Reed Richards is supposed to be the smartest man in all of the Marvel universe, and like most highly intelligent people he's an egotistical jerk. We're not even talking about the fact that he actually calls himself Mr. Fantastic without even a molecule of irony (We note that Sue Storm apparently isn't allowed to call herself Mrs. Fantastic), or even that he basically flew his family into space in an untested ship that totally ran into the exact danger he was warned about but was too smug to bother with.
Even going beyond all those things, Richards still has managed to behave in a manner that for all intents and purposes is exactly how a supervillain would. There have even been instances when his actions made Dr. Doom's look positively benevolent. Here are the ones that most irked us.
Franklin Richard is the natural born son of Reed and Sue. He is a mutant of impossible reality-altering powers, which have been present since he was a toddler. Fearful of his son's greater powers (psyche majors feel free to discuss in the comments), Richards decided that the only path to safety was to shoot his kid in the head with a laser that would shut down his entire mind while Sue is holding him in his arms.
Seriously, can you think of any incident that turns out well from approaching a mother cradling her son with a giant blaster rifle? Eventually Franklin overcome being comatosed by his father, and has somehow turned out to be a pretty well-adjusted kid despite being one of the most powerful creatures in the universe and being saddled with a dad who answers his physical development problems by shooting experimental energy weapons at him.
Did you know that early in his career Spider-Man wanted to join the Fantastic Four? It's true, and it's also perfectly understandable. The team was a great mixture of experience, Richards and the Thing, and youthful energy, Sue and the Human Torch. Plus they were already based in New York, so Spider-Man would've been able to continue his normal life.
When you think about it, Peter Parker would've been the perfect fit for the group. He was a science prodigy who could've used Richards' mentoring and resources to do all kinds of brilliant research, his optimism and wit would've offset the oft-melancholy Ben Grimm, his dedication to personal responsibility would've tempered Johnny Storm, and Sue could've helped him with his famous girl problems.
Know why it didn't happen? Because Reed Richards wouldn't pay him a salary. Richards is ridiculously rich from his many patents, and both Sue and Johnny come from significant money themselves. You've seen how Peter Parker lives, he would've been happy with a free place to stay, food, and enough money to keep him tights. He doesn't even need gas money. All told, we're willing to bet that Spidey would've taken the job for the equivalent of around $35,000 or less a year in modern dollars. The fact that a man who outright owned the top five floors of a New York City skyscraper wouldn't fork over what was probably spare change to him to recruit someone like Spider-Man is mind-boggling.
Considering that Richards had already gotten himself and three other people permanently mutated with inadequate radiation shielding on his spacecraft, you'd think he would be much more careful about such a thing in the future. You'd think that, but that's because you don't walk around thinking your big brain and ever-expandable penis are proof that God himself gets the hell out of the way when you need to be somewhere.
So after an adventure in the Negative Zone --which Richards discovered, was the sole expert on, and often used as an inescapable prison without any kind of elected or appointed authority to do so -- Sue got pregnant. It turned out that exposure to radiation in the Negative Zone had done some damage to her reproductive system, and the baby was stillborn.
Where as some women would soldier on and others would sink into depression, Sue decided the time had come to end some people's shit. Under some manipulation from the Psycho-Man she manifested incredible levels of power and a new personality called Malice. She then turned upon her teammates until Richards managed to focus all of her hate and anger on him personally. This worked because everything he does always works. Because he's a womb-wrecking jerk.
The Skrulls are a shapeshifting alien race that loves nothing more than trying to conquer the Earth. They're the bad guys, okay? We're not disputing this. However, there is no way in Hell this is a punishment thought up by anyone who wasn't aiming to be Hitler 2: The Stretchening.
After repelling the Skrull invasion, Richards decides that no jail would be adequate to hold three remaining POWs. His solution is to use hypnosis to get them to shift into the form of common cows, and also to forget that they were ever Skrulls. He then sets them out to pasture.
Big deal, right? It's mean, but there are worse things than eating all day in complete security for the rest of your life. Well, Richards didn't turn these cows loose on some bit of land he owned, he just drove out to a ranch, dumped them, and went back to inventing lasers. Eventually, these cows were rounded up for slaughter.
It would be horrifying enough if it ended there, but people who ate their Skrull burgers didn't just report a funny taste. Or maybe they would've if they hadn't died. Those that survived got some superpowers (What God does Richards pray to that all his irresponsible mishaps result in superpowers?), of course they also got a crippling neurological disease. All because Richards wouldn't drop a few bucks on a bit of land and a sign that said, "Don't Eat This." Hell, he could've paid Spider-Man to be the caretaker. But he didn't.
Because he's soggy bag of dicks.
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