- The Fantastic Four has never given up hope before ... We're not stopping now. If there's a way out of this, so help me - - I'll find it.
- -- Mister Fantastic
Reed Richards, the only son of wealthy physicist Nathaniel Richards and his wife Evelyn, was a child prodigy with special aptitude in mathematics, physics, and mechanics. Evelyn died when Reed was seven. Nathanial encouraged and guided young Reed in his scientific studies, and Reed was taking college-level courses by the time he was fourteen. He attended several universities.
It was at State University in Hegeman, New York, that Reed Richards first met two of the most important individuals in his life. He was assigned to room with a foreign student, a scientific genius named Victor von Doom. The imperious Von Doom, taking an immediate dislike to Richards, decided to take other quarters. Instead, Richards gained as his roommate former high school football star Benjamin J. Grimm, who became Richards’ closest friend. Richards was already intending to build a starship for interstellar travel. When he told his ambitions to Grimm, Grimm jokingly said that he would pilot the starship for Richards.
Doom became obsessed with developing a machine that could project the astral form of a being into other dimensions. Reed pointed out a flaw in Doom's calculations, but Doom arrogantly ignored his warning, feeling Reed was trying to upstage him. The machine exploded, scarring Doom's face. He was soon expelled for conducting unethical experiments. As Doctor Doom, von Doom would later become Richards’ greatest rival and enemy.  Doom blamed Reed for his deformities and he continually tried to prove himself superior to Reed, especially intellectually. They battled many times, but Reed almost always emerged triumphant.
While attending Columbia University, Richards rented living quarters at the Manhattan boarding house owned by the aunt of a young girl named Susan Storm. Though she was still only a child, no more than twelve years old, Susan fell in love with the older Richards, much to his embarrassment.
Three years before Reed Richards tested his starship, his father mysteriously disappeared. In fact, Nathaniel Richards had devised a time machine which he had used to attempt to journey into the future of his own world. However, the machine actually transported him to an alternate Earth with a history considerably different from our own. Reed Richards would be reunited with him while visiting this alternate Earth years later. Before Nathaniel Richards left his own time, he made arrangements that left two billion dollars to his son. Reed Richards spent most of the money on his project to build and launch his starship. This project, based in Central City, California, received further funding from the federal government.
Richards recruited his old friend Ben Grimm, who had become a successful test pilot and astronaut, to pilot the starship. Richards was joined in California by Susan Storm, who was now an adult. Richards and Storm were dating at the time.
Shortly before the starship was to be launched, Richards used his scientific knowledge to defeat the extraterrestrial being Gormuu, who had intended to conquer Earth. Richards’ encounter with Gormuu strengthened his resolve to finish the starship, which he saw as a first step for mankind to defend itself from extraterrestrial threats.
However, the federal government then threatened to withdraw its funding from the project. Richards decided to take the starship on a test flight himself before the funding was withdrawn. Grimm was opposed to the idea, warning that the starship's shielding might prove inadequate protection from the intense radiation storms. Nevertheless, Grimm was persuaded to serve as pilot, and Susan Storm and her adolescent brother Johnny insisted on accompanying Richards as passengers. The four friends stole onto the launch facility, entered the starship, and blasted off. They intended to travel through hyperspace in the ship to another solar system and back. However, unknown to Richards, a solar flare caused Earth's Van Allen radiation belts to be filled temporarily with unprecedented, ultra-high levels of cosmic radiation. Since the ship was designed to shield against ordinary levels of radiation, the cabin volume was subjected to to intense cosmic ray bombardment which irradiated the four passengers and wrought havoc on the ship's controls. Pilot Grimm was forced to abort the flight and return to Earth.
Once back on Earth, the four passengers discovered that the cosmic radiation had triggered mutagenic changes in their bodies. Reed Richards discovered that his body had become malleable and that he now had the ability to elongate his body at will. Richards convinced the others that the four of them should use their new-found powers for the good of humanity as members of a team he named the Fantastic Four. Richards, who became the team’s leader, named himself Mister Fantastic, while Ben Grimm, Susan Storm, and Johnny Storm named themselves the Thing, the Invisible Girl (later the Invisible Woman), and the Human Torch, respectively. The profits from Richard's patents and royalties funded the teams activities.
