At the San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige announced that Fantastic Four will launch Phase 6 of the MCU in 2025. Marvel's first family has been noticeably absent from the MCU despite there being opportune moments to introduce them.
Since their first movie in the MCU won't be an origin story, it's likely that they'll gradually be introduced in the movies leading up to theirs, which is something fans have wanted for a long time. With news of their first MCU movie, let's take a gander at some of the best Fantastic Four stories Marvel might use for inspiration.
The Fantastic Four and their 10 best story arcs
1) Fantastic Four 1234
Prolific writer Grant Morrison and artist Jae Lee paired up to send the first family on a wild adventure. The family faced their own individual challenges in each issue, all of which were significantly darker than what the team was used to. Morrison eventually revealed that it was all orchestrated by Victor Von Doom. The two smartest characters in the Marvel Universe going toe-to-toe is never a dull read.
Grant Morrison was the perfect author for such a story, given that they're no stranger to sending fans on a reality-bending adventure and bringing in multiple characters for a cohesive story. Jae Lee's art complemented the story perfectly with dark tones and realistic features.
2) Unthinkable (Fantastic Four vol. 2 #67-70)
If you're a fan of Doctor Doom, then this is the story for you, and one that the upcoming movie's director may want to skim through. Mark Waid took Doom to new heights with this story that saw Victor Von Doom summon dark arcane power to defeat the intelligent Reed Richards.
Something fans haven't seen from a live-action Doom yet is his skill with the mystic arts.
The story also makes use of Reed and Sue's children, Franklin and Valeria. Their inclusion would surely set the MCU's Fantastic Four apart from previous versions and would also help setup Secret Wars nicely.
Jonathan Hickman had one of the most emotional runs with the Fantastic Four. Not only that, but as you'll see later down the list, Hickman allowed the family to evolve. The "Three" storyline culminated in the death of one of the family members. In the issues leading up to the climax, every character was fair game and fans had no idea who was going to bite the dust.
Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm fight off a horde of interdimensional invaders in the Negative Zone. Not only is the emotion of Johnny's death felt through the pages, but Ben Grimm's guilt reverberates in the following issues. Ben couldn't help Johnny and had to seal him in the Negative Zone after reverting to a human after taking a potion that lets him shed his rock skin once a year.
4) The Galactus Trilogy
Galactus was completely butchered in his first live-action appearance and fans won't let Marvel forget it. Hopefully, when he's brought into the MCU, they will focus more on the source material. It's important to read this story because it's an exciting adventure that highlights exactly what Fantastic Four is about.
They're supposed to go on grandiose adventures and fight larger than life enemies. In this, they have to take on the world devourer, which is akin to taking on a god. Fans are also introduced to Galactus' herald, the Silver Surfer, who is a compelling character in his own right.
5) Future Foundation
Remember when we mentioned that Jonathan Hickman showed an evolution with Fantastic Four? The Future Foundation was that evolution. Spider-Man replaced Johnny Storm as the fourth member, but the team also became much larger than the four core members.
Reed Richards put together a team of free-thinkers to plan for a better future for humanity. It included Doctor Doom (thanks to Valeria Richards) and Nathaniel Richards (Mr. Fantastic's dad), which should be more than enough for you to pick up the series.
6) Ultimate Fantastic Four
The Ultimate Universe saw Fantastic Four have a bit of a facelift. The team was de-aged for this universe, putting them around the same age as Spider-Man. On top of that, they didn't use their codenames or have a team name. For the most part, they're the same as their 616 counterparts except for some minor adjustments.
What makes this worth picking up is the way in which Brian Michael Bendis breathed new life into the team with his modernization of them. If not that, seeing Reed Richards become one of the scariest villains in Marvel up to that point should do the trick.
7) Fantastic Four (2018)
Dan Slott began his run on the Four in 2018 and only just ended it in 2022. He brought that same clever wit he gave to She-Hulk and Spider-Man and cranked it up to 11. His story took place after Marvel's first family was absent from the comics for many years due to a strategic ploy on Disney's part.
Fantastic Four returned to the comics with a greater focus on Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm since Sue and Reed were gone. Slott's run on the series ended with the Reclamation War that saw Uatu the Watcher die and come back where he opened up a new corner of the universe and made Nick Fury his herald.
8) Meet The Inhumans
The other super-powered beings in the Marvel Universe known as the Inhumans got their start in The Fantastic Four. Issue #45 was their debut and it was just as much an FF story as it was an Inhumans one. The Inhumans would go on to have a friendly rivalry with the Four. Perhaps this will be how they get reintroduced to live-action.
9) This Man... This Monster
This one-shot written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby beautifully encapsulates the multi-layered characters they crafted together. Ben Grimm (The Thing) is a prime example of a complex character. This story sees Ben, who is vocal about wanting to be normal again, get his powers stolen by a scientist that seeks to impersonate him.
Ben tries to warn his team, but they think he's the imposter. Just as he goes to get his old life back, he returns to his rocky state of existence and is unable to be with the woman he loves. It's a personal story right off the heels of a major cosmic event that involved Galactus. The "yin" and "yang" of the Fantastic Four.
10) Meet The Black Panther
If you ever thought Fantastic Four wasn't integral to Marvel comics, think again. Their title alone introduced many major players to the great comic book universe, including Black Panther, the Wakandan Prince.
T'Challa invites the team to Wakanda as a trap. His real target is Ulysses Klaw. After the team is given this information, they end up helping T'Challa and go on to have a lasting relationship with Black Panther and Wakanda.