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Franklin Richards

Franklin Richards is a fictional character that appears in the Marvel Universe.

Franklin is an Omega-Level mutant with vast reality-manipulating powers. He is the young son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four and the older brother of Valeria Richards. His parents named him Franklin Benjamin Richards; his middle name is taken from his Godfather Benjamin Jacob Grimm, the Thing. Franklin also shares the same middle name as Peter Benjamin Parker, Spider-Man, who once told Franklin "Uncle Bens are always right". Franklin's first name comes from Franklin Storm, his maternal grandfather.

Publication history

Franklin first appears in in Fantastic Four Annual #6 (November 1968), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, although he didn't receive his name until two years later in Fantastic Four #94 (January 1970).

Fictional character biography

Origin

Franklin Richards was born in New York City. He was a mutant but, due to his parents' radiation-altered genes, began manifesting his powers while still a toddler. This drew the attention of Annihilus, who used a machine to release Franklin's full potential, before he was mature. Unable at the time to find a solution for his son, Reed Richards placed Franklin into a coma.

During a battle between Ultron-7 and the Fantastic Four, the energy leaking from Ultron awoke Franklin and his powers. The energy release from Franklin was enough to defeat Ultron. Free of the excess energy, Franklin was returned to his normal power level.

While still little, Franklin was looked after by an elderly woman called Agatha Harkness who turned out to be a benevolent witch. She and Franklin became very attached to one another — the latter calling her "Aunt Agatha" — and lived together at her old residence of Whisper Hill (which was regularly destroyed and rebuilt). Eventually Agatha returned to live in the secret witch community of New Salem, Colorado, and Franklin moved in permanently with the FF. His powers were manifesting themselves, however, and he even gained the ability to destroy things from a distance.

Franklin later even aged himself into an adult, becoming known as the Avatar. In this form, Franklin had vast amounts of power to manipulate energy, but he quickly restored himself to childhood.

Attempt at a normal life

To try and give his son a "normal" life, Reed Richards devised psychic inhibitors to prevent his powers from being used, but Franklin, whether by fault or by intent, could still at times get round the inhibitors and use his powers, such as projecting an image of himself at a long-distance. At this point he secretly joined a team of pre-teen superheroes called Power Pack, in which he was code-named "Tattletale".

Franklin's adventures with Power Pack gained him an enemy in the alien Zn'rx, and allies and friends in the Kymellian Whitemanes. Franklin was particularly close to the young Kofi Whitemane, who declared Franklin an honorary cousin in much the same way as the children of Power Pack had been adopted as honorary Whitemanes. Franklin also regarded the Power children and their parents as a sort of surrogate family — his association with them beginning at a time when he was feeling particularly distant from his parents at a time when they were living at Avengers Mansion. At this period Franklin also bonded emotionally with Avengers associate and manservant Edwin Jarvis, as Jarvis was his primary caretaker while Franklin stayed at the mansion. His friendship with the Power children also gave Franklin a taste of life among siblings, which the lonely Franklin would not experience until much later when his sister Valeria was born.

The Richards and Power families became fast friends, though neither family's parents realized that any of the children other than Franklin were super-powered (though Susan and Reed discovered this later). Franklin even kept his membership of Power Pack a secret from his own parents: when he appeared before them in image form (see above) he would stick to ordinary clothes, only appearing in his Power Pack outfit before other heroes such as Kitty Pryde.

Franklin even lived with the Power family for a time, when his parents decided that a super-hero headquarters was a dangerous place for a child to live, and wanted Franklin to spend time in a "normal" family environment. He returned to his family when Power Pack temporarily left Earth for the Kymellian homeworld.

Psi-Lord

Franklin was later kidnapped by his time-traveling grandfather Nathaniel Richards, and replaced with his adult counterpart, Psi-Lord, who had been raised by Nathaniel in a dimension outside of time. When Franklin returned to the present as Psi-Lord, he helped create the short-lived team known as Fantastic Force. During this time, Franklin displayed telepathy, precognition, and psionic energy blasts.

It was then revealed that in another possible future timeline, Franklin Richards would, with Rachel Summers, father a terrible time- and dimension-traveling supervillain named Hyperstorm. Hyperstorm kidnapped Psi-Lord and replaced him with his child self.

