Ultimate Fantastic Four
Cover to Ultimate Fantastic Four #39
Art by Salvador Larroca
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
FormatOngoing series
Publication dateFebruary 2004 – February 2009
No. of issues60
Main character(s)Reed Richards
Susan Storm
Johnny Storm
Benjamin Grimm
Creative team
Created byBrian Michael Bendis
Mark Millar
Adam Kubert
(based upon the original characters by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Written byBrian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar (#1–6)
Warren Ellis (#7–18)
Mike Carey (#19–20, 33–57, Ultimate X4 #1–2, Annual 2)
Mark Millar (#21–32, Annual 1)
Joe Pokaski (#58–60, FF/X-Men Annual #1–2, Ultimate Requiem)
Penciller(s)Adam Kubert (#1–6, 13–18)
Stuart Immonen (#7–12, Annual 2)
Jae Lee (#19–20, Annual 1)
Greg Land (#21–32)
Frazer Irving (Annual 2)
Pasqual Ferry (#33–38, 42–46, Ultimate X4 #1–2)
Leinil Francis Yu (Ultimate X4 #2)
Scott Kolins (#39–41)
Mark Brooks (#39–41, 47–49)
Tyler Kirkham (#50–60)
Eric Nguyen (FF/X-Men Annual #1)
Dan Panosian (FF/X-Men Annual #2)
Robert Atkins (Ultimate Requiem)

Ultimate Fantastic Four is a superhero comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The series is a modernized re-imagining of Marvel's long-running Fantastic Four comic book franchise as part of the Ultimate Marvel imprint.[1] The Ultimate Fantastic Four team exists alongside other revamped Marvel characters in Ultimate Marvel titles including Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, and The Ultimates.

While the characters remain relatively faithful to their original Marvel Universe conception, they differ in a number of notable aspects. The origin story of the team is modified and modernized and the team is much younger, being in their late teens to mid-20s. The series revolves around the adventures of teen genius: Reed Richards, his childhood friend: Ben Grimm, and siblings: Susan and Johnny Storm, who get engulfed in a malfunctioned teleporter experiment and begin to develop super-powers: Reed can stretch his body to impossible lengths, Susan can project force fields and turn invisible, Johnny develops pyrokinetic super-powers and Ben is transformed into a rocky-skinned figure with super-human strength and durability. The series takes place in contemporary New York City and was met with mostly favorable responses from readers and critics, with the fresh, unique and modernized re-imagining of the classic Fantastic Four mythos, the artwork and the writing runs of Millar, Bendis and Ellis, being points of praise, while criticism was aimed at the perceived decline in quality of the writing, as the series progressed.

The title was created by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar and Adam Kubert. The series debuted in early 2004 and had a monthly publishing schedule. Issue #60, the last of the series, was written by Joe Pokaski and drawn by Tyler Kirkham and was followed by a series epilogue in Ultimate Fantastic Four: Requiem.[2]

Publication history

Ultimate Fantastic Four was the fifth continuing series of the Ultimate Marvel series, after Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up. The first writers assigned by project leader Bill Jemas were Mark Millar (The Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men) and Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men), who had both previously written comics in the Ultimate Marvel universe. Grant Morrison was involved in conceptualizing Ultimate Fantastic Four and was at one point set to write the series. However, they departed from Marvel for an exclusivity contract with DC Comics before this could be finalized. Bryan Hitch designed the costumes for the characters, thus explaining their aesthetic resemblance to the costumes worn by the protagonists of The Ultimates.

In the Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol. 1 hardcover edition, Millar and Bendis write about the somewhat odd circumstances of their collaboration. Foremost, virtual communication was the only method available as Millar lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and Bendis in Portland, Oregon. Secondly, they both had considerably different writing styles, as Millar's stories are typically fast-paced and widescreen, while Bendis' output is more dialogue-heavy and slow-paced and both writers feared it could wreck the project. It was agreed that Millar would write the plot and Bendis finalized the scripts based on his plots.

