The Fantastic Four were introduced as Marvel’s first family and team, ushering in a new and exciting era for not only comics, but pop culture as a whole. Created by Stan “The Man” Lee and Jack “The King” Kirby, the team consists of Dr. Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic), Susan “Sue” Storm (Invisible Woman, and later Sue Richards when she marries Reed), Johnny Storm (The Human Torch, and Sue’s brother), and Ben Grimm (The Thing).
Yet, for a famous team with such a famous quartet, they’ve managed to have multiple other superheroes gain membership. Other heroes have become a part of the team at various times for various reasons, and this list is going to rank those that have either joined the team officially or been a part of some version of the team, whether long term or only briefly.
To paraphrase Reed Richards: by the power invested in us by no one in particular, we present to you the 15 Superheroes You Forgot Were Part Of The Fantastic Four.
15. Peter Parker
While not always a part of a team, Spider-Man has been known to be part of groups such as the Avengers, but not always a team like the Fantastic Four. While one of his earliest appearances did have him attempt to join the team (because he thought he’d get paid), it took a few decades before he joined the team in a new incarnation.
While you don’t need to include that one time he had to borrow a suit from the Fantastic Four (and go around as Bag-Man), Peter actually replaced the Human Torch on the team when his longtime pal died. As seen in Amazing Spider-Man #657 and and FF #1, Human Torch left in his will that, if he ever were to die in battle, he’d want Spidey to take his spot on the team. The team Peter becomes a part of is known as the Future Foundation, which includes Valeria Richards and Reed’s father Nathaniel Richards. During his time with the newly created Future Foundation, he helped the team combat the Sinister Six, which ended up just being Mysterio and Chameleon, two of Spidey’s most well known enemies.
14. Luke Cage
The story behind the original Hero for Hire‘s membership into the Fantastic Four is a very amusing one. After a battle with the Hulk, the Thing finds himself having turned back to regular old Ben Grimm, perhaps permanently. While Ben thinks this is an opportunity to live a normal life, he finds his newfound lack of celebrity (compared to his girlfriend Alicia Masters, who’s plenty famous) to be very bothersome, though he tries to shrug it off.
At the Baxter Building, Ben Grimm learns that he’s been replaced by none other than Power Man (and is getting paid for it, to boot). After witnessing his impressive skills at taking down enemies in the training room, Ben welcomes Luke to the team, and doesn’t at all feel jealous of his replacement. But of course, a series of embarrassments (from no one wanting to interview him and not being able to help the team stop a robbery) leaves Ben more envious then ever. Even after the surprise bank robbery is foiled and the team congratulates Luke, Ben is angry enough to punch Luke and nearly break his hand.
13. The Hulk
Bruce Banner‘s involvement with the Fantastic Four has varied; he’s been both an enemy to the team as well as an assistant, and for a brief period, a member. Skrull shapeshifter and and empath De’Lila has captured the Fantastic Four and was using them to locate a powerful device that has landed on Monster Island. Unfortunately for her, her enemies are not too far off, and even she needs help from the captured Fantastic Four. So she comes up with a plan to fool a few superheroes into helping her.
Disguising herself as Sue Richards, she enlists the help of Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider. She tells them that the Fantastic Four are dead and that their killers are still out there, sending them after the monsters ravaging the globe (and the Mole Man). And just like that, the New Fantastic Four were created.
Cousin of Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters became She-Hulk when an emergency blood transfusion had to be performed. Unlike her cousin, Jennifer prefers to always be in her Hulk persona, as it gives her confidence and freedom that she never felt she’d had before. It also helps that’s she’s extremely strong and completely in control in her big green form.
At the end of the original 1984 Secret Wars event, Ben Grimm told Reed Richards that he didn’t want to return to Earth just yet, so he presented She-Hulk as his replacement. Amusingly, her first day as a member didnt’t involve crimefighting as much as it did helping Sue Richards deliver her baby safely, since, due to complications from previous events, she and the child could die. In a later adventure, She-Hulk prevented a radiation leak that, due to exposure, resulted in her staying within her Hulk persona permanently. She didn’t seem to mind too much.
