Many people associate the beginning of the Marvel universe with the first issue of Fantastic Four released in 1961. At least at the onset, it seemed that the stories in Fantastic Four were happening in ‘real-time,’ but slowly, time in the Marvel universe began to change, stretching and compressing and even fully reversing itself from time to time. And although many comic book fans have identified how difficult it is to resolve the sheer number of happenings with the in-universe explanations of how long the characters have been around, or to what extent to their powers affect the world they live in, no character has posed more preposterous conundrums than the perpetually young son of Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Woman. Here are eight reasons why Franklin Richards is the most nonsensical Marvel character ever conceived.
8. He Should Be Much Older By Now
Since comic book issues for ongoing titles only come out about once a month, it makes sense that the time experienced by the characters between the pages moves a lot slower than it does in real life. However, most characters (especially young ones) still exhibit signs of aging and life progression as the years roll on. For example, Peter Parker evolved before readers’ eyes from an insecure high school bookworm to an overworked university stud muffin that juggles multiple girls—he even got married eventually. And the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde was first introduced as being 13 years old girl in 1980, but now appears to be at least in her mid-20s. Franklin Richards, on the other hand, is a different story. He makes his first appearance as a baby in Fantastic Four Annual #6, released in 1968, and things start off okay as Franklin is aged up to a toddler by the time his mutant powers begin to manifest in Fantastic Four #130 (released in 1973). But since then, his child-like appearance hasn’t changed very much at all, despite the fact that he’s been around for 87 percent of Fantastic Four‘s publication history and should probably be at least 25 in-comic years at this point.
7. He Creates Supervillains When He Feels Unloved
Franklin Richards doesn’t like to be ignored. So, when his new baby sister Valeria was born, he just had to do something dramatic to steal back the spotlight. Why not make a new supervillain? After Franklin’s father Reed Richards, A.K.A. Mr. Fantastic had input some information into a PDA he specially designed to house data in an extradimensional storage realm, Franklin crept into his lab and tampered with it. Although his intention was only to use the PDA to make himself smarter and gain the attention of his parents, the result was the creation of a sentient data construct known as Modulus. Even though Modulus wasn’t a particularly memorable villain, he serves as a constant reminder that, if you neglect Franklin Richards, there will be consequences.
6. He Probably Messed Up His Little Sister Pretty Good
Although much less known than Franklin, Susan and Reed Richards actually have a second child named Valeria. But when Valeria was thought dead, she was actually transported by Franklin to an alternate dimension where she would be raised by an alternate Susan Storm, who married a more noble version of Dr. Doom. After Abraxas awakens and threatens the universe, Franklin summons Valeria back and resurrects Galactus so they can combine their powers to defeat the destructive supervillain. Interestingly enough, when Abraxas was finally vanquished and all was said and done, Franklin decided to regress Valeria back into a fetus so that she could be put back in his mother’s body to be born again. Sounds like that girl’s gonna need some serious developmental counseling therapy one day.
5. He’s One of the Most Powerful People in the Marvel Universe
Franklin Richards is beyond an omega-class mutant. This means he’s technically more of a threat than some of the most powerful mutants like Jean Grey or Legion. In addition, his powers began to manifest themselves almost immediately after he was born, unlike other mutants that generally only become aware that they’re mutants at the time of early adolescence. But it’s the nature of Franklin’s abilities that make him so powerful. He’s basically an almighty god and creator who can rearrange matter, effect biology, and even tear through the very fabric of reality itself. He can pretty much conjure whatever his imagination desires, be it a giant ice cream sundae or a horde of raging demons hellbent on taking over the world. Oh ya, he also has telepathy, telekinesis, and a host of other psionic powers that would probably put Professor X to shame.
4. He Once Created an Entire Universe
In the mid-90s, the evil supervillain Onslaught killed practically every non-mutant superhero in the Marvel universe. This included the Fantastic Four. Understandably, watching his parents get killed was a traumatic event for Franklin, and it caused his powers to discharge at their full power thereby creating a brand new universe where the believed-dead heroes could be reborn. Yup, Franklin Richards created an entire universe for the sole purpose of saving the heroes killed by Onslaught. He even carried it around with him as a little blue ball in his pocket.
3. Many of the Most Powerful People in the Marvel Universe are Terrified of Him
The Celestials are just about as powerful and authoritative as they come in the Marvel universe. No one knows exactly who they are, where their origins lie, or what they hope to accomplish, but they’re thousands of feet tall, older than the cosmically-observant race of Watchers, and responsible for most of the intelligent forms of life that exist throughout the universe. These sacred and transcendent beings look upon Franklin Richards as an equal—which gives every other Marvel character the right to be absolutely scared sh-tless of him.
2. He’s Defeated the Devil. . . Twice
Mephisto is an extra-dimensional demon with unknown origins but, since he refers to his home dimension as “Hell” or “Hades,” it’s pretty safe to assume that we’re at least supposed to pretend he’s the living embodiment of evil from Christian religion. But even Mephisto—a being so powerful he can change the entire world at a whim—is left feeling powerless before Franklin Richards. At one point, in Fantastic Four #270, Mephisto had an unconscious Franklin trapped in Hell. When Dr. Strange finally came to the rescue, all he had to do was make Franklin aware of Mephisto’s presence and it was over in an instant. There wasn’t even a battle. In a separate encounter, Franklin completely overwhelmed Mephisto and even managed to kill him, albeit only temporarily, since Mephisto is so abstract that even when seemingly annihilated he will always come back.
1. He’s Buddies With Galactus
Franklin Richards and Galactus have had an ongoing bromance ever since Franklin used some sort of mind power to resurrect Galactus so he could help defeat Abraxas. There even exists a version of the future in which Galactus serves as a herald to Franklin Richards and the two join forces to take down the Celestials. The two just seem to really get each other. In one of their more poignant heart-to-hearts, Galactus feels comfortable enough to reveal to Franklin that they are both immortal and, after billions of years, the two of them will stand side by side and watch the universe slowly decay to thermodynamic equilibrium.