Over a decade ago, the U.S. government, under the auspices of the Directory of Mainland Technology Development, began gathering international child prodigies at a Manhattan laboratory facility in the Baxter Building, giving them the best resources and teachers the project could afford. Headed by scientist Franklin Storm and the U.S. military's General Ross, the project discovered the N-Zone, an other-dimensional space which paralleled our own. When 11-year-old Reed Richards independently accessed this zone and began sending small toys into it, the project recruited him to join their work. Over the following ten years, Reed Richards, Victor Van Damme, and other students and instructors worked on the project before the government ultimately constructed its N-Zone teleportation gate in the Nevada desert, intending to teleport an apple to a receptor in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Unbeknownst to the others, Victor Van Damme altered the device's settings and, upon activation the five people on its steps vanished into interdimensional space and returned with an altered "phase-space condition". Reed Richards returned to the same spot, transformed into a mass of pliable cells. Ben Grimm, Reed's childhood friend, was transported to Mexico City and transformed into the rock-like Thing; Johnny Storm was transported to France, his skin converted to flame-emitting cells; Victor Van Damme was transported to an unrevealed location and acquired a mechanized skin; while Sue Storm was transported into the Nevada desert, acquiring invisibility powers.
Arthur Molekevic, a fired Baxter Building instructor who had covertly observed the experiment and its transformed subjects, sent his artificial Ani-Men after the five. Initially retrieving Susan while the government gathered Reed, Ben, and Johnny at the Baxter Building, Molekevic then sent what seemed to be an enormous monster after them. Defeating it they followed it to Molekevic's underground laboratories and retrieved Susan, inadvertently destroying the underground chambers in the process and apparently burying Molekevic. The government relocated the remaining Baxter Building students to a secondary facility in Oregon, and dedicated the Manhattan facility to the quiet study of the altered four.
When Van Damme attacked the Baxter Building six months later, Reed tracked him to Copenhagen. Refused permission to go to Denmark by the government, the quartet went anyway in Reed's childhood "Fantastic-Car," knowing they needed Victor's knowledge to restore themselves. Battling Van Damme, they were unable to defeat him before the military arrived and were forced by international law to set him free.
The four used a reconstructed N-Zone transporter to pilot a decommissioned U.S. Space Shuttle, heavily modified by Reed Richards and awkwardly christened the "Awesome" by Johnny Storm, to explore the N-Zone itself. The quartet made contact there with a being known as Nihil, who tried to kill them and follow them back to Earth, where both ships crashed in [Las Vegas]]. They were officially "outed" as super-humans on the Sunset Strip while defeating Nihil and his alien crew.
Returning to the Baxter Building, they were briefly attacked by a rejected Baxter thinker named Rhona Burchill who was jealous of Reed's status, and subsequently aided the Ultimates, with Ben and Johnny fighting beside Nick Fury, Carol Danvers, and the Ultimates' Thor and Black Widow against the Free while Reed and Sue went into space with Iron Man to investigate Gah Lak Tus.
The quartet also investigated the mystery of a secret race known as the Inhumans, then a group of Chrono-Bandits across time after they duplicated a time machine which Reed and Sue had co-created. Later, Reed made interdimensional contact with another universe's version of the Fantastic Four, bringing the team into conflict with an alternate reality infected with a zombie-creating virus.
All four decided on using their powers to better humanity, and founded the Fantastic Four.
The Human Torch was arguing with his father, Franklin Storm, shortly before the tidal wave hit New York, killing him. Johnny, who was in shock over his father's death, was captured by Dormammu, who began channeling the Human Torch's flame to escape and attack New York City. After killing Dr. Strange, Dormammu fought the Invisible Woman and the the Thing, but was eventually defeated and reverted to his human form. Mister Fantastic, upon returning from his battle with Magneto, was reunited with his teammates. He soon realized that Dr. Doom would continue to destroy the world if he wasn't stopped and prompted the Thing to go to Latveria and kill him.
After the funeral of Franklin Storm, Reed Richards' marriage proposal was rejected by Sue, and the Fantastic Four disbanded. The Thing enlisted in S.H.I.E.L.D., the Human Torch opted to live a quiet life in France, the Invisible Woman continued to do research at the Baxter Building, and Mister Fantastic moved back in with his biological family as he pondered what to do next.
Equipment: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- Bryan Hitch designed the costumes for the characters, thus explaining their aesthetic resemblance to the costumes worn by the Ultimates. Contrary to popular belief, Hitch was only tasked as concept artist and was never slated to draw the book when it debuted.
- Willie Lumpkin, the Richards' mailman in the 616 Universe, is reinvented in the Ultimate Universe as Lieutenant Lumpkin, head of security for the Baxter Building.
- Marvel Zombies (which is a spin-off series from Crossover) also tie-in to the story arc Frightful, featuring the return of Ultimate Doctor Doom.
- The X-Men's Kitty Pryde and Jean Grey served as interns under Sue Storm during an archaeological dig in Chile.
- There are two references to past issues of both Ultimate Fantastic Four and the original Fantastic Four comic book series on the cover art for issue number five. It shows Sue Storm becoming invisible in order to avoid the paparazzi, with a wide smile and a shrug. In front of the guard rail, six tabloid newspapers flutter to the street. One of those tabloids is The Daily Bugle, which is commonly associated with the Spider-Man universe. The headline reads, "FANTASTIC FOUR FRENZY", and its supposed "photograph" is a quick sketch version of Ultimate Fantastic Four #1's cover art. Also, the newspaper fluttering by Sue's right shoulder is called the Tatteler, and its headline, which is partially obscured by the semi-solid shoulder, reads "IS SUE EXPECTING?". This is an obvious reference to Reed's and Sue's first child in the original Fantastic Four universe, young Franklin Richards.
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- Fan-Art Gallery: Fantastic Four (Earth-1610)