Onslaught

Shortly after these events, the being known as Onslaught kidnaps Franklin in order to use him for his abilities to reshape reality. To defeat Onslaught, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men, and several other heroes destroy first his physical form, and then his psychic form. In the process, Franklin's parents seemingly die. It was at this time that Franklin displayed his true power, single-handedly creating the "Heroes Reborn" pocket universe to contain the heroes who had "died" in that adventure. While his parents were away in the Heroes Reborn universe, Franklin was looked after by Generation X and Alicia Masters. This universe ultimately came to be represented by a small, bluish ball which Franklin would carry with him.

Franklin travels with several X-Men to the farm owned by Hank McCoy's parents. He plays with Artie Maddicks and Leech, both mutant children. During his stay with Generation X, Franklin, Artie and Leech meet with Howard the Duck and a Rigellian ally of Thor named Tana Nile. The plant-controlling villain Black Tom Cassidy attacks at the Danger Grotto tree house they enjoy staying in. Howard saves them all, seemingly destroying Black Tom. Later, Franklin and Alicia attend an unveiling of a statue commemorating the sacrifices made by the heroes. It focuses on Thor's hammer, Captain America's shield and his father's stretching arm. The Mad Thinker, who dislikes the statue, attacks the gathering with an array of shape-changing robots. The Thunderbolts, a group of villains pretending to be heroes, defeat the robots and safely rescue Franklin. The Celestials recognized that Franklin represented the culmination of their genetic experiments, that he had power to rival even theirs. Ashema, one of the Celestials, representing herself as a human, visits Franklin. Ultimately, Franklin, Ashema and other forces allowed the rightful heroes to return and both universes to remain functioning.

Later, Onslaught is reformed with the mutant energy released from Decimation, tries to get its revenge on Franklin.

Ordinary human

By the wake of Mr. Fantastic's activation of the Ultimate Nullifier to destroy Abraxas, Franklin lost all his powers in the process of re-forming Galactus and thus became a normal child.

Shortly afterwards, Doctor Doom made a pact with the Haazareth, to gain vast magical power. During Doom's attacks upon the Fantastic Four, Franklin was sucked into Hell, by the Haazareth. After the defeat of Doom, his parents rescued him. Franklin had a hard time coping with the traumatic experience of being tormented in Hell. With help from the Thing and Franklin's mother, he made a complete mental recovery.

Because of the danger of their adventures, Child Welfare questioned the safety of the Baxter Building, due to the numerous super villain attacks on it. After much reluctance, Reed and Sue agreed that if necessary, their children could be taken away. However, an initial condition was that a "dummy" safe-house was to be set up, and a press release to be announced that the children had already been moved. It is uncertain exactly which of the FF's enemies carried out the attack, or why (there is speculation that Reed carried out the attack himself to allow him and Sue to keep the kids), but it was enough to convince Child Welfare.

Onslaught Reborn

When the Scarlet Witch used her powers to depower countless mutants, including Magneto and Prof. Xavier, the power lost by Magneto and Xavier combined, and restored Onslaught (whose consciousness still remained lingering after his death), who is now determined to kill Franklin Richards and every hero that exists. Onslaught takes control of both the Human Torch and Mister Fantastic in an attempt to get Franklin but it is interrupted by the Thing and Invisible Woman.

When Franklin flees to Counter-Earth, Onslaught follows him. While the Avengers assess their new threat which did not exist until Franklin appeared, they take into account what the boy says about Onslaught. However, they are in disbelief that he is the son of Susan Storm and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four as they are not married in their reality.

After a brief skirmish, the heroes and villains decide to work together to defeat Onslaught, but it is Rikki "Bucky" Barnes who defeats him, using a Fantasti-Car to send them both through the Negative Zone barrier in the Fantastic Four's lab, trapping them. Franklin returns home, Bucky finds herself on Earth 616, and Onslaught is last seen floating outside the Area 42 Prison in the Negative Zone.

Secret Invasion

In the beginning of the Skrull strike on Earth, the Skrull Lyja, impersonating Sue Richards, sends the entire Baxter Building into the Negative Zone with Franklin, Valeria and Johnny Storm with it. Franklin and Valeria team up with Johnny and the Thing to fight the Skrulls. Benjamin Grimm asks the help of the Tinkerer, who is a prisoner in the prison for the unregistered villains in the Negative Zone. The Tinkerer refuses, seeing no reason to help the people who arrested him as he was taking his grandchildren out for ice cream, and sent him to prison without due process. Franklin and Valeria plead with the Tinkerer. They strongly remind the old man of his own grandchildren. He is moved to tears, repents and agrees to help, in exchange for his freedom and reunion with his grandkids.

