Alternative versions of Mister Fantastic

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Alternate versions of Mister Fantastic
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four Vol. 1, #1 (November 1961)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby

Mister Fantastic is a Marvel comic book character, who has had many alternate versions through various media.

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the alternate reality known as the Age of Apocalypse, Richards never got his powers as he was never bombarded with cosmic radiation in space. Instead he attempted to evacuate a large group of humans from Manhattan when Apocalypse came into power. Along with Ben Grimm as the pilot and his friends Johnny and Susan Storm as crew, Richards used one of his prototype rockets to fly off the island. Unfortunately, a mutant sabotaged the launch and both Reed and Johnny sacrificed themselves to let the others blast off safely.[volume & issue needed]

Bullet Points[edit]

In Bullet Points, Dr. Reed Richards is drafted by the government to act as technical support to Steve Rogers, who in this reality is Iron Man. Along with Sue, Ben and Johnny, he later attempts the rocket flight that in the mainstream continuity saw the creation of the Fantastic Four, but the flight is sabotaged and the rocket crashes, killing everyone aboard except Reed. He thus never develops superpowers, and following the tragedy, he accepts the position as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Having lost his eye in the rocket crash and taken to wearing an eyepatch, he bears a strong resemblance to Nick Fury.[volume & issue needed]

Council of Reeds[edit]

The Council of Reeds consists of at least four alternate versions of Reed Richards, with different powers, intellects, and abilities, who have banded together across realities. Although the 616 Reed made contact with them, he withdrew from the Council when he learned that they were versions of himself that might have been without the influence of his family; according to Reed, they have all lobotomised their Victor von Dooms. Due to an accident caused by Valeria Richards, they have gained access to the 616 reality, forcing Reed to assemble a team of his old enemies - including Doctor Doom, the Wizard, and the Mad Thinker - to try to outthink himselves before they destroy this world.[1]

Counter Earth[edit]

Main article: Brute (Reed Richards)

The Counter-Earth version of Reed Richards is from a world created by the High Evolutionary. His exposure to cosmic rays gives him the ability to transform into a savage purple-skinned behemoth called the Brute. The Brute makes his way to Earth, where he traps Mister Fantastic in the Negative Zone and replaces him. He manages to trap the Human Torch and the Thing shortly thereafter, but is found out by the Invisible Woman, who rescues her teammates and leaves the Brute trapped in their place. The Brute is later a member of the Frightful Four. He first appeared in Marvel Premiere #2 (May 1972).[volume & issue needed]

Dark Raider[edit]

An alternate Reed Richards from Earth-944, he first appeared in Fantasic Four #387 (April 1994). He is driven mad when he fails to save his reality's Earth from Galactus. Taking the identity of the Dark Raider, he travels from reality to reality on a quest to destroy every possible version of himself. The Fantastic Four first encounter him when they traveled to an alternate past and see younger versions of themselves die at his hands. When the Dark Raider comes to the Fantastic Four's reality, he attempts to activate the Ultimate Nullifier, but is apparently destroyed by Uatu. This appearance of Uatu is later revealed to be Aron, the Rogue Watcher, who had simply teleported the Raider away. The Dark Raider returns, and is finally killed by the Invisible Woman in the Negative Zone.[volume & issue needed]

Earth-A[edit]

In this reality, only Reed and Ben Grimm go up in the experimental spacecraft. Reed is transformed by cosmic radiation into The Thing, while Ben gains the stretching powers of Mr. Fantastic and the flaming powers of the Human Torch. This version first appeared in Fantastic Four #118 (January 1972)

Exiles[edit]

An Earth dominated by hedonistic Skrulls since the late nineteenth century is attacked by Galactus, a planet-eater. Reed here simply portrayed as an inventive genius with nothing to confirm that he possesses the powers of his 616 counterpart- leads the super-human effort to drive off Galactus and save the planet. He becomes one the caretakers of Thunderbird, a dimension hopping hero who had been severely injured in the battle.[2]

Marvel 1602[edit]

Set in the 17th century Marvel 1602 universe, Reed (apparently called Sir Richard Reed, although he is often addressed as "Sir Reed" or "Master Richards") is the leader of 'The Four from the Fantastick', and his pliability is compared to water. Sharing the genius of his counterpart, he has devised uses for electrical force, categorized the sciences, and speculated as to whether light has a speed.[volume & issue needed]

