The Fantastic Four #1 is the debut issue of the legendary superhero team, the Fantastic Four and the beginning of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's original run on the book. It was published on November of 1961 by Marvel Comics.
This issue details the first appearance of the various members of the team (Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman (originally "The Invisible Girl"), Human Torch and The Thing), their Origin Story and their first adventure. It also contains the first appearance of the Mole Man, one of many adversaries the four will face.
"The Fantastic Four Anniversary Tribute" was released in November 2021, in the 60th anniversary of the comic. It is a remake of the original comic by modern artists, each one doing a remake of a page from it. The comic also includes a similar remake of Fantastic Four Annual Three (the one where Reed and Sue get married), also by Lee and Kirby.
- All the Other Reindeer: The Mole Man was taunted by everyone he met for being seriously ugly, so much so he abandoned civilization altogether.
- Alternate History: In the real world, the Soviet Union defeated the United States in the space race to take the first man to orbit.note In comics, The Fantastic Four did it first, and Yuri Gagarin does not seem to exist. God Bless America!
- Artistic License Space: Cosmic rays do exist, but they don't give you superpowers, just cancer. And the fear over the need to get protection is an accurate one, but it's a bit exaggerated here: a short trip to space like this one shouldn't have any noticeable effects. The problem is when you try to have people in that enviorment on a long-term basis, or in a long trip (such as Earth-Mars or greater). And of course, the effect is only on the biology of people, it won't seem as if the ship was breaking apart.
- Avengers Assemble: When Reed fires the flare, Sue is having tea with a socialite friend, Ben is trying to get clothes big enough for him, and Johnny is repairing cars. They all stop what they're doing to answer the call, revealing their powers.
- Bat Signal: Reed Richards uses a flare to call the Fantastic Four
- Disney Villain Death: The Mole Man supposedly plummets to his death. He'll turn up again eventually.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- First off, none of the Fantastic Four wear their iconic blue jumpsuits yet. They are mostly shown wearing civilian clothes and splunking gear when the team visit Monster Isle. They wouldn't receive their suits until the third issue.
- Ben Grimm notably does not have his Brooklyn accent here. In fact, he speaks rather properly and doesn't use contractions or slang. Granted, the other three speak that way too, but Ben is the most glaring example. Making it more odd, the flashback to when he's still human-looking does have him use the accent.
- Reed using a flare gun to contact the other three, that writes "Fantastic Four" (in text) in the sky. Later on, it's usually the Human Torch making a big "4" (the number) in the sky; the other members also have flares but also make a similar "4".
- The Thing looks like as if he had reptile scales. His design would be refined later to look more clearly like rocks.
- Reading this story in itself, the reactions of the common people (and the FF themselves after the crash) would imply that they are the first superhumans to exist. However, Timely Comics (a previous name of Marvel Comics) had published several superhero titles some decades before, like Namor, Captain America and the Human Torch (another character, unrelated to Johnny). Namor and the Torch would return later during Fantastic Four (1961) and Captain America would return in The Avengers, and in all three cases it was not as a reboot: they were the same characters from those WWII comics (with explanations for their long absences), and their past adventures were (mostly) canon. Also, other long-lived characters introduced later (such as Wolverine) would have backstories that clearly predate the FF.
- Finally, the fact that Sue's powers are severely limited. She has the power of invisibility and only that. She doesn't gain the power to create force fields until much later in the original run.
- While it would remain in canon as Reed's hometown, the Four are shown operating out of Central City, not New York.
- Immune to Bullets: NYPD's finest react as you might expect to a lumbering rock man strolling about New York, and try shooting him. Luckily, Ben's rocklike hide protects him.
- I Warned You: Although Sue gets Ben to join the mission, he reminds everyone about his protests about the cosmic rays when things started to go south.
- In Name Only: The Human Torch has the same name and powers of the character seen in the Golden Age, but is a completely new guy. For starters, he's not a robot. And no, no direct reference to that character is made in this comic: Johnny took the name just by Rule of Cool.
- Kaiju: The minions of the Mole Man, giant monsters capable of stealing entire nuclear power plants without anyone being the wiser.
- Military Maverick: Why bother with authorizations or clearances? Let's fire that rocket now, before the commies beat us to it!
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: The beginning of years of misery for Benjamin J. Grimm start on that fateful night when Reed wanted to go into space. Ben refuses, citing the dangers of cosmic rays. Sue speaks up, saying they (meaning America) must beat the Commies into space, saying she never took Ben for a coward. Incensed at this, Ben tells her nobody calls him a coward, and vows to fly that rocket. And Ben gets the worst of them cosmic rays.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: Reed Richards insisted on taking the rocket to the space, without fully studying the cosmic rays first, and turns his best friend Ben Grimm into a monster as a result. He's been trying to fix that since then.
- Origins Episode: The story includes a recap about the FF getting their powers while flying to space.
- Tag Along Kid: Reed built the rocket, Ben's the pilot. Sue is Reed's fiancee and her younger brother Johnny insists on coming along anyway.
- Team Hand-Stack: The group when they decide to stay together as the Fantastic Four.
- The Unmasked World: Reed Richards shoots a flare gun to the sky to give the Fantastic Four a signal, which revealed the existence of superhumans to an unsuspecting world. Note that this is an Early Installment Weirdness.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Ben is not happy with Reed when they crash-land after their failed flight. Not at all. And that was before he started changing.