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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default What if Spider-Man permanently replaced Johnny Storm on the Fantastic Four?



    We all know how the story goes. Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, dies. In his video will, he requests that his best friend Spider-Man be his replacement on the team, which Spidey honors. Thus, he becomes the core fourth member, and the series is rebranded as FF, standing for Future Foundation, as they expand into an organization of free-thinking individuals with an eye on the future. They recruit many talented and intelligent individuals across all different types and species, but the Four is the core overall. This was a major part of Hickman's story arc that ultimately built up to Secret Wars.

    Of course, comic books being the medium where death is cheap, this didn't last. Less than a year later, Johnny was revived and rejoined the team. That's no knock on the comics themselves, but it is true and we all know it.

    So in this topic, I ask: What if Johnny stayed dead, and Spider-Man was the core fourth member of the team going forward? What changes?

    Thought this would be interesting.

  2. #2

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    For me it works short term - there're too many fans of Spidey who believes he has to be a everyman (I don't) and in order for that to be the case he cant have access to impressive tech which being a member of FF would grant him plus for me personally I think he deserves to be counted as one of earth's best and mightiest heroes but that's just me.
    Truth is the best policy

  3. #3
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, I prefer Spider-Man as a lone type who doesn't stick to teams for too long, and I prefer the classic lineup for the FF. I was asking more out of curiosity as I thought of it myself.

    I always liked Spidey as an FF friend more than an Avenger. I hope they realize that when the FF join the MCU, and Spidey stops fanboying over the Avengers there.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    Of course, comic books being the medium where death is cheap, this didn't last. Less than a year later, Johnny was revived and rejoined the team. That's no knock on the comics themselves, but it is true and we all know it.
    Hickman never intended to kill off Johnny. That's why he staged it in the way he did. When Johnny "died" there was no body. So it was played within the old-school rules about a character death -- "no body...totally alive".

    So the question is what if Hickman intended to really kill off Johnny Storm, and if he intended Spider-Man to actually be a permanent part of the Fantastic Four and join the team for real?

    So in this topic, I ask: What if Johnny stayed dead, and Spider-Man was the core fourth member of the team going forward? What changes?

    Thought this would be interesting.
    Well, if Hickman intended Spider-Man to be a permanent lasting addition to the Fantastic Four...then his entire run on comic would have heavily centered on Spider-Man's role in the team. In his run, Spider-Man in the FF and the team was a background character for the most part, not doing anything that would break him, and done so that the Spidey-office didn't have to allude to happenings in his run.

    To be serious about that, Hickman would have to have control on all Spider-Man titles and Fantastic Four titles, in a manner similar to Spider-Man in the New Avengers.
    -- Bendis wanted Spider-Man in the New Avengers, and JMS played ball and modified ASM accordingly so that Spider-Man, MJ, and Aunt May moved to Avengers Tower. So I think that's what would happen, Aunt May and Mr. Aunt May would have to move to Avengers Tower. The ASM title would revolve on "What Spider-man does in the Baxter Building when he's not with the Four, or how Peter Parker's life has changed?"
    -- Spider-Man would have been more heavily involved with Fantastic Four science stuff, for instance his work as an engineer.
    -- There would be a story arc about Spider-Man becoming a kind of replacement goldfish for Johnny in the eyes of Franklin and Valeria. There would be angst and back-and-forth about that.
    -- Spider-Man would probably also have to reveal his identity as Peter Parker to the public just to confirm that "he's here, he's Four, get used to it".
    -- Hickman might do a story-arc with Dr. Doom where Doom talks about Mephisto and his mother, and then gloats to Peter, something like this "Among us, one of can say, 'I renounced Satan and all his sins' and it's not you". I mean if Peter Parker is with the Fantastic Four, then he can probably get his marriage back since the whole idea of Peter needing to be young and relatable isn't there. If he's going to be replacement uncle for Franklin, then he's kind of upgraded to guardian/father figure already. And Doom being the one guy in the Marvel Universe to know and remember the universe that was altered for Peter Parker is the sort of thing you can introduce without any explanation...it's in-character for Doom to be that guy.
    -- Basically if Spider-Man were to fit with the Fantastic Four, he needs a dynamic with each of the Four and with Dr. Doom. Reed and Sue become "couple goals" for Peter/MJ, Ben Grimm becomes an elder brother figure for him, Valeria and Franklin are either his little siblings he never had, or preparation/training for Spider-Dad to be. And Dr. Doom and Spidey, have the Mephisto thing in common.

