Happy birthday, Franklin Richards! November marks 40 fantastic years of Franklin Richards in the Marvel Universe and we're celebrating with Franklin Richards week from November 17-21! Grab your copy of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6 (Franklin's first appearance, 'natch) and stick with us all week long for more Franklin goodness.
By Jim Beard
Franklin Richards: 40 years old and still a child at heart.
When you're the offspring of the Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman, you've gotta figure your life's going to be a bit unusual—but no one could've predicted the sheer, unadulterated wacky
the last 40 years have rolled out for Franklin.
Born one of the most powerful—if not the
most powerful— mutants in existence, Franklin's massive abilities put his parents on the defensive almost immediately. But you can't keep a good Omega-Level powerhouse down; thus, lil Frank's blown his reality-warping top more than a few times.
Did we also mention he's grown to adulthood more than once in the past four decades? Not to mention reverting back to childhood after said bouts of growing up fast—his folks seem to like him short and innocent. He has also faced down extra-dimensional beings and energy-infused creatures—it comes with the pedigree, after all. Alas, everything's come out all right in the end and today young Franklin remains just that: young. Some things never change.
Come with us now through a brief biography of some of Franklin Richard's greatest hits. Leave your disbelief at the door—this here's Fantastic Four territory, True Believer…
FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6 (1968)
The Invisible Woman's pregnancy hung on the wrong side of danger until hubbie Reed Richards wrested Annihilus' Cosmic Control Rod from him while on a trip into the Negative Zone. Strange life-threatening energies controlled, Reed and Sue welcomed their first child into the world.
FANTASTIC FOUR #141 (1973)
Attempting to drain Franklin's innate energies, Annihilus awakened a power in the child like none previously imagined. Quick-thinking Mr. Fantastic shut that earth-threatening power down—and unfortunately his son's brain along with it. Result? Fantastic Four no more!
POWER PACK #15 (1985)
Despite being under the influence of his father's psychic inhibitors, Franklin exhibited enough of his powers to sneak out and join the team of child heroes known as Power Pack. His super heroic code name? Tattletale!
FANTASTIC FOUR #376 (1993)
Sit down for this one: Reed's visiting father Nathaniel abducted Franklin and escaped into the timestream. A moment later an enigmatic, armored figure appeared, only to reveal himself as an adult Franklin from the future who'd soon become known as Psi-Lord. We warned you.
ONSLAUGHT: MARVEL UNIVERSE (1996)
Once again a child but absorbed into the incredibly evil and powerful Onslaught, Franklin, along with fellow inmate Nate Grey, struggled for freedom from the inside out. In the end, Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Friends sacrificed themselves to free Franklin and end Onslaught's reign or terror.
HEROES REBORN: THE RETURN #4 (1997)
The FF's youngest member unconsciously created an entire new universe for the fallen heroes—including his parents—to populate after the Onslaught event. Living down on the farm with Generation X, Franklin and a visiting Celestial joined forces to return the missing super heroes to their rightful world. Reunited and it felt so good.
Despite all his incredible abilities and being frequently abducted by those who covet that power, Franklin has still managed to enjoy the benefits of being a kid—most of the time. Will he ever grow up? Who knows? Perhaps time and the whims of the universe will tell.
Until then, you can follow all of Franklin's latest adventures in the pages of—where else?—FANTASTIC FOUR! Here's to 40 more, Frank!
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