Fantastic Four Reading Order

Throughout the 2000’s the Fantastic Four have remained the rare Marvel property that isn’t properly beloved. Terrible movies will do that. I’m here to rectify that wrong with all the awesome Fantastic Four comics you’ll ever need.

The Fantastic Four

I) Fantastic Four Launch the Marvel Universe – Lee & Kirby in the 60’s

The Fantastic Four Omnibus (Lee & Kirby) Volume 1

Fantastic Four #1-30, Annual #1

The comic that started Marvel as we know it. Gotta read your Lee & Kirby if you ever want to call yourself a True Believer!

The Fantastic Four Omnibus (Lee & Kirby) Volume 2

Fantastic Four #31-60, Annual #2-4

II) John Byrne Restores the Fantastic Four to Glory

Fantastic Four by John Byrne – Volume 1

Issues: Marvel Team-Up #61-62; Marvel Two-In-One #50; Fantastic Four #215-218, #220-221, #232-262 And Annual #17; Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #42; Avengers #233; Thing #2; And Alpha Flight (1983) #4

The collected issues referenced here are the ones you’ll find included in the Marvel Omnibus edition. You can certainly dig for these in Marvel Unlimited, but I’d just as soon keep to those within the Fantastic Four title.

Fantastic Four by John Byrne Volume 2

Issues: Fantastic Four (1961) #261-295, Fantastic Four Annual #18-19, Alpha Flight (1983) #4, Thing (1983) #10 And #19, Avengers Annual #14, And Material From Secret Wars Ii #2, Epic Illustrated #26-34, What If? (1977) #36, What The -?! #2 And #10, Thing (1983) #7, Fantastic Four Roast, Fantastic Four Special Edition

X-Men vs. Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four Vs. The X-Men #1-4

Limited 1987 series from Chris Claremont. In the wake of the X-Men’s mutant massacre.

III) Heroes Return: The Waid & Wieringo Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four: Flesh and Stone

Fantastic Four #40 – 45

As you’ll note, you could start all the way back with Fantastic Four #1 as part of Heroes Return. Personally, I don’t find this period of Marvel Comics very worthwhile, but completists will want to jump all the way back. Otherwise, I’d kick off with this intriguing Jeph Loeb run as a lead-in to Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s truly excellent arc.

Fantastic Four: Resurrection of Galactus

Fantastic Four #46 – #50, + Fantastic Four Annual (2001)

Fantastic Four / Inhumans

Collects Inhumans #1-4 And Fantastic Four #51-54

This is a weird trade collection, and although I own it, it’s not one I highly recommend. Nonetheless there are some major Inhuman developments here. I won’t be doing a full Inhumans reading order within the FF, but I will note that you’ll want to read Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee’s Inhumans miniseries before these four Inhumans issues.

Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo Ultimate Collection, Book 1

Collects Fantastic Four #60 – #67

If you’re looking for the best modern starting place for Fantastic Four, look no further. Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo put together one of my favorite Fantastic Four runs ever, and it’s a highlight of early 2000’s Marvel. Note that the series adopts its original numbering after issue #70 for the all important issue #500.

Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo Ultimate Collection, Book 2

Collecting Fantastic Four (1998) #67-70, Fantastic Four (1961) #500-502 And Material From The #500 Director’S Cut

Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo Ultimate Collection, Book 3

Collecting Fantastic Four (1961) #503-513

Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo Ultimate Collection, Book 4

Collecting Fantastic Four (1961) #514-524

Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius Ultimate Collection – Book 1

Collects Son Of A Genius, Everybody Loves Franklin, Super Summer Spectacular, Happy Franksgiving, March Madness, World Be Warned, Monster Mash, Fall Football Fiasco!

I’m adding in here one of Marvel’s finest all ages creations, a series of Franklin Richards one-shots. Not necessary for continuity, but a lot of fun, and again, very well suited for all ages.

IV) Marvel Knights Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four: 1234 (Marvel Knights)

#1 – #4

If after all the fun, laughs, and joy of the previous Fantastic Four stories you find yourself wanting to see Marvel’s first family dragged through hell, well, here’s Grant Morrison & Jae Lee with 1234! This is an out of continuity miniseries under the Marvel Knights imprint, meaning it’s much darker and edgier than the reading thus far. It’s also some of Morrison at his madcap best, devising insidious torture for the Fantastic Four.

The Thing: Freakshow

The Thing: Freakshow #1 – #4, Thing & She-Hulk: Long Night #1

A Thing miniseries written by future DC scribe, Geoff Johns.

Startling Stories: Fantastic Four – Unstable Molecules

Startling Stories: Fantastic Four – Unstable Molecules #1 – #4

Startling Stories: Thing – Night Falls on Yan

Startling Stories: Thing – Night Falls On Yan #1 – #4

Human Torch by Karl Kesel & Skottie Young: The Complete Collection

Human Torch #1 – #12

Solo, out of continuity Human Torch action. 2003 version of Skottie Young!

Fantastic Four: Foes

Collects Fantastic Four: Foes #1-6

Robert Kirkman gets into the heads of the Fantastic Four’s villains.