Powers and abilities

Franklin is an Omega-level mutant possessing vast psionic powers. According to Roma, Franklin's power was equal to that of the Celestials. These powers have manifested as telepathy, telekinesis, energy blasts of concussive force (in adulthood), precognition, astral projection and reality manipulation -- the ability to make a thought or desire a reality. However, being a child, his abilities are restricted to an extent by his limited control -- at any given moment his powers could spawn the unthinkable with something less than a thought, or risk temporary depletion if overly exerted. It is unclear what power levels Franklin will achieve as an adult, as several future incarnations from alternate realities have been shown to vary in power.

Other versions

Days of Future Past

In the X-Men storyline Days of Future Past, it was shown that in one possible future timeline, he would be the lover of Rachel Summers, but that he would be prematurely killed by Omega Sentinels. In variants of this timeline they have a child with various destinies; the most notable being as the villain Hyperstorm. He also had another child with Rachel named 'Dream Summers'. She demonstrates telepathy/empathy.

It must be noted that the adult Franklin Richards seen in the present of Earth-616 during the Days of Future Past crossover tapped into the powers of Rachel Summers, augmenting his own abilities with the near-infinite energy of the Phoenix Force.

Earth-98

In Fantastic Four: Annual 1998, a version of Franklin is seen where he aged in real time from his first appearance. He is married to a Wakandan woman named Zawadi and has a daughter named N'Yami. Franklin is also a member of the Fantastic Four named Zero Man and had the ability to access the Negative Zone through a portal that he could create. However, he had to wear a special Vibranium headband to help him control his abilities.

Earth X

In Earth X, Franklin Richards curses Namor for killing the Human Torch, by turning half of his body into fish-like scales, and if he ever leaves the ocean water, his other half would catch fire. Afterwards, Franklin takes Galactus' armor and, entering the third stage of his evolution, becomes Galactus himself. As stated in the story, he is Galactus as long as no one tells him he isn't. As Galactus, Franklin Richards saves the Earth by consuming the Celestial growing inside. He reveals himself to his father, Reed, before leaving the Earth, stating he will never return. At the end of the story, Reed, after gaining the cosmic consciousness, states his first task will be to save his son.

Exiles

The Exiles, a group of superheroes taken from several different realities, traveled to a future Earth where their mission was to stop Franklin Richards' son from conquering that world. Franklin himself is not shown in this storyline.

Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius

In the out-of-continuity humor series Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, Franklin is portrayed as a Calvin-esque troublemaker who can't resist "playing" with his father's inventions, with disastrous results. Franklin must then scramble to reverse the effects/clean up after the results of his "play", with the help of his long-suffering robot nanny H.E.R.B.I.E. (who essentially plays a Hobbes-esque role), or face punishment from his parents. In the Son of a Genius one-shot Everybody Loves Franklin, Franklin encountered a non-superpowered version of Katie Power (the "real" Franklin's former Power Pack teammate); while Franklin at first disliked Katie in stereotypical young boy fashion, he seemed to develop a crush on her (reciprocated by Katie) when he discovered that she had a talent for mayhem similar to his own.

Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius began as a series of back-up strips, each one appearing in all Marvel books released in a certain publishing week. The strips were well-received by Marvel readership and the concept was granted a self-titled one-shot, which primarily reprinted the published strips to date. A second one-shot followed, subtitled Everybody Loves Franklin, with new material. A third one-shot, a Summer Special of new stories, and a fourth, subtitled Happy Franksgiving; in which includes a unique mini-tale involving Thanksgiving Day, have already been released. And a fifth one-shot titled, World Be Warned, It's Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius was followed by Fantastic Four Presents Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius: Monster Mash. All of the Son of a Genius stories to date have been drawn by Chris Eliopoulos and co-written by Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak.

A Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius one-shot entitled Franklin Richards: Not-So-Secret Invasion sees Franklin and H.E.R.B.I.E. face Skrull invaders in the title story, which parodies Marvel's 2008 crossover event Secret Invasion. Franklin easily outsmarts and overpowers the hapless Skrull spy who tries to replace him.

House of M

Franklin is mentioned by Emma Frost as being one of her patients since the death of his parents

Marvel Zombies

In the Marvel Zombies: Dead Days one-shot (which served as a prequel to the Marvel Zombies 2005/2006 miniseries) Franklin was revealed to have been bitten by She-Hulk. This bite killed him.

