1st Appearance: The Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four

1st Appearance: The Fantastic Four #1, November 1961

Base of Operations/Headquarters: Baxter Building (top 5 floors), Four Freedoms Plaza, Pier 4, 4 Yancey Street

Members: Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Thing

Team Leader: Mister Fantastic
Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Mister Fantastic

Real Name/Alias:   Reed Richards
1st Appearance:  The Fantastic Four #1, November 1961
Place of Origin:  Central City, California
Profession:  Scientist, Inventor, Explorer, Aerospace Engineer, Superhero
Affiliations:  The Fantastic Four, Avengers, Future Foundation, Defenders, Illuminati
Partnerships:  Susan Storm-Richards (wife), Ben Grimm (best friend)
Created by:  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Abilities:

  • Genius-level intellect
  • Extreme superhuman elasticity, malleability, and endurance
  • Resistance to most physical assaults and electricity
  • Virtually immune to psychic powers

Invisible Woman
Real Name/Alias: Susan Storm-Richards, Invisible Girl, Malice, Mistress of Hate, Baroness Von Doom
1st Appearance: The Fantastic Four #1, November 1961
Place of Origin: Long Island, New York
Profession: Superhero, Actress
Affiliations: The Fantastic Four, Avengers, Lady Liberators, Future Foundation, Seven Brides of Set
Partnerships: Reed Richards (husband), Namor the Submariner
Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Abilities:

  • Invisibility
  • Projective invisibility
  • Invisibility force field projection (which bestows the ability to generate protective invisible shields and invisible energy constructs, as well as the power to control and manipulate objects)

Human Torch

Real Name/Alias:  Johnny Storm, Jonathan Lowell Spencer
1st Appearance:  The Fantastic Four #1, November 1961
Place of Origin:  Glenville, New York
Profession:  Superhero, Actor, Racecar driver and mechanic
Affiliations:  The Fantastic Four, Avengers, Future Foundation, Fantastic Force
Partnerships:  Susan Storm-Richards (sister), Reed Richards (brother in law) Ben Grimm (friend), Wyatt Wingfoot, Crystal, Spider-Man
Created by:  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (based on the Human Torch of the 30’s and 40’s created by the Carl Burgos)

Abilities:

  • Pyro kinesis
  • Fiery from that enables flight, serves as damage shield
  • Heat energy absorption
  • Resistance to extreme heat

Thing

Real Name/Alias:  Benjamin Jacob Grimm
1st Appearance:  The Fantastic Four #1, November 1961
Place of Origin:  Yancey Street in New York City’s Lower East Side
Profession:  Superhero, Military Pilot
Affiliations:  The Fantastic Four, Avengers, Future Foundation, West Coast Avengers, Yancey Street Gang
Partnerships:  Reed Richards (best friend), Susan Storm-Richards (best friend’s wife) Johnny Storm (friend), Alicia Masters (girlfriend)
Created by:  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Abilities:

  • Skilled street fighter and hand to hand combatant
  • Superhuman strength, stamina, and durability
  • Rock-like skin
  • Excellent dexterity
  • Above-average reflexes
  • Enhanced lung capacity

Synopsis of First Appearance: “The Fantastic Four”

A strange flare lights the Central City sky, frightening the populace who are concerned about a possible alien invasion. The flare spells out “The Fantastic Four” and was shot by the leader of the Fantastic Four, Mister Fantastic!

Susan Storm is enjoying tea with a society friend.  The friend sees the flare and asks what this means?  Sue turns invisible and says to herself that it was time for her to fulfill her vow, it is time the world met the Invisible Girl. Leaving her friend, she enters a cab and reaches her destination.  She gives the cabbie her fare, but cabbie cannot she her. Hearing her voice but still not able to see her, the cabbie drives off in fear.

At a haberdashery, a large man with sun glasses, a fedora, and a trench coat is squabbling with the owner as to why there is nothing in his shop that fits him.  The store owner turns his head briefly to the window to see the flare that reads “The Fantastic Four.” The large man says to himself, “so the time has come,” and throws off his trench coat revealing himself as Ben Grimm, Thing!  Too big for the door way he breaks it causing a commotion that draws in the local police.  Thing warns the police not to try to fire at him, and pulls up a manhole cover and drops down to the sewer below.  Moving forward, Thing eventually climbs back on to the street.  Unfortunately, an oncoming car is near him.  The citizens of Central City run in fear claiming he is not human and that he is in fact a Martian!