Marvel Knights Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: Wolf at the Door

Marvel Knights 4 – #1 – #7 (Feb 2004 – July 2004)

Marvel Knights Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: The Stuff of Nightmares

Marvel Knights 4 – #8 – #12

Marvel Knights Fantastic Four, Vol. 3: Divine Time (v. 3)

Collects Marvel Knights 4 #13-18

Marvel Knights Fantastic Four, Vol. 4: Impossible Things Happen Every Day (v. 4)

Marvel Knights 4 #19-24

Marvel Knights Fantastic Four, Vol. 5: The Resurrection of Nicholas Scratch

Collects Marvel Knights 4 #25-30

House of M: Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four: House Of M #1 – #3

I’d rate House of M: Fantastic Four as one of the best House of M tie-ins out there.

Tales of the Thing

Tales Of The Thing #1 – #3

Fantastic Four: Books of Doom

Collects Fantastic Four: Books Of Doom #1-6

A personal favorite detailing the rise of Victor Von Doom. From Ed Brubaker, writer of Captain America: Winter Soldier and Joker: The Man Who Laughs (or Criminal, Velvet, Fatale… he writes a lot of good comics).

The Thing: Idol of Millions

The Thing #1 – #8

Really underrated solo Thing series (the Thing was HUGE in 2005!) from current Spidey scribe, Dan Slott.

V) Civil War Hits The Four

Fantastic Four by J. Michael Straczynski, Vol. 1

Fantastic Four #525 – #535 (April 2005 – Feb 2006)

I’m of the opinion that you can basically jump past this portion of the Fantastic Four to the Civil War tie-ins, but do you!

Fantastic Four: First Family

Collects Fantastic Four: First Family #1-6

Look back at the very first moments of the Fantastic Four’s superpowered transformation.

Fantastic Four: Civil War

Collects Fantastic Four #538-543

Naturally, if you want to see how these issues fit in with the rest of the event, you can check out the Civil War reading order guide.

Fantastic Four: The End

Collects Fantastic Four: The End #1-6

Out of continuity look at the final Fantastic Four story!

Fantastic Four and Power Pack: Favorite Son

Collects Fantastic Four And Power Pack #1-4

Inessential but fun all ages Fantastic Four and Power Pack team-up.

The New Fantastic Four

Collects Fantastic Four #544-550

Dwayne McDuffie takes over Fantastic Four duties following the team shake up of Civil War. Lots more Black Panther and Storm in these issues, which are quietly very solid.

Fantastic Four: The Beginning of the End

Collects Fantastic Four #525-526, 551-553

Collected edition includes earlier McDuffie work on issues #525 and #526, but obviously you can just keep on rolling with Fantastic Four #551

Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest

Collects Fantastic Four #554-561 (Feb 2008 – Nov 2008)

Strangely, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch – the duo behind the Ultimates – didn’t do much to launch the Fantastic Four to new heights. Don’t worry, we’re nearly in Hickman range.

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four

Collects Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1-3, And Fantastic Four #300 And #357

And of course, check out here for the rest of the Secret Invasion reading order.

Fantastic Four: True Story

Fantastic Four True Story #1 – #4

Fantastic Four: The Masters of Doom

Collects Fantastic Four #562-569 (Ends July 2009)

VI) The Jonathan Hickman Fantastic Four Era

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four

Collects Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1-5

Sub-Mariner: The Depths

Sub-Mariner: The Depths #1-5

Darn right I’m throwing in an awesome Marvel Knights Sub-Mariner book.

Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil

Collects Dr. Doom & The Masters Of Evil #1-4

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 1

Collects Fantastic Four #570-575 (Aug 2009 – Jan 2010)

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2

Fantastic Four #575-578

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 3

Fantastic Four #579-582 (Ends Aug 2010)

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 4

Collecting Fantastic Four #583-588 (Sept 2010 – Feb 2011)

DoomWar

Doomwar #1 – #6

This mini event is not a part of the Hickman saga, so buyer beware.

FF, Vol. 1

Ff #1 – #5

The series reloads to just “FF” after the “Three” story arc. Issues #1 through #11 of FF will count as Fantastic Four #589 through #599. Don’t freak out when those are “missing” in Marvel Unlimited!

You can also read the Fear Itself: FF one-shot here.

FF, Vol. 2

Ff 6-11

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman – Volume 5

Fantastic Four 600-604

FF by Jonathan Hickman – Volume 3

Ff 12-16

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman – Volume 6

Fantastic Four 605.1, 605-611 (Ends Oct 2012)

FF by Jonathan Hickman – Volume 4

Ff 17-23

VII) Marvel NOW Fantastic Four

Galacta: Daughter of Galactus

One Shot

Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: New Departure, New Arrivals

Fantastic Four 1-3, Ff 1-3

I highly enjoyed Matt Fraction and Mike Allred’s work on FF, and I actually think the Fraction and Bagley Fantastic Four is semi underrated. I’m not saying it’s the best work on the team, but semi kinda underrated.

Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: Road Trip

Collecting: Fantastic Four 4-8, 5Au

Fantastic Four Volume 3: Doomed

Collecting: Fantastic Four 9-16

FF – Volume 1: Fantastic Faux

Ff #4 – #8

FF – Volume 2: Family Freakout

Collecting: Ff 9-13

VIII) The End of Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four Volume 1: The Fall of the Fantastic Four

Collecting: Fantastic Four 1-5

Fantastic Four Volume 2: Original Sin

Collecting: Fantastic Four 6-10

Hard to describe how much I dislike these Original Sin tie-ins. Ugh.

Fantastic Four Volume 3: Back in Blue

Collecting: Fantastic Four 11, Annual 1, 12-14

Fantastic Four Volume 4: The End is Fourever

Collecting: Fantastic Four 642-645

Secret Wars

Secret Wars is effectively a Fantastic Four event, and marks the end of Hickman’s story arc on the Fantastic Four. Highly recommended for fans of the run.

IX) All-New All-Different Fantastic Four

Members of the Fantastic Four make appearances in the following comics following Secret Wars.

Uncanny Inhumans Vol. 1: Time Crush (Uncanny Inhumans #0 to #4)

The Human Torch becomes an ongoing regular with long-time Fantastic Four collaborators, the Inhumans.

Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard Vol. 1: Emperor Quill (GoTG #1 to #5)

Less expectedly, the Thing shoots back in to space, as Benjamin J. Grimm becomes the latest Earthling to join the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Ultimates: Omniversal Vol. 1: Start With the Impossible (Ultimates #1 to #5)

Although it’s my favorite Marvel Comic of 2016, Ultimates doesn’t have a particularly direct FF connection for most of its run. Nonetheless, it’s where we get the clearest glimpse into what the Richards family is doing after Secret Wars.

10 Replies to “Fantastic Four Reading Order”

  1. Another great order! Thanks!

    Quick question: Does Hickman’s run intersect much with ongoing Marvel events (Siege, Chaos War, Fear itself, Avengers vs X-Men) or can I read it straight through to Marvel NOW?

    1. There’s a Fear Itself: FF one-shot that can be read after the first 5 issues of Hickman’s FF. Otherwise the Hickman run can go pretty much straight through.

      1. Yeah, Hickman’s F4/FF just barrels through so trying to find gaps to allow for other appearances is tricky, esp. tossing Spidey into the mix! Digging to the microscopic level of continuity, you literally have to allow spaces between panels & pages for them to appear in other stories.

        My personal take on Future Foundation “Year One” goes like this:

        FF 1 pg. 1-20
        Amazing Spider-Man 658-660
        FF 1 pg. 21-24, FF 2-3
        FF 6-7 (self-contained flashback stories involving Black Bolt’s return in #5)
        FF 4-5, 8-9 (One big story with no gap)
        FF 10 pg. 1-14
        Fear Itself
        Spider Island
        Annihilators: Earthfall 1-4 (Somehow Ronan delays his Kree invasion to attack Earth with his cosmic super-gang instead?!)
        FF 10 pg. 15-20, FF 11, F4 600, FF 12, F4 601, FF 13, F4 602, FF 14, F4 603-604

  2. Dave,

    May also want to consider revising/ addressing Walt Simonson’s run somewhere after “Fan4 vs X-Men” (Section 2 B?). Although highly stylized those are some fun issues (& even features the “New Fantastic Four” w/Art Adams!).

    Re: Inhumans #1-4. The Jenkins/Lee 12-Part is definitely an advisable alternative! The 2000 mini is a weird bit of quasi-canon, also doubling as a sort-of Marvel Universe prequel, showing the exile of J-Son of Spartax pre-Meredith Quill. Maybe it’s just easier to blame Wolverine for breaking the timestream in this case & moving on…

    1. Awesome feedback. Love the Future Foundation “Year One” Guide.

      I need to check out Simonson’s run. Admittedly I haven’t touched it, unless he wrote the issue where Doctor Doom brings Thing, Miss Thing, and Human Torch into the negative zone to find the Beyonder.

      Completely forgot J-Son of Spartax was in that Inhumans mini. I don’t think I would have understood that reference at the time at all. It’s such a weirdly influential miniseries canonically for being such a mess.

  3. I’m confused, is the Waid and Wieringo run actually included in Marvel Unlimited starting at issue #60? I’m confused at the renumbering system, would be great if someone could confirm whether or not issues 60-67 are in MU.

  4. How far back inFantastic Four history would I need to go back to, to start reading so that the events / story lines of 2014 – 2015 make sense.
    I haven’t read any FF since I he mid 90s and even back then I wasn’t a regular reader. I was primarily reading Spiderman back then 😁

    1. The Jonathan Hickman era (about 2009, Fantastic Four #570, plus a Dark Reign mini) is the best way to understand where the team is at, and for that matter to understand Marvel’s Secret Wars. It’s a decent commitment, but in my opinion well worth it.

      Enjoy the comics!

      1. Great thanks for the information 😁 I had started reading the Dark Reign mini series until someone came up with h a suggestion 👍
        As I currently have a lot of time on my hands now and also have a Marvel Unlimited account , seems like I have no excuse but to dive right in 😁

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