11. Black Panther
T’Challa has had an interesting relationship with the Fantastic Four, going as far back as his first comic appearance. He first meets the team when he invites them to Wakanda…so that he can attack and neutralize them to test his skills. He does this because he needs to know he can defeat Ulysses Klaw, the man who killed his father. This story arc also serves as an introduction to the heroic Black Panther and the people of Wakanda, as well as the ever important Marvel element, Vibranium.
It’s later revealed that he and Ororo (aka Storm) had met at a young age, and eventually they marry during the Civil War story arc. As revealed in an epiologue for the crossover event, T’Challa and Ororo fill-in for Richard and Sue as leaders of the Fantastic Four for a spell. The latter pairing wanted to spend time away from the team to work on their marriage; later on, BP and Storm would have marital issues of their own.
Ororo Munroe is best known as a member of the X-Men, having shown up in multiple media adaptations of the group and remaining an extremely important and popular character in the series. Outside of being a regular member of the mutant team (as well as the Avengers), she’s also been the X-Men’s leader on several different occasions (such as when Professor Xavier is no longer around).
A retcon would reveal that as a youngster in Egypt, Ororo met T’Challa and the two formed a romance that would mostly exist sparingly until the two married during the events of Civil War. The wedding was a big enough event to attract just about every superhero around to attend, even those who weren’t friendly with one another at the time. As a result of this union, Storm became Queen of Wakanda, and she and her husband filled in for Richard and Sue as leaders of the Fantastic Four for a short time.
Introduced in Fantastic Four #45, Crystal is part of the Inhuman Royal Family, and she stands as the first outside character to become a member of the team. She also would become a romantic interest for Johnny Storm, resulting in her appearing often amongst the team. Johnny’s first meeting with Crystal was also significant for realizing that a former foe (Medusa) was not only an Inhuman as well, but Crystal’s older sister.
Crystal becomes a part of the team as a replacement for Sue, who’s on maternity leave. While unsure of the change at first, the team comes to appreciate and welcome her once she’s proven to be a more than worthy adversary for the Wizard, who retreats due to being unprepared for such powerful foes. While Crystal remained a prominent character in Fantastic Four comics for years, she was written out when her creator, Jack Kirby, left the series.
One of the most famous of her kind, Medusa is Queen of the Inhumans, and like others on this list (including her sister), she made her first appearance in the pages of Fantastic Four. While suffering from amnesia and as part of the Frightful Four, she not only was able to defeat and capture Sue Storm, but help in beating the team entire, handing Marvel’s First Family their first major defeat in the series.
The not-so-evil-after-all Medusa’s amnesia eventually wears off and she returns to the Inhuman Royal Family. Due to her resistance to human pollution (which endangers other Inhumans), she’s able to participate in more above-ground activities with the Fantastic Four and even manages to become a member as Sue’s replacement for a brief period. Notably, after a battle in issue #132, she uses a device to not only repair the team’s uniforms, but construct one for herself.
An interesting character with an even more interesting backstory, Namorita is the clone of her mother Namora. Due to her sterility, Namora consulted help from an Atlantean scientist to make a clone she could give birth to. She raised the cloned child until Namora’s own death, but she never revealed to Namorita what she really was. Like all Marvel characters, she eventually made her way to New York City, later joining up with the New Warriors, aiding many superheroes in battle.
One of her most notable interactions with the Fantastic Four came in Vol.3 issue #43, when three of the four (Sue, Richard, and Ben) are trapped in the Negative Zone, forcing Johnny to reach out to others for help. He enlists the aid of She-Hulk, Ant-Man, and Namorita, and together, the newly formed team rescues the original members from certain doom.
6. Sharon Ventura
First appearing in The Thing #35, Sharon Ventura became inspired to join the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation with the help of augmentations by the Power Broker. However, more nefarious activities were taking place, and after being taken advantage of by Dr. Karl Malus, Sharon broke free, took the outfit made for her, and escaped, going by the name Ms. Marvel.
Having teamed up with the Thing in the past, she was later added as a new member to the Fantastic Four. During her time with the team, she was exposed to cosmic rays that gave her added strength, but rocky skin as well, giving her an appearance just like the Thing’s. As a result of this, she’s best known by fans not as Ms. Marvel (a moniker more commonly attributed to the likes of Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan) but as She-Thing. While she continued to be a part of the team for a spell, she also joined the Frightful Four for a brief time (due to Doctor Doom further mutating her).
