The Fantastic 4 reboot starring Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, and Toby Kebbell is just around the corner. I am looking forward to the film and hope that they make a movie worth watching. With that said, all of the recent TV spots for "Fant4stic" got me thinking: I really don't find these characters that interesting let alone fantastic! I appreciate their position in comic book history, but I think they are a product of their times. Being some of the first comic book characters ever invented, some of their powers weren't as fantastical as others that came after them. So, who are some characters that can be just as fantastic as The Fantastic 4?
Mr. Fantastic vs. Plastic Man
Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic, is one of the greatest minds in the Marvel Universe. His scientific achievements are integral to the survival of almost all heroes in their universe. Despite his intellectually great mind, his elastic powers aren't necessarily the most impressive. Reed is able to fend off telepathic attacks due to his "elastic mind." He can redirect his density to his extremities in order to use his hands as weapons, stretch to very long lengths, and shape-shift. Sometimes, extreme stretching causes him intense pain, which then causes him to lose the concentration it takes to control the shape of his body.
Patrick O'Brian is literally immortal. He has been reduced to simple molecules and was still able to regenerate himself. His body has now become non-biological so he is immune to telepathy, and his organs can't be destroyed. He has no limits to the lengths he can stretch, and he can increase or decrease his size from a few inches to the size of building. He can rival the strength of some of the strongest heroes because he can simply increase his muscle mass. Despite all of his impressive physical feats, Patrick was also an extremely skilled thief which allows him to be a great detective now. There have also been off-handed comments in the comics about Plastic Man actually being much smarter than he let's on because he enjoys being funny and unpredictable rather than cold and calculated.
Obviously, Mr. Fantastic is an icon not just in his universe, but in comic history. However, Plastic Man has him beat on almost all fronts. Reed might have a mightier mind, but no matter what Reed could come up with it simply wouldn't matter because Patrick is immortal. Patrick's immense power over Reed is enough to make him the most fantastic of the two heroes.
Invisible Woman vs. Hal Jordan
Sue Storm is capable of becoming completely invisible, hence her title. However, she can also make herself and other people and/or objects invisible. It takes great concentration for her to do so, but she is capable of such a feat. One of her more useful powers is her ability to create force fields. These force fields allow her to protect herself and others in a large radius, break her fall if she needs to, fly on occasion, and make them permeable to allow certain things through. Her powers are only limited by her concentration, however if a construct is damaged it can greatly harm her.
Hal is the prodigal son of all Lantern's. He is a man of simplicity, but of intense will. His power ring is only limited by his will, so he is in turn extremely powerful. He can create hard-light constructs that can withstand space, underwater and high powered attacks. Along with this, his ring can render himself and anyone or anything else invisible at will. His ring also allows him to tap into all the knowledge contained within the central battery on Oa. This allows him to be extremely intelligent by just willing his ring to give him the knowledge. He can also fly at extreme speeds and survive the likes of space and underwater with ease. The powers go on and on for this amazing Green Lantern.
Hal is obviously the winner here. He possesses all of Sue's powers, and is able to perform them with greater ease. Hal then has a million other powers on top of these. Despite Sue being such an integral playing in the Marvel Universe, Hal Jordan is a more well-rounded character.
The Thing vs. The Hulk
Good ol' Ben is one strong dude. He has been shown to lift up to 100 tons and withstand hits from the Hulk and Thor. He has a high level of durability, but isn't impervious to harm. To achieve all of the feats he's accomplished, he trained for years with weights and fighting techniques. He's well versed in Judo, Jujitsu, wrestling, and boxing. Ben has a lot of experience with vehicles and is very good at flying. Something many people may not know is he is actually very agile and fast. The Thing also only ages when in human form, which is not very often, so this makes him almost immortal. Finally, one of Ben's biggest strengths comes in the form of his spirit. He was a kid with a tough life who grew up to be one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe.
Dr. Bruce Banner has a mind comparable to that of Reed Richards although he is not exactly a physics expert. Banner is a biology and radiation whiz and has even mentored other genius level superheroes. His meaner side, The Hulk, is nothing short of amazing in the realm of physicality. The Hulk is one of, if not the, strongest being in all of comics. The Hulk's strength is only limited by his burning rage, which we all know, only increases during battle. He has easily lifted over 150 billion tons and has survived the depths of space with no breathing apparatus. The Hulk does not tire, and only grows in strength and stamina as the fight rages on. Another interesting characteristic of The Hulk is his ability to prevent harm to Bruce. There is an instance when Bruce attempted suicide via a bullet to the brain, but The Hulk took over and prevented the bullet from killing them.
Although Ben is the epitome of The American Dream, and has had very impressive feats of strength, he is just no match for the Hulk. Both Ben and The Thing are just not in the same league as Bruce or The Hulk. Bruce's mind and struggle to suppress the Green Goliath is ultimately more interesting than Ben's struggle to balance his humanity with his new form. On each front, The Hulk beats the Thing every time.
Johnny Storm vs. Firestorm
The brother of Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, has fire that always burns a bit too bright. He has the ability to create incredible blasts of fire and energy rivaling that of some stars, but does not have the strength or stamina to maintain this level of power. He is very fast when flying, but can also only do so for a short period of time. Johnny's absorption of heat and fire is a great ability, but again he can only do this for a short period of time. Like I said, he is a fire that burns too bright and he burns both ends of his power.
There are have been several Firestorms, but for simplicity's sake, I'll use Ronnie Raymond's version. Firestorm has an amazing ability to manipulate the molecular structure of objects. For instance, he can turn lead into gold as long as the mass is the same. His transmutations are permanent and can be done at will. However, when changing biological matter, it can cause him great harm or expends a lot of energy. On top of this impressive ability, he can also create energy blasts of extreme power. He can also absorb radiation as if it was nothing. Along with this, he can become intangible,allowing him to pass through solid objects with ease. Ronnie has an awesome healing factor and super strength, but even more impressive is his invulnerability to space, hunger, dehydration, and lack of energy.
The Human Torch boasts some impressive attacks and control over his abilities, but his lack of longevity in a fight is damning. His inability to use his powers without oxygen or energy renders him useless in large scale battles. Firestorm on the other hand is his own nuclear power source which makes him practically impervious to tiring out. His other abilities, such as transmutation and intangibility, also put him far above Johnny in ranking. Firestorm is obviously more impressive than Johnny.
Now, I must reiterate: I love the Fantastic Four and I respect their importance in comic history. Unfortunately, not all things are meant to last, and The Fantastic Four are just not as relevant as they once were. There are so many other heroes out there with the same powers and still have even more to boast. I still encourage you all to go out and check out the new Fant4stic movie coming out, and let's all hope it's reinvigorating for these characters. So, be sure to let me know what you all thought in the comments below. Thanks for reading!