Under Richards’ leadership the Fantastic Four has become Earth’s most honored team of superhuman adventurers, and has saved the world from conquest or destruction many times. Richards eventually married Susan Storm in a wedding ceremony attended by most of the world's heroes, and they had a son, Franklin.
Franklin proved to be a vastly powerful mutant whose fluctuating abilities have alternately saved or menaced both the Fantastic Four and the world, forcing Reed to take steps to contain Franklin's powers. On one such occasion, Franklin's mind was temporarily shut down. An outraged Sue, already resentful of Reed at this point because she felt that he did not regard her as an equal, left her husband and quit the team. She was replaced in the Fantastic Four for an extended period by Medusa of the Inhumans, but Sue reclaimed her spot on the roster after she and Reed finally reconciled. However, Reed and Sue were separated from the end of FF #130 until the end of FF #149. This dramatic development drew a huge response of fan mail to the Fantastic Four Fan Page and most fans appeared to blame Sue for the marital separation.
A number of Earth's most powerful heroes -- Mister Fantastic, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Professor X, Iron Man, and Namor -- traveled to Skrullos to confront the Skrull King, informing him that the Earth was strictly off-limits. Upon arrival, however, the heroes were captured and experimented upon before they were able to escape. Mr. Fantastic would later blame himself for the Skrulls increased transforming powers. While the meeting predictably turned violent, the experience would provide the basis for the later establishment of the Illuminati. The secretive group of Earth's most influential heroes would meet only a few times, and these, only to tackle events of extraordinary importance. Reed added the viewpoint and perspective of a scientist.
After losing his powers for a time, Reed was imprisoned and impersonated by the Brute, his then-criminally insane counterpart from the High Evolutionary's Counter-Earth, who ultimately exiled himself to the Negative Zone after finally regaining his senses.
The Fantastic Four even broke up for a while, during which time Doom hypnotized Reed into capturing his former teammates as the Invincible Man. The team regrouped after Reed took a solo space flight into the Van Allen radiation belts, guided by information from colleague Stephen Beckley (later Comet Man), regaining his powers at amplified levels, and the Fantastic Four foiled Doom's latest world-conquering plot. Later, seeking a more normal family life, Reed and Sue established a household in small town Belle Porte, Connecticut for a while, living quietly in disguise there as the Benjamin family while continuing to serve with the Fantastic Four in their original identities.
After a conflict during which he mercifully spared the life of the planet-eater Galactus, Reed found himself placed on trial in an interstellar court by survivors of the many worlds Galactus had consumed; but Reed was exonerated once the last-minute testimony of Eternity proved to the court that Galactus was a necessary aspect of the cosmos.
On the family front, Sue's second child was stillborn despite Reed's frantic efforts to save their unborn baby; Reed discovered that his own long-lost father Nathaniel was living a new life with a new family on Other Earth; and an embittered Thing quit the Fantastic Four, partly because a well-intentioned Reed had withheld information from him regarding the state of Ben's ability to resume human form, an ability Ben lost due in part to Reed's misinformation. Ben's hand-picked replacement, She-Hulk, served a long stint with the Fantastic Four, but eventually left after Ben finally reconciled with the group and rejoined their ranks.
Seeking a more normal family life again, Reed and Sue retired from the Fantastic Four altogether to concentrate on raising Franklin, leaving Ben in charge of the group. To replace them, Ben recruited his friend Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura) and Crystal (who had already served as Sue's substitute during and after Sue's first pregnancy); however, Reed and Sue's retirement was short-lived. After teaming with several Avengers to rescue a captured Franklin during a demonic invasion, Reed and Sue reluctantly agreed to join the Avengers, who were critically short-handed at the time. But Reed was too accustomed to leadership himself to serve smoothly under Captain America for long, so Reed and Sue amicably stepped down from active Avengers membership after only a few missions with the team. They later resigned their Avengers membership altogether after rejoining the Fantastic Four. They remained friends and allies to the Avengers, though.
