Franklin Benjamin Richards was born in New York City. He was a mutant, due to his parents' radiation-altered genes, but began manifesting his powers while still a toddler. This drew the attention of Annihilus, who used a machine to release Franklin's full potential, before he was mature. Unable to find a solution for his son at the time, Reed Richards placed Franklin into a coma. During a battle between Ultron-7 and the Fantastic Four, the energy leaking from Ultron awoke Franklin and his powers. The energy released from Franklin was enough to defeat Ultron. Free of the excess energy, Franklin was returned to his normal power level.
While still little, Franklin was looked after by an elderly woman called Agatha Harkness, who turned out to be a benevolent witch. She and Franklin became very attached to one another — the latter calling her "Aunt Agatha" — and lived together at her old residence of Whisper Hill (which was regularly destroyed and rebuilt). Eventually Agatha returned to live in the secret witch community of New Salem, Colorado, and Franklin moved in permanently with the FF. His powers were manifesting themselves, however, and he even gained the ability to destroy things from a distance. Franklin later even aged himself into an adult, becoming known as the Avatar. In this form, Franklin had vast amounts of power to manipulate energy, but he quickly restored himself to childhood.
Attempt at a normal life
To try and give his son a "normal" life, Reed Richards devised psychic inhibitors to prevent his powers from being used, but Franklin, whether by fault or by intent, could still at times get round the inhibitors and use his powers, such as projecting an image of himself at a long-distance. At this point he secretly joined a team of pre-teen superheroes called Power Pack, in which he was code-named "Tattletale". Franklin's adventures with Power Pack gained him an enemy in the alien Zn'rx, and allies and friends in the Kymellian Whitemanes. Franklin was particularly close to the young Kofi Whitemane, who declared Franklin an honorary cousin in much the same way as the children of Power Pack had been adopted as honorary Whitemanes. Franklin also regarded the Power children and their parents as a sort of surrogate family — his association with them beginning at a time when he was feeling particularly distant from his parents at a time when they were living at Avengers Mansion. During this period Franklin also bonded emotionally with Avengers associate and manservant Edwin Jarvis, as Jarvis was his primary caretaker while Franklin stayed at the mansion.
His friendship with the Power children also gave Franklin a taste of life among siblings, which the lonely Franklin would not experience until much later when his sister Valeria was born. The Richards and Power families became fast friends, though neither family's parents realized that any of the children other than Franklin were superpowered (though Susan and Reed discovered this later). Franklin even kept his membership of Power Pack a secret from his own parents: when he appeared before them in image form he would stick to ordinary clothes, only appearing in his Power Pack outfit before other heroes such as Kitty Pryde. Franklin even lived with the Power family for a time, when his parents decided that a superhero headquarters was a dangerous place for a child to live, and wanted Franklin to spend time in a "normal" family environment. He returned to his family when Power Pack temporarily left Earth for the Kymellian homeworld.
Franklin was later kidnapped by his time-traveling grandfather Nathaniel Richards, and replaced with his adult counterpart, Psi-Lord, who had been raised by Nathaniel in a dimension outside of time. When Franklin returned to the present as Psi-Lord, he helped create the short-lived team known as Fantastic Force. During this time, Franklin displayed telepathy, precognition, and psionic energy blasts. It was then revealed that in another possible future timeline, Franklin Richards would, with Rachel Summers, father a terrible time-and dimension-traveling supervillain named Hyperstorm. Hyperstorm kidnapped Psi-Lord and replaced him with his child self.
Shortly after these events, the being known as Onslaught kidnapped Franklin in order to use him for his abilities to reshape reality. To defeat Onslaught, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men, and several other heroes destroyed first his physical form, and then his psychic form. In the process, Franklin's parents seemingly died. It was at this time that Franklin displayed his true power, singlehandedly creating the "Heroes Reborn" pocket universe to contain the heroes who had "died" in that adventure. While his parents were away in the Heroes Reborn universe, Franklin was looked after by Generation X and Alicia Masters. This universe ultimately came to be represented by a small, bluish ball which Franklin would carry with him. Franklin traveled with several X-Men to the farm owned by Hank McCoy's parents. He played with Artie Maddicks and Leech, both mutant children. During his stay with Generation X, Franklin, Artie, and Leech met with Howard the Duck and a Rigellian ally of Thor named Tana Nile.
The plant-controlling villain Black Tom Cassidy attacked at the Danger Grotto treehouse they enjoy staying in. Howard saved them all, seemingly destroying Black Tom. Later, Franklin and Alicia attended an unveiling of a statue commemorating the sacrifices made by the heroes. It focused on Thor's hammer, Captain America's shield, and his father's stretching arm. The Mad Thinker, who disliked the statue, attacked the gathering with an array of shape-changing robots. The Thunderbolts, a group of villains pretending to be heroes, defeated the robots and safely rescued Franklin. The Celestials recognized that Franklin represented the culmination of their genetic experiments, that he had power to rival even theirs. Ashema, one of the Celestials, representing herself as a human, visited Franklin. Ultimately, Franklin, Ashema and other forces allowed the rightful heroes to return and both universes to remain functioning. Later, Onslaught is reformed with the mutant energy released from Decimation, and tries to get its