Take 10

Take 10: Replacement FF Members

As the Fantastic Four prepares for a hole in their roster yet again, the Secret Cabal ranks the past additions to the team

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Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

On September 22, a dire new epic begins for Marvel's First Family when artist Steve Epting joins writer Jonathan Hickman for "Three," beginning in FANTASTIC FOUR #583. The War of Four Cities has finally hit home, and when all's said and done, it's looking like our favorite foursome will be short a member.

This hardly marks the first time Marvel's most stalwart team has experienced a roster change over the years, so the Secret Cabal took time to look back at past FF fill-ins and note those who excelled in the role.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

 

 
10. GHOST RIDER (Danny Ketch)
First Appearance: GHOST RIDER #1 (1990)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #347 (1990)-FANTASTIC FOUR #349 (1991)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Hardly a team player, the Danny Ketch incarnation of Ghost Rider nonetheless joined up with Spider-Man, Wolverine and The Hulk to form a decidedly dysfunctional and extremely temporary Fantastic Four incarnation. GR kept his thirst for vengeance in check long enough to help mount a rescue mission of the original group for the Mole Man and the Skrulls.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #347-Ghost Rider unexpectedly joins the FF!

 
9. WOLVERINE
First Appearance: INCREDIBLE HULK #180 (1974)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #347 (1990)-FANTASTIC FOUR #349 (1991)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Despite being a card-carrying member of the X-Men, Avengers and X-Force, Wolverine seems an unlikely candidate for the Fantastic Four, but he did pitch in for one mission in honor of the supposedly fallen original group's memory. Logan's next encounter with the FF would be decidedly less cordial as he scarred The Thing's face with his claws, forcing Ben Grimm to add a helmet to his wardrobe.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #348-The new FF, including Wolverine, spring into action!

 
8. ANT-MAN (Scott Lang)
First Appearance: AVENGERS #181 (1979)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #384 (1994)-FANTASTIC FOUR #410 (1996)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Reed Richards left some big figurative shoes to fill when he went missing following a battle with Doctor Doom, yet the smallest of heroes attempted to do so when Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man, joined the Fantastic Four. Though he spent his FF days constantly in the shadow of Mister Fantastic's absence, Lang refused to let the comparisons chafe too hard and helped the team survive some of their darkest days.
Spotlight Comic: MIGHTY AVENGERS #25-Scott Lang's daughter, Stature, and her Avengers pal go against her former Fantastic friends!

 
7. THE HULK
First Appearance: INCREDIBLE HULK #1 (1962)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #347 (1990)-FANTASTIC FOUR #349 (1991)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: The majority of The Hulk's confrontations with the Fantastic Four through their shared association have been adversarial, as the government and others have called upon the team to corral the Jade Giant many times while The Thing has provided him with perhaps his most tenacious sparring partner. However, when it seemed as if the FF had fallen, the then-Grey Goliath agreed to honor his former foes as the brains and brawn of a replacement team, and then battled alongside them against the sinister Skrulls.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #12 (1963)-The Hulk's first meeting with the FF!

 
6. LUKE CAGE
First Appearance: LUKE CAGE: HERO FOR HIRE #1 (1972)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #168 (1976)-FANTASTIC FOUR #170 (1976)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: When The Thing lost his powers, rather than cast a net among their super-powered friends, the other members of the Fantastic Four elected to bring in a professional, contracting Power Man, aka Luke Cage: Hero For Hire. While his mercenary ways may have been somewhat contrasted to the FF's more selfless motives, Cage's heart and strength still proved more than adequate to fill in for Ben Grimm. Certainly Power Man seemed to gain some good habits from his time among Marvel's First Family, as shown by his later exploits as leader of the Avengers as well as a husband and father in his own right.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #170-The Puppet Master turns Power Man against the FF!

 
5. CRYSTAL
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #45 (1965)
FF Stints: FANTASTIC FOUR #81 (1968)-FANTASTIC FOUR #118 (1972); FANTASTIC FOUR #307 (1987)-FANTASTIC FOUR #317 (1988)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: The first non-founding member to don a Fantastic Four uniform, Crystal of the Inhumans subbed in for a pregnant Invisible Girl and battled assorted challenges alongside her beloved Human Torch and his teammates. Despite unfamiliarity with the world at large beyond the Inhumans' Great Refuge, the elemental would acquit herself admirably, allowing the FF to welcome young Franklin into the world without concern and earning her an awkward return engagement with the team years later even after her romance with Johnny had fizzled.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #81-The FF and Inhumans team-up as Crystal joins the fabulous foursome!

