Fantastic Four Has A Lot More Members Than You Realize

By Zack Zagranis | Published

fantastic four feature

The Fantastic Four has always functioned more like a family than a typical superhero team. While the Avengers and the X-Men see members come and go all the time, the Fantastic Four has largely kept the same members since its inception. Families mean family emergencies, however, and while you might not realize it, the FF has had more than its share of replacement members over the years.


fantastic four members

The most well-known is probably H.E.R.B.I.E., the robot that replaced the Human Torch during the run of NBC’s The New Fantastic Four (1978). H.E.R.B.I.E. was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee as a replacement for Johnny Storm after NBC realized that the Human Torch was licensed to Universal for a potential solo project. H.E.R.B.I.E. might be the most well-known Fantastic Four reserve member, but we’re just getting started.


she-hulk jameela jamil

She-Hulk is probably the fill-in that’s closest to H.E.R.B.I.E. in terms of fan awareness. Originally joining the team following Ben Grimm’s decision to remain on Battle World at the end of Secret Wars, the Jade Giantess has been one of the Fantastic Four’s most frequent guest members over the years. She-Hulk is just one of the tanks recruited to replace The Thing throughout the Fantastic Four’s existence.


Ben Grimm’s role as team strong guy seems to be the one that usually needs filling, oddly enough, usually by a love interest. There have been at least two female Things; the first, Sharon Ventura, was hit with similar cosmic rays as the Fantastic Four and, as a result, developed the same rocky skin and super strength as Ben Grimm. During her time with the team, Ventura operated under the name She-Thing.

Ms. Thing

fantastic four members

She-Thing was followed by Ms. Thing, a former model and love interest of the Human Torch who operated briefly as the Fantastic Four’s de facto muscle while clad in a mechanical Thing-suit. The suit was actually leftover from a period of time when the actual Thing wore it after losing his powers briefly.

Luke Cage

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Another brief substitute for Ben Grimm was Luke Cage, husband of Jessica Jones and partner to Iron Fist.

The Inhumans

marvel inhumans

The Thing and The Human Torch aren’t the only team members to be replaced. The Fantastic Four has recruited two different members of the Inhumans’ Royal Family, Crystal, and Medusa, to fill in for the Invisible Woman at various times.

Black Panther And Storm

fantastic four members

Meanwhile, there was a brief stretch where Black Panther and then wife Storm filled in for both Reed and Sue Richards after the couple decided to take a leave of absence following the events of Civil War.

The New Fantastic Four

fantastic four members

None of that, however, compares to the time the entire team had to be replaced. For three issues, starting with Fantastic Four #347 (1990) and ending with #349 (1991), The Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider took over as the New Fantastic Four. This team of Fantastic Four replacement members proved popular enough that Marvel brought them back a few years later for FF issues #374-#375 (1993) and again in Wolverine #148 (2000).

The Core Team Remains The Same

Fantastic Four members

When a team has been around for over 63 years, like the Fantastic Four, it’s only natural that some of the members might need a break from each other now and then. Of course, being comics, sometimes that break is actually death, but hey, a vacation is a vacation, right? But regardless of who they might tap to fill in for a missing member now and then, the core team of Reed and Sue Richards, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm remain, to this day, one of the most tight-knit groups in all of comics.

They don’t call them Marvel’s First Family for nothing.

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