When Reed and Doom seemingly died as a result of their conflict with the alien Hunger, they were actually spirited away by the space-time-warping Hyperstorm, mad son of an alternate-future Franklin Richards. Hyperstorm kept Doom as a tortured captive and trapped Reed in the distant past for months, during which time the world believed both Reed and Doom to be dead. In Reed's absence, Sue took over leadership of the Fantastic Four and served capably in the role, recruiting Ant-Man as the team's new scientist. However, she refused to believe Reed was truly dead, and she rebuffed romantic advances from Namor. Reed was eventually rescued.
The entire Fantastic Four appeared to die in battle with the psychic monster Onslaught. Instead they (and the Avengers) found themselves on Counter-Earth, in a pocket universe Franklin had created to save them. In a sense, they had been reborn and had to start their lives over. Once the heroes on Counter-Earth realized what had happened, they returned to their original homes.
An even more surprising resurrection unfolded during the team's reality-warping conflict with the cosmic being Abraxas when Franklin revealed he had used his powers to rescue Sue's seemingly stillborn second child years earlier, and that this child had been raised in an alternate future to become the Marvel Girl (Valeria Von Doom) who was now an ally of the present-day Fantastic Four. As a side-effect of Abraxas's defeat, Marvel Girl was restored to her original state, as an unborn child in Sue's womb. This time, Sue's pregnancy resulted in the birth of a healthy baby girl, christened Valeria in memory of Doctor Doom's first love. (Doom had insisted on naming the child in exchange for assisting with the difficult birth.) Later, Doom would exploit his special bond with the child to employ her as a mystical familiar, using sorcery to mount one of his most ruthless and terrifying attacks on the Fantastic Four ever.
In the end, Doom was taken by his own demonic benefactors, but not before he hideously disfigured Reed's face as a petty parting gesture. Physically and emotionally scarred, Reed led the Fantastic Four into Doom's now-leaderless Latveria, where he worked obsessively to dismantle Doom's regime, neutralize his arsenal, erase Doom's legacy and create a better state, becoming increasingly tyrannical himself in the process and ignoring threats of international criminal charges from the United Nations. At the same time, unknown even to his teammates, Reed was secretly plotting to retrieve Doom from Hell and place him in a specially prepared other-dimensional prison from which he could never escape; but this transfer was unwittingly interrupted by the rest of the Fantastic Four, allowing Doom to escape long enough to kill the Thing.
Devastated, the remaining Fantastic Four returned to America, where their standing with the authorities and their reputation with the general public had taken a terrible beating due to the Latverian controversy. The Fantastic Four broke up, Reed and Sue split up, and Reed was even forced to sign over most of his patents to the government as part of a deal to escape prosecution. However, Reed was certain that Ben could be resurrected. He convinced Sue and Johnny to join him in this quest, which ultimately led them to the gates of Heaven itself using a modified model of Doom's old afterlife machine. Persuaded it was not yet his time, Ben agreed to return to the land of the living with his friends-and the Creators allowed it, even healing Reed's facial scars as a parting gift. With the Fantastic Four back together, Reed led them in rebuilding their reputations and their finances. For a time, he also steered the team into taking on more conventional civilian occupations as life experience; but his chief goals continued to be raising a family, protecting humanity and seeking knowledge in all corners of the universe and beyond.
During the Civil War, Reed Richards was one of the leading figures, along with Iron Man, on the side favoring the Superhuman Registration Act. Reed's true motive for supporting the registration act was due to his development of a working version of Isaac Asimov's (fictional) Psycho history concept. His application of this science indicated to him that billions would die in escalating conflicts without the presence of the act. He speculated that this would lead to conflict with his wife, which came true when a clone of Thor, created by him and Iron Man lost control and killed Goliath and nearly killed all the rest of the Secret Avengers until Sue stepped in and saved them.
Soon after, Sue left Reed, along with Johnny, to join the Secret Avengers in hopes that it would drive Reed to end the conflict quickly. In the final battle of the war, Reed was shot by Taskmaster as he was saving Invisible Woman's life. He survived, however, and Sue returned to him in the aftermath of the battle, having been granted amnesty. With their marriage in jeopardy Reed and Sue agreed to “take a break” from the Fantastic Four to focus on each other. While away on a second honeymoon Reed asked The Black Panther and Storm to take their places on the team.
