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Western Animation / Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes

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The Fantastic Four won't rest until they find whoever tagged The Thing (Pssst: It was Johnny!)

A 2006 animated adaptation of Marvel's First Family: The Fantastic Four, meant to market the team to a new audience who were coming off the 2005 movie and heading into its 2007 sequel (which probably ended up working against the show during its initial broadcast). Produced by French animation firm Moonscoop. The name "World's Greatest Heroes" refers to the comics' original tagline, "World's Greatest Comic Magazine".

The series as a whole was Lighter and Softer, focusing much more on the Fantastic Four as a sitcom family who happened to go on adventures rather than a team of superheroes who were also a family.

It was story edited by Christopher Yost.

Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The holographic "4", The Fantasticar and other vehicles are all obviously done in CGI when this is a 2D cartoon.
  • Action Girl: Sue in stark contrast to previous Fantastic Four cartoons. She-Hulk also shows herself to be a very capable heroine in her one episode appearance and counts as a temporary Affirmative Action Girl.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: The Skrulls. The FF lampshade this by regularly referring to them as "dumb".
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Frightful Four are referred to as the Wizard's Four. Justified as the Wizard's Four don't want people to know they are villains.
  • Animesque: As expected from a cartoon produced by Moonscoop, the art style is similar to that of an anime.
  • Animated Adaptation: A cartoon based on the Fantastic Four comic book.
  • All Your Powers Combined
    • Iron Doom in "Shell Games". Johnny even lampshades it "Double armor, dude isn't that heavy?"
    • Done also with Super Skrull who has all the powers of the FF.
  • Anime Hair: Johnny's hair stands on end and ends in several spikes.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Giant monsters were many in this series.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
    • Reed has the For Science! variant of this. His teammates have to occasionally remind him to focus on the bad guys.
    • Sue also suffers from this on occasion. Most notable was in "Shell Game", when she was distracted by Stark's chandelier.
  • Badass Boast: Super-Skrull is full of them.
    "You cannot win. It is as simple as that. I have mastered your powers. I have studied your patterns. There is nothing you can do that I am not prepared for!"
    "I've been training for months, studying the four of you. I've fought this fight a thousand times in simulation. [I haven't already won] Because I want to savor this moment."
  • Badass Longcoat: Doom's green longcoat.
  • Barrier Warrior: Susan in this continuity is a frequent practitioner, even using the edge of her force-fields to cut on occasion.
  • Big Sister Instinct: In "Trial by Fire" Johnny gets captured by the Kree and a very angry Susan demands that Reed find him. She refuses to listen to his reason and Techno Babble. She just wants to find her brother and kick the ass of whoever's responsible.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: What the Impossible Man runs on.
  • Bluff the Impostor: To a ludicrous extreme when Skrulls impersonate everyone in the Baxter Building; Reed asks questions like "How was it we first met? Five hundred years ago... it was on the moon, wasn't it?"
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Ronan the Accuser is disgraced and exiled thanks to Johnny in the first episode, 14 later when the Super Skull appears it turns out he allied with this Kree to become a Super Skull, Johnny's reaction even while he and the Kree fight, "You'd be surprised how many blue guys we fight." He NEVER recognizes him.
  • Butt-Monkey: HERBIE suffers a lot.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Johnny in "Johnny Storm And The Potion Of Fire"
  • Bratty Half-Pint: A popular child star hangs out at the Baxter Building for an episode.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Happens to Ben Grimm in the episode "The Cure", in a sense. Rather than being truly rid of his mutation into an orange rock monster with incredible strength, he is molecularly disassembled and replaced with himself from before the incident where the Four gained their powers, consequently having no memory of the team's adventures as superheroes. In the end, Past Ben sacrifices himself so that Present Ben can return, who is left believing that the attempt to cure him didn't work.