Millar completely rewrote the origin for the protagonists because he was not satisfied with the original 1961 story, in which the four team members steal a space craft to beat the Soviets to the moon. In their version, Millar and Bendis wrote a story in which Reed Richards is a child prodigy, protected by his burly friend Ben Grimm from bullies, who had invented a method of teleportation in his youth. He is discovered by government official Willie Lumpkin, and subsequently recruited into a think tank/school located in the upper floors of the Baxter building. There he meets Professor Storm, who leads the project, and his children, bioengineer Susan Storm and her younger brother Johnny. Reed also becomes the rival of Victor Van Damme, a fellow student. When Reed turns 21, he plans to teleport an apple into a parallel universe (the "N-Zone"), but Van Damme claims Reed's calculations are wrong and changes the setup at the last minute. The five students are teleported through the N-Zone, and when they rematerialize, they return heavily mutated. After the Fantastic Four return to the Baxter building, they face their first opponent, Mole Man.

Although staying relatively true to the original stories, Millar's storylines and writing deviated from the original source material in notable ways, almost bypassing the original works by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Most notable were changes to the characters' personality and backgrounds. The character of Reed Richards, in the mainstream Marvel Comics super-intelligent and a true leader, had his previous role split, with Professor Storm taking his leader traits, while the 21-year-old idealist Reed retains his super-intelligence. Reed no longer automatically assumes leadership of the team in demanding situations, a role more often filled by Sue Storm. She was little more than a damsel in distress in the early comics, but in this version, she is the most head-strong and assertive member of the team, and has a gift for biochemistry and bioengineering. Ben Grimm, no longer Reed's college friend but his grade-school friend, is not as intelligent and has to have science explained to him, providing an opportunity for plot dumps.

In the end, both writers were satisfied with the results. Millar and Bendis stated that they had many more ideas, but massive scheduling problems forced them out. Instead, they persuaded Warren Ellis to continue the series. Ellis wrote the next arc, "Doom", centering on Victor Van Damme. He made Van Damme a descendant of Dracula, a boy whose childhood ended when he was 10, formed by his severe, authoritarian father. Ellis also fleshed out the hard science fiction element behind the FF, namely writing that they gained their powers because the teleportation changed their "phase space condition" into something from an alternate universe; in laymen's terms, there are multiple conceivable states of an object, a 'phase space' of all the possible ways they could be. While in the N-Zone, each one of them mutated into another form that they could have been. It was also explained that Reed's body functions because his cells were replaced with "pliable bacterial stacks", single cells which duplicate most of the larger functions of the human body and does not rip or tear when he extends.

The next arc "N-Zone" has the four traveling on the spaceship Awesome (a name of Johnny's choice) to the dimension where they got their powers. They encounter an alien named Nihil whose dimension has only a few hundred thousand years left before succumbing to an entropic heat death, and wishes to escape from his world to ours.

In "Think Tank" the team meet Rhona Burchill (a re-imagined Mad Thinker), who captures them and attempts to sell them to the highest bidder. In Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1, they meet Crystal of the Inhumans, and as a result of trespassing on their home destroy it, forcing the Inhumans to move to a new one. "Crossover" has them encountering zombie infected versions of themselves and every other hero of that world. With the help of that world's Magneto the Fantastic Four manage to escape with the few survivors. "Tomb of Namor" has the Four encountering Atlantian criminal Namor who only leaves when he gets a kiss from Susan Storm. In "Super-Skrull" Reed Richards goes back in time to the teleportation accident to ensure it does not go wrong. There is dispute amongst the team whether this is the right course of action. However, after a cruel prank played by Johnny Storm on Ben Grimm, the team realize just how depressed Ben is being trapped inside 'The Thing'. Reed goes back and makes the experiment a success. This alters the time-line so that everyone on the planet except Ben has superpowers thanks to the Skrull pill given to them by the Skrulls and the leader Super-Skrull. The Skrulls however have tricked humanity and the still-human Ben Grimm is their last hope. In "Frightful", Johnny is infected with an illness only Doctor Doom can cure; it also features the escape of the Frightful Four. In "God War", alien terrorists attack Reed, who is looking for a seed while also facing a powerful enemy. The next arc "Devils" introduces Diablo who kidnaps those close to the four as bait; he intends to get immortality by using Reed's sister as a power source.

