The New Fantastic Four
Walt Simonson’s run on the Fantastic Four remains a personal favorite in a series with its fair share of great runs. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, John Byrne, Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo or Jonathan Hickman have all given us some great stories featuring Marvel’s first family, but as always there’s a particular run that hits you at the proverbial right time, right moment, and that’s exactly what happened with Simonson’s run to me. He took the sci-fi element inherent to the Fantastic Four and turned it to 11. Within all the craziness, however, it only took him 3 issues (with Arthur Adams in the art) to create one of the arcs I have enjoyed the most ever: the new Fantastic Four story (Fantastic Four #347-349).
This arc hit before everybody and their mother became an Avenger, so this was pretty rare at the time: the Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Wolverine, the Hulk (Mr. Fixit) and Spider-Man becoming temporarily the new Fantastic Four seemed like the greatest idea ever. Fun concept, perfect execution, it is the kind of arc that makes you want to keep on reading comics forever!
No big surprise, when I started buying my favorite comics graded, the question was never Should I? but Which one(s) should I get? and decided to go for issue #348 because it’s an awesome cover which features all the characters coming at you. After quite a while (there are not that many out there, at least on sale), I finally got a CGC 9.8 copy last month. This now joins the rest of my new Fantastic Four collection, which is not even close to being finished … There are more comics out there related to the new FF than you would think, so let’s take a look at some of them!
The Original Run: 2nd Printings
All 3 issues have newsstand and Australian versions (as far as I can tell), but these hold little interest to me. Second printings are not my cup of tea either, but in this case I find them interesting as the second printings of 347 and 348 (no reprint for 349) are, respectively, copper and gold versions:
Fantastic Four #347 2nd Printing – Copper Edition
Fantastic Four #348 2nd Printing – Gold Edition
The Original TPB: Monsters Unleashed
New cover art for this TPB … Pretty nice, but not as dynamic as #348.
The Trading Card
1991 Impel Marvel Universe II – Base Card #149
The No Fun Sequel: Secret Defenders
Fantastic Four #374
If you ever wondered what would happen if you sucked out all of the fun from comics, you and most of 90s Marvel are made for each other. Not a big fan of this run …
The Alternate Realities Related to the Original Story
What If? #78
What If? Newer Fantastic Four
What if this was the Fantastic Four – A Tribute To Mike Wieringo
Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #3
(Decided to put this here as they are from a different reality but it’s basically the same team even though they are controlled by the Psycho-Man for most of the issue)
The Alternate Realities Unrelated to the Original Story
These are not related to the original run (in that they don’t continue the story), they just use the same approach of making a team with these 4 characters …
Interior art and inset cover for Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 featuring a quick appearance of the Infernal Four
The Variants That Keep The Fire Burning
The fact that there are artists out there that use any excuse to go back to this moment in time make me sleep a little better … If I am insane, at least I am not the only one!
Black Panther #170 by Anna RudFear Itself #1 by Paolo RiveraImmortal Hulk #4 by Arthur AdamsPanini France’s Marvel Heroes vol.2 #28 by Camuncoli & Dell’Otto
As I mentioned above, my personal favorite is the cover of #348, and with great cover must come great swipes. I normally don’t enjoy Greg Land much, but his two tributes with different characters (but always derived from the same roots) are pretty cool.
Secret Wars #4 by Greg Land Fantastic Four# 1 by Greg LandGhost Rider (2017) #5 by Felipe Smith
The International Editions
Again, just focusing on #348 here:
Spanish EditionFrench EditionItalian Edition
The kinda Revamp that’s a lot of Fun
So even it’s not an official follow-up, Rick Remender took the concept and teamed up Agent Venom, Red Hulk, X-23 and Ghost Rider (Alejandra Jones) in an absolutely crazy 6 part arc (Venom #13, 13.1-13.4 and 14) that works as some sort of revamp of the concept and is almost as much fun (and a lot darker, but times, and all the characters, are different).
If I were a betting man, I would bet on Donny Cates to be the next one to run with this concept. Cosmic Ghost Rider, Venom, Zombie(?) Daken and Immortal Hulk! How much fun would that be? What about you? What would your favorite New Fantastic Four be?
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