According to Peter David, who is writing a Marvel 1602 miniseries about the Four, Gaiman describes Sir Richard as even more pedantic than the mainstream Mr. Fantastic. During a trip to Atlantis, Richard Reed had trouble accepting the idea that the Atlanteans had a connection to Poseidon or their brief encounter with the Watcher, until Susan helped him realise that just because such things could not be understood by their present standards did not mean that humanity could not come to understand them later.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Apes[edit]

The Reed of this reality is an intelligent ape given stretching powers by exposure to cosmic radiation, as in the mainstream Marvel universe. He tries to find a way to bring Marty "The Gibbon" Blank back to his home reality. He is also one of the few that realize Captain America is really a disguised Baron Blood, though he is impaled and killed in an attempt to stop the vampire from trying to invade Earth-616 for a new source of blood. The rest of the team are led to believe Marty is responsible for Reed's death and pursue him until discovering the truth.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Mangaverse[edit]

In the Marvel Mangaverse comics, Reed Richards leads the Megascale Metatalent Response Team Fantastic Four as a commander, not a field operative like Jonatha, Sioux, and Benjamin. In Mangaverse, Richards has been re-imagined as a long-haired intellectual with a laid-back attitude. The other members of the team often describe him as a "smartass". His team used power packs in order to manifest their talents on mecha-sized levels so that they may fight the Godzilla-sized monsters from alien cultures that attack Earth for performing experiments which endanger all of reality. Along with assigning battle tactics, Richards okayed the amount of power his team was allowed to use. He has stretching talents which he considered "near useless" except for stretching his neurons, allowing him to brainstorm new ideas. In New Mangaverse, Richards (along with the rest of the Fantastic Four with the exception of the Human Torch) was murdered by ninja assassins.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

This version of Reed Richards deliberately infects his team and thus himself with the zombie virus when his newly infected team attacks him (which he happily allowed, having deliberately infected them with the virus), after suffering a mental breakdown due to the murder of his children at the hands of a zombified She-Hulk. Regarding the zombies as a superior form of life, Reed sets out "to spread the Gospel", a twisted plan to start turning the survivors of the Marvel Universe into zombies which succeeds. Reed later assists his fellow zombies in tracking down several Latverian human survivors; they escape to alternate dimensions but Doctor Doom does not. Using the dimensional-crossing technology, Reed subsequently makes contact with his Ultimate counterpart. With Ultimate Reed having created his own transporter, the Zombie FF attempts to escape into the Ultimate Marvel universe when Ultimate Reed makes contact with some of the survivors of the plague, but the zombie Reed is neutralized when the Ultimate Invisible Girl destroys a chunk of his brain, allowing the Ultimate team to contain their counterparts. When the Zombie FF try to escape after a brief period of imprisonment, Ultimate Reed Richards (in Doctor Doom's body) is able to defeat them, using necrosis against his zombie counterpart by covering him with maggots, and their corpses returned to their universe. It is suggested in Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution that Richards was inadvertently responsible for allowing the zombie virus to infect this reality through the construction of a device allowing access to alternate dimensions, namely he was responsible for bringing in the zombie Sentry, the only zombie left.[volume & issue needed]

MC2[edit]

In the MC2 continuity, Reed Richards is badly scarred and he designs a small robot into which he claims to have transferred his brain when his body was damaged; in reality, Richards' injuries are minor, and he controls the robot remotely from an outpost in the Negative Zone. This robot, called Big Brain, is a member of the Fantastic Five, and is capable of projecting force fields and can hover or fly. When Reed solves the problem keeping Susan in stasis in the Negative Zone, the mental block preventing his scars from healing dissolves, and his appearance returns to normal.[volume & issue needed]

In an alternate universe in the MC2 line where The Red Skull conquered the world and killed that worlds Captain America. Reed serves as an advisor for Doctor Doom who in this continuality killed Red Skull. After Doom and Crimson Curse fall into a portal Richards turns on fellow advisor Helmut Zemo. Later he becomes a mad scientist, aided by evil versions of Ben Grimm, Franklin Richards and Peter Parker. They are defeated by Spider Girl, Thunderstrike and Stinger.[volume & issue needed]

When Dr. Doom returns, Reed is forced into a mental duel with the villain, which ends in a tie that banishes both their minds to the "Crossroads of Infinity". He is currently in Latveria, under the care of his wife.[volume & issue needed]