5. Ms. Thing
Definitely not the most traditional hero on this list, Darla Deering was dating Johnny Storm at the time and was a world reknowned popstar on tour. However, the Fantastic Four were planning a voyage through time and space and needed replacements, just in case they didn’t return on time. Johnny had forgotten about this, and at the last minute, he asked Darla if she’d be his replacement. She agrees, and along with She-Hulk, Medusa, and Scott Lang (Ant-Man), they made up the new incarnation of the Fantastic Four (aka the Future Foundation).
Since she has no powers, she used Ben’s artificial suit for combat, which leaves only her head exposed. While she didn’t feel it was right to be a part of the team at first, she’s later convinced to stay and even forms a relationship with Scott. However, this pairing doesn’t last, since Scott doesn’t seem too committed to it; when he learns his daughter has been brought back to life, he leaves Darla without telling her. They later “reunite” while they’re both in Miami for separate reasons (Scott to be closer to his daughter, Darla to film a reality show).
4. Scott Lang
Originally a thief due to not being able to support himself as an electrical engineer, Scott stole the Ant-Man suit from its creator, Hank Pym. However, Pym allows him to keep the suit when he realizes that he only stole it to save his dying daughter Cassie. The second holder of the Ant-Man title, Scott has managed to involve himself with the Fantastic Four by being a technician in Reed’s absence, as well as lead the team during their interstellar voyage and be a part of Johnny Storm’s temporary incarnation of the team (both as previously mentioned).
He most recently had been seen back in his hometown of Miami, doing his best to stay in his daughter’s life (much to his ex-wife’s displeasure) while also setting up a new business with Ant-Man Security Solutions. While he does his best to keep his daughter safe and keep his new business afloat, the past continues to nip at his heels in the form of villains wanting revenge and (as also previously mentioned) old flames.
3. Ghost Rider
It’s fairly interesting that more than one incarnation of the Ghost Rider has been a part of the Fantastic Four in some capacity. There was the previously mentioned New Fantastic Four that included Hulk, Wolverine, and Spider-Man, with Danny Ketch as the Ghost Rider in question. This “New” team managed to stick around for a while, appearing and reappearing in various other titles, including Wolverine and several What If stories.
There later came a second version of the New Fantastic Four; among the replacements was Alejandra Jones, who came into possession of the title through a ritual, replacing Ketch. A later (and the most recent) incarnation was more unofficial in nature, since it resembles the team but isn’t called so by name; instead of Jones, this incarnation has seen her replaced by Robbie Reyes, who most notably drives a custom muscle car instead of the Rider’s traditional motorcycle.
2. Agent Venom
Definitely not the first person you would suspect of being part of a superhero team, or being much of a superhero period. Well-known as a symbiote parasite, Venom has been subject to several different iterations, first appearing as a new suit for Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. The symbiote would later attract the attention of Eddie Brock, arguably the most famous and important version of the character.
However, it’s Spider-Man’s old high school bully Flash Thompson who uses the symbiote for less criminal purposes. He becomes a government agent and is only allowed to wear the symbiote for 48 hours, or risk being bonded with it permanently. Flash (as Agent Venom) has also teamed up with the aforementioned Ghost Rider, X-23, and Red Hulk to stop literal Hell from overtaking Los Vegas.
A loner, a team player, and at times, an old man, Logan has endured as one of the most popular superheroes in the world. He’s also had his fair share of interactions with the Fantastic Four, with at least one of them involving his attack on their headquarters in the Baxter Building. His assault on the team (and his stealing of information) was all due to a brainwash by the ever villainous Hand clan.
However, his most notable time as an actual member of the team was when he (like the aforementioned Hulk, Ghost Rider, and even Spider-Man) was asked by undercover Skrull agent De’Lila to become a part of the New Fantastic Four. While this incarnation was able to have further adventures, Logan was eventually replaced by one of his clones: Laura Kinney, better known as X-23.
What other Marvel stars would fans be surprised to learn had joined up with the Fantastic Four? Let us know in the comments.
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