I was watching the latest trailer for the Fantastic Four recently (how many trailers are they aiming to release, not that this one is vastly different than the others) and I was looking into the actors when I saw the names of the characters. It has long been known that superheroes tend to have alliterative names, things like Peter Parker (aka Spider-man), Clark Kent (aka Superman), Bruce Banner (aka The Incredible Hulk) for their alter egos (and comic book characters in general). The Fantastic Four are no different with: Reed Richards and Susan Storm. It was their superhero names, though, that irked me somewhat, talk about lacking cool, let alone imagination.
The leader of the quartet is Mr Fantastic (and from where they derive their name), now talk about arrogance. This is a man whose only super power is the ability to stretch and compress his body in amazing ways. Useful if you want to get a beer from the fridge without leaving the sofa (and it probably makes him a hit with the ladies, maybe that’s where his name comes from: ‘Baby, you were fantastic.’), but not exactly on a par with being able to fly, being practically indestructible and capable of shooting laser beams from your eyes like Superman.
Next up is Sue Storm, who can produce force fields and turn her and other objects invisible, so they went with the imaginatively titled, the Invisible Woman. That must have taken hours to think up. I can imagine a process like the Orange adverts where they’re brainstorming: ‘She’s a woman and she can become invisible, she’s a woman and she can become invisible…’
Her name at least makes, it’s a literal description. The Human Torch, however, describes Johnny Storm, who has the power to control fire and produce it at will (not to mention the ability to fly, why is he not leading the group?). Now, since electricity, torches tend to be battery powered, not flame lit, so that kind of ruins the analogy, but, bearing in mind we’re dealing with fire here, could that not have come up with something cooler (or more appropriately, hotter) or at least something less clunky? How about something like: Inferno, Burner, Igniter or even, the Fireman?
I’m willing to give The Thing some leeway, mainly because it’s not a bad description. Although Rock Man, Boulder and Granite would have been far more interesting (not to mention a million other alternatives).
Dr Doom, on the other hand, is a cracking baddy name. It really says all you need to know and, thankfully, doesn’t just describe his super powers. People should really have kept a closer eye on him though, with his original name being Victor Von Doom.
As far as superhero names go, the Fantastic Four really are poor. Just think of some of the others: Superman, Batman, Rogue, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Magneto, Daredevil, The Punisher, Blade, The Crow, The Flash, Captain America, there are some really evocative names, they just don’t seem to have been trying very hard with this one.