Mutant X[edit]

In the alternate universe visited by Alex Summers, a.k.a. Havok, the Fantastic Four seemingly have no powers, though Reed still has his genius level intelligence. Reed generally wears a battle suit with two extra arms. In his first appearance, he is attempting to build a machine that will allow the Goblin Queen to summon demons from another dimension. When the Goblin Queen makes her play to conquer the world, Reed is right at her side. In the final issue of the series, Reed joins a makeshift team of villains and heroes in order to stop the Goblin Queen's threat against the entire multiverse. He is interrupted in his work by Dracula, who slices open his throat, killing him.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Reed Richards is brought closer to the stereotypical scientist; he is as brilliant as his original counterpart (with an IQ of 267),[citation needed] but he is somewhat awkward, younger, and wears glasses. He comes from an abusive family. His father Gary shows no regard for him and views his accomplishments with contempt. His mother is warmer towards him but is constantly trying to maintain peace between the two. His middle name is Nathaniel. He becomes part of a "think tank" with other advanced youths, their headquarters being the Baxter Building. He is mentored by Professor Storm and meets Johnny and Sue Storm. As in Marvel-616, Reed Richards is romantically involved with Sue Storm. Ben Grimm is his only friend and protector.[volume & issue needed]

In issues 21 through 23 of Ultimate Fantastic Four, Reed Richards is able to establish a link to what readers believed was the normal Marvel Universe, communicating with a projection of the original Reed Richards via a special device. When he attempts to travel to the alternate universe, however, he arrives in a world infested by zombies, including a zombified Fantastic Four. Ultimate Reed Richard's conversations with the false projection of his regular counterpart suggest that in the Ultimate universe, Mr. Fantastic is less skilled and has much less experience than the Zombie Mr. Fantastic, if the false projection is to be believed.[volume & issue needed]

While it is still questionable as to whether or not the intelligence of the Mister Fantastic of the Mainstream Marvel Universe (Earth-616) was affected by the Cosmic Rays, this version of Mister Fantastic definitely experiences an increase in his intellect from the accident that empowered him, making his "mind as flexible as his body," and "getting smarter every day", and has shown a reduced need for sleep due to the hyper-efficient workings of his brain.[3]

According to Ultimate Fantastic Four #7, Ultimate Reed's body has been radically transformed, and his only internal organ is a "bacterial stack" that generates energy (presumably from air) to fuel his body. This obviates the need to explain, for example, how his circulatory system can pump his blood when his body is stretched the length of a football field; he simply has none. Lacking a digestive system, he has no need to eat or drink. Similarly, because he has no lungs, Ultimate Reed does not need to breathe in any conventional human sense and can survive in environments lacking oxygen; however, during his time in the N-Zone, where the atmosphere is essentially acid, he is unable to breathe the air there, suggesting that he still requires air to a certain degree.[volume & issue needed]

The Ultimate Mr. Fantastic does have a limit to the length he can stretch to. In Ultimate Fantastic Four #44 he is able to catch a falling Carol Danvers after she is dropped by the Silver Surfer, and upon setting her down, he admits that it hurt him to stretch that far.[volume & issue needed]

After the events of "Ultimatum", the Ultimate Fantastic Four decided to disband and Reed and Sue break up. In Ultimate Enemy, he is shown to be living with his parents again before an explosion seemingly kills them.[volume & issue needed]

In Ultimate Mystery, Richards has been assumed dead by Carol Danvers and Nick Fury. At the end of the series, Susan Storm and Rick Jones discover that Reed Richards is alive and apparently in alliance with the attacking aliens.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Doom sees Richards confronted by the remaining members of the Fantastic Four, as well as Spider-Man, Mahr Vehl, and the Ultimates. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Reed Richards' worldview has changed, and he has become something more like an Ultimate Kang the Conqueror. Part of his motivation was that he no longer liked his home dimension and wished his friends could find another world to improve.[volume & issue needed]

In Ultimate Fallout #4, Richards is revealed to have survived his defeat and is shown trapped in the Negative Zone. He soon escapes and makes his way back to his world, where he vows to win back his friends by saving the planet.[volume & issue needed]

In Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, Reed Richards is revealed to be the creator of The City and the Children of Tomorrow, a race of genetically engineered supermen whom have gone on to consume and conquer Asgard, two hundred square miles of European landscape, and oppose S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Ultimates. The main villain of the series, Reed has come back from the distant future - having been unable to age due to his powers - and the top of his head has been 'stretched' in order to increase his intelligence and allow him to keep up with his own creations. It is not until he reveals his face to Thor that the Ultimates know his true identity.[4] Invisible Woman traps Richards into a small psychic bubble.[5]

What If?[edit]

Marvel's What If? comic book series featured several alternate versions of Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four.