Ultimate Fantastic Four, along with Ultimate X-Men was canceled after the events of the 2008 – 2009 Ultimatum miniseries.[3]

The members of the team are the focus of Ultimate Comics: Doomsday.

Ultimate FF

A new volume dubbed Ultimate FF (with "FF" standing for "Future Foundation", not "Fantastic Four") was launched in April 2014, starring Invisible Woman, Iron Man, the Falcon, Machine Man, Phil Coulson, and Victor van Damme.[4] The title was written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Stuart Moore, with art by Mario Guevara, Tom Grummett and André Araújo. In August 2014 with the release of issue 6, Ultimate FF was officially cancelled.[5]

Team roster

Reed Richards / Mister Fantastic / Maker

Main article: Maker (Reed Richards)

Reed is a child genius who displayed his curiosity from the day he was born. At the age of 11, following a demonstration of his research on the field of teleportation at a school science fair, Reed was recruited for a government program which sponsors young geniuses' research. He continued his research at the government research facility located in Manhattan's Baxter Building. At the age of 21, his research was realized as he and several others attempted to teleport organic material through an alternate plane of existence called the N-Zone. The experiment went awry giving Reed and several others superpowers. His powers enable him to stretch his body parts to incredible lengths and endow him with enhanced durability.

Reed's powers have been increased in comparison to that of his Earth-616 counterpart. He no longer needs to eat nor sleep, and has no internal organs or bones. He can stretch his eyes, specifically the lens so that he does not need his glasses or any other visual augmentation but can only sustain this for short periods. Sue's mother revealed that she knows that Reed's abilities allow him to stretch his brain in order to accommodate and solve almost any problem thus making him effectively a human computer. While Threshold calls him a 'warrior without equal' in "God War" this almost certainly refers to his success in discovering a way to defeat an undefeatable foe (Ultimate Ronan) as opposed to actual battlefield prowess. Sue lauds his expertise in physics.

After Ultimatum, Reed left the Baxter Building and returned home much to the chagrin of his father. In Ultimate Enemy #1, the Richards' house was bombed by an unknown individual. Reed Richards is presumed to be dead. In Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four Annual #1, a young Franklin Richards is part of a future team of X-Men. It is also revealed that in all of the possible futures, Franklin is Reed and Sue's son. In Ultimate Mystery #3, Reed Richards is revealed to be alive and is seen aiding or leading the aliens to pillage the artifacts stored at Project Pegasus. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Reed Richards' world view has changed, and he has become something more like an Ultimate Kang the Conqueror. Later he assembles part of the Infinity Gauntlet.[6]

Susan Storm / Invisible Woman

Main article: Invisible Woman § Ultimate Marvel

The eldest child of renowned scientist Franklin Storm, Sue Storm inherited her father's genius at an early age. Since early childhood, she has been one of the prodigies studying and working at the Baxter Building, a midtown Manhattan government research lab. Following her father into physics, at age eight she built a sugar-power rocket and accidentally destroyed her father's car, after which she changed her focus to "inner space" biology. Romancing brilliant Baxter Building classmate Reed Richards, Sue became a formidable scientist in her own right, earning four doctorates in bio-chemical sciences.

Attending the Nevada desert testing of Reed's N-Zone dimensional teleporter, Sue was transported a mere three miles (5 km) into the desert by the device's malfunction. She was discovered by former Baxter Building instructor Dr. Arthur Molekevic, who took her to his underground facilities below Manhattan, calmed her, and helped her gain control of her new abilities, while he sent a "monster" to the Baxter Building to retrieve three who had been transformed by the N-Zone experiment. In the company of those three, Susan fled Molekevic and used her invisible protective force field to take them back to the surface.

Making the study of herself and her three partners her new life's work, Sue spent months investigating their abilities and charting their powers while improving her own understanding of herself. She has deduced the nature of both Reed and Johnny's changes, though her own powers remain unexplained and she is unable to penetrate Ben's skin to determine any more detail than his internal fluid pressure. Sue continues to develop her control of her force fields, using them to create pressurized environments at the bottom of the sea, plugging her own throat to prevent swallowing poison gas, and creating "cushions" to catch falling people and objects. Damage to her force fields also causes her mental strain or, in extreme cases (Ultimate Power #5), to black out.

