- Nathaniel Richards
Nathaniel Richards is a
fictional characterin the Marvel Comicsuniverse. He is the father of Reed Richards, Mister Fantasticof the Fantastic Four, and the grandfather of Franklin Richardsand Valeria Richards. He has been married at least twice; the first marriage to Reed's mother Evelyn and the second to Cassandra. It is speculated that he is also the secret identity of Iron Lad/ Rama Tut/ Kang the Conqueror/ Immortus, or alternatively this person could have been named Nathaniel Richards to honor Reed's father. He has other children besides Reed. In an alternate timeline he visited and fathered an unnamed son with a woman named Cassandra (this has long been assumed to be the ancestor of Kang). He also claims to have fathered Tara Richards aka Huntaraas well as Kristoff Vernard.
Fictional character biography
He is a scientific
genius, and his son Reed's aptitude for science is inherited from him, though Reed has proven himself to exceed his father's ability.
Nathaniel Richards is a
time traveler. Though his son Reed is a superhero, Nathaniel Richards is not; his agenda is always clouded and often sinister, though not outright villainous. He clearly has many plans in motion, but exactly what those are is unknown.
During one of
Doctor Doom's absences, Nathaniel actually impersonates him, convincing even Doom's technologically advanced servitor robots.
After Doom vanishes during the Onslaught incident, Nathaniel teams up with Cable and his team,
X-Force. Both men agree Doctor Doom's time platform should be made secure against those who would mis-use this. During the course of this endeavor, Nathaniel assists in helping Meltdown out of Doom's Liddleville. It is a shrunken town, where many of Doom's enemies had been imprisoned.
SHIELDsquadron follows the X-Force group into Doom's castle. A firefight results in Nathaniel, his companions and the entire castle vanishing in a teleportation effect.
In the miniseries
Avengers Forever, Kang himself explains his own origins, claiming to be the future descendant of Nathaniel Richards. It has been strongly hinted at that he is the biological father of Doctor Doom's adopted son Kristoff Vernard. Despite this speculation, current evidence states that Kang is not to be confused with Reed Richards' father, after whom he is named. In fact, he was born in an alternate timeline. The Earth there had been transformed into a paradise thanks to Mister Fantastic's father, the Nathaniel Richards after whom he was named.
One of Nathaniel's most famous moments was kidnapping his grandson Franklin and raising him in the future. This was 'neutralized' when the younger Franklin reappears due to the machinations of Nathan's great-grandson
Hyperstorm(Jonathan Richards aka Hyperstorm is Franklin and Rachel Summers son from yet another alternate timeline).
During the Civil War storyline Reed tells Spider-Man the story of Nathaniel's brother Ted Richards. Ted was a writer and made the mistake of being too colorful in the McCarthy era and was for some reason sentenced to prison for six months. Unable to find work after his release Ted fell on bad times and ultimately died. Reed always enjoyed spending time with his uncle but he felt his uncle deserved his punishment for disobeying the law.
Ultimate Marvel, Reed's father is named Gary. Unlike Nathaniel, Gary is a cruel man with no knowledge in science who treated his own son like dirt because of how he never developed as an athlete. He praised the athletic Ben Grimmlike the son he wanted, but wasn't as kind as Ben. He would have treated Reed much worse than the bullies at his school. When Reed was accepted into the Baxter Buildingthink tank, his father only agreed because Reed's family would be paid to send him. After the team is exposed to the Negative Zoneand gains their powers, Reed is forced to remain estranged from his family due to government secrecy. Even after they make their existence known to the world following a battle with Annihilus, he chooses to keep from making contact with them. When his younger sister Enid is infected with powers of her own, he finally reestablishes contact with his parents; his mother is overjoyed to see him again, while Gary blames him for causing Enid's abilities.
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