  • The Cameo
    • Several in "The Cure"; Squirrel Girl even makes an appearance!
    • In one episode, Johnny hires a photographer to improve the FF's image; he's never named, but it's obviously Peter Parker.
    • Another episode features a very good-looking Tony Stark.
    • And yet another one has Hank Pym.
    • A subtle one is the girl Johnny accidentally traps in the Negative Zone who is named Frankie. Frankie Raye in the comics is also known as Nova (no relation to the Nova Corps), one of Galactus' heralds and a Flying Firepower in her own right.
  • Chest Insignia: Ben is the only one who doesn't have one. So Johnny painted one on his chest.
  • Cool Car: Johnny has many flame-decaled cars, plus the Fantasticar.
    • Running Gag: The reason why Johnny has so many is that he invariably wrecks them after a short time. In one episode Sue uses his current ride to battle a villan; Johnny expresses disappointment that he wasn't the one to wreck it.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Monet, a tenant in the Baxter Building who gets a kick of rocketing through space and takes on alien bugs with bug spray in an awesome manner.
  • Competitive Balance: The Fantastic Four
  • Cuteness Proximity: In "World's Tiniest Heroes", Sue's wrath is completely defused by the timely appearance of a dog.
    Susan: PUPPY!
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Certain supervillians, including Doom, Trapper and the Wizard could be making a lot of money with the technology they created, which includes antigravity, various glues and energy blasts.
  • Deus ex Machina: Sue's force-fields had an abundance of uses (cutting things, creating shapes etc) which usually ended up saving the team.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The frikkin Mole-Man, who did you think?
  • The Dragon: Lucia von Bardas.
  • Dull Surprise: Reed's voice just sounds uninterested in anything going on.
  • Dumb Blond: Johnny has blond hair and is the least intelligent of the main characters, frequently making dumb and reckless decisions.
  • Engineered Heroics: The Wizard's Four.
  • Evil Redhead: Agent Pratt in "Hard Knocks".
  • Flying Firepower: Johnny, what with the flying and the fire balling. Dragon Man also qualifies being a robotic dragon that flies and breathes fire.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Reed and Doom switch minds in the episode in "Doomed".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In her debut episode, Alicia is sometimes shown with very pronounced nipples.
  • Grand Theft Me: Doomed features Reed suffering this after Doom pulls a "Freaky Friday" Flip on him.
  • Great Gazoo: Impossible Man.
  • He's Big in Japan Quoted in-universe by the Human torch in Frightful.
    Johnny: I'm moving to Japan, I'm big in Japan.
  • Harmless Villain: Mole Man isn't all that threatening compared to the other villains on the show.
  • Hero Does Public Service: "Molehattan" finds Reed, Susan, and Johnny playfully using their powers for the amusement of a kid soccer team until Ben turns up to coach them.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Klaw. His first bit of dialogue has him telling that "little girls shouldn't play with super powers". When the Wizard's Four are discussing their plans in private, Klaw is especially eager to take down Sue.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Thing to Namor the Sub-Mariner.
  • How We Got Here: The episode "The Cure" starts with Reed, Susan, Johnny and She-Hulk fighting alongside while a Brought Down to Normal Ben Grimm watches it from home. Then it goes back to when Reed is about to try another way to turn the Thing back into Ben Grimm.
  • Hulk Speak: The Hulk appears and like most incarnations of the character uses sentence fragments and refers to himself in third person.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming:
    Mole Man: (to Reed) Must you prattle on?
    Ben: Hey! Only we get to say stuff like that.
  • I Am a Monster: Thing as usual considers himself this. In "Hard Knocks," Bruce Banner says otherwise — calling the Hulk "a force of nature," but the Thing a hero to be looked up to.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Variations of the "4" logo.
  • Inconvenient Itch: Reed while being held captive by the Mole Man's Mooks. Also the other members of the team in "Strings".
