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Reed Richards (Counter-Earth) (Earth-616)

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Originating from the High Evolutionary's Counter-Earth, this version of Reed Richards lived a life similar to his Earth-616 counterpart. In his university days he attended the University of California along with Victor von Doom. When one of Doom's experiments blew up in his face, horribly scarring him, Reed stood by his friend and convinced him to continue his scientific studies. Reed later hijacked a space shuttle with his world's versions of Ben Grimm, Sue Storm and her brother Johnny. Through the machinations of the Man-Beast, only Reed was mutated by a Cosmic Ray storm that the ship flew through. Ben and Johnny only suffered minor injuries due to their exposure, but Sue remained in a coma for many years.[1] Reed Richards continued his research, choosing to lose himself in his work so that he could forget his loss of Sue.[2]

During a full moon, Reed Richards found that the cosmic rays he was exposed to caused him to transform into a creature that he dubbed the Brute. Eventually, Richards gained control over this and learned how to trigger the transformation through force of will. Richards was then tracked down by the Man-Beast, who sent him to San Francisco to track down and destroy Man-Beast's nemesis Adam Warlock who was operating in the area. During the course of the battle, the Brute nearly drowned Warlock. However the battle ended with Warlock using his Soul Gem to cure Richards of being the Brute.[1]

The Man-Beast recaptured Richards and restored Richard's ability to transform into the Brute, then sent him after Warlock a second time. This time having full access to his powers, the Brute soon found he hungered for more energy and stole his old colleague Victor von Doom's earth-borer device in order to absorb Counter-Earth's geothermal energy, threatening to cause the planet to enter an ice age. When Warlock failed to stop the Brute alone, von Doom turned Counter-Earth's radiation shield into a radiation absorber, causing it to absorb the Brute's energies reverting him back into Reed Richards. This also caused the earth-borer to explode, killing von Doom in the process.[3]

Richards relocated to Florida where he worked closely with the military. He chanced to be on hand to witness the battle between the High Evolutionary and Galactus when the latter was attempting to consume Counter-Earth. During the struggle between Galactus and Earth-616's Fantastic Four (led by Reed's Earth-616 counterpart), Counter-Earth's Reed piloted a rocket out to the High Evolutionary's ship, and was bombarded with Cosmic Rays again, restoring his Brute powers; he also suffered a blow to the head that turned him evil. When the FF defeated Galactus they returned to Earth, unaware that the Counter-Earth version of their leader had stowed away on their ship.[4]

Arriving on Earth, Counter-Earth Reed Richards came across a newspaper ad by the Frightful Four who had taken over the Baxter Building and were seeking to recruit a new fourth member onto their team. Despite interference from Tigra and Thundra, the Brute helped the Frightful Four defeat the heroes and take them captive.[5] However, despite efforts to ransom off the FF, the Frightful Four's plot fell apart due to the Impossible Man's interference with the Baxter Building's electrical systems, freeing the FF and their comrades. While the other members of the Fightful Four were soundly defeated, the Brute defeated Mr. Fantastic in one-on-one combat, switched their costumes and tossed his counterpart into the Negative Zone, then impersonated him.[6]

The Fantastic Four were easily fooled as the Brute's deception came at a time when Reed had lost his powers; they found Reed's behaviour unusual but dismissed it as stress from "losing his powers". Now presented with an alternate version of his true love, the Richards of Counter-Earth sought to romance Sue.[7] However, after sharing a kiss, Sue became convinced that the man she was kissing was not her husband, but his evil counterpart from Counter-Earth. She turned to Alicia Masters to confirm this, but while there Agatha Harkness kidnapped Sue's son Franklin.[8]

When Thing brought the recently defeated Metalloid to the Baxter Building, Counter-Reed sent FF allies Thundra, Tigra and Impossible Man back to the battle site to investigate, and tricked Ben and Johnny into going into the Negative Zone, trapping them there as well. When Sue confronted Counter-Reed with news of Franklin's abduction, his lack of concern convinced her that he was not her husband. With his cover blown, Reed changed into the Brute once more and tossed Sue out of one of the windows to the ground below.[9] Sue was rescued by Tigra, Impossible Man and Thundra, and the three women went after the Brute. The Brute found his hands full as the Scavenger android traveled from the Negative Zone on summons from the Mad Thinker, with Reed, Johnny and Ben not far behind seeking to reclaim Annihilus' Cosmic Control Rod. Seeing the powerless Reed fighting to save his wife, the Counter-Reed regained his sanity and seemingly sacrificed his life plunging into the Negative Zone to return to Cosmic Control Rod to Annihilus.[10]

The Brute abandoned the Cosmic Control Rod and floated near the Negative Zone's Distortion Area, where, instead of being destroyed, he was rescued by the Tyannans, creatures that were long thought extinct in the Negative Zone. His evil ways returning, the Brute tried to control the Tyannans and attempted to take over the Negative Zone and open a portal between the positive and negative matter universes. This plot was foiled by the combined efforts of the Fantastic Four, Annihilus and Blastaar. The FF returned home and left the two Negative Zone rulers to deal with the Brute.[11]

Surviving, the Brute was somehow pulled from the Negative Zone to Earth-1123 by that reality's Fantastic Four. Trapping them in the Negative Zone, the Brute Richards posed as that reality's Reed Richards, using his counterpart's fame to become the President of the United States, and clashing with Wolverine of Earth-811 and Spider-Girl of Earth-1122 who had come to warn him of the threat posed by the Celestial embryo growing in the core of that Earth. They were rescued by Namor and Susan McKenzie leading to the Brute vowing to get revenge against Atlantis for this attack.[12]

Brute later appeared as an inmate of Pleasant Hill.[13]

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