Reed and Sue reunited with the Four when the Hulk returned to Earth seeking revenge on the Illuminati. Reed was defeated and thrown into Madison Square Garden, which had been turned into a gladiatorial arena by the Hulk. Hulk implanted the Illuminati members with obedience discs and forced them to fight each other. However the Hulk spared them from being forced to kill each other, deciding that he had shown them and that he had proved his point to the world. They survived the encounter by Hulk's mercy and the timely intervention of the Sentry, who weakened Hulk enough for Stark to use prototype defense satellites to negate the Hulk's powers.
Due the presence of Reed Richards of alternate universes, Mr. Fantastic made an alliance with many villains such as Mad Thinker, AIM, Wizard, Diablo and High Evolutionary to plan how to stop them. Then they lead the battle to High Evolutionary's city where one of the Richards escaped with Doctor Doom and the others two were captured by the Kree army. After returning to Baxter Building, Richards reunited other heroes to fight the Inhumans in Attilan, but at the time they where preparing to go at the rooftop, a Kree invasion started. Reed used Iron Man's armor and Sue's power to create a force field around Manhattan, at the same time the Cult of the Negative Zone opened the portal to the Negative Zone after Spider-Man failed at stop them, the portal revealed a living Johnny Storm with a enslaved Annihilus.
Then Johnny gathered the team drawing with fire the symbolical "4" at the sky above the Baxter Building. Reed, Sue, Ben and Peter boarded one of the Annihilation Wave's ships controlled by Johnny, who used the rest of the ships to battle the Kree army until the Inhumans asked to finish them by their own hand. Meanwhile the other heroes on Earth where dealing with the scraps of the battle which could damage the Earth, Reed and Sue summons Galactus, who destroys completely the Kree army. That moment, the Mad Celestials appeared to destroy this universe. Although the team tried to use the Hub (a weapon of mass destruction created by the Reeds), they couldn't defeat the Mad Celestials. Then, a future version of Franklin and Valeria appeared as part of Nathaniel Richards's plan. The Future Franklin used his power to heal Galactus and destroy the Mad Celestials, saving the day. Later, the Baxter Building was easily rebuilt, Mr. Fantastic showed a new secondary headquarters called Foundation and new costumes were given to the members of the Future Foundation, as part of the reformation of the Fantastic Four.
Age of Ultron
After finding out that during one of their explorations he developed a sickness which caused the cells of his body to start degenerating, Reed decided to disguise a travel through time and space to find a cure as a family excursion. But during their voyage, of which its real nature Sue discovered, the Fantastic Four were alerted by Black Panther about Ultron's sudden and massive take-over of Earth. After returning New York, the quartet found themselves with an almost destroyed Manhattan, and while looking for survivors, they all perished against Ultron's sentinels, except Sue, who managed to escape along She-Hulk and join the resistance.
Reed is an intellectual who prefers to examine foes and if possible negotiate with them before actually fighting them. He is often intrigued by the scientific implications of a problem, so much so that he almost forgets there is a problem in the first place. As Ben once put it, "...if an alien stubbed his toe, Reed would want to spend ten years studying it." Reed is an extremely likable fellow who keeps a pleasant smile on his face. However, he does occasionally lapse into depression over long-standing unsolved problems, most notably Ben’s inability to return to human form and Franklin’s mysterious potential. Reed is a humanitarian who will try to prevent any intelligent being from suffering. This can lead him to do controversial things that fly in the face of all apparent logic, such as when he once revived Galactus.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Gifted superhuman powers by cosmic rays bombarding his body.
Hyper-Intelligence: Mister Fantastic’s natural mental abilities were greatly augmented by the Cosmic Rays that gave him his powers.
Plasticity: Mister Fantastic possesses the ability to convert the mass of his entire body into a highly malleable state at will. How his body's respiration and circulatory systems function at these distorted extremes is as yet unknown. Mister Fantastic can alter his form in a matter of seconds, often much less (depending on the complexity of the shape), and revert to his normal humanoid shape within a similar time. The greater the distance he stretches or the more extended the size of the object he becomes, the weaker his overall strength becomes. Mister Fantastic's transformation to a malleable state is reflexive and nearly instantaneous: if he was at his normal form and taken unaware by machine gun fire, his body would still absorb the bullets' impact through radical deformation. Mister Fantastic's skin is virtually impervious to laceration or punctures unless he willfully relaxes his reflexive control over small areas of his body. In that case, scalpels and ordinary needles can penetrate his skin.