    So it would be a retread of the JMS/Bendis years...maybe done better. But basically if Spider-Man were to be a legit lasting member of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, it would for the most part be the end of the Peter Parker side of things. It would be about Peter Parker in a group setting.

    In any case, I just don't see this as a story that Hickman would be interested in writing and telling. Bringing Spider-Man in as Future Foundation and doing small bits with him and Franklin bonding...that he can do. Having Johnny Storm revived becoming the worst f--king roomate for Peter, absolutely. But fundamentally, Hickman's story and run on the Fantastic Four was centered on Reed Richards and his relationship with his kids (Valeria especially), his wife, Ben Grimm, Johnny, and Doctor Doom (who is kind of like the fifth member of the Four, however much he and they don't like to see him that way). And Hickman's Reed Richards is the best version of that character. In fact, aside from his death, Johnny didn't have too much to do in Hickman's run and I kind of think the "death" story was his way to compensate him for that. Give him a brass band "Death of Superman" moment so that when he comes back to deserved relief, Johnny can be, righteously, insufferable like never before.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post


    We all know how the story goes. Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, dies. In his video will, he requests that his best friend Spider-Man be his replacement on the team, which Spidey honors. Thus, he becomes the core fourth member, and the series is rebranded as FF, standing for Future Foundation, as they expand into an organization of free-thinking individuals with an eye on the future. They recruit many talented and intelligent individuals across all different types and species, but the Four is the core overall. This was a major part of Hickman's story arc that ultimately built up to Secret Wars.

    Of course, comic books being the medium where death is cheap, this didn't last. Less than a year later, Johnny was revived and rejoined the team. That's no knock on the comics themselves, but it is true and we all know it.

    So in this topic, I ask: What if Johnny stayed dead, and Spider-Man was the core fourth member of the team going forward? What changes?

    Thought this would be interesting.
    If What If? was still an ongoing title, this would be a fun topic for it.

    As is, though, it's a possibility that would never be allowed to come to be in the main MU.

    Speculating on what changes it would bring invites fan fiction scenarios but no realistic way to know how a FF with Spidey permanently involved would play out.

  6. #6
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    It could be handled by having Johnny retire for other reasons as well, not merely dying. Too busy being married to Crystal on the moon, or too busy with his acting career in Hollywood, or whatever, to be full-time Fantastic Four-ing.

    It is interesting to see how Peter would change or grow based on working with the rest of the team.

    Or even a variation. Ben finally is cured, and retires to live a life as Mr. Alicia Masters, restorer of old cars and shouter-at-kids-on-his-lawn of Yancy St, and Spider-Man joins a Fantastic Four of Reed, Sue, Johnny and Peter. Totally different dynamic, since he'd play off of Johnny much differently than Ben. (Indeed, he might be forced to mature more in this scenario, to balance out Johnny's impulsive nature, whereas with Ben, he'd be able to be more of a playful jokester.)

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sutekh View Post
    It could be handled by having Johnny retire for other reasons as well, not merely dying. Too busy being married to Crystal on the moon, or too busy with his acting career in Hollywood, or whatever, to be full-time Fantastic Four-ing.
    None of that would be in-character for Johnny. He would never back out of being there for the family, missing out on being Uncle for Franklin and Valeria, and for that matter not living a life where he's cut off from being the Human Torch, since he loves his powers.

    Johnny Storm absolutely is the one male superhero who is better off being a bachelor than he is married.

    It is interesting to see how Peter would change or grow based on working with the rest of the team.
    Peter's been part of the New Avengers, did being part of the New Avengers change him, or did it simply give a new group to talk down to Spider-Man, make fun of him, and give him issues of insecurity and so on?