Susan has proven capable of standing her own, and after the team went public, she assumed the codename "Invisible Woman." Her force fields have been the Four's ace in the hole, saving their lives when Nihil dumped Reed and Ben into the near-vacuum of the N-Zone and single-handedly stopping the time-traveling Chrono-Bandits. She co-created the chrono-tunnel with Reed, and has conducted biological studies of the Kree alien Mahr Vehl and extra-dimensional life in the N-Zone.

Though her newfound fame has brought her unsought attention from the likes of billionaire playboy Tony Stark and the Atlantian criminal Namor, she remains romantically attached to Reed despite her concerns about his over devotion to science. As it was shown in Ultimate Secret #2, she's also more sexually forward than her original counterpart.

Sue has the power to render herself and others invisible to the naked eye. She also has the power to generate nearly impenetrable invisible force fields. Sue can manipulate her force fields in a variety of ways, including levitating herself and others, firing destructive force-blasts, and causing objects to explode by projecting and expanding force fields inside them.

Benjamin Grimm / Thing

Main article: Ben Grimm § Ultimate Marvel

Gifted physically as a youth, Ben Grimm is Reed's best "and only" friend. When they were in school together, Ben would protect Reed from various bullies, including ones "three years younger", and in exchange Reed would help Ben with his math homework. Ben moved on to college and was invited to watch Reed's teleportation experiment. Grimm woke up as the Thing in Mexico City. The teleportation through the N-Zone gave him an orange rocky hide which boosts his strength and makes him nigh-invulnerable to physical damage and physiologically stressful conditions (such as a toxic breathing environment), and he no longer feels differences in temperature. Despite Ben's seeming happy-go-lucky disposition, the transformation has caused deep psychological trauma. In the "Diablo" arc, he is briefly transformed to blue. At the end of Ultimate Doomsday, Sue proposes to him and he accepts.

After Ultimatum and the dissolution of the Fantastic Four, Ben approached General Ross and asked to enlist in the Air Force. In Ultimate Enemy #1, he returns to the Baxter Building to see Sue, and confesses that he is in love with her. Ben never acted on it because of Reed. Ben also developed the ability to turn into a purple-skinned glowing form and back again at will.

Johnny Storm / Human Torch

Main article: Human Torch § Ultimate Marvel

Susan Storm's younger brother is a short-tempered teen, who is enamored with good-looking girls and has a rock-star attitude. The obvious "cool factor" of his powers only serves to heighten these personality traits: Johnny's powers engulf him in flames that enable him to fly and shoot fiery projectiles. This power sometimes has detrimental effects on his body, as Johnny burns, or more accurately fuses, his own body-fat to provide his 'fuel', and every so often, he "hibernates" and sheds off the skin cells that protect him from his own flames, growing new ones. Regardless, he finds the idea of being a real superhero incredibly exciting and firmly intends to sign up with The Ultimates once he is old enough, rather than continue hanging around the Baxter Building with the nerds and geeks. He is indeed a high school dropout and a Spider-Man fan (he makes a guest appearance in the "Superstars" arc).

After witnessing his father die in the Ultimatum wave, Johnny has a breakdown at the Statue of Liberty and was captured by the demon Dormammu. Sue and Ben save him, and after Franklin Storm's funeral he leaves for Europe. In Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1, Johnny shows up on Peter Parker's doorstep, and Aunt May chooses to let him stay with them.

Team history

Up until the middle of the series' second year, the team did not use the above code names, nor were they referred to as The Fantastic Four. The lack of code names was a frequent source of humor for then writer Warren Ellis, who frequently had Sue, Ben and especially Johnny give themselves outlandish names like "Invisible Ninja-Girl", "Asbestos Thing", and "Human Dashboard Lighter". In the Ultimate Spider-Man "Superstars" arc and the Ultimate Spider-Man game, Johnny was referred as Human Torch and in the game, the team was the "world-famous" Fantastic Four.

The events of the "N-Zone" arc required that the military fashion a public image for the four. The "Crossover" story arc began in medias res, with the four already a public team known as The Fantastic Four, each of them possessing codenames identical to their 616 counterparts. Their jumpsuits remain largely unchanged, save for the added '4' insignia.



