Although the Fantastic Four are generally more of a family unit than the likes of the Avengers or the X-Men, they have, on occasion, taken other heroes into their group (as evidenced by the story we looked at in today’s review).
From Medusa to Power Man, the Fantastic Four’s network of allies is wide-ranging. But below are four of the biggest heroes to take up a spot in Marvel’s First Family of Heroes:
The first big name on the list is She-Hulk. A lawyer who gained her powers after an emergency blood transfusion from her infamous cousin Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters’ Hulk, for the most part, has been a lot more stable than her male counterpart.
While Bruce Banner’s hulk suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, Jennifer Walters’ Hulk embodied a more confident, humourous version of her meeker alter ego.
Her time on the Fantastic Four came about after the Thing elected to spend some time on an alien planet after the massive eighties crossover Secret Wars, and she joined the team in issue #265 and hung around until around issue #300. All-in-all, her tenure lasted for three years, between 1984 and 1987.
Unlike the other members on the list, She-Hulk was all-in on her time in the Fantastic Four, as she is the only one of these heroes to wear the iconic blue costume.
She-Hulk would later return to the team in the 2010s, as she was called upon to serve as one of the Fantastic Four’s temporary replacement members as they ventured out on a cross-time jaunt. Joining her this time around were Johnny’s civilian girlfriend Darla Deering, the Inhuman Queen Medusa and…
Next up on the list is Scott Lang, the diminutive hero known as the second Ant-Man. Scott will be familiar with wider audiences now due to his presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and although there he has only been associated with the Avengers, in the comics, he was also, for a brief time, a member of the Fantastic Four!
Scott’s tenure started in Fantastic Four #384, three issues after the supposed death of Mister Fantastic. In his wake, the title’s logo was temporarily changed to feature the world ‘Three’ scrawled over the top. Scott would quietly exit the team two years later in issue #408 after the return of Mister Fantastic.
Ant-Man role on the team was to lend his technical expertise to the other members of the FF. Although not as smart as Mister Fantastic, the character is actually meant to be quite intelligent, although his movie depictions and many of his more recent comics play up his role as a bit of a goof for comedic effect instead.
Unlike She-Hulk, Scott kept his own uniform as part of the Four, during a period that allowed Susan, Ben and Johnny to become more competent and sure of themselves, with Sue now in the position of leader in the absence of her husband. As previously mentioned, Scott would return to the Four alongside She-Hulk, Medusa and Darla many years later, where he would finally assume that leadership role.
BLACK PANTHER & STORM
During this period, heroes had been at each other’s throats over the superhuman registration act, that demanded American superhumans sign up with the government to become employees of the state. As foreign dignitaries, Wakandan King Black Panther and Storm of the X-Men (who married during the ‘war’) didn’t actually need to involve themselves directly in the conflict, but they did anyway, standing against Iron Man and Mister Fantastic with Captain America and his anti-registration heroes.
Due to their status, they were pardoned after the conflict. As a show of faith, Mister Fantastic offered to let T’Challa and Storm use the Baxter Building as the new, temporary Wakandan Embassy in issue #544 after the previous embassy was destroyed. With the Baxter Building now their living quarters, the two offered to help out with Fantastic Four activities while Reed and Sue went on a second honeymoon to fix their marriage. To mark the occasion, Ben and Johnny changed their famously blue costumes to black, to match Black Panther and Storm’s costumes.
By issue #550, T’Challa and Ororo left the team after a mere six months. They did, however, manage to squeeze more Fantastic Four adventures into the pages of Black Panther, in which the four visited the Marvel Zombies dimension.
In fact, in the first issue of his ongoing series, Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man tried to break into the Baxter Building so he could join the team and get a fat paycheck. He quickly fled after he discovered that the group didn’t want him and more importantly… didn’t pay.
He would, however, become firm friends with Johnny Storm later on, and become something of an extended family member to Reed, Sue and Ben.
So, when Johnny Storm was believed dead in issue #587, he posthumously left his position on the Fantastic Four to Spider-Man in his will.
However, too distraught over Johnny’s death to continue as they were, the Fantastic Four was disbanded, and replaced by the Future Foundation, with Reed, Sue, Ben and Peter at its heart, flanked by the various geniuses and oddities they had taken in in recent years as part of their wider group.
Johnny soon returned, as superheroes always do, and shortly after his resurrection, Spider-Man had left the team by issue #605 of the newly relaunched Fantastic Four comic, a year after Spider-Man was inducted into the Future Foundation.
Although he was no longer a part of the ‘Four’ itself, he still continued to hang around with the wider Future Foundation fairly regularly.