MC2

In the MC2 universe, Franklin is in the Fantastic Five under the name of Psi-Lord, his powers reduced to telekinesis after a battle with Hyperstorm. He's also that universe's Nexus Being, someone who exists in all possible realities, a focus of mystical energies. He has a friendly relationship with Spider-Girl. They are mutually attracted to each other until her father, Spider-Man, points out that she is only 15, several years younger than Franklin. After that, Franklin stops flirting with her. It was revealed in Avengers Next #2 that Franklin recommended Kate Power to help the Avengers find the powerless Thunderstrike. During Fantastic Five (volume two) #4; a huge increase in his powers, triggered by cosmic rays exposure, leaves him with stronger psionic powers and with a blazing skull for a face, forcing him to wear a containment helmet at all times.

Power Pack - All Ages Version

In the Fantastic Four and Power Pack miniseries, an alternate timeline Franklin Richards is promoted a few grades and enrolled in the same class as Jack Power. Because of persecution as a result of him having the Richards name, Reed later decides that he should be kept in the Baxter Building for home schooling, possibly as long as College. Franklin then runs away with Jack, then proceeds to get captured by Doctor Doom. Doom switches bodies with Franklin for a short time to pursue the destruction of the Fantastic Four, leaving Franklin trapped in Doom's comatose body. When Jack Power undoes the body swap, Franklin wakes up and immediately leads the Power Pack in sending Doctor Doom to the Negative Zone.

After this adventure, Julie Power creates a costume for Franklin, dubbing him the "honorary fifth member". The costume looks like a standard Power Pack costume, done in orange and having the all-seeing eye icon of his "tattletale" costume from the original series. Although the costume was made of regular materials instead of using the alien materials that accounts for the special abilities of the other Power Pack costumes; Franklin's father has modified the "Tattletale" costume using unstable molecules.

In the Power Pack: Day One miniseries; Franklin is staying with the Power family, due to the Fantastic Four going on a space mission. During his stay, Franklin is learning from the Power siblings the origin of how they became Power Pack.

In the first issue of the Skrulls vs. Power Pack miniseries; Franklin and the Power siblings were at a bowling alley, when they were attacked by bounty hunters. While the hunters captured and delivered the Pack to Patchworld; Franklin managed to return to the Baxter Building to ask his parents to help rescue them, but instead depended upon the aid from both the Smartship Friday and his robot nanny H.E.R.B.I.E.

This version of Franklin to this date hasn't displayed any powers; however, he does have great courage and intelligence. He also has some impressive high-tech gadgets that Reed and Franklin built together. These save his life during the Galactic bounty-hunter attack.

With the main continuity, the "Son of a Genius" series, and the all ages version of Power Pack; there are now three different versions {within the different continuities} of Franklin Richards fighting the Skrull Invasion.

Sphinx

In an alternate reality detailed in New Warriors Vol 1 #11-#13, the Richards family is part of a resistance movement against the tyrannical Sphinx. They join with the family of Dwayne Taylor. Despite their age differences, Franklin and Dwayne are shown as friends. An attack by agents of the Sphinx leaves all but Dwayne murdered.

Other future incarnations

In Power Pack #36 (published in April 1987), Franklin and his friends battled the giant robot Master Mold. The Master Mold's primary objective was to eliminate The Twelve, the future leaders of mutant-kind. In detecting his presence, Master Mold describes Franklin Richards as a mutant entity of the "ultimate" potential and the only mutant ever to develop such power. Future incarnations of Richards are then shown. One image depicts him as a teenager clad in a dark blue suit with a yellow belt, boots and gloves accompanied by red gauntlets, along with a jacket of the same color. This teen version of the reality-warping psionic is known as Ultiman. A following image portrays Franklin as a striking figure somewhat older in appearance than "Ultiman" and closely resembling the Silver Surfer, albeit with marks on his face not unlike the "hound scars" commonly associated with Rachel Summers of Earth 811. Master Mold refers to this incarnation only as The Twelfth.

Ultimate Franklin Richards

In Ultimate X-MenFantastic Four Annual #1, a young Franklin Richards is part of a future team of X-Men. It is revealed that in all of the possible futures, Franklin is Reed and Sue's son. He is also revealed to be the host to that timeline's Phoenix force.

In other media

Films and games

In the film X2, Franklin Richards' name briefly appears on a computer monitor among government files relating to mutants. Actress Jessica Alba, who plays the Invisible Woman in the Fantastic Four film series, has expressed interest in introducing Franklin for a possible sequel.

In the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, when speaking to the Invisible Woman, Franklin was briefly mentioned.

References

References

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