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Bruiser in "Doom's Word Is Law". Reed insists that HERBIE isn't sentient, but it's hard to believe when HERBIE is doing things like going on strike because he feels insulted.
    • He does have a point in that HERBIE tends to have logic gates becomes walls. He could be said to just score very high on the Turing test.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Johnny Storm, of course. He's a glory hound and frequently messes with Ben Grimm, but he still cares about doing the right thing.
  • Killed Off for Real: Dr. Doom, apparently. The last time we see him he gets suicide-bombed by one of his former Doombots ("Bruiser") and vanishes in a great explosion.
  • Large Ham: Dr. Doom, as usual, is prone to chewing the scenery and talking in a grandiose manner.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In "The Cure", Reed finds a way to turn Ben back to normal, but at the cost of erasing his memories of everything that happened since he became the Thing.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Johnny hires a freelance photographer and cuts him off before he can introduce himself. he resembles a certain freelance photographer of superheroes Marvel was not allowed to use because of a contract with Sony at the time.
  • Logic Bomb: Doom's Robots can usually be destroyed if they are told a logical paradox, but notably subverted in one episode. Doom pulls a "Freaky Friday" Flip on Reed, leaving Reed trapped in his body with robots that were ordered not to obey "Doom". Reed tells them to self-destruct and - aside from a minor protest - they ultimately comply because "the word of Doom is law".
  • Magic Versus Science: Reed vs. Diablo in "Johnny Storm and the Potion of Fire".
    Reed Richards: HA! Take that, MAGIC! Hem. It was all scientifically explained.
  • Mama Bear: Susan takes attacks against the Four, especially Johnny, very personally.
  • Most Common Superpower: Susan has a more modest version of the trope, but some of the female extras in the background are enormous.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Not a blatant example but Sue's costume is very tight and very form fitting, which makes it perfect for the occasional shot of her shapely buns. She-Hulk also qualifies as well being an Amazonian Beauty with a deep, sensual voice and a costume that shows off her legs and butt.
  • Mythology Gag: The show's title, and a few other references.
    • "Strings" has a beautiful one, with a brief gag involving several Skrulls masquerading as cows, homaging the Skrulls' very first appearance where Reed hypnotized them into believing they were cows.
    • A lot of the episode plots are lifted wholesale from the very early Lee-Kirby run.
    • Thing briefly threatens to pull off Annihilus's wings, like he did in Ultimate.
    • Shell Games ends with a wounded Doctor Doom declaring that Iron Man has made himself an enemy and that the two of them shall meet again, referencing how Iron Man and Doom have fought several times over the years (most famously in the Doomquest storyline).
    • She-Hulk briefly joined the team when Ben returned to human. In the comics, She-Hulk briefly joined the team while the Thing stayed in Battleworld because he reverted to human.
    • The Impossible Man notes, as he's leaving Earth in his first appearance, that he hopes it gets eaten.
    • in "Hard Knocks", Sue, Johnny and Ben initially thought Hulk killed Bruce Banner, just like Jack McGee believed in The Incredible Hulk (1977) although Bruce was named David there.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Many of the Fantastic Four's neighbors are quite meddlesome and prone to getting involved in their affairs.
  • No Indoor Voice: HERBIE!
  • The Notable Numeral: The Fantastic Four themselves follow the designation of being referred to with a number and an adjective.
  • Not Quite Flight: Susan uses her force-fields to make discs to fly around on.
  • Not So Above It All: Reed at the end of "Frightful"
    Reed: "Smartest man on earth." Please!
    • Upon defeating the magician Diablo:
    Reed: YEAH! Take that, magic!
  • Parental Substitute: Susan seems more like this to Johnny than a Cool Big Sis, in addition to being the Team Mom to the Four.
  • Powers as Programs: In "Bait and Switch", the characters' powers all get swapped, with a mild dose of Personality Swap into the bargain.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: At best, it's more accurate than the movie.
  • Precious Puppies
  • Psycho Rangers: The Wizard's Four to the Fantastic Four:
    • The Wizard is the leader The Smart Guy of his team just like Reed.
