Where Have the Fantastic Four Been?
Get a book-by-book look at where Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny have popped up since Secret Wars!
For the past three years, the members of the Fantastic Four have been strewn across the cosmos.
Since the reality-shaking events of 2015's SECRET WARS, Marvel's First Family has spent more time apart than together. In fact, until Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli's new FANTASTIC FOUR #1, sightings of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman (as well as their children, Franklin and Valeria) have only been speculative, leaving their exact whereabouts unknown.
But that doesn't mean their teammates, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, have been sitting on their hands; the Human Torch and the Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing have busied themselves with Super Hero work over the last three years—though perhaps they've just been looking for a distraction until Reed, Sue, and the kids return home.
In anticipation of tomorrow's FANTASTIC FOUR #2 and the team's ever-impending reunion, we decided to look back across the last few years to see exactly what the members of the First Family have been up to.
We begin where it all—seemingly—ended...
As Mr. Fantastic tried and failed to stop the Incursions that lead to SECRET WARS, Doctor Doom worked with Molecule Man to kill the Beyonders behind it all, in a desperate attempt to take their power and reshape the world. Reed Richards managed to fly off in a lifeboat that somehow survived Doom's creation of Battleworld, a patchwork planet that combined deadly bits and pieces from a myriad of alternate realities. The newly-crowned "God Doom" then erased the very memory of Richards from existence, and took his place as the husband of Sue Storm and the father of Franklin and Valeria. He also turned Ben Grimm into the wall between realms and Johnny Storm into the new world's sun.
When the true Mr. Fantastic discovered all this, though, he worked with his compatriots including Namor, Black Panther, the Spider-Men, Captain Marvel, Thor, and Star-Lord to wrest control from Doom, furnish Black Panther with the fully-stocked Infinity Gauntlet, and return reality to it's proper place. At the end of the series, with the world restored, Reed, Sue, their children, and other members of the Fantastic Foundation focused their efforts on creating new alternate realities to replace the ones destroyed leading into SECRET WARS.
They remained unseen again until FANTASTIC FOUR #1.
No stranger to cosmic adventures, Ben Grimm joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in their post-SECRET WARS exploits. He stuck with the team (alongside fellow new member Kitty Pryde), fighting the likes of the Chitauri, Hala, Yotat, and the Brotherhood of the Badoon. They also eventually made their way to Earth to fight alongside Captain Marvel during the events of CIVIL WAR II.
When the team broke up, Ben found a new direction on Earth: investigating Doctor Doom's recent altruistic turn as the INFAMOUS IRON MAN.
Rolling out of SECRET WARS, the Human Torch found himself appearing in UNCANNY INHUMANS and UNCANNY AVENGERS.
Alongside the Inhumans, he worked as the liaison between humanity and the group, and got in touch with his new flame Medusa! Along the way, he helped save the Queen and Black Bolt's son Ahura. Their relationship came to an end when he tried to stop a building from crumbling down around them (as seen in issues #8-#9). The couple may have been doomed from the start, though, given Medusa's complicated relationship with Black Bolt and the fact that her sister, Crystal, used to date the Torch too.
Given his status as liaison to the Inhumans, Johnny Storm represented the group on the Avengers Unity Squad along with Synapse. As a member of the team, he fought against the Shredded Man, Ultron, his fellow heroes (during CIVIL WAR II), a temporarily resurrected rampaging zombie Hulk, and even the Red Skull! He also began a somewhat secretive relationship with Rogue along the way.
Before the Avengers Unity Squad rejoined the larger Avengers group, Johnny learned that he was the sole heir of Reed Richards' vast holdings, making him a billionaire! He used that money to help restart the Avengers, even going so far as to re-purchase Avengers Mansion, setting up a trust to keep it running in perpetuity.
While Ben and Johnny continued as Super Heroes after the loss of Reed and Sue, their longtime foe Victor Von Doom switched his allegiances entirely by forsaking his power, leaving Latveria behind, and turning into one of the good guys.
During INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, he appeared to Tony Stark and revealed his intentions to switch sides. Though Stark (as well as Ben and Johnny) remained understandably skeptical, Doom did make a peace offering in the form of the powerful Wand of Watoomb before helping exorcise a demon from Madame Masque.
During the conflict over whether to use the future-sight of Inhuman Ulysses to arrest people preemptively, the Human Torch still stood alongside the Inhumans with Captain Marvel against Iron Man. When Cap then called in the Guardians, the Thing and Human Torch found themselves again fighting on the same team.
The event also drove a rift between the Guardians when Gamora and Drax learned that Carol Danvers had Thanos imprisoned on Earth and didn't tell them. That coincided with the destruction of their ship, which kept the group on a planet most of them had no interest in. While checking out his old haunts, Grimm received a visit from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Maria Hill, who asked him to work with her to learn more about Doom's motives.
At the end of CIVIL WAR II, Captain Marvel beat Iron Man so badly that, though his body survived, his mind shut down. In his place, a young woman named Riri Williams took over the title in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, while Doom became an Armored Avenger in INFAMOUS IRON MAN. With that mantle, he not only took down a small army of Super Villains, but also found himself constantly contending with Ben Grimm and S.H.I.E.L.D.—all without turning heel.
Even after Mephisto played an incredibly cruel series of tricks on him, Doom joined Doctor Strange to banish the demon before the former fiend left to focus on stopping larger threats like A.I.M. and Hydra. He also gave Grimm an all-expenses paid vacation villa in Amsterdam and even briefly joined up with the Avengers!
Together again, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm have spent a surprising amount of time with Lunella Lafayette in the pages of MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR. The Thing stopped by his old neighborhood in the Lower East Side during issues #13, #14, and #18 after Lunella proved herself to be the smartest person on the planet, even though that same test also garnered attention from some errant Doombots. Then in issues #24-#30, Lunella enlisted the help of Torch and Thing to help her face Galactus, defeat Super Skrull, and bring back the missing Devil Dinosaur!
After the Cosmic Cube-created Captain America revealed his place as the ruler of the Secret Empire, the Human Torch found himself inside the Darkforce Dome surrounding New York City along with Rogue, Synapse, Wasp, and Brother Voodoo. For his part, ol' Blue Eyes took up shop in the secret Underground headquarters called the Mount where he fought the Hulk before Hydra dropped a bomb on them. Ben survived, fought valiantly to find a way to save Steve Rogers, and stood by when the plan worked, bringing the real Cap back into existence so he could stop the Hydra impostor.
In NO SURRENDER, the Avengers teams found themselves in the middle of a cosmic conflict between the Grandmaster and the Challenger, where they captured the Earth and pitted three groups against one another. While trying to protect objects called Pyramoids, Johnny Storm seemed to perish in the pages of AVENGERS #679. In reality, though, he was transported to the game room of the Elders of the Universe where he eventually regained himself and helped save the world.
The Thing and the Human Torch finally came together again in MARVEL 2-IN-ONE.
In the event of the Richards' deaths, Reed requested that Ben and Johnny continue exploring the Multiverse with a device called the Multisect. Buoyed by the idea that it might help bring their missing family members back, Grimm convinced Storm to go on a hunt for mysterious clues about Reed, Sue, and the kids' potential whereabouts. After meeting up with a scientist named Rachna Koul, Johnny and Ben decided to travel the Multiverse in this ongoing series.
Keep up with the ongoing adventures of Marvel's first family with MARVEL 2-IN-ONE and tomorrow's FANTASTIC FOUR #2!