 
4. THE BLACK PANTHER
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #52 (1966)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #544 (2007)-FANTASTIC FOUR #550 (2007)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: You could probably count on one hand the men Reed Richards would trust to lead the Fantastic Four in his absence, but T'Challa numbers among them and took the baton from Mister Fantastic when his friend needed a break following the traumatic events of Civil War. Backed by The Thing and Human Torch and with his wife, Storm, at his side, The Black Panther navigated a most perilous period in the Marvel Universe's history, leading the FF into exotic realms like the Microverse and Skrull worlds while also safeguarding Earth from no less a threat than Galactus!
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #545-The Black Panther leads the new Fantastic Four against The Silver Surfer and Galactus!

 
3. MS. MARVEL (Sharon Ventura)
First Appearance: THE THING #27 (1985)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #307 (1987)-FANTASTIC FOUR #350 (1991)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: For Sharon Ventura, joining the Fantastic Four seemed like a dream come true; however, not long into her tenure with the team, exposure to cosmic radiation robbed the beautiful Ms. Marvel of her good looks and transformed her into a female doppelganger of The Thing. Undaunted, Sharon remained committed to her new teammates and her love, Ben Grimm his own blue-eyed self, refusing to wallow in self pity or give in to despair. Though her membership within the FF could easily have been a nightmare for a lesser woman, Ms. Marvel made the most of her experience and proved an unselfish and valiant hero.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #345-In a time-lost land, Ms. Marvel regains her humanity!

 
2. SPIDER-MAN
First Appearance: AMAZING FANTASY #15 (1962)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #347 (1990)-FANTASTIC FOUR #349 (1991)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: From nearly the moment he became a super hero, Spider-Man dreamed of joining the Fantastic Four. Yes, at first his desire stemmed from the hopes of being financially reimbursed, but as the Wallcrawler has matured and worked with the FF on countless occasions, he and the team have each developed respect and affection for one another, putting Spidey near the top of Reed Richards' speed dial. While the Webslinger only officially joined the team for a brief period when the original team had become incapacitated, he's often felt like the honorary fifth member; when Peter Parker's secret identity became a secret once more, he didn't keep it hidden long from his Fantastic allies.
Spotlight Comic: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 (1963)-Spidey's first attempt to join the FF!

 
1. SHE-HULK
First Appearance: SAVAGE SHE-HULK #1 (1980)
FF Stint: FANTASTIC FOUR #265 (1984)-FANTASTIC FOUR #300 (1987)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: While arguably nobody can truly replace a member of the Fantastic Four seeing as they're as much a family as a team, nobody has ever felt more like at least a close cousin than the original She-Hulk, Jen Walters. Taking over for The Thing after he elected to remain on Battleworld following the Secret Wars, Shulkie brought a reinvigorated sense of adventurous spirit and a new sense of whimsy as the team's new muscle, quickly winning over Reed, Johnny and Sue with her likeable persona. With their years of shared history, the FF's a tough unit to crack, but Jen's affability and unmatched courage proved undeniable and long after her tour of duty ended, she's remained "part of the family."
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #275-She-Hulk undertakes a personal mission to salvage her reputation!

 

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Comments

26 comments
Ultimate_Paranormal
Ultimate_Paranormal

Good Point, I will say out of those five candidates above, She Hulk is just a good fit. Beast does seems like a good idea but they got him tied up with the Avengers now. AMybe they'll be tricky about it and add one of Sue and Reeds kids to the roster...we'll just have to see how Marvel messes with our heads

jarreth28
jarreth28

Well as written currently there are only three good candidates for the job. Spidey, BP, and She-Hulk all have close ties with the FF and could all bring something to the table. Although, if it's Mr. F. that bites the dust *again* then Spidey or BP could bring more in the scientific dept. than say She-Hulk. And who says She-Hulk has an ongoing. Man it's been years. And the current mini-series She-Hulks coming up doesn't count!

epsilonstar
epsilonstar

Who ever said that one of them might die? I know that seems the most common thing in comics these days but Hickman may throw something at us from left field. Someone could walk off. It's not like it hasn't happened before. Come on anybody ever think that Ben may take a leave of absence to become a full on member of the New Avengers? It could happen. If it does then why not put some with strength and intellegence to fill in that possible role. She-Hulk seems to fit yes, but how about some one that could bring that and give Reed a wake up call like the Beast.

epsilonstar
epsilonstar

You wanyt someone new to the Fan 4 Dynamic I have a thought that nobody's has mentioned. You want Strength and Intelligence how about the Beast.

epsilonstar
epsilonstar

I really don't think putting the Black Panther back of FF would be a good idea. He is much better off as King of Wakanda, or being a member of the Avengers. Here's a thought though. This could go for a replacement for Reed or Ben. How about The Beast?