    Obviously the Fantastic Four would be different in that all of them at least like Spider-Man on a personal level.

    Or even a variation. Ben finally is cured, and retires to live a life as Mr. Alicia Masters, restorer of old cars and shouter-at-kids-on-his-lawn of Yancy St, and Spider-Man joins a Fantastic Four of Reed, Sue, Johnny and Peter. Totally different dynamic, since he'd play off of Johnny much differently than Ben. (Indeed, he might be forced to mature more in this scenario, to balance out Johnny's impulsive nature, whereas with Ben, he'd be able to be more of a playful jokester.)
    Ben Grimm/Thing is more equal than Johnny in terms of being essential to the Fantastic Four.



    Ultimately Spider-Man himself, his world, his supporting cast and so on is interesting. And more interesting arguably than the Fantastic Four themselves are as characters. Mashing Spider-Man with the Fantastic Four subtracts from both.

    Remember at heart, the Marvel Universe is just a carny trick. These characters exist in the same universe but aren't meant or intended to permanently cross-over. They are essentially standalone stories. The Fantastic Four will always be the first team of the MU even if X-Men and the Avengers displace them commercially and editorially.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 02-25-2020 at 12:52 PM.

  8. #8
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    I’m interested in the answers here. I’ll be the first to admit, this would be such a radical change on both sides that it could never happen permanently, but it’s also fun to imagine. I think Spidey fits better as being close to the FF than with the Avengers, what with him being their closest friend outside each other (the fifth Beatle). Him replacing Johnny in this instance is totally believable. It’s why I think him fanboying over the Avengers in the MCU felt wrong.

    On that note, how would you feel if the MCU Spider-Man follows suit and becomes more of an FF-leaning character and companion than an Avenger? I’d like that.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    I think Spidey fits better as being close to the FF than with the Avengers, what with him being their closest friend outside each other (the fifth Beatle). Him replacing Johnny in this instance is totally believable. It’s why I think him fanboying over the Avengers in the MCU felt wrong.
    Spider-Man fanboying over the FF, or the X-Men for that matter, would feel wrong too if it was done the way the MCU they did it.

    Spider-Man fits with the Fantastic Four because tonally they have a lot more in common than Peter hanging out with Stark. In some senses Peter has all the aspects of the Four -- Reed's brains, Sue's warmth and compassion, Ben Grimm's New York Minute braggadoccio, Johnny Storm's ego. So he bounces off well with all of the Four.

    Spider-Man is allowed to be more mature than Johnny Storm while other times he's just as much stuffed with testosterone. Whereas he's never really allowed any real respect among the Avengers, either in comics or the MCU.

    On that note, how would you feel if the MCU Spider-Man follows suit and becomes more of an FF-leaning character and companion than an Avenger? I’d like that.
    Most likely it would be MCU Holland Peter prattling around Mr. Richards and comparing him with Mr. Stark and so on...it would be super-annoying.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 02-25-2020 at 01:26 PM.

  10. #10

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    I wouldn't mind seeing a maxi-series with this format.

  11. #11
    World's Greatest Hero blackspidey2099's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Most likely it would be MCU Holland Peter prattling around Mr. Richards and comparing him with Mr. Stark and so on...it would be super-annoying.
    Oh god, this.... scares to me to my core.
    "Anyone can win a fight when the odds are easy! It's when the going's tough - when there seems to be no chance - that's when it counts!" - Spider-Man

  12. #12
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Hickman never intended to kill off Johnny. That's why he staged it in the way he did. When Johnny "died" there was no body. So it was played within the old-school rules about a character death -- "no body...totally alive".

    So the question is what if Hickman intended to really kill off Johnny Storm, and if he intended Spider-Man to actually be a permanent part of the Fantastic Four and join the team for real?



    Well, if Hickman intended Spider-Man to be a permanent lasting addition to the Fantastic Four...then his entire run on comic would have heavily centered on Spider-Man's role in the team. In his run, Spider-Man in the FF and the team was a background character for the most part, not doing anything that would break him, and done so that the Spidey-office didn't have to allude to happenings in his run.

