DARK RAIDER

Real Name: Reed Richards

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (alternate Earth-944) human mutate

Occupation: Assassin; former adventurer, scientist, explorer

Group Membership: Formerly Earth-944's Fantastic Four

Affiliations: Partner of Aron the Watcher

Enemies: Reed Richards (and likely the associated Fantastic Fours) of numerous realities;
    Reality-616's Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Black Panther (T'Challa), Devlor, Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Woman/Sue Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm), Huntara, Psilord, Vibraxas

Known Relatives: Same as Reed Richards-616 prior to his marriage to Sue Storm

Aliases: "The Great Enemy of humanity" (as he was referred to by Nathaniel Richards);
    formerly Mr. Fantastic; presumably Stretcho, "Man in the Mystery Mask"

Base of Operations: Currently unrevealed;
    formerly an unidentified extradimensional location;
    formerly Earth-944's Baxter Building, Manhattan, New York;
    formerly State University and other schools;
    presumably born in Central City, California

First Appearance: (Identified only; BTS) Fantastic Four I#387 (April, 1994);
    (seen) Fantastic Four I#388 (May, 1994)

Powers/Abilities: Like his Earth-616 counterpart, Reed Richards-944 can shift all or portions of his body into a super-malleable state, enabling him to stretch, compress, expand, deform, elongate, contract or otherwise reshape his physical form at will. He is also one of his Earth's greatest geniuses, proficient in almost all fields of science and technology, a visionary theoretician and inspired machine-smith who has made breakthroughs in numerous fields. Possessing intimate knowledge of the Fantastic Four members and associates, including Psilord, he could specifically target their weaknesses and manipulate them emotionally.

As the Dark Raider he wore a costume granting him numerous abilities; he could teleport across space or between realities; lift objects of great weight (throwing at least 5 tons across the room); generate a paralyzingly cold mist; project a virtually impenetrable force field; project ionic energies (with which he could short-circuit Psilord's battle armor, sending it back to the pocket dimension from whence it came); project fatal energy blasts (killing even a malleable and resilient Mr. Fantastic, though possibly only after weakening his abilities with his cold mist); project a "Tornado-Whip," whose razor-sharp winds could allegedly easily slice through the Thing's rocky hide; fire a gas from his glove that caused gravity to increase geometrically (incapacitating even the Thing); utilize heat and other sensors to locate the invisible Invisible Woman; project an Encaso-Globe, that homed in on even an exceptionally swift target, ricocheting faster and faster until it struck him, after which it encased him in a transparent globe; adjust his force field to take shape and attack an opponent; hurl a number of crystals that swiftly grow to the size of boulders and bury targets; and cast foes back with a wave of force. In the Negative Zone, Reed Richards wore a hyper-harness that allowed him to navigate the zone's "space."

Height: 6'1" (variable)
Weight: 180 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown, graying at temples

History:
(Fantastic Four I#390 (fb) / Fantastic Four I#391 (fb)) -  On Earth-944, when Galactus arrived, Uatu the Watcher sent Reed Richards (instead of Johnny Storm, as on Earth-616) to Taa II, Galactus' worldship, to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier. Baffled/amazed by the plethora of scientific marvels strewn about Galactus' ship, and despite the subconscious images of the Nullifier implanted by Uatu, Richards sought an even greater weapon. He scrutinized and tested each war toy (nearly injuring himself in the process), but by the time he chose a weapon, Galactus had already consumed Earth's energies, killing billions of its inhabitants.
    On Earth-944 or a variant, Aron the Watcher had the Earth-616 Human Torch, Invisible Woman, and the Thing replace their counterparts against Galactus after Reed was sent to Galactus' ship. Galactus slew the Silver Surfer and each of the Fantastic Four in turn. As Sue was destroyed, battered and violated by Galactus' energies, she was catapulted across the dimensional barriers, and a flaming image of her appeared in Earth-616's Four Freedom's Plaza, noting how she had seen Ben and Johnny die.