rjjones
rjjones

I think it all depends on who is out/offed/killed/lost in time/depowered.The thing with the FF is that each plays a very specific role and adds to the team and interpersonal dynamic. Without Reed, you need a strong leader and someone to provide adventurous motivation for the team. Without Johnny, you need some youthful exuberance and humor. Sue brings the moral center and female perspective/wisdom. Of course the Thing is our brick. :)That said, I'm hoping Reed ends up powerless and serving more as the tech advisor to the new line-up. My suggestions as a replacement would be someone neglected like Comet Man who has a science background or maybe a younger character like Bill Foster's nephew or Alex Power.

tube316
tube316

Def Spider-man hes the man for the job lol.

jnobi
jnobi

It should be my boy, Black Panther. He is too cold

anthonyjking
anthonyjking

what about daken he has history with them

rasx
rasx

Wonderman would make a good replacement for Johnny.

ellthom
ellthom

lol if it was Wolverine I would probably laugh really hard before going completely insane :P

rangel2005
rangel2005

Well if Mr.F..is the one to be relaced I would go with Black Panther, not only does he have the Intell..an fighting skills, an tech., but he is also a Born leader, an has many resources...just as long he doesnt take the FF, to his homeland to live..lol..

AusedC
AusedC

Why not Spider-Man. He is practically part of the Family and if I remember correctly they know his Secret Identity... I think he would a asset since he is also a scientist

rickreny
rickreny

Black panther is a terrific choice for a new team member. They need a real badass warrior type, plus he has access to vibranium, and he's a ruler of a nation, which would put them on par with Dr. doom in the international community. she- hulk is just a stupid character, why are there always 10 different versions of each popular character? Hulk is strongest there is, nuff said, we dont need another powerhouse on the team, the thing can go toe to toe w anybody, but seeing as how we dont yet know which member we will be losing....we'll have to wait and see. Still, there are better choices for a powerhouse than she-hulk, how about collossus? He has always been sorely under-used in x-men.

Genxcop
Genxcop

once mr. fantastic dies, spiderman will be the new 4th member. he is already considered family, has a brilliant scientific mind while not being up to the level of reed richards, but should be adequate to at least maintain much of the FF's equipment, & franklin idolizes him which will ease the loss of his father.

joshtylen
joshtylen

I would say She Hulk but she already has her own ongoing so I'd go with Crystal.

dcmarvel1
dcmarvel1

I'm bettin they'll bring in someone completely new to the FF, and by that I mean someone who's never been part of the team. It will be an established character, but not one we would have expected, like (and I'm not actually putting these out as possibilities, because there are reasons they wouldn't be on the team) Ronin or Spider-Woman, y'know, someone completely out of the blue.

epsilonstar
epsilonstar

Did any body notice that Storm from the X-Men was not listed? Remember when she and her new hubby the Black Panther joined for that short run they did a few years ago? Anyway she is NOT my replacement pick. It seems most of us are gravitating towards She-Hulk for the replacement. I wouldn't mind her rejoining the FF but how about going outside the box. I know I'll catch some grief for saying this but how about "Wonderman"!

Ultimate_Paranormal
Ultimate_Paranormal

Well let's see, Wolverine is part of X-Men, X-Force, the Avengers, and i'm sure other groups I failed to mention. Spidey should always be a loner, Black Panther just doesn't seem right, and I personally was never a fan of Ant Man...My vote definitely goes to She Hulk. And from the looks of the Fantastic 3 ads in recent comics it looks like the departure award goes to, Johnny Storm. I hope they don't kill him off though, perhaps resign, comatose, or even a change of moods turning evil, but don't kill The Human Torch....PLEASE! whatever and stuff.

white_lantern
white_lantern

i only beg you plese dont put the wolverine in this title too, am a huge fan of him but i m getting a bit tired of finding him in every cornner

novaman74
novaman74

Although, to be fair, Jonathan Hickman is THE MAN on Secret Warriors and SHIELD, so he's probably going somewhere much cooler with this than the other guys who killed FF members.

novaman74
novaman74

Typos, people. Come on, who edits these articles?Also, this will be the 3rd time a member of the FF has been killed, Reed was first (see Ant-Man), then the Thing. I really don't care who dies this time. I notice, too, they said Reed "went missing", because he wasn't technically dead, but he and Doom appeared to be incinerated in front of the rest of the FF. On the other hand, the Thing had to be rescued from the gates of Heaven. So, whatever.

Zerglot
Zerglot

Black panther was my first pick, She hulk is also a good FF candidate. I was leaning on Spiderman, but hes more like an occasional ally, and a light blue spider suit would be lame.

shulkielvr
shulkielvr

SHE-Hulk!!! Who else fit's better! She wasn't just asubstitute for the Thing she made her own mark as no other member from the outside ever has before. I even prefered her to the Thing and have missed her sice she left.PPPPLLLLEEEAAASSSEEE get her back!!!!!