    To be serious about that, Hickman would have to have control on all Spider-Man titles and Fantastic Four titles, in a manner similar to Spider-Man in the New Avengers.
    -- Bendis wanted Spider-Man in the New Avengers, and JMS played ball and modified ASM accordingly so that Spider-Man, MJ, and Aunt May moved to Avengers Tower. So I think that's what would happen, Aunt May and Mr. Aunt May would have to move to Avengers Tower. The ASM title would revolve on "What Spider-man does in the Baxter Building when he's not with the Four, or how Peter Parker's life has changed?"
    -- Spider-Man would have been more heavily involved with Fantastic Four science stuff, for instance his work as an engineer.
    -- There would be a story arc about Spider-Man becoming a kind of replacement goldfish for Johnny in the eyes of Franklin and Valeria. There would be angst and back-and-forth about that.
    -- Spider-Man would probably also have to reveal his identity as Peter Parker to the public just to confirm that "he's here, he's Four, get used to it".
    -- Hickman might do a story-arc with Dr. Doom where Doom talks about Mephisto and his mother, and then gloats to Peter, something like this "Among us, one of can say, 'I renounced Satan and all his sins' and it's not you". I mean if Peter Parker is with the Fantastic Four, then he can probably get his marriage back since the whole idea of Peter needing to be young and relatable isn't there. If he's going to be replacement uncle for Franklin, then he's kind of upgraded to guardian/father figure already. And Doom being the one guy in the Marvel Universe to know and remember the universe that was altered for Peter Parker is the sort of thing you can introduce without any explanation...it's in-character for Doom to be that guy.
    -- Basically if Spider-Man were to fit with the Fantastic Four, he needs a dynamic with each of the Four and with Dr. Doom. Reed and Sue become "couple goals" for Peter/MJ, Ben Grimm becomes an elder brother figure for him, Valeria and Franklin are either his little siblings he never had, or preparation/training for Spider-Dad to be. And Dr. Doom and Spidey, have the Mephisto thing in common.

    So it would be a retread of the JMS/Bendis years...maybe done better. But basically if Spider-Man were to be a legit lasting member of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, it would for the most part be the end of the Peter Parker side of things. It would be about Peter Parker in a group setting.

    In any case, I just don't see this as a story that Hickman would be interested in writing and telling. Bringing Spider-Man in as Future Foundation and doing small bits with him and Franklin bonding...that he can do. Having Johnny Storm revived becoming the worst f--king roomate for Peter, absolutely. But fundamentally, Hickman's story and run on the Fantastic Four was centered on Reed Richards and his relationship with his kids (Valeria especially), his wife, Ben Grimm, Johnny, and Doctor Doom (who is kind of like the fifth member of the Four, however much he and they don't like to see him that way). And Hickman's Reed Richards is the best version of that character. In fact, aside from his death, Johnny didn't have too much to do in Hickman's run and I kind of think the "death" story was his way to compensate him for that. Give him a brass band "Death of Superman" moment so that when he comes back to deserved relief, Johnny can be, righteously, insufferable like never before.
    I got to admit, what you described sounds interesting. Not in the "I would prefer it like that over what we have" kind of way, but more of a "I'm curious to see what that would be like" kind of way. If Marvel ever made an out of continuity series where Spidey permanently replaced Johnny and this stuff happened, I'd totally read that.

  13. #13
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    I think you'd just end up with a less Fantastic Four-ish Fantastic Four. Spider-Man doesn't tie into the family angle, doesn't tie into their shared origin, wasn't around before they got their powers.

  14. #14
    Fantastic Member Captain Midnight's Avatar
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    It would be awesome but I'd rather see Johnny Storm join Spidey,Iceman,Gambit.Warpath,Winter Soldier and Scarlet Witch form the UNCANNY AVENGERS
    Last edited by Captain Midnight; 02-26-2020 at 09:15 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Yeah. Spidey just doesn’t fit.

    It would be better if Johnny formed a team with Peter separate from FF. It would be a fun diversion.

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