(Fantastic Four I#392 - BTS) - Aron removed the -616 Ben, Johnny, and Sue from -944 before they could be destroyed by Galactus, returning their -944 counterparts there to die.

(Fantastic Four I#392 (fb)) - Reed Richards-944 raged over the death of his wife and friends.

(Fantastic Four I#392 - BTS) - Reed Richards-944 determined to eliminate his myriad alternate dimensional counterparts to prevent them from destroying Earth as he had destroyed his by the delays caused by his insatiable curiosity.

(Fantastic Four I#389 (fb) - BTS) - Dark Raider journeyed from one alternate reality to the next, destroying every Reed Richards he could find.

(Fantastic Four I#389 (fb)) - On "Earth-94689," Dark Raider slew that world's Reed Richards while he investigated Thing-like artifacts in Brazilian jungle.

(Fantastic Four I#389 (fb)) - On "Earth-89946," Dark Raider slew that world's  lab-coated, tie-wearing Reed Richards while he was performing chemistry experiments.

(Fantastic Four I#389 (fb)) - On "Earth-68994," Dark Raider slew that world's  handgun-wielding Reed Richards in a city's alley.

(Fantastic Four I#387 - BTS) - Nathaniel Richards contacted Psilord (a divergent future counterpart of Franklin Richards-616), guiding him to steal the Fantastic Four's time sled to join Nathaniel in stopping the Dark Raider. Before the theft, the flaming image of Sue (Sue-616 briefly replacing her -944 counterpart and noting how she had seen Ben and Johnny die). Using a back-up linkage to the time sled, Ant-Man (Scott Lang) joined the rest of the Fantastic Four (Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Thing) in pursuing Psilord, arriving on Earth-49487, and encountering that world's Fantastic Four (Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing) in that world's Baxter Building.

(Fantastic Four I#388) - In a "Hidden laboratory in a nameless place," the Dark Raider watched Franklin Richards concealing the stolen time sled on "Earth-49487." As Aron the Watcher (posing as Uatu) approached, the Raider largely ignored him, noting he had not requested the audience. The Raider preferred to focus on watching Franklin, whom he was destined to battle, noting that Franklin's presence in this particular time era meant his (the Dark Raider's) greatest enemy was also close by. Aron begged the Raider to stop his mad course of action, lest it result in woeful cataclysm, but the Raider refused to be swayed, believing he was humanity's only hope for survival. The Raider's attention was then drawn by the appearance of "the one I seek" on his screen, Reed Richard (of Earth-49487). That reality's FF suspected the FF-616 to be imposters, but Sue-616 briefly calmed the situation by revealing they came from a possible future. Wishing to slip past the others unnoticed, Psilord caused the Thing-49487 to see Thing-616 as a skrull, and the rest of the FF-49487 were easily convinced to follow this deception, leading to a fight b/t the two FFs. Antagonized by the presence of the Malice (an evil doppelganger of Sue Richards-616) whom he had earlier absorbed, Franklin incapacitated Sue-616 with a psychic blast when she tried to comfort him. Additionally, the Avengers-49487 were drawn by the conflict, further escalating it and occupying the heroes.
    Eventually the Dark Raider materialized, stating his intent to liberate Earth from its deadliest nemesis. He outmaneuvered and stunned Reed-49487 and Psilord in short order, but Psilord sent a telepathic call summoning the rest of both FF teams and the Avengers. Realizing he needed to act quickly, the Dark Raider then unleashed an energy blast that slew both Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl (who had tried to protect her lover)-"49487." The Dark Raider then teleported himself away before the gathered heroes could strike him.

(Fantastic Four I#389 - BTS) - Secretly guided by Aron the Watcher, Ben, Sue, Ant-Man, and Namor the Sub-Mariner followed their chronometer's trail to an alternate reality, "Earth-389694," allegedly the former home of the Dark Raider and whose New York City was now inhabited by savage tribesmen; but it showed a memorial to the early-costumed FF, as well as a damaged Four Freedoms Plaza (which would never have existed on Earth-944, with the Fantastic Four having ended while they still lived in the Baxter Building). 
    Posing as Uatu, Aron told them the Fantastic Four were responsible for this world's ruination.