- Dense Flesh: Due to the great malleability and elasticity of his molecular structure, Mister Fantastic is able to absorb the impact of any type of man-made ballistic projectile by deforming his body along the path of the projectile's trajectory at the point of initial impact.
- Contain Explosions: Mister Fantastic may use his elastic form to contain explosions by enveloping them and allowing their force to expand him. He can enclose and absorb the energy of a large explosive, on the order of 8 to 12 pounds of TNT (excluding exotic, high density explosives). Such shocks to his system are physically exhausting.
- Redirect Projectiles: After his body absorbs the kinetic energy of a ballistic projectile's impact, Mister Fantastic can expel the object back along its trajectory by flexing his body like a trampoline if he is adequately braced.
- Elongation: Mister Fantastic can extend his limbs, torso, or neck to great distances: the maximum length he can distend before his body segments become painful is about 1,500 feet. (Although he can extend discrete body parts, such as a single finger, an ear, or an eye, he seldom if ever isolates such parts in his elongations.)
- Grappling: Mister Fantastic may restrain opponents very efficiently by using his elastic form to entangle them.
- Movement: Mister Fantastic can move at great speeds by stretching to his destination.
- Shape Changing: Mister Fantastic can stretch, deform, expand, or compress his entire body or parts thereof into any contiguous shape he can imagine for a variety of uses:
- Imitation: Mister Fantastic may alter his basic physical features, allowing him to take on the appearance of any other man with similar hair and skin tone. One time, Mister Fantastic actually increased his size and mass density, in effect bulking his body to "Thing"-like proportions while increasing his strength to the same levels as well. The force of his strikes was enough to stagger even Onslaught.
- Canopy, Parachute or Sheath: Mister Fantastic can extend his body in two directions, creating a canopy, parachute, or sheath, its thickness determined by the extent of its distention.
- Gliding: Mister Fantastic can transform himself into aerodynamic shapes such as parachutes or hang-gliders. In this form he can support an additional 1000 pounds (enough to hold the rest of Fantastic Four, even the Thing).
- Cushion: Mister Fantastic may form his elastic form into a trampoline and other cushion-like objects, allowing him to safely catch falling people and objects.
- Sling Shot: Mister Fantastic may use his elastic form as a slingshot to hurl objects with great force.
- Geometric Shapes: Mister Fantastic has compressed his body into the shape of a solid sphere, a cylinder, a cube, a toroid, and a rectangular prism: he can assume the shape of any solid that he can envision clearly, of a volume no greater than 1.7 cubic feet (a sphere about 18 inches in diameter). He can generate thin-walled shapes that enclose great volumes of space.
- Fist Weapons: Mister Fantastic may form his fists into large hammers, maces, etc., which improve his physical effectiveness in hand-to-hand combat.
- Bouncing Ball: Mister Fantastic can transform himself into any of a number of resilient shapes, such as balls or springs that allow him to leap or bounce great distances.
- Two-Dimensionality: Mister Fantastic can flatten himself to the thickness of an average sheet of typing paper (.0035 inch) or narrow himself to a diameter small enough to pass through the eye of a #10 beading needle (about .045 x .06 inches).
- Infiltration: Mister Fantastic can lower his body’s cohesion to such an extent that he can actually flow through minute openings.
- Open Locks: Mister Fantastic may form his fingers into various types of keys, allowing him to open most forms of mechanical locks.
- Wind Generation: Mister Fantastic may form his hands into fans, allowing him to generate wind by twirling them at great speeds.
- Semi-Solid Liquid State: Mister Fantastic can willfully reduce his body into an almost liquid state in order to flow out of small cracks or passages, even through needle-sized holes.
