The New Fantastic Four: How Hulk and Wolverine Replaced Marvel’s First Family

The Fantastic Four can be a bit unusual at times, but the team became radically different when replaced by the likes of the Hulk and Wolverine.

The Fantastic Four is more than just a team, they’re a family. Like any family, the FF have their nuclear members along with a broader, extended group of relatives.

The entire premise of the Fantastic Four was turned upside down, however, when Marvel’s First Family was replaced by some of their oddest extended family members.

The World’s Greatest Superheroes were replaced in Fantastic Four #347, by Walter Simonson and Arthur Adams. In this story, a rogue Skrull named De’Lila systematically immobilized and captured the Fantastic Four. De’Lila then posed as Sue Richards, the Invisible Woman, and summoned a group of heroes to her aid. Pretending that the original FF team was dead, De’Lila assembled the New Fantastic Four: Spider-Man, the Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider.

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This New Fantastic Four was sent to find an item of immense value, buried deep within Monster Island. Simultaneously, the Skrull Empire was in pursuit of De’Lila, releasing a variety of monsters from Monster Island to draw her out. The New Fantastic Four fought and defeated a couple of these monsters, before entering the Mole Man’s subterranean world.

Related: Fantastic Four: Every Way Marvel’s Heroes Turned Galactus Away from Earth

Upon arrival, however, the New FF formed an alliance with the Mole Man against the Skrulls who invaded his realm. After a quick fight, the Skrulls revealed De’Lila’s identity to the New FF, along with her plot to assassinate the Skrull Emperor. Before they could do anything, the New FF had to contend with De’Lila and a brainwashed Reed Richards. Indeed, using her telepathic and empathic abilities, De’Lila got Reed to believe that she was his wife, Sue.

Together, Reed and “Sue” tracked the mysterious object which landed on Monster Island, while the New FF pursued them. Working together, the New FF beat De’Lila to the egg and decided to uncover this mysterious object themselves. Meanwhile, Franklin Richards freed the original FF in the Baxter Building. The original team arrived on Monster Island, aiding the New FF in their fight against the Mole Man and the Skrulls.

Ultimately, the creature born out of the egg bonded with one of the Mole Man’s monsters, and the Skrulls allowed it to remain on Monster Island. De’Lila was captured and taken back to with the Skrulls, and it was revealed that Reed was never truly under her control. With the day saved, the New Fantastic Four chose to disband.

Of course, the New FF did reassemble a couple of times. The first time was in Spider-Man #22, by Erik Larsen, when the Sinister Six reformed. Replacing Wolverine with Sleepwalker, the New Fantastic Four joined together to stop the Web-Head’s foes, along with Gog and an army of HYDRA agents. The original FF, Nova, Solo and Deathlok later joined the fight.

Related: Doctor Doom Gave Up Everything for Ultimate Power Long Before Thanos Did

Later, in Fantastic Four #374, by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan, Doctor Strange reformed the New FF as his “Secret Defenders.” The Sorcerer Supreme assembled this team to bring in the Human Torch for arson charges. During the fight, Wolverine slashed the Thing‘s face, severely disfiguring him. For a while afterwards, the Thing had to wear a metal helmet to hide his scars.

Most recently, the events of “Empyre” brought the New Fantastic Four back together again. When the FF teamed with the Avengers to fight the Cotati, New York still needed defenders. Franklin and Valeria Richards summoned Spider-Man and Wolverine to reform the New Fantastic Four and fight the Cotati’s followers. The Hulk and Ghost Rider appeared briefly, but only as holograms.

Despite outward appearances, the New FF share a lot in common with the original team. Spider-Man, for example, has a keen scientific mind, much like Mister Fantastic. The Web-Slinger is also the voice of reason, much like Sue Storm. The Hulk and Wolverine share the tough, scrappy demeanor of the Thing, as well. Ghost Rider is sort of an anomaly, showing how the analogy between the two teams isn’t perfect.

Yet the New FF has the same sort of human differences that the original team does. Despite the vast gap between their personalities, the New FF manage to work together to save the day, just like their predecessors. Ultimately, the New Fantastic Four continues the spirit of Marvel’s First Family.

KEEP READING: Fantastic Four’s Reunion Teases the Return of Marvel’s ULTIMATE Weapon


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