THE FANTASTIC FOUR HYPE
The Fantastic Four and all its family of characters have been the talk of the comic world since Kevin Feige confirmed Marvel Studios has a FF film in development. With Kang the Conqueror a lock for the third Ant-Man movie, the onscreen build for Marvel’s first family will be well underway in short order.
The FF deserve all the attention and praise they are getting from the announcement. In the 1960s, they set a new standard for superheroes, introducing a relatable family that was more identifiable with audiences than those from the Golden Age. For all intents and purposes, if it was not for the FF’s success, Marvel Comics would not have lasted past the Silver Age.
RISE OF X
Then came the X-Men. At first, the original lineup of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel, and Ice Man was a Fantastic Four clone, and readers were not impressed. The title had poor sales and was on the brink of being outright canceled when Len Wein and company shook things up with Giant-Size X-Men #1. It was this team that picked up the torch from the FF and carried it even further. Where the FF brought a realistic family element to Marvel, the X-Men reflected the current times and brought diversity to the superhero team concept. By the 1980s, the X-Men had surpassed the FF as Marvel’s premiere team.
THE MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Before Fox folded and lost out to Disney, there was talk of a Fantastic Four/X-Men crossover movie. Considering the horrendous reception of the FF reboot and the dreadful X-Men: Apocalypse, I think we can all be grateful this one did not happen. Under the Marvel Studios banner, however, this could be much better with the proper build-up. Of course, when it comes to building up, Marvel has mastered that art.
With the FF entering the MCU first, there will surely be a slow burn as we wait for the X-Men to follow them from the Fox-verse into the Marvel Studios’ sandbox of characters. From there, we can expect to see the two teams finally square off on the big screen.
While we wait, here are some classic X-Men/FF issues to keep you occupied.
The two teams first met in the pages of Fantastic Four #28. While this was not everyone’s favorite Bronze Age X-Men lineup, it was fitting that the original X-Men, who were a clear copycat of the FF, met the Richards clan in this Silver Age classic.
If you are looking for a mid- or lower-grade copy, prices are reasonable considering the comic’s age. Anything up to a 6.0 is averaging less than $200 over the past 90 days. Wanting something even cheaper? Drop the grade to a 3.5, and you can keep your overhead to $120 or less.
This is a fun X-Men/FF story at the prime of the Claremont run in 1987. The X-Men were firing on all cylinders at this point, and this limited series served as a passing of the torch from Marvel’s team of the 1960s and ‘70s to that of the 1980s and ‘90s. The art and the storytelling are classic X-Men, and it even has Wolverine showing off his ability to make a brown and yellow (with a dash of red) color combo actually work. In true 1980s fashion, the two teams eventually learn to work together to defeat the real enemy, Doctor Doom.
Other than being a classic X-Men/FF meeting, there is nothing that makes Fantastic Four Versus the X-Men key issues. On the bright side, that keeps the prices low. How low, you ask? According to eBay’s sold listings, an entire “raw” set typically sells for about $10.
I thoroughly enjoyed Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the gritty, postmodern storytelling that DC Comics mastered decades prior. The reimagining of classic heroes gave readers a fresh take on old favorites. Out of all the Ultimate versions of Marvel’s elite, the Ultimate X-Men was my personal favorite.
As the X-Men made their way through the Ultimate Universe, they had altercations with the other superteams. There was the epic saga of Ultimate War that saw the X-Men battle the Ultimates, and then there was Ultimate Fantastic Four/Ultimate X-Men.
This was not the best-received FF/X-Men story, and the issues are not hard to find. That being said, you can go to eBay and buy your own copies for no more than $3 apiece.