To save Ben.
- Pals with Jesus: All four are friends with Uatu The Watcher, one of the most powerful beings of this universe.
- Even better: Galactus, a freakin' embodiment of a cosmic force, has said that the Fantastic Four are the only beings in the Universe that he can call his friends. In fact, in one issue we see an older version of Franklin promise Galactus that he'd be with him at the end of the universe. They share a moment floating above the Earth.
- Personality Powers: Especially noticeable with the hot-headed Human Torch and the solid and stubborn Thing.
- Also originally Sue was a shy, almost invisible to people woman and Reed had an elastic mind.
- Justified via Retcon when it's revealed that their powers were, in fact, based on their personalities, as Reed gave them their powers during a Timey-Wimey Ball.
- In "What if the Fantastic Four had different super powers?" (What If? v1 #6), Johnny became a robot due to his being a skilled mechanic, Ben became a Winged Humanoid with dragon-like wings for his passion about flying (on jets), Sue had elastic powers being a very conciliatory woman and Reed became a bodiless brain because of his peerless intelligence.
- Platonic Life Partners: Ben and Sue.
- Power Perversion Potential: Reed Richards can stretch any part of his body — and yes, it has come up in subtext that this is why he and Sue are so Happily Married.
- Powered Armor: Somewhere early 70's The Thing lost his powers, so he wound up using a Powered Armor version of his previous body.
- President Evil: Doctor Doom, who seized control of the Ruritania-esque Eastern European nation of Latveria.
- Pro Wrestling Is Real/Pro Wrestling Episode: The Thing, as well as several other super strong characters are a part of a superhuman wrestling federation called Unlimited Championship Wrestling.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Often, when Sue Storm is holding a forcefield against a particularly strong opponent.
- Rage Against the Author: Author Avatars of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby attended the wedding of Reed and Sue... and were expelled by Nick Fury.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Where do you think they got the name?
- The title was relaunched as "FF" following Johnny's death, with the team retiring the Fantastic Four name and uniforms out of respect, renaming themselves the Future Foundation and donning black and white uniforms, having Spider-Man join, the addition of Reed's time traveling deadbeat dad and Doctor Doom coming along for the ride thanks to a deal Valeria made with him.
- And then with the return of Johnny, "Fantastic Four" was relaunched and the team began using the name with redesigned FF uniforms; whilst the "FF" series began focusing on Franklin, Val & the rest of the kids at the Baxter Building.
- With Marvel NOW!, in "Fantastic Four" the Richards family are taking an intergalactic vacation for a year, whilst in "FF" Scott Lang, She-Hulk, Medusa and Johnny Storm's current girlfriend, Darla Deering, are recruited to serve as the heads of the Future Foundation & the Fantastic Four in the absence of the Richards family.
- Romantic False Lead: Namor, Depending on the Writer.
- Sacrificial Planet:
- The planet-eating Galactus came to Earth a few times to devour it after spending centuries feeding on other planets without much trouble.
- Galactus's opposite number Abraxas was introduced as having destroyed a number of parallel Earths before heading to the "main" one.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Reed might likely be the Trope Codifier.
- Shout-Out: Tintin managed to have a cameo in volume 3, issue #1 of the series, drawn by Scott Lobdell and Alan Davis where Reed and Sue (in disguise) meet the reporter during a protest march, where he is addressed as French, but quickly points out: "For the record, I'm Belgian.". Later in the story he is seen again fleeing away, while shouting Haddock's catchphrase: "Billions of blistering blue barnacles". 
- Shrink Ray
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Sue Storm's relationship with Reed Richards.
- Sixth Ranger: The Fantastic Four has frequently throughout the years have had other heroes fill-in whenever one of the core members were temporarily Put On The Bus. She-Hulk and Spider-Man are the most common.
- Spike Shooter: Thorn, a member of the Salem Seven, is able to do this, with the added benefit that his spines are Made of Explodium.
- 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."
- 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.
- Story-Breaker Power: Franklin is a major case of having this, which is why he can never be allowed to permanently grow up in-story. He also keeps having his powers nerfed after doing anything sufficiently cool. This is because his full power is well beyond most characters who are considered gods; perhaps the only Earthling who compares to him is Scarlet Witch (who also has her powers reined in by something or other most of the time.)
- Stripperiffic: 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 this costume for a few years in the 1990s. The change was widely panned by fans and removed.
