Marvel's first family, the famous Fantastic Four, have become one of the most beloved groups across all comics. Since their debut in 1961, countless iterations of the group have taken over both page and screen. Throughout that history, the FF have experienced their fair share of success and equal defeat.

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Although most of the time that defeat is suddenly reversed to make things seem fine, there are times when the group is left tragically beaten and dead. In these 10 particular moments, the Fantastic Four were far from victorious, left for dead with their future hanging in the balance.

10 The "Accident"

In all honesty, the way that the Fantastic Four received their powers, although making for an incredible series of stories, was actually a tragic loss for the team. The extraterrestrial trip was originally planned to be a research-based expedition, but that quickly changed when their ship was hit with cosmic rays, gifting them their super-human abilities. Although this seemed like a win for Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny, the four clearly struggled with their powers initially, making this one of the more unorthodox defeats of the Fantastic Four.

9 A Death in the Family

Not all of the Fantastic Four's tragedies have come from a universe-saving moment. In fact, the tragedy of Fantastic Four: A Death in the Family, a separate FF piece labeled as a "One-Shot", is a result of spring cleaning. While Sue Storm is on a rampage to make sure the rest of the group has tidied up their individual spaces, Johnny accidentally spills prototype parts out of a closet in Reed Richards' lab. As a result, a "visi-gog" beast is released from a trans-dimensional portal, with beams that can, unfortunately, penetrate Sue's force fields. After being zapped and killed by the beast, Sue is eventually saved by her brother Johnny, who sends himself back in time to prevent the tragic accident. However, he only saves the Sue of that timeline, leaving his sister still dead and gone in his world.

8 Fantastic Four #508

Shortly after the 500th edition of the Fantastic Four series, in issue #508, the group was hit with yet another tragedy. Using his mind possession abilities, Doctor Doom pins the Invisible Woman against the FF. Later in the issue, he also takes possession of the Thing's mind, threatening to kill the Human Torch in the process. In an attempt to stop and appeal to his "kill me" demand, Mr. Fantastic shoots Grimm in the chest, blasting a hole in his rock-hard skin. Several issues later, the FF take a trip to, you guessed it, heaven to bring their friend back from the dead.

7 Civil War

The Civil War storyline was a monumental piece of Marvel comics. It pinned hero against hero, fracturing the very foundations of the Avengers. However, the Avengers weren't the only group broken apart by the argument over superhero registration. This wasn't exactly a traditional defeat of the Fantastic Four, but it did sever one of the strongest relationships in the group and Marvel comics overall. On opposite sides, Sue and Reed break off their marriage and remain separated for a time. Who would've thought that the biggest thing that could take down the FF was their own differences?

6 Invisible Woman's Film Ending

For some, the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four films were a massive disappointment. For others, they were just happy to see the first family of Marvel finally brought to the big screen. As most probably know, the ending of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer didn't go according to plan for Sue Storm.

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Defending the surfer, Sue is impaled and killed by one of Doctor Doom's magical death spears. In typical FF fashion, though, she is quickly revived by the Silver Surfer, who uses his own energy to bring her back to life.

5 Fantastic Four #381

With a massive creature attacking Doom's home country of Latveria, the Doctor seemingly joins forces with the Fantastic Four to take it down. However, after destroying the monster and suffering horrible injuries, Doom can't let his ongoing tilt with Mr. Fantastic die just like that. Using what seems like a quick energy blast, Doom takes down his longtime rival along with himself, seemingly killing them both. Richards' death makes the "And Then There Were 3!" title of issue #381 morbidly accurate.

4 Fantastic Four #267

Across the board, this is one of the more gruesome issues of the Fantastic Four. With the Invisible Woman experiencing complications with her pregnancy, Reed Richards asks for the help of famed scientist and notable Spider-Man villian Doctor Otto Octavius. Although he seems to be on the right path, Octavius quickly switches directions while his metal arms terrorize the city. Mr. Fantastic uses every last breath of effort to get Octavius' head cleared and to the hospital where Susan is in labor, but his efforts unfortunately fall short. Upon arriving at the hospital, Reed learns that while Susan has been saved, the baby passed away. Issue #267 contained one of the most chilling conclusions in not just the FF's lineage, but all of comic book history.

3 Fantastic Four #255

The cover of Fantastic Four #255 suggests that Reed Richards, once again, is dead. The Thing cradles his lifeless body while the Invisible Girl shrieks that he's gone. In reality, Mr. Fantastic has had his mind and soul drained from his body by the ruler of the Negative Zone, Annihilus. Although Richards is still alive, the FF is down one right from the get-go while they try to escape from the Negative Zone.

2 Fantastic Four #213


Over the course of FF issues #211 and #212, the incredible foursome finds themselves in a fully-loaded battle with some of their most notorious foes. With Galactus threatening the Earth in the midst of an ongoing battle with the shape-shifting Skrulls, the Fantastic Four are depleted to one as Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl and the Thing are hit with an aging ray. As those three are aged and made feeble and weak the Human Torch is left to fight alone. This results in Johnny Storm looking for a way to bring his friends back to full strength in issue #214, which features him standing around all of his seemingly dead teammates.

1 The "Three" Story Arc

The "Three" storyline in the Fantastic Four series, ranging from issues #583-#587, is easily one of the most tragic in the group's history. Throughout these five issues, author Jonathan Hickman and artist Steve Epting tease the "Countdown to Casualty", which undoubtedly would lead to the demise of one of the four characters. Well, that casualty turns out to be the beloved Human Torch, Johnny Storm, who bravely fends off an intergalactic army of Negative Zone beings to help the rest of the FF escape in the arc's final issue. The Torch's death was one of the more heartbreaking and permanent in the Fantastic Four's history, and led to Spider-Man taking his place for a time as the group's fourth member.

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