Alternative versions of Mister Fantastic

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Alternate versions of Mister Fantastic
Ultimate Mister Fantastic (Earth 1610).png
Reed Richards' Earth-1610 counterpart.
Artwork for the cover of Ultimate Fantastic Four vol. 1, 10 (August 2004 Marvel Comics). Art by Stuart Immonen.
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four Vol. 1, #1 (November 1961)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby

Mister Fantastic is a fictional comic book character, who has had many alternate versions that have appeared in Marvel Comics publications.

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the alternate reality known as the Age of Apocalypse, Richards never received superpowers as he was never bombarded with cosmic radiation in space. Instead he attempted to evacuate a large group of humans from Manhattan during Apocalypse's regime. 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.[1]

Following the rise of Weapon Omega, its revealed that Reed was the world’s foremost authority on the Celestials and had collected all the information he could about these cosmic beings in several journals when Apocalypse came into power. Apocalypse himself was known to fear Reed Richards' knowledge and had him targeted and a special taskforce created to locate the journals but while they succeeded in killing him, they weren't able to find the journals.[2]

Amalgam Comics[edit]

Amalgam Comics is a 1997-98 shared imprint of DC Comics and Marvel, which features composites of characters from the two publishers. Two alternate versions of Reed Richards appear in this series.

  • The one shot issue Challengers of the Fantastic #1 (June 1997) features Reed "Prof" Richards (a composite of Marvel's Reed Richards and DC Comics Prof Haley), a nonsuperpowered scientist and leader of the eponymous team of adventurers.
  • In Spider-Boy Team-Up #1 (June 1997), Elastic Lad makes a cameo appearance as a member of the Legion of Galactic Guardians 2099 (a composite of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and "2099" imprint). Elastic Lad is a composite of Richards and Jimmy Olsen's Elastic Lad character.

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, Reed wears an eyepatch, giving him a strong resemblance to Nick Fury.[3]

Council of Reeds[edit]

The Interdimensional Council of Reeds first appeared in Fantastic Four #570 (Oct 2009). The Council is composed of multiple versions of Reed Richards from alternate universes, each with different powers, intellects, and abilities. Reeds join the council when they are able to invent a device (called "the Bridge") that allows them to cross into the nothingness between realities. The leaders of the Council are the three Reeds that have acquired their reality's Infinity Gauntlet. The 616 Reed discovers that the other Reeds have one thing in common: each of them grew up without their father Nathaniel Richards, whose influence made the 616 Reed a more compassionate man. Reed declines membership to the Council after realizing he would have to sacrifice his family ties to join. Nearly all the Council members are killed when the mad Celestials of Universe-4280 gain entry to the Council headquarters and attack the Reeds.

Due to an accident caused by Valeria Richards, four Reeds gain access to the Earth-616 reality. 616-Reed is forced to assemble a team of his old enemies - including Doctor Doom, the Wizard, and the Mad Thinker - to try to outthink his alternate selves before they destroy their world.[4]

Counter Earth[edit]

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).

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.[5]

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.[6]

Exiles[edit]

An Earth dominated by hedonistic Skrulls since the late nineteenth century is attacked by Galactus. This Reed Richards is portrayed as an inventive genius with nothing to confirm that he possesses the powers of his 616 counterpart. He leads the super-human effort to drive off Galactus and save the planet. He becomes one of the caretakers of Thunderbird, a dimension hopping hero who had been severely injured in the battle.[7]

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 send Marty "The Gibbon" Blank back to his home reality. He is also one of the few that realizes Captain America is really a disguised Baron Blood. Reed is impaled and killed by Blood in an attempt to stop the vampire from trying to invade Earth-616 for a new source of blood. The rest of the Marvel Ape-verse heroes are led to believe Marty is responsible for Reed's death and pursue him until discovering the truth.[8]

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 the New Mangaverse, Richards (along with the rest of the Fantastic Four with the exception of the Human Torch) was murdered by ninja assassins.[9]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

This version of Reed Richards deliberately infects his team and himself with the zombie 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. Reed later assists his fellow zombies in tracking down several Latverian human survivors; they escape to alternate dimensions but Doctor Doom does not. Using a dimensional crossing device created by Tony before his infection, Reed makes contact with his Ultimate counterpart. The Zombie FF attempts to escape into the Ultimate Marvel universe, 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) destroys them 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 designs a small robot into which he claims to have transferred his brain after his body was scarred in an accident; 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, the Red Skull conquered the world and killed Captain America. The Skull is later killed by Doctor Doom, for whom Reed serves as an advisor. After Doom and Crimson Curse fall into a portal, Richards turns on fellow advisor Helmut Zemo. Later Reed 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 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. 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.[10]

Spider-Gwen[edit]

