The 10 Best Fantastic Four Marvel Comic Book Story Arcs

Since 2021’s 60th, these stories provide a series of roadmaps for the team’s inevitable onscreen futures at the MCU, making them even more appealing to die-hard and casual fans alike.

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The Fantastic Four launched the Marvel Universe in 1961 and, over the past six decades, has provided many of its key architectural elements in terms of characters and concepts. Many groundbreaking stories contributed to modern day Marvel comics, and certainly to the MCU, where their influence will now be even more direct.

10 The beginning

The Fantastic Four meet cosmic rays in the comic book Fantastic Four 1.

The early stories of Fantastischen Vier by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby are must-read for fans. The first five issues don’t necessarily represent an arc, but they are some of the best FF comics for all the major elements they introduce.

The first three editions take the team through their origins, explore their powers and debut their iconic costumes. Issue four sees the Silver Age launch of Namor, the Sub-Mariner, and issue five marks the debut of their biggest villain, Doctor Doom.

9 Three

Fantastische Vier Drei (Death of Johnny Storm) comic cover

Three is the keystone arch in the writer Jonathan Hickman’s barrel Fantastic Four, which is among the best in the team’s history because it modernizes the FF for the 21st century. Science and research have always been key elements of the team, but during its activity from 2009 to 2011 many modern concepts and ideas are introduced or expanded.

One of these concepts is the multiverse, which has become an important part of the MCU. This plot also depicts the heroic and tragic death of Johnny Storm, the human torch, while saving the world from interdimensional aliens.

8th The power and the danger

Doctor Doom drives the Silver Surfer's surfboard in Marvel Comics.

Comic book fans know that Doctor Doom is one of the most ambitious villains in all of Marvel Comics, and “The Power And The Peril” is a great story to show just how ambitious he was. Through issues # 57-60 of the series, Doctor Doom steals the Power Cosmic from the Silver Surfer in this sheet.

For a short time Doctor Doom has real power, but true to his character, he loses power as soon as he gains it. He cannot foresee every outcome and power is drained from him as he tries to break the barrier that Galactus has put around the earth to catch the Silver Surfer.

7th The new Fantastic Four

The core Fantastic Four team is iconic, but there have been plenty of great lineups with other characters. One of the best is the “new” Fantastic Four, which includes Black Panther and Storm on the team. Written by Dwayne McDuffie, it was a fun story that reveled in the team’s story even as the rest of the Marvel Universe splintered.

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This era is turning from the Civil war Comic book crossover in which many superheroes competed against each other because of the superhero registration act. Black Panther and Storm help keep the FF together and reconnect to the wider world in the comics while having fun doing it at the same time.

6th Unthinkable

Doctor Doom uses magic to protect Valeria from creatures in Marvel Comics.

Doctor Doom is a hugely convincing villain, but he’s also capable of great evil. Unthinkable is a fantastic comic book story arc by writer Mark Waid and artist Mike Weringo that shows just how hideous Doctor Doom really is.

In the story, Doom seeks the ultimate magical power to defeat the Fantastic Four for good. To do this, he uses his lasting love for his childhood sweetheart Valeria. When she confesses her love for him, she dies, and her living energy releases the strength he needs for his success.

5 The Reed Richards Trial

Reed RIchards on trial for saving Galactus in Marvel Comics.

Over the years, the Fantastic Four have come up with a number of complex villains like Doom and Namor. In “The Trial Of Reed Richards” there is Mr. Fantastic for the fans. The founder of the FF is in the eyes of the Shi’ar empire a villain for his spare life from Galactus. After that, Galactus destroyed the Skrull homeworld.

In issues # 261 and 262 of the series, writer-artist John Byrne explores the aftermath that brought Galactus to life and what “evil” really is. In the end, Richards is spared when Eternity, one of Marvel’s most powerful cosmic beings, reveals that Galactus is a function of the natural order of the universe.

4th Into the time stream

Fantastic Four and Iron Man in Time Sled from FF 337

Writer and artist Walt Simonson had a great run on Fantastic Four too, and his best story could be “Into The Time Stream,” which included issues # 334-346. The story is great for how Simonson pushes the boundaries of the form himself, stretching plates while Mr. Fantastic extends his arms.

In addition, the style is subversive as Simonson erases entire pages in white while the Ultimate Nullifier is finally being used with incredible impact. MCU fans will find the story compelling too, as it is the comic book version of Ravonna Renslayer dressed up as Nebula here.

3rd That man, that monster

The Thing in Pain from the cover of the comic book Fantastic Four 51.

Issue 51 of the series features the story “That Man … That Monster,” which is often considered one of the best Fantastic Four stories. The story delves deep into the pathos of Ben Grimm’s life as a thing when he is allowed to swap with a normal person for a short time.

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His human future is destroyed when the other man dies and Ben Grimm gets back to the thing, but he finds out how much he is loved and valued by his friends and colleagues. The FF thinks Ben died and are incredibly relieved that he didn’t.

2 Secret Wars (2015)

Dr.  Doom Secret Wars

The 2015 version of Secret wars is one of the greatest stories in all of Marvel Comics, and attracts a wide variety of characters from across the multiverse. At its core, it’s a Fantastic Four story, and it’s a great story because it depends on the dichotomy between Doctor Doom and Reed Richards.

Doom seeks power but hates himself. Reed Richards seeks knowledge and may believe too much in his abilities. In between lies the answer to the restoration of the multiverse. Doom finally acknowledges his envy of Richards and his mistakes, leading to new potential for both men.

1 The Galactus trilogy

The Galactus Trilogy in Marvel Comics

“The Galactus Trilogy” from issues # 48-50 remains the highlight of the Fantastic Four Series and maybe all of Marvel Comics for some fans. The story is crucial for several reasons. It introduces a number of main characters like Galactus and the Silver Surfer, and also throws off some of the biggest stakes in the comics up to this point.

The whole world is in danger, and the comic book’s epic canvas has never been bigger. The trilogy would, and in some ways still do, reverberate through Marvel Comics for decades to come.

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