As the mutant son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, and a frequent future ally of the Avengers, Franklin Richards just might be the most well-connected individual in the Marvel Universe - not bad for a pre-teen! And if that’s not the case, he’s definitely one of the most powerful characters in all of comic books. In fact, Franklin Richards’ power level is so prodigious, he’s both broken and fixed the Marvel U on numerous occasions.
Franklin Richards was born, and thus made his first comic book appearance, in 1968’s Fantastic Four Annual #6. Since then, he’s grown considerably - both in the literal sense, and in the universal-shaping abilities sense.
Franklin Richards Was So Powerful In The Womb That The Cosmic Control Rod Was Needed To Facilitate His Birth
Long before he was born, Franklin Richards’ parents Reed and Sue were bombarded with cosmic rays on an ill-advised space adventure, leading them to become one half of the Fantastic Four alongside Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm. And there was still enough of that cosmic energy kicking around in their bodies years later to ensure that their first child was born with amazing power - so immense, in fact, that it very nearly resulted in tragedy.
With the Invisible Woman facing some severe pregnancy complications, it didn’t take long for Mister Fantastic to figure out that the child’s innate abilities were to blame. Along with his teammates, Reed journeyed to the Negative Zone in Fantastic Four Annual #6 and stole the Cosmic Control Rod - a device capable of keeping even the most uncontrollable energies in check - from the warlord Annihilus. With this device in place, Franklin was able to be born without further difficulty, though that wouldn’t be the end of his struggles with power.
Most Mutant Powers Don’t Activate Until Puberty, But Franklin Got His As A Toddler
As someone who was born with his prodigious powers, Franklin Richards is classified as a mutant - though it is believed that his parents’ exposure to cosmic rays made it all but guaranteed that his “X” gene would activate. Usually, mutants don’t see their unique abilities appear until they hit puberty, but Franklin’s came into play much earlier than that.
At first, Franklin’s powers seemed mundane: He could move the odd item with his mind, and on one occasion, he managed to psychically rouse an unconscious Thing just in the nick of time. But then Annihilus came looking for his Cosmic Control Rod and, as a result, unleashed Franklin’s full capabilities far too early. With his son’s psionic energy reaching dangerous levels, Reed Richards chose to place Franklin into a temporary coma until his abilities could once again be reduced to manageable levels.
He Defeated Ultron While Still In Diapers - And In A Coma
Franklin Richards was placed in a coma for his own safety - and that of everyone else around him - while still a toddler, but even that didn’t stop him from occasionally unleashing his unparalleled power. Such an instance occurred in Fantastic Four #150, when an enormous Ultron-7 attacked the Baxter Building.
The energy pouring out of Ultron somehow activated the comatose Franklin’s mind, and as a result, the youngster let loose all of the psionic energy living inside of him - blowing Ultron to smithereens. After this, Franklin briefly used his reality-altering powers to age himself into an adult, before deciding he wasn’t ready for that yet and transforming himself back into a child - this time, with some psychic dampeners in place to keep his abilities under control.
Franklin Richards Became A Member Of The Power Pack Before He Hit Kindergarten
Franklin Richards has only ever been an auxiliary member of the Fantastic Four, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t spent some time on a superhero squad. In fact, Franklin was ready for his first team-up before he was old enough for Kindergarten. He partnered with the four Power siblings in Power Pack #16, joining a set of similarly precocious superhumans.
Even among the Pack, Franklin was the youngest, resulting in a backhanded codename of “Tattletale.” He was also by far their most powerful member, which meant that it wasn’t long before he outgrew the team - though a couple of the Power siblings would later join him as part of the Future Foundation.