MEMBERS: Cole (Cole Wittman), Hydro-Man,
Salamandra, Wizard (born Bentley Wittman)
FORMER MEMBERS: Blastaar,
Brute (Counter-Earth's Reed Richards), Constrictor (Frank Payne),
Llyra, Man-Bull (William
Taurens), Medusa (Medusalith Boltagon), Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura),
Punisher (Galactus's robot), Red Ghost (Ivan Kragoff), Sandman,
Thundra (Thundra), Titania,
Trapster (Peter Petruski)
BASE OF OPERATIONS: Subterranean Manhattan headquarters;
formerly Queens water tower; Wizard's suburban New York home and
cabin; various others
FIRST APPEARANCE, Fantastic Four #36 (1965)
HISTORY: When the Sandman and Trapster escaped
prison together and rescued a helpless Wizard along the way, they
formed an alliance dedicated to humiliating their mutual enemies,
the Fantastic Four. Determined to form their own quartet, the
criminal trio went through a series of brief recruits, none of
whom proved satisfactory as a fourth member: amnesiac Inhuman
royalty Medusa (who deserted them after regaining her memories),
Blastaar, a mind-controlled Spider-Man, Thundra, the Brute (an
alternate Reed Richards from Counter-Earth), Electro, and Llyra,
who took over the group and forced them to attack the Sub-Mariner
for her. After the Sandman reformed, the Wizard formed an all-new
group with Constrictor, Deadpool, and Taskmaster, but they were
bested easily by the Thing
and Franklin Richards.
Wizard next teamed with Trapster, Man-Bull, and Dreadknight, but
they were defeated by Turbine, Spider-Man, and the Rangers on
a test run in Canada.
More successful was a "Frightful Five" allying the
Wizard, Hydro-Man, Klaw; and Titania with Aron the Rogue Watcher.
Aron's power defeated the Fantastic
Four, but he ultimately seized them for his own ends and banished
the Frightful Four to the Vault.
Trying to rebuild this nearly-successful team (minus Aron), the
Wizard recruited Klaw, who had freed the mutating and embittered
Ms. Marvel. With those two and the Red Ghost, who had sought out
the team to join, Wizard was beaten yet again by the Fantastic
Four, despite the absence of Reed
Richards. Klaw and the Red Ghost fled, so the Wizard and Ms.
Marvel teamed with Trapster and a reprogrammed Punisher (robotic
"watchdog" of Galactus)
to fight the Fantastic Four on Wyatt Wingfoot's Keewazi reservation.
When the heroic Fantastic Four seemed to be led by Dr.
Doom (actually Reed trapped in Doom's armor), Wizard surrendered
rather than risk Doom's wrath.
The Wizard's most recent team was a dysfunctional echo of the
Fantastic Four's family structure, including the Wizard's half-dragon
ex-wife Salamandra and their mass-shifting daughter Cole, as well
as Hydro-Man and the Trapster. Wanting to humble the Fantastic
Four on equal terms, the Wizard banished the Trapster into a time-loop
after he threatened Cole, reducing his team's ranks from five
to four. With the rebellious Cole's aid, the Fantastic Four invaded
the Wizard's underground headquarters and defeated the Frightful
Four, though the team escaped and remains at large.
Thundra joined (Fantastic Four #129-130, #133, 1973)
Advertised for fourth member, Brute joined (Fantastic Four #177-178,
Electro joined (Spectacular Spider-Man #42 / Fantastic Four #218,
Cole, Hydro-Man, Salamandra team (Fantastic Four #514-517, 2004)