Collected editions

Ultimate Fantastic Four has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Volume 1: The Fantastic Ultimate Fantastic Four #1–6 July 28, 2004 ISBN 0-7851-1393-2
Volume 2: Doom Ultimate Fantastic Four #7–12 December 9, 2004 ISBN 0-7851-1457-2
Volume 3: N-Zone Ultimate Fantastic Four #13–18 June 8, 2005 ISBN 0-7851-1495-5
Volume 4: Inhuman Ultimate Fantastic Four #19–20
Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1
September 24, 2005 ISBN 0-7851-1667-2
Volume 5: Crossover Ultimate Fantastic Four #21–26 April 5, 2006 ISBN 0-7851-1802-0
Volume 6: Frightful Ultimate Fantastic Four #27–32 October 18, 2006 ISBN 0-7851-2017-3
Volume 7: God War Ultimate Fantastic Four #33–38 March 28, 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2174-9
Volume 8: Devils Ultimate Fantastic Four #39–41
Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #2
June 20, 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2450-0
Volume 9: Silver Surfer Ultimate Fantastic Four #42–46 December 19, 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2547-7
Volume 10: Ghosts Ultimate Fantastic Four #47–53 June 18, 2008 ISBN 0-7851-2898-0
Volume 11: Salem's Seven Ultimate Fantastic Four #54–57 October 29, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7851-2447-4
Ultimate X-Men/Ultimate Fantastic Four Ultimate X-Men/Ultimate Fantastic Four
Ultimate Fantastic Four/Ultimate X-Men

Official Handbook of the Ultimate Marvel Universe #1–2

May 3, 2006 ISBN 978-0-7851-2292-0
Ultimatum: Ultimate Fantastic Four/Ultimate X-Men Ultimate Fantastic Four #58–60
Ultimate X-Men #98–100
December 9, 2009 ISBN 0-7851-3433-6

Ultimate Fantastic Four also has been collected in the following oversized hardcovers:

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Volume 1 Ultimate Fantastic Four #1–12 June 8, 2005 ISBN 0-7851-1458-0
Volume 2 Ultimate Fantastic Four #13–20
Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1
July 19, 2006 ISBN 0-7851-2058-0
Volume 3 Ultimate Fantastic Four #21–32 June 20, 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2603-1
Volume 4 Ultimate Fantastic Four #33–41
Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #2
Ultimate X-Men/Ultimate Fantastic Four
Ultimate Fantastic Four/Ultimate X-Men
(The latter two are the Ultimate X4 #1–2 issues listed under Appearances.)
November 14, 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2872-7
Volume 5 Ultimate Fantastic Four #42–53 September 3, 2008 ISBN 0-7851-3082-9
Volume 6 Ultimate Fantastic Four #54–57
Official Handbook of the Ultimate Marvel Universe #1–2
Ultimate Secrets
August 12, 2009 ISBN 0-7851-3781-5
Ultimatum Companion Ultimate Fantastic Four #58–60
Ultimatum Fantastic Four: Requiem
Ultimate Spider-Man #129–133
Ultimatum Spider-Man: Requiem #1–2
Ultimate X-Men #98–100
Ultimatum X-Men: Requiem
March on Ultimatum Saga
Marvel Spotlight: Ultimatum
June 15, 2011 ISBN 978-0785155072

In other media


The 2015 film Fantastic Four was loosely based on Ultimate Fantastic Four.[7]

Video games

See also


  1. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 320. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  2. ^ "NYCC: Joe Pokaski On "Ultimate Fantastic Four Requiem"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
  3. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (2008-09-09). "Mark Millar Summons The Ultimate Avengers – Comics News at IGN". Comics.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
  4. ^ "ULTIMATE FF: Fialkov Charts Future of Marvel's Ultimate Universe". Newsarama.com. 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2015-02-09.
  5. ^ "Marvel's "Ultimate FF" to End in August with #6". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2015-02-09.
  6. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #25
  7. ^ "'Fantastic Four' Cast Revealed". Variety. 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2015-02-09.