The best Fantastic Four comics to read before the next movie
Ahead of the Fantastic Four’s return to the big screen, catch up on Marvel’s first family in their absolute best, must-read comics.
Rumors are swirling that the cast of Marvel’s long-gestating Fantastic Four movie is finally to be announced soon. All signs point to Pedro Pascal signing on as Reed Richards, with Vanessa Kirby, Joseph Quinn and Ebon-Moss Bacharach rumored for roles.
It’s a big step for the property. Previous film attempts have been met with a less-than-enthusiastic response. The last effort, 2017’s Fantastic Four, has a soul-crushing 27 on Metacritic.
If films aren’t the way to go, the best way to get caught up on the FF is obviously going to be to read the comics. With that in mind, here are the best Fantastic Four comics to get to know the characters before the MCU’s movie.
The best Fantastic Four comics to read before the MCU movie
The Fantastic – Ultimate Fantastic Four #1-6
It’s a bit of forgotten trivia by this point, but Ultimate Fantastic Four was originally meant to be a prequel to the Ultimate Universe, with older versions appearing in other books. The title exists in a weird limbo, disjointed to most of the Ultimate Universe for its early issues.
Regardless, Ultimate Fantastic Four starts with a hell of a bang. In contrast to the 616 universe, Earth-1610’s FF is straight-up body horror. Mr. Fantastic has no internal organs and a literal black hole for a stomach. The Human Torch has to molt periodically. And no one is quite sure how The Thing can even breathe.
If you want your FF weird, Ultimate is the way to go. The series has some pretty staggering lows as it makes its way through some of the Ultimate Universe’s most controversial stories, but this is also where some of Marvel’s biggest and best modern ideas – such as Marvel Zombies and Reed turning into the evil Maker – get their start.
Solve Everything – Fantastic Four (1998) #570-574
Long before Jonathan Hickman was breaking minds with the X-Men, he was redefining the Fantastic Four. Coming off a popular run by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar, Hickman immediately marked his territory by getting nuts. The result is one of the most critically acclaimed Fantastic Four runs ever.
It starts with Solve Everything, in which Reed Richards finally hits his breaking point. He’s got 100 ideas to make the world a better place, and now he’s enacting idea #101: solve them all. To do so, he crosses the barrier of time and space to meet his own array of variants, the Council of Reeds.
It’s a haunting parallel, considering Kang and his Council of Kangs are a potential descendent of Reed’s line. And seeing Reed, a good man constantly beset by his best intentions, facing multiple versions of himself with equally good intentions and multiple Infinity Gauntlets is enough to let you know how bold Hickman’s FF would get.
Hereafter – Fantastic Four (1998) #509-511
Mark Waid and the late-great Mike Wieringo had one of the best modern Fantastic Four comics because they focused so much on the family aspect of the team. Their story Hereafter drives this home with the story of a dead family member and the lengths they’ll go through to save them.
Hereafter is the endgame of a long anniversary arc starting with Fantastic Four #66 (the volume was renumbered to #500 after issue #70). The Thing, possessed by the spirit of Doctor Doom, sacrifices himself to save the world. Refusing to live without him, Reed works for weeks to cheat death, culminating in the team going on their greatest adventure into the afterlife.
Ultimately, Hereafter turns into something of a cosmic reset, reviving The Thing and healing physical and emotional wounds the team suffered. But the story, demonstrating the strength of the first family’s unbreakable bond and featuring an unforgettable sequence where the team meets a version of God who looks suspiciously like Jack Kirby, has gone down as some of the best FF storytelling ever.
Mr. And Mrs. Grimm – Fantastic Four (2018) #5, Fantastic Four Wedding Special #1
Superhero weddings are a lot like wrestling weddings. They happen all the time, but they never go off without a hitch. The Fantastic Fours is similar, with The Thing finally getting engaged to longtime girlfriend Alicia Masters and the inevitable Doctor Doom interruption.
The wedding is the culmination of a few years of storytelling. Reed and Sue have been missing for years, remaking the multiverse in the wake of Secret Wars. This story feels like a fun, lighthearted reunion with the family finally together for the first time in forever. Ben’s imminent wedding reaffirms the relationships and drives home that the FF are a family first.
The run was the first major work acclaimed Spider-Man writer Dan Slott had done with the FF, and it shows how much he truly loves the characters. From Sue teaching Ben how to dance to the incredible 11th-hour reveal of Reed’s latest invention, the FF’s biggest wedding is a great primer for new readers.
Whatever Happened to the Fantastic Four? – Fantastic Four (2022) #1-6
How do you start a new Fantastic Four volume? Obviously, you split them up. Ryan North and Iban Coello’s Fantastic Four run kicks off with the team scattered across the country, having not spoken for months.
Though the family has been fractured by a great tragedy, it doesn’t take long to get the FF back in place. Out of their element in the countryside, the volume so far has worked to re-establish why the team’s family dynamic is so important.
The first six issues are collected as Whatever Happened to the Fantastic Four?, but honestly, this run to date is a perfect jumping on point. There’s big action like The Thing stuck in a town with a perpetual time loop and the awesome sight of a dinosaur-themed Avengers & FF, but the book also does some heavy lifting, like pushing the Invisible Woman to new limits when she uses her forcefields to blot out the sun.
That’s all we have for now on the best Fantastic Four comics, but stay tuned to Dexerto for the latest Fantastic Four and comic book news.
If you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.