- Sudden Humility: In one issue, Sue and Johnny swap powers. Sue constantly loses control over her new powers and notes how she constantly "Flames On!" by accident whenever she gets excited or emotional. She's utterly amazed that a Hot-Blooded person like Johnny was able to keep this much power under control, and she gained a newfound respect and appreciation for her brother because of how difficult it was for her to remain in control at all times.
- Super Family Team: One of the first and longest lasting in comics.
- Super Hero: The earliest Marvel ones.
- Superpower Lottery: Franklin Richards, the omnipotent toddler.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She-Hulk was a member of the team for a while when the Thing went solo. Having the same powers let her fill the role effectively.
- Team Hand Stack: Used in the origin story, when the team and members are named.
- Team Mom: Sue.
- Teen Genius: Reed already had doctorates when he was twenty. Valeria, his and Sue's daughter, is currently building rooms that are Bigger on the Inside. At the age of four.
- What do you expect from the daughter of Doom and Reed (long story).
- Tulpa: an alternative and fantastical origin story for Doctor Doom had Mr. Fantastic create him as one of these.
- They Do: Reed and Sue.
- Took a Level in Badass: Susan, once The Chick with the next to useless power of become invisible, to nowadays where she is one of the most powerful superheroes in all of the Marvel Universe, along with the forceful personality guaranteed to mess up even Doctor Doom's day. Oh, and she's got kids. There's a reason why she's the page image for this trope.
- True Companions: Spider-Man is one of the most trusted allies and friends of the Four. After the Torch's supposed death, Spidey temporarily became a member of the Future Foundation.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Johnny and Ben, and Johnny and Spidey whenever they team up.
- The Von Trope Family: Doctor Doom's real name is Victor Von Doom. Reed and Sue's daughter Valeria could also fit here, since in one alternate future she was Doctor Doom's daughter, but Sue was still her mom.
- Weirdness Magnet: The Four tend to meet or attract various aliens, interdimensional beings... whether intentional, or by accident.
- What Have I Become?: Ben Grimm.
- By this point now he's pretty much over it, although he has his good days and his bad days.
- The "bad days" that happen to him are usually caused by someone (most of the time a kid or kids) who're not used to seeing him up close get freaked out. Sometimes accompanied with a scream like "Mommy! It's a monster!" or some variation thereof, and he gets reminded of his hideous appearance. The real reason for this, however, is because True Art Is Angsty and writers sometimes want to do wangsty stories centered around him. For long-term fans who've followed FF stories through the years, it's getting a bit old.
- What If?: Marvel's What If? comic line does have stories of these kinds about the Fantastic Four, but most interesting is What If? Vol. 2 #11, which told four stories about the team all having the same power. These stories are designated in the Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 6 as Earth-9031 (all flaming), Earth-9032 (all stretchy), Earth-9033 (all monsters), and Earth-9034 (all with invisibility powers).
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Susan used to have only invisibility in the early stories until Lee and Kirby realized that it was next to useless compared to the male members' powers. As a result, they gave Susan her force field powers, but it was only later under John Byrne's period that she learned to really make it a kick ass power set, using it with a new aggressiveness in battle. Since then, different writers have her being considered not only the most powerful member of the team, but one of the most powerful heroes, period.
- To give an example, she's used those forcefields to knock out the Hulk.
- It's further implied that if Sue didn't adhere to the rule of heroes not killing their enemies she could easily defeat most of her opponents by simply generating force field bubbles in their bodies and/or vital organs and making said force fields expand.
- In Enemy Of The State, Wolverine admits she's the only one of the four that scares him. Sue actually demonstrates how dirty she can fight if she wants to, by turning his retinas invisible, thus blinding him, then wrapping force fields around his lungs and threatening to crush them. That Wolvie was under HYDRA's mind-control at the time didn't stop her from subverting the I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight to hell and back, and she even lampshades this with something along the lines of: "I don't care who's controlling you, you come into my home, threaten my children, did you think I'd go easy on you?"
- When I Was Your Age: Regularly muttered by The Thing.
- Who You Gonna Call?: When Earth faces world ending threats, the Four is usually the first resource the authorities call upon to stop them.
- Worthy Opponents: Ben Grimm and Incredible Hulk to each other. Banner himself has said that if Hulk ever really cut loose, Ben would probably be the only hero on Earth with even a chance of slowing "ol' Jade-Jaws" down.