(Warning - if you haven't yet seen Fantastic Four, then the following contains some pretty massive plot SPOILERS. Tread softly, and all that...)
Now, Fox's recently released cinematic reboot of Marvel's first family - The Fantastic Four - has come in for something of a critical and commercial kicking of late, with many fans complaining that the movie failed to do justice to the iconic comic books on which it was based.
Whatever your thoughts on the movie as a whole, though, it turns out that just underneath the surface, there were a whole lot of teases, nods and Easter eggs which - as a whole - suggest that Fantastic Four might just be far more faithful to the comic books than we initially thought.
Here, then, are:
4(+4) of the Greatest Old-School References in Fantastic Four
8. The Fantasticar
It may not have made it into the final movie, but that flying car Reed was apparently working on before switching his attention to teleportation? Well, that'd be the Fantasticar, one of the most iconic superheroic vehicles this side of the Batmobile...
7. The Baxter Building
Now, sure, Fantastic Four may not feature Four Freedoms Plaza, or any of the later modifications the Fantastic Four made to their Manhattan home - but it sure does feature a variation on the building's original moniker: The Baxter Building.
Even its nature as the location of a science program is taken from the comic books - just from the early 2000's Ultimate line, as opposed to the original 1960s stories...
In fact, a similar origin reconfiguration happened to:
6. Franklin Storm
Fans of the original FF comics may have been surprised to see Reg E. Cathay's Franklin Storm turn out to be a scientist, as opposed to the disgraced surgeon he was in his original comic book incarnation.
That too, though, was taken straight from the Ultimate versions of the Fantastic Four - with Storm there taking on a very similar role to the one he has in the movie.
Meanwhile, we also got to see:
5. The Catchphrases
They may not have been as prominent as we might have expected, but The Human Torch's 'Flame On' and The Thing's 'It's Clobberin' Time' were very much in the movie.
The fact that 'It's Clobberin' Time' is clearly associated by Ben Grimm with his brother's physical abuse does definitely give it a darker tone than in the comics, though...
4, The Negative Zone
It may have been called Planet Zero in the movie, but fans of the comics will surely have recognized the legendary Negative Zone - the parallel universe in which all matter is negatively charged.
If Fantastic Four does indeed get a sequel, there's a pretty solid chance we'll see the team head back to 'Zero,' and if so, we might even get a look at some of the classic comic book denizens of the 'Zone...
We've already, however, seen:
3. A Sneaky Civil War Reference
Remember Doom's snarky comment about the government using the Negative Zone/Planet Zero as a prison?
Well, in the comic books, that totally happened - and the facility was even designed by Reed Richards himself. Known as Prison 42, it came to prominence during Marvel's Civil War event, where it was used to imprison both unrepentant supervillains and anti-registration heroes...
On a more contentious note, though? Let's take a look at...
2. The Origin Story
For many fans, the absence of the Fantastic Four's classic origin story (on an outer space adventure, they were hit by cosmic rays) in favor of the heroes teleporting to another dimension.
Now, while that was obviously a huge leap from the original, it's actually pretty darned close to the origin the heroes had back in those aforementioned Ultimate Comics...
Though, that being said, at least in the comics' Sue Storm didn't get left at home on monitor duty...
1. Central City
The most intriguing tease of all for fans of the comic books, the movie's final scene (wherein the FF arrive at an isolated science facility, and are told that it's called Central City) is actually both a subtle nod to the heroes' origins, and a suggestion of intent for the future of the franchise.
Y'see, Central City is actually where the fantastic foursome's origin story happened, and where they had their first battle against supervillainy.
Could the movie ending with the heroes in Central City be less a rejection of their traditional New York-based adventures, then, and more a suggestion that a follow-up movie would focus on their first 'real' adventure as a team, with an accompanying return to the early comic books' scientific and exploratory ideals?
Here's hoping we get the chance to find out...