In another part of Central City, Johnny Storm is working on a car with friend.  The friend becomes excited and exclaims that the flare has changed from “The Fantastic Four” to simply “4.”  Hearing the news, Johnny ignites in flame and becomes the Human Torch.  The populace is even more frightened seeing the Human Torch streak through the air!

The Mayor of Central City becomes extremely concerned and calls the governor to alert the National Guard.  The National Guard squadron fires a Hunter Missile with a nuclear war head at the Human Torch.  Frightened beyond belief, Johnny is saved by an incredibly stretched arm who catches the missile and throws it into the ocean.  Then the stretching man orders Johnny to hold on to his stretching mid-section.  With all four assembled the Mister Fantastic complements the others for showing up and explains the fearful task that awaits them!

The Origin of the Fantastic Four

In a flashback, we see Dr. Reed Richards, his best pal and pilot Ben Grimm, his fiancé Susan Storm, and her kid brother Johnny Storm discussing a risky space flight that Ben wants no part of as their research on cosmic rays was not complete and that failure may get kill them.  Sue questions Ben telling him this is our chance to “beat the commies” and calls him a coward.  Enraged, Ben says no one calls him a coward and he will pilot the mission.

That night the four drive to the nearby spaceport, sneak past the guards, and launch the vessel into space.  Everything is going superbly, but Ben wonders aloud about the cosmic rays.  As the space craft reaches ever higher, it is hit by a cosmic storm.  Suddenly Johnny feels like he is on fire and Ben feels like his limbs are so heavy he cannot move them.  The craft begins to fall to earth.

After a crash landing, all four are miraculously still alive.  Out of nowhere Sue suddenly turns invisible, scaring her friends.  She turns back quickly but the group fears she will disappear again. Ben becomes angry telling Reed this is his fault.  Reed snaps back that he was tired of his insults and complaining and never meant for this to happen. Ben is about to fight Reed when he transforms into super strong orange rock skinned creature.   Sue tells Reed to run, Ben has become sort of thing. Ben grabs a tree by the roots and swings it at Reed, telling Sue she chose the wrong man.  Reed becomes elastic and dodges the attack.  He then wraps Ben up with his elastic arms. Not soon after Johnny becomes engulfed in fire.  He realizes that he is lighter than air and can now fly.

Realizing that they have all changed, Reed explains that they all have powers no human has ever possessed before.  Ben interrupts Reed saying, “You don’t have to make a speech big shot! We understand!  We gotta use that power to help mankind, right?”  Each member moves his or her hand to the center.  Johnny declares himself the Human Torch and Sue says she will call herself Invisible Girl.  Ben states that he is not Ben anymore and will go by what Sue originally called him, The Thing.  Finally, Reed puts his hand in declaring him Mister Fantastic.  At that moment, the Fantastic Four was born and the world would never be the same again.

Back to the Present

With the four assembled, Reed shares photographs of atomic plants in the Soviet Union, Australia, and South America that have been attacked via cave ins.  Another plant in French Africa is attacked but stopped by a mysterious figure.  Reed calculates that the next attack will take place on Monster Isle and the four take their private aircraft to the location.  Upon arrival, the team is attacked by a three-headed monster, but Reed is able to defeat it.  However, another cave-in occurs and separates the team.  Reed and Johnny fall in the Valley Diamonds, which temporarily blinds them.  Suddenly, the Mole Man appears and tells them he is behind the attacks.

The Mole Man divulges his origin, explaining how he was ridiculed and shunned by humanity for this appearance.  This pain drove him to search for a legendary land at the center of the earth where he could be a king.  He came to Monster Isle where he found a cavern.  While inside, an avalanche occurred rendering him almost blind.  Over time, he mastered his other senses and became the lord of the subterranean beasts that inhabited it.  He had constructed his own underground empire.

Back on the surface, Ben tangles with a rock monster.  Ben and Sue hear the Mole Man explain to Reed and Johnny how he plans to invade the surface with his monstrous subjects.  Thing interrupts him, and the Mole Man sends his army to battle the Fantastic Four.  Johnny battles the largest creature as a distraction while the others exit through a tunnel.  Johnny flees the fight and catches up with teammates.  Using flame abilities, Johnny seals the tunnel shut.  With the Fantastic Four gone, the Mole Man destroys Monster Isle so that the surface dwellers will never bother his empire again.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantastic_Four

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Torch

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Woman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mister_Fantastic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_(comics)

https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_1

Lee, S., & Kirby, J. (2003). Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four. Volume 1 (Barnes and Noble ed.). New York: Marvel Comics.

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