    • Klaw can shape his attacks just like Sue. Also, whereas Sue's powers are somewhat light-based, Klaw's are based on sound.
    • Dragon Man can fly and shoot fire just like Johnny an ability that allows him to frame Johnny for causing a fire.
    • Trapster has a brownish-orange color like Ben and his first on-screen individual act is helping rescue a cat from a tree that Ben was trying to help.
    • Whereas the Fantastic Four is a team of one scientist and three Book Dumb people, the Wizard's Four are a team of three scientists and a robot.
  • Race Lift: As in Fantastic Four (2005), Alicia Masters is black in this continuity. Her stepfather Philip Masters, aka the Puppet Master, is also made black in this continuity.
  • Robotic Reveal: Von Bardas. Dragon Man in "Frightful".
  • Save the Villain: Mr Fantastic briefly considers leaving Mole Man to be eaten by the monsters he was trying to control, before concluding "I think they'd take away our superhero licenses".
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Johnny and HERBIE both have high-pitched and feminine screams.
  • Selfless Wish: By Ben in "Contest of Champions."
  • Ship Tease
    • One of the few FF adaptations where Reed and Sue aren't a couple... quite yet. (In the Grand Theft Me episode, one of the things that tips Sue off is that "Reed" is flirting with her.)
    • Likewise Ben and Alicia haven't quite made the Relationship Upgrade, but she is his closest confidant.
  • Shout-Out
    • Johnny calls Reed "Dr. Evil" when he and Ben think Reed intentionally caused their transformations.
    • When Johnny is brought to trial before the blue-skinned Kree:
      Johnny: The Smurfs got big... (when he meets Ronan The Accuser) You must be Angry Smurf!
    • Ben calls Tony Stark Richie Rich.
    • In "My Neighbor Was A Skrull", the episode where the Four get kidnapped by aliens, Johnny yells, Game over, man. Game over.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Puppet Master thinks he deserves more than he actually does.
  • Split Screen: Used frequently and cleverly.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: In the first Skrull episode, one of the clues that something is wrong is that everything tastes like chicken. Even the soda.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: In "The Cure", Johnny, Susan and Reed interview various Cameos of Marvel heroes to replace Thing. In the end they engage She-Hulk.
  • There Was a Door: After Johnny burns through the window of Tony Stark's office:
    Tony: You know, this is a very high-tech building. We have things called doors.
  • Tsundere: Sue's behavior around Reed tends to unpredictably alternate between caring for him and being harsh to him.
  • True Companions: Ben spells it out in the very first episode.
    Ben: If you attack one of us, attack all of us.
  • Unmoving Plaid: The Thing's rocky skin is created with the technique of the pattern not changing in spite of his movements.
  • The 'Verse: Implied to be set in the same universe as Wolverine and the X-Men (2009), and the Hulk Vs. movies.
  • Villainous Crush:
    • Doom appears to have one for Susan, as he flirts with her when he's taken over Reed's body in "Doomed". (Incidentally, this was what tipped Susan off that something wasn't right.)
    • Namor isn't precisely a villain, but he is an antagonist in the first episode he shows up, and he's clearly interested in Susan - enough to battle the Four again when they protest at her staying behind in Atlantis.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: When Dr. Doom wipes Reed from existence in "Out of Time", the devastated Susan goes berserk on him, forcing Ben to literally have to pick her up and carry her away.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: In one episode, Dr. Doom sends the Baxter Building into space. Reed has to fly it like a spaceship, using Doombots as thrusters, before crashing it into the Latverian Embasssy. Most of the building's residents are terrified by all this, but one dotty old lady wants to do it again.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Johnny once lampshaded the fact that Susan used to only be able to turn invisible.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: "Bruiser" and HERBIE from "Doom's Word is Law."
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!
    Sue: I know, I know: we're the Worst. Neighbors. Ever. Right?
  • Wrongly Accused: Reed, during "Doomsday".


Video Example(s):



Jen teaches Johnny to not judge a book by its cover.

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