(Fantastic Four I#390 - BTS) - Immobilizing Ant-Man and Namor, Aron (as Uatu) continued to describe "Earth-389694" as the reality destroyed by the Fantastic Four. He revealed how in the past, "he" (actually the Uatu of Earth-944) had sent Reed Richards (instead of Johnny Storm, as on Earth-616) to Galactus' ship to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier. When the Thing doubted what he was telling them, Aron transported Ant-Man and Namor back to Earth-616's Four Freedom's Plaza and sent Ben and Sue (and bringing the Human Torch with them) to Earth-944, having them replace their counterparts against Galactus after Reed  was sent to Galactus' ship.
    "Meanwhile," Psilord criticized Warlord Kargul of Elsewhen for allowing the Dark Raider access to the timestream to commit murder, but Kargul named the Raider as a minor threat compared to Nathaniel Richards, who manipulated the timestreams, to save a planet or an entire timestream that the fates had already abandoned. When Psilord vowed to stop Dark Raider by any means necessary, Kargul ordered his capture, but he escaped with Huntara's aid.

(Fantastic Four I#392) - The Dark Raider appeared in Earth-616's Four Freedoms Plaza shortly after Ben, Johnny, and Sue's return from their Earth-944 experience. He confronted Ben and Sue, demanding they surrender their world's Reed Richards. He initially failed to realize he had already encountered them on Earth-49487, only making the connection upon realizing they recognized him. When Ben rushed him, the Raider activated his "Tornado-Whip," and as Sue protected Ben with her force field, Ben noted something familiar about the Raider; meanwhile, Psilord -- who had landed on Four Freedom's Plaza's roof with Huntara and then met up with Black Panther (T'Challa), Devlor, and Vibraxis -- sensed the Raider's presence. The Raider next fired a gas from his glove that caused gravity to increase geometrically about the Thing, then turned and located the Invisible Woman via his heat sensors. Before he could strike, however, he was knocked off balance by Vibraxis who arrived alongside the above others with Psilord. When Black Panther rushed in, the Raider unleashed an Encaso-Globe, that homed in on him, ricocheting faster and faster until it struck him, after which it encased him in a transparent globe. Huntara's scythe caused the Raider's force field to quiver, but he then adjusted it to take shape and attack her, after which he hurled a number of crystals that swiftly grew to the size of boulders and buried Devlor. Making peace with Sue, Psilord united his power with hers and assaulted the Raider's field, but he cast them back with a wave of force. As Sue suspected how the Raider would know each of their weaknesses, Aron (as Uatu) appeared again, announcing that it was time they learned the truth, and the Raider unmasked, revealing himself as Reed. Sue correctly reasoned that he was Reed Richards-944, which he confirmed, explaining his motivation. The Raider noted how Uatu could have saved Earth, that the Watchers only interfered when it suited their purpose, after which he pulled out the Ultimate Nullifier, wondering if "Uatu" would make any move to spare this Earth. As the Raider's force field resisted their powers, Sue and Psilord decided they needed to shatter his concentration to prevent him from focusing his thoughts to activate the Nullifier, and so they united their minds to cast Malice from out of Psilord's mind into the Raider's. With the Raider thus distracted, Psilord claimed the Nullifier; after congratulating on their temporarily defeating him, the Raider vowed to never rest until he had eradicated every Reed Richards from creation, and them as well. When Psilord and Sue nonetheless refused to kill the Raider, "Uatu" struck, seemingly vaporizing the Raider with an energy blast; presumably he was just cast back to their extradimensional base. "Uatu" vowed to exile himself to a distant place where there nothing existed to watch.
    Knowing Ben didn't believe Reed-616 still lived, she departed to find him; with the Human Torch having quit early due to fears about his own impending morality, Ben vowed to continue as the Fantastic One if needed.

(Fantastic Four I#396) - After another appearance of the flaming image of Sue Richards, Scott Lang wondered at its purpose, thinking its mystery already solved. From their secret citadel, Reed Richards-944 mocked Aron (still posing as Uatu), telling him he knew the Fantastic Four would figure out he was manipulating them and that they might even seek to confront him.