In the universe featuring Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman, Reed is an African American child genius that shares his inventions with other kids around his age. He is asked for help by Jessica Drew from the 616 universe to try to get her home, and reveals that he has encountered other Dimensional hoppers before her. He aids the Spider-Women by altering their weaponry for their final battle against his earth's Cindy Moon and later serves as an ally to Spider-Gwen.[11]

Spider-Man Unlimited[edit]

In the comic book based on the Spider-Man Unlimited animated series, Peter is assigned by the Daily Byte to investigate the Counter-Earth version of Reed Richards, as Richards is suspected of knowing about a mysterious creature called the Brute. After fighting the Brute as Spiderman, it is revealed that the Brute is actually Reed Richards himself, who is helping the rebels fight the Beastials, while Reed is actually a spy. He is also assisted in this mission by his friend, Ben Grimm, who gathers data held by the High Evolutionary. Reed reveals that after a test flight similar to the one that gave the mainstream Fantastic Four their powers, the cosmic rays transformed Reed into the Brute, leaving Grimm unaffected, Johnny Storm dead, and Susan Storm in a coma.

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Maker, previously known as Ultimate Reed Richards is the Ultimate Marvel's version of Mister Fantastic. The origin of Ultimate Reed's powers is different than the original Reed. Ultimate Reed Richards gets engulfed in a malfunctioned teleporter experiment to get the superpower to stretch. He founds the Ultimate Fantastic Four that explores the N-Zone and fight various villians. After the Fantastic Four disbands due to the damage caused by "Ultimatum", Reed begans to change his worldview and eventually calls himself Maker and becomes a nemesis to the Ultimates. When Galactus arrives in the Ultimate universe due to a temporal distortion,[12] the Ultimates are forced to approach the Maker for help. Maker travels to Earth-616 to access his counterpart's files.[13] Using the information gained, Reed defeats Galactus by sending him to the Negative Zone.[14]

After the events of Secret Wars, Maker moves to the main Marvel universe, also known as Earth-616, where he continues his nefarious plans.

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]

On the world designated Earth-772, in 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.[15] Although Reed was briefly driven insane and declared war on Atlantis, he eventually recovered[16] and the two apparently reconciled, resulting in the 'Fantastic Five' reforming once again in time to confront Annihilus in the Negative Zone to help Susan give birth.[17]

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. Reed Richards' vast intellect causes him to become a giant floating brain, and he takes to calling himself "Big 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' and the other members of his Fantastic Four are killed by Immortus.[18]

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 are exposed to cosmic rays. Stan Lee gains the powers of Mister Fantastic, and is described as slowly gaining Reed's scientific intellect as well. Lee continues to write and edit Marvel Comics by day, but fight evil along with his fellow members of the Fantastic Four. The story was written by Lee, and drawn and co-written by Jack Kirby, who in this reality became the Thing.

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. During a battle with the mystic Miracle Man, the villain brings to life a statue advertising a monster movie called "The Monster from Mars." When the heroes set fire to the statue, the fire spreads to a local apartment building, killing young Angelica Parsons. Feeling responsible for Parsons's death, the team disbands, with Reed devoting his life to science.
  • Elastic powers: In this alternate history, Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben develop the ability to stretch. Deciding not to become superheroes, Ben and Sue discover their love for one another and settle down to raise a family, never using their stretching powers again. Reed devotes his life to science, while Johnny becomes the celebrity Mister Fantastic.
  • Monstrous forms: The cosmic rays in this alternate history transform the four into monstrous creatures, with Reed taking on a purple skinned form similar to the Brute. When the public reacts with fright at their appearances, Reed convinces the others to leave civilization and live on Monster Isle.[19]
  • 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. Reed can project invisibility onto other objects. Reed and his three associates join Colonel Nick Fury's new C.I.A. unit, codenamed S.H.I.E.L.D., where he worked as Head of Laboratories. The story retells their initial encounter with Doctor Doom under these circumstances.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ What If? X-Men Age of Apocalypse Vol. 1, #1 (Feb 2007)
  2. ^ Age of Apocalypse #7
  3. ^ Bullet Points vol. 1, #2-5(Feb-May 2007)
  4. ^ FF (2011) #1-3
  5. ^ Fantastic Four Vol. 1, #399 (Apr 1995)
  6. ^ Fantastic Four #118 (January 1972)
  7. ^ Exiles #8-10 (February - April 2002)
  8. ^ Marvel Apes Volume 1, #s 1-3 (Nov-Dec 2008)
  9. ^ New Mangaverse: The Rings of Fate #1 (Mar 2006)
  10. ^ "Mutant X" #1-32 (Oct. 1998 – June 2001)
  11. ^ Spider-Gwen (2016) #7
  12. ^ Age of Ultron #12
  13. ^ Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand #3
  14. ^ Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand #5
  15. ^ What If? vol.1 #1
  16. ^ What If? vol.1 #21
  17. ^ What If? vol.2 #35
  18. ^ What If? vol. 2, #39 (July 1992)
  19. ^ What If? Vol. II #11
  20. ^ What If? Vol. II #11/4