Super-Genius class Intelligence: Dr. Richards is one of the most intelligent beings on the planet. Reed possesses a mastery of electrical, mechanical and aerospace engineering, electronics, chemistry, all levels of physics, and human and alien biology. A visionary theoretician and inspired machine smith, he has made breakthroughs in such varied fields as space travel, time travel, extra-dimensional travel, biochemistry, robotics, computers, synthetic polymers, communications, mutations, transportation, holography, energy generation, spectral analysis and more. He is one of the few people on Earth to be an expert on other dimensions and the methods by which to travel to and through them. Reed’s patents are so valuable that he is able to bankroll the Fantastic Four, Inc., without any undue financial stress. Not only has Reed proven himself to be a genius in virtually every science native to Earth, he has shown himself to be more knowledgeable than even some of the most highly advanced alien civilizations in the known universe as well.
Hypnotism: Mister Fantastic is trained in hypnosis.Technological Achievements
Mister Fantastic possesses the normal human strength and build of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in moderate exercise, but thanks to his malleable body, he can mold himself into stronger, more attack-based forms.
Although the Fantastic Four have numerous devices, crafts, and weapons, there are some items that Reed Richards carries with him at all times.
- Fantasti-Flare: Launches a fiery "4" symbol into the sky that is used during combat situations to let other members of the group know their location.
- Fantastic Costume: Like all the Fantastic Four's costumes and the rest of Reed's wardrobe, his suit is made of "unstable molecules". This means that the suit is attuned to his powers, which is why Johnny's costume doesn't burn when he "flames on," Sue's costume turns invisible when she does, and Reed's costume stretches with him. The costume also insulates them from electrical assaults. In addition, the team's uniforms are also, in essence, wearable computers. Their costumes have a complete data processing and telemetry system woven into the material of the uniform on a molecular level. This forms a network with the entire team, providing a constant, real-time uplink of everyone's physical condition as well as their location and current situation. The suit is capable of displaying data and touch-pad controls on the gauntlets. Its sensors can track all of the team's uniforms and provide a picture of their immediate vicinity. The suit has an intricate scanner system which can detect things around the wearer, from how many people are in the next room to what dimension or planet they are on. Reed can also up-link the bodysuit to any computer by stretching his fingertips to filament size and plugging them in to an I/O data-port. With this, Reed can establish a fairly comprehensive database of any computer's cybernetic protocols and encryption algorithms.
- Along with his penchant for inventing, Dr. Richards is often known to rewrite works of Stephen Hawking and decode alien languages.
- In Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602, his power is associated with the classical element of water. The association to the element of water was also brought up in Heroes Reborn Fantastic Four, X4: X-Men and Fantastic Four, Ultimate Fantastic Four and in the Marvel Boy mini-series by Grant Morrison.
- Mr. Fantastic was one of the characters featured in Series A of the Marvel Value Stamps issued in the 1970's.
- 1,940 Appearances of Reed Richards (Earth-616)
- 501 Images featuring Reed Richards (Earth-616)
- 66 Quotations by or about Reed Richards (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Reed Richards (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Reed Richards (Earth-616)
- Characters killed by Mister Fantastic
- Mister Fantastic/Technology
- Official Marvel Picture site
- Official Fantastic Four movie webpage
Discover and Discuss
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Fantastic Four Annual #2
- ↑ Fantastic Four #5
- ↑ Fantastic Four #11
- ↑ Fantastic Four #21
- ↑ Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos #3
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Fantastic Four #1
- ↑ Fantastic Four #271
- ↑ Fantastic Four Annual #3
- ↑ New Avengers #7
- ↑ Fantastic Four #394
- ↑ Fantastic Four Vol 2 #
- ↑ Heroes Reborn: The Return #
- ↑ Fantastic Four #542
- ↑ Civil War #4
- ↑ Civil War #7
- ↑ Fantastic Four #543
- ↑ World War Hulk #1
- ↑ FF #1
- ↑ Fantastic Four #600
- ↑ Fantastic Four #602
- ↑ Fantastic Four #603
- ↑ Fantastic Four #604
- ↑ FF #16
- ↑ Fantastic Four Vol 4 #1
- ↑ Fantastic Four Vol 4 #5AU
- ↑ Onslaught Marvel Universe #1
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 7
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