(Fantastic Four I#397) - Still posing as Uatu, Aron attempted to dissuade Ben, Johnny, and Scott Lang from going to Sue's aid, informing them of a false Skrull invasion they needed to stop. When they suspected treachery and refused him, he attacked, but ultimately the real Uatu appeared, causing the imposter to flee. As the real Uatu silently departed, he left behind a piece of alien technology. Upon Aron's return, Reed-944 taunted him for his transparent acting, agreeing only to stop mocking him when Aron had dealt with the Fantastic Four. He further cautioned Aron that the FF was relentless and they would never stop until they had learned the truth.

(Fantastic Four I#398) - The Fantastic Four (Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Thing), joined by Ant-Man, Kristoff Vernard, and seemingly Doom's servant Boris (actually Zarrko the Tomorrow Man). Reed Richards-944 observed from his base as the Summoner arrived and transported away Uatu, exactly as Reed-944 and Aron had anticipated. When Aron confronted the group as Uatu, however, the Thing recognized him as an imposter, and he revealed himself to be Aron.

(Fantastic Four I#399) - As the FF and their allies assaulted Aron, he transported Sue to the Negative Zone, where she encountered Reed-944 near the distortion area, and he pretended to be Reed-616. She recognized who he really was almost instantly, and when he tried to convince her to become his lover, as each had lost their Reed or Sue, she fought back with all her power. She destroyed his hyper-harness, which could have safely transported them out of the distortion area, after which he told her the Great Crunch -- the collapsing of all matter in the universe back into a primordial mass -- was coming, and that the Watchers were causing it. He further told her that the alien Watchers had their own agenda, and that Aron had only agreed to spare "us" (either he and Sue, or all humanity) because Reed-944 had helped him modify the Ultimate Nullifier. Sue knocked Reed-944 after off of a floating rock as they fought, but when she tried to help him, he struck her from behind, stunning her. However, seconds later he realized he was caught in a sub-spatial current and was being pulled into the annihilation zone. Unable to stretch sufficiently to get himself to safety, he begged Sue for help, but she was unable to focus her powers enough to help him. He apologized to her seconds before he was apparently destroyed by the annihilation zone.

Comments: Created by Tom DeFalco, Paul Ryan, and Dan Bulanadi.

It's probably worth noting that the Dark Raider basically wears the Invicible Man's costume.
--Andrew Sorohan

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No KNOWN connections to:


images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#388, pg. 12, panel 1 (action panel showing force field, with Psilord partially obscuring him)
        pg. 19, panel 2 (close-up of makes face)
    #392, pg. 1 - anguished Reed in FF costume holding dead Sue
        pg. 9, panel 1 - best full body, but a bit poor detail. Possibly could be cleaned up to make him look less bland.
        pg. 15 - unmasked
    #399, pg. 10, panel 1 - Reed in FF costume wearing hyper-harness


Appearances:
Fantastic Four I#387 (April, 1994) - Tom DeFalco (writer/scripter/co-plotter), Paul Ryan (penciler/co-plotter), Dan Bulanadi (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Fantastic Four I#388 (May, 1994) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Paul Ryan (penciler), Mike Lackey (scripter), Dan Bulanadi (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Fantastic Four I#389-392 (June-September, 1994) - Tom DeFalco (writer/scripter/co-plotter), Paul Ryan (penciler/co-plotter), Dan Bulanadi (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Fantastic Four I#396 (January, 1995) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Paul Ryan (penciler), Dan Bulanadi (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Fantastic Four I#397 (February, 1995) - Tom DeFalco (writer/scripter/co-plotter), Paul Ryan (penciler/co-plotter), Dan Bulanadi (inker), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Fantastic Four I#398-399 (March-April, 1995) - Tom DeFalco (writer/scripter/co-plotter), Paul Ryan (penciler/co-plotter), Dan Bulanadi (inker), Nel Yomtov (editor)


Last updated: 10/27/12

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