Spider-Man in the FF[edit]

In at least three issues of What If?, Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four, but his presence resulted in Sue feeling increasingly sidelined in favour of the four male members of the team, resulting in her leaving the team to marry the Sub-Mariner. Although Reed was briefly driven insane and declared war on Atlantis, he eventually recovered and the two apparently reconciled, resulting in the 'Fantastic Five' reforming once again.[volume & issue needed]

Vol. I #6[edit]

In What If? #6 (Dec 1977), after the team are exposed to cosmic rays, they develop powers based on their personalities. Ben Grimm grows large dragon-like wings (because he loves flying), Johnny Storm gains metallic skin and the ability to control metal (due to his love of cars), Sue Storm gains the ability to stretch and reshape her body (because her personality caused her to try to fit in with the more dominating friends), while Reed Richards vast intellect causes him to become a giant floating brain. Reed's brain is destroyed during a battle with Doctor Doom, but not before he manages to transfer his mind into Doom's body. This version of the Fantastic Four reappeared in the Volume II story arc 'Timestorm', summoned by the Watcher to persuade the man who would become Kang/Immortus not to become a threat. Richards' still being unused to his new body was shown to be among the factors limiting their effectiveness.[volume & issue needed]

Vol. I #11[edit]

In What If? Volume 1, #11 (May 1978), an alternate universe is shown wherein the original 1960's staff of Marvel Comics became the Fantastic Four, with Stan Lee himself as Mister Fantastic, described as slowly gaining a scientific intellect akin to that of the character he still writes in that world. Jack Kirby, who becomes the Thing, co-wrote and drew the issue.

Vol. II #11[edit]

In What If? vol. 2 #11 (March 1990), the origins of the Fantastic Four are retold, showing how the heroes lives would have changed if all four had gained the same powers as the individual members of the original Fantastic Four.

  • Fire Powers: In this alternate history the cosmic rays give the four the powers of the Human Torch. They decide to use their powers for good, and become the Fantastic Four. They battle such menaces as the Mole Man and the alien race Skrulls. While battling the mystic Miracle Man, he brought to life a statue advertising a monster movie called "The Monster from Mars." When the heroes set fire to the statue of the monster, the fire engulfs a local apartment building, killing young Angelica Parsons. Following Parsons's death, the team disbanded. Reed devotes his life to science. Johnny becomes a Race car driver. Sue, troubled by Angelica's death, becomes a nun, while Ben becomes the hero The Human Torch.
  • Elastic powers: In this alternate history, Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm are bombarded with cosmic radiation and develop the ability to stretch. Deciding not to become superheroes, Ben Grimm and Sue Storm discover their love for one another and settle down to raise a family, never using their stretching powers again. Reed Richards devotes his life to science, while Johnny Storm becomes the celebrity Mister Fantastic.
  • Monstrous forms: The cosmic rays in this alternate history transform Ben Grimm, Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, and Sue Storm into monstrous creatures. They relocate to live on Monster Isle.[6]
  • Invisibility powers: In the final What If? story, Ben Grimm, Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, and Sue Storm gain different aspects of the mainstream Sue Storm's power. Sue can turn invisible, Reed can project invisibility, Ben projects invisible force-fields, and Johnny can become intangible. They join Colonel Nick Fury's new C.I.A. unit, codenamed S.H.I.E.L.D.. The story retells their initial encounter with Doctor Doom under these circumstances.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ FF (2011) #1-3
  2. ^ Exiles #8-10 (February - April 2002)
  3. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #25
  4. ^ Jonathan Hickman (w), Esad Ribic and Brandon Peterson (p), John Rauch (col). Ultimate Comics: Ultimates 10 (April 2012), Marvel Comics
  5. ^ Jonathan Hickman (w), Esad Ribic and Brandon Peterson (p), John Rauch (col). Ultimate Comics: Ultimates 12 (June 2012), Marvel Comics
  6. ^ What If? Vol. II #11
  7. ^ What If? Vol. II #11/4