Marvel’s FANTASTIC FOUR Comics Recommendations Hint at the Team’s MCU Future

Marvel recently released a message from “the Future Foundation” about the Fantastic Four comics you might want to read “in preparation for the upcoming meeting.” The comic giant even made these stories available for free on Marvel Unlimited. Marvel wants us to read five specific comics, which probably provide hefty clues as to what to expect in the upcoming Fantastic Four film from Matt Shakman. For those who are unfamiliar with the Future Foundation, it’s the scientific think tank developed by Mister Fantastic himself in recent years. Here are the Marvel Comics recommendations and how we think those choices will relate to the upcoming Fantastic Four film.

The Fantastic Four in retro costumes by Alex Ross.
Marvel Comics

Fantastic Four #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (1961)

Cover and interior art by Jack Kirby for Fantastic Four #1 (1961)
Marvel Comics

This is the comic that started not only the Fantastic Four as a team, but the Marvel Universe as we know it. The first issue features the FF’s origin story. We meet them as Atomic Age adventurers who steal a prototype spaceship and gain powers during a cosmic ray storm. Scientist Reed Richards becomes the stretchy Mister Fantastic and his girlfriend Sue Storm becomes the Invisible Girl. Sue’s kid brother Johnny becomes the flammable Human Torch, and their buddy, the pilot Ben Grimm, becomes the monstrous Thing. Kevin Feige has said that the new Fantastic Four film won’t be an origin story. However, their origin will at least be referenced or seen in flashback form. This is why this historic first issue was likely included under the Future Foundation Marvel Comics recommendations. It’s truly the start of everything.

Fantastic Four #48-50 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (1966)

Jack Kirby's art from the Fantastic Four's Galactus Trilogy from 1967.
Marvel Comics

These iconic issues of the Fantastic Four from 1966 show the Lee and Kirby team at their creative peak. These issues, collectively known as “The Galactus Trilogy,” focus on the Silver Surfer coming to Earth, as Herald of Galactus. He’s come to warn Earth that his master, the Devourer of Worlds, is arriving to consume the planet’s life energy. This storyline introduces one of the biggest threats to the Marvel Universe in the form of Galactus as well as one of its greatest tragic heroes in the Silver Surfer. It also set the standard for long-form comic book storytelling. Silver Surfer is confirmed for the MCU Fantastic Four, so Galactus cannot be far behind. This makes it feel official that the plot of the film revolves in some manner around this storyline. However, the next Fantastic Four comic that Marvel recommended may signal a very different version of the Galactus saga than fans know.

Fantastic Four: Life Story by Mark Russell and Sean Izaakse (2021)

Art for the alt-universe series Fantastic Four: Life Story.
Marvel Comics

The previous comics were almost no-brainers for an introduction to the Fantastic Four. But this final issue is a lot more recent. It should provide a big clue as to what the MCU FF will eventually look like. In the six issue series Fantastic Four: Life Story, writer Mark Russell traces the FF as if they got their powers in 1961, just as in the regular comics. The difference here is that the series follows them as they actually age in real-time. In this alternate history, Reed Richards saw the eventual coming of Galactus and Earth’s destruction, decades down the line. The Fantastic Four become celebrity heroes and Reed transforms the world with his advanced technology.

In the ’90s, the Silver Surfer arrives and informs Earth they have ten years until Galactus arrives to devour the planet. The rest of the series follows the aging team as they try to prevent the Earth’s destruction at the hands of Galactus. They do this while also contending with the likes of Doctor Doom. The teaser art Marvel Studios released on April 4, showcasing a retro-future New York skyline, is maybe hinting that Fantastic Four takes place on its own Earth, where the FF first appeared in the ’60s and spent decades preparing for the coming of Galactus. It certainly seems plausible given this recommendation from Marvel. This relatively new series might be more important to the upcoming film than anyone had ever thought.

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