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The beginning of the Marvel Universe
"It is the first time I have found it necessary to give the signal! I pray it will be the last!"
- Reed Richards
The Fantastic Four #1 is the debut issue of the legendary superhero team, 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.
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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.

Tropes

  • Avengers, Assemble!: When Reed fired the flare, Sue was having tea with a socialite friend, Ben was trying to get clothes big enough for him, and Johnny was repairing cars. They all interrupted it to answer the call, revealing their powers.
  • Bat Signal: Reed Richards used a flare to call the Fantastic Four
  • 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.
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    • Ben Grimm notably does not have his Brooklyn accent here. In fact, he speaks rather properly and doesn't use contractions or slang words. Granted, the other three speak that way too, but Ben is the most glaring example.
    • 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 Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four 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.
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    • 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.
  • I Warned You: Although Sue got Ben to join the mission, he reminded 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 it 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.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Ben refused to join Reed to the space mission. They had not study the cosmic rays yet. Sue replied that she never thought he could be a coward. A coward!! Nobody calls Ben Grimm a coward!!
  • Origin Story: The story includes a recap about the FF getting their powers while flying to space.
  • Military Maverick: Why bother with authorizations or clearances? Let's fire that rocket now, before the commies beat us to it!
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Reed Richards insisted to take the rocket to the space, without fully studying the cosmic rays first, and turned his best friend Ben Grimm into a monster as a result. He has been trying to fix that since then.
  • Team Hand-Stack: The group made this when they decided to stay together as the Fantastic Four.
  • The Unmasked World: Reed Richards shot a flare gun to the sky to give the Fantastic Four signal, which revealed the existence of superhumans to an unsuspecting world. Note that this is an Early Installment Weirdness.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ben was not happy with Reed when they crash-landed after their failed flight. Not at all. And that was before he started changing.

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