> Oversized Marvel Hardcovers


From the Mouths of the Marvels:

“The only thing old about the FF… is that they never stop taking us into the new."

-- Mr. Shertzer, p. 20, from FF #60


The key to Mike Weiringo’s FF: flexibility. Able to do cartoony fun and switch to deadly serious at will.

(Click panels for larger images.)


Featured Characters:

  • Franklin Richards
  • Val Richards
  • Mr. Shertzer #60
  • Jian #61-66
  • Modulus #62-64
  • Jacob Suarti #63-66
  • Dr. Doom #67-500
  • Valeria #67
  • Dr. Strange #500


From the Inside Dustflap:

During an experimental rocket mission into space, the four crew members are bombarded with powerful cosmic rays, transforming them into something more than human. Upon their return to Earth, Reed Richards, Ben Grimm and Sue and Johnny Storm pledge to use their newfound powers to explore the boundaries of human knowledge as the Fantastic Four!

Since that fateful space flight, they have held to that original promise, no matter the odds against them. And the odds have never been greater than now- as the Fanttastic Four take on a cascading wave of molecular instability threatening to melt half of New York, an alien cockroach the size of a Buick, and even a strange sentient mathematical construct seeking to determine the meaning of love.

But what happens when all Reed's vaunted scientific knowledge is rendered useless? The team's greatest nemesis, Doctor Doom, has bartered his technological genius for dark sorcery, and uses his newfound supernatural might to attack the Four at their most vulnerable. Facing a Doom more powerful than ever, will the defenseless Reed make an unthinkable choice to save his family?

Collecting Fantastic Four #60-70 and #500-502.

Plus: More than thirty pages of bonus material! Take a peek into the making of Fantastic Four- featuring writer Mark Waid's original series proposal, deleted scenes that didn't make it into the final story, character designs from artist Mike Wieringo's sketchbook, and more!


  Fantastic Four, Vol. 1

Reprints: Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #60-70, 500-502

(Note: #500 is the issue where Marvel started renumbering the FF based on the original numberingsystem. It picks up chronologically after #70, aka #499. This HC reprints 14 consecutive issues ofchronology.)

List price: $29.99 (US) • $48.00 (Canada)
ISBN: 0-7851-1486-6
368 pages

Original Release Date: 6/23/04
Current In-Print Edition: Second Print

SPECIAL BONUS FEATURES: (35 pages total)

  • Introduction by Mark Waid (2 pages)
  • Thing pinup (1 pages)
  • Dr. Doom pinup (1 pages)
  • Fantastic Four Manifesto by Mark Waid w/character sketches by Mike Wieringo (9 pages)
  • Full page of interlocking covers to FF #51-54, more Wieringo preliminary sketches (1 page)
  • cover gallery of FF #51-54 (4 pages)
  • Wizard Ace Edition Cover of FF #48 without acetate overlay (1 page)
  • Wizard Ace Edition Cover of FF #48 with acetate overlay (1 page)
  • Cover Sketches by Mike Wieringo FF #60-66, 68-69, 6 unused covers (2 pages)
  • Deleted Scenes: Scripts by Waid and Finished Artwork by Wieringo, along with commentary by both (4 pages)
  • Character designs: sketches by Wieringo, commentary by Waid and Wieringo (3 pages)
  • Process: from script to final printed page (1 page)
  • Outtakes: humorous takes on FF panels (1 page)
  • Stan Lee's original synopsis for FF #1 (1 page)
  • Fantastic Five...Hundred That Is! Fred Hembeck cartoon (2 pages)
  • 500 covers of FF (3 pages)

Buy From:
TALES OF WONDER: $20.99 • AMAZON USA: $29.99
AMAZON UK: £15.05 • AMAZON CANADA: $27.09

PRINT ERROR: In the first print of FF Vol. 1 HC, the dialogue bubbles from page 3 of issue #66 is missing, and is overlaid atop page 4. You can view scans of the original pages from the comics here:

By now, most retailers are stocking the second print, since the first one has sold out at Diamond. However, if you are buying a copy and want to make sure you are getting the corrected second print, you can easily note it by inspecting the back of the dustjacket, where the contents of the book will be noted. The first print does not note the contents.


Script: Mark Waid


  • Mike Wieringo (60-64, 67-70, 500)
  • Mike Buckingham (65-66)
  • Casey Jones (501-502)
  • Karl Kesel (60-64, 67-502)
  • Mark Buckingham (65-66)

Fantastic Four #60: "Inside Out"
22 pages + cover • October 2002

A press agency sends a representative, Shertzer, to revamp the Fantastic Four’s image. He spends a harrowing week at the Baxter Building, where he suffers through inter-dimensional trips, scientific disasters and Ben and Johnny’s bickering. He notes in his PDA that although the public takes them for granted, up close they are strange, unpredictable and frightening. He also learns they aren’t superheroes. They’re “imaginauts”, scientists that happen to have super powers. They aren’t here to make the world safe, they’re here to bring it into the future.

No one in the team understands why Reed would even employ a PR firm but Reed privately tells his baby daughter Valeria that becoming celebrities was the only way to keep them from being labeled as freaks. It’s his way of making up for the accident that robbed the four of them of normal lives.

* * *

Fantastic Four #61: "24 Blocks and One Blockhead"
22 pages + cover • November 2002

Thing is humiliated by a yet another Yancy Street Gang package but this time he’s found a clue; the address ofa novelty shop. He’ll find out who ordered the spring-loaded pie and finally learn who’s responsible for all the gags over the years. What he doesn’t know is that all the packages are the work of Johnny who’s desperate to keep Thing from learning the truth. Johnny tries as hard as he can to slow Ben down but it’s no use. They get to the address and find the entire building is missing. Sue has turned it invisible and she’s tired of cleaning up Johnny’s messes. Meanwhile Reed discovers a demonic possession in the children’s room.

Johnny needs responsibility so she’s going to thrust it upon him. She names him the new CFO of Fantastic Four, Inc.

* * *

Fantastic Four #62: "Sentient, Part 1"
21 pages + cover • December 2002

While Reed tries to understand what happened in the children’s room and tests Valeria for mutant powers, Johnny tries to comprehend his responsibilities as CFO. He notices an advanced PDA in Reed’s office and later that night, it is stolen.

Modulus, a living being of numbers crawls out of the PDA and attacks Ben and Sue in a movie theater. It gets inside their bodies and divides the elements in Ben’s rocks and Sue’s hand. It will destroy the Fantastic Four out of love for Reed Richards.

* * *

Fantastic Four #63: "Sentient, Part 2"
21 pages + cover • January 2003

Sue holds herself and Ben together with a force field but it prevents Ben from fighting back. While Sue and Ben try to contact Reed, Johnny is approached by a garment company who wants their unstable molecules. Johnny won’t give them the technology but he decides to license the product for protective uniforms. Modulus suddenly attacks him and divides the molecules in a nearby swimming pool. The hydrogen ignites around Johnny’s flame form.

Reed realizes the creature came from his PDA. Franklin had tampered with it in a bid for Reed’s attention. Modulus attacks the team and Reed realizes it is not a walking equation. It is a walking half an equation looking to be complete. Modulus assumes Reed is its equivalent so Reed must come up with a mathematic formula for himself.

* * *

Fantastic Four #64: "Sentient, Part 3"
21 pages + cover • February 2003

While Reed concocts an equation for himself, Thing and Torch have no luck fighting Modulus. It chases them into an abandoned building and adds levels to the structure. The building collapses under its own weight on top of them.

Modulus breaks into the Baxter Building and punches through Sue’s force field. It follows Franklin into the labs where an electronic simulacrum of Reed Richards stands. That is its sum. Modulus is angry at the trickery but Reed explains he is more than the sum of his parts. He is the love of his family, something math can never explain. Modulus joins with the simulacrum and disappears into the PDA. The crisis averted, Reed spends more time with his son.

* * *

Fantastic Four #65: "Small Stuff”
21 pages + cover • March 2003

A giant inter-dimensional termite is loose in the Baxter building and catching it has become Reed and Ben’s pet project. While Reed uses Dr. Doom’s shrink ray to reduce Ben to four feet tall and send him into the air ducts to find the termite, Johnny brings a sample of unstable molecules to Mr. Suarti.

He expects Suarti will simply license the technology from the FF but Suarti reverse engineers the sample. There he finds writing on a molecule that reads, “If you can read this you have violated our contract”. Johnny thinks the case is closed, but Suarti had stolen his wallet, also made of unstable molecules. When that is unlocked, the instability spreads to anything and anyone around it. Meanwhile, Ben finds the termite but is now too small to defend himself.

* * *

Fantastic Four #66: "Big Stuff”
21 pages + cover • April 2003

Reed aims Doom’s shrink ray at the termite but it backfires. The termite grows even larger, dwarfing the tiny Thing. He grows Thing to enormous size and Ben makes quick work of the termite but almost destroys the Baxter Building in the process. He tosses the termite back to its own dimension and tries to shrink himself but is reduced to an atomic level.

Meanwhile the unstable molecules are threatening to consume Suarti’s lab and then the entire world. Johnny goes to Sue for help and after she berates him, she seals the entire building in a straining force field. Johnny steps down as CFO and decides to share responsibilities with Jian, the only one in the department who tried to help him.

* * *

Fantastic Four #67: "Unthinkable, Prologue"
22 pages + cover • April 2003

Victor Von Doom walks the streets of Cassamonte, Georgia, a haven for phony psychics. He chides the frauds and frightens blind children as he reminisces his time with Valeria, his lost love. He broke her heart when he left to study in America and forgot her when he became Dr. Doom. Now he finds her in a darkened shop and begs her to return to him. He has rejected science and knows her love will make him a new man. She takes his hand and a powerful spell strips the flesh off her bones. He has rejected science for sorcery and her sacrifice will add to his power. Her flesh wraps around him like his old armor.

* * *

Fantastic Four #68: "Unthinkable, Part 1"
21 pages + cover • June 2003

Johnny keeps avoiding paying the Thing his allowance. Ben vents Thing his frustration with the largestwater balloon ever made. While Reed and Sue escape a race of aliens that speak in trinary code, they discuss the incident in the nursery. Sue thinks it’s magic. Reed doesn’t believe in magic because he can’t understand it. Although in a world that holds Dr. Strange, it’s hard to deny its existence.

They pick up their children from the Inhuman babysitters through a teleporter. They place Val in the living room where one of her clocks transmits the image of Dr. Doom. Suddenly one of Reed’s inventions spews a demon that chases Franklin. Valeria says her first word; Doom. Reed sends Franklin back through the teleporter but something has gone wrong. It’s now a gateway to hell.

* * *

Fantastic Four #69: "Unthinkable, Part 2"
21 pages + cover • July 2003

Johnny flies into hell to rescue Franklin but the demons’ fire burns even him. He is hurled back and the demons destroy the teleporter. Franklin is trapped in hell. Doom threatens them through the mouth of their baby Val.

Doom meets with the three demons he bargained with. He owes them only acknowledgement. The Fantastic Four contact Dr. Strange who is too busy to help. In reality, he has been captured by the demons. The Fantastic Four fly to Latveria where a magic field shorts out their technology and their ship crashes into the ground. Doom is waiting and repels their attack with magic. Reed is stumped.

* * *

Fantastic Four #70: "Unthinkable, Part 3"
21 pages + cover • August 2003

Reed works under the assumption that magic is simply science he doesn’t understand. His assumption is wrong as every attempt to defeat Doom fails. Thing runs away with baby Val to take her to safety but Doom magically brings her back. Thing breaks Doom’s neck but Doom simply rests it. He calls up the Mindless Ones who beat the Thing to a pulp. He orders the Fantastic Four to surrender and he will release their child, conjuring up a picture of Franklin in hell. They surrender and he puts the baby down abandoning Franklin in hell.

In his stronghold, the Mindless Ones continue pounding on the Thing. He reverses their powers, putting Sue in flames and stretching Johnny into knots. But he’s saved the worst punishment for Reed. He locks Richards in his library where thousands of books on sorcery reside. If he can find the right spell, he can escape. Reed can’t understand a single word in these books. Suddenly a message appears on the floor; “Knowledge Isn’t Everything”.

* * *

Fantastic Four #500: "Unthinkable, Part 4"
38 pages + cover • September 2003

Although his body is paralyzed by demons, Dr. Strange appears in astral form to Reed. He tries to teach Reed how to conjure spells but Reed is too smart for his own good. He almost kills them both as he creates a spell to teleport them to Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. Reed doesn’t grasp the philosophy that magic is a form of letting go and understanding your place in the universe. He is a scientist, which means he dissects and masters the forces of the universe. His spells only alert Doom’s to his presence. Doom appears in Manhattan and Strange, having no time for lessons, gives Reed an avatar. Once Reed despairs and loses his ego, the avatar glows.

Reed brings his family back and, using Reed’s avatar, they defeat Doom. He now realizes Doom doesn’t have the power to bring Franklin back to earth. He owes all his power to the bargaining demons. Doom refutes this claim saying he needs no one. That breaks the deal. The demons, asking only acknowledgement, return to pull Doom down into hell. Reed, Sue and Johnny follow and rescue Franklin. Doom begs for salvation but Reed can’t trust him. He abandons Doom in hell, but not before Doom magically scars his face.

* * *

Fantastic Four #501: "5th Wheel, Part 1"
21 pages + cover • October 2003

The crisis with Doom has left emotional scars on the family. Franklin has retreated into silence and Reed broods in his lab, hiding his scarred face. Sue and Ben try to cheer Franklin up at Coney Island but it’s no use. Thing follows along invisible to avoid attention but ends up wrecking the Ferris Wheel.

Johnny has an idea to set things right. He picks up a gun and takes Reed through Doom’s time machine. They are in the past watching Doom as a child with his gypsy tribe. There’s one simple way to end this. Johnny cocks the gun.

A man brazenly tries to pick Sue up and Sue responds by making Thing visible. A crowd of autograph seekers gathers and Franklin loses control, cursing the people around him.

* * *

Fantastic Four #502: "5th Wheel, Part 2"
21 pages + cover • November 2003

Thing disperses the crowd and they finally understand Franklin’s dilemma. He thinks he’s still in hell. Sue turns the world invisible to prove she will always protect him but Franklin knows it isn’t true. Thing agrees. There’s no way to be completely safe in this world. Bad things will happen but you have to make the most out of them. Ben himself was turned into a monster but that tragedy afforded him adventures he never believed possible.

Johnny’s attempt to shake Reed to his senses seems to backfire when Reed fires at the young Doom. But Reed doesn’t try to kill Victor. He only blasted off sample of his hair and has plans for it.

-- synopsis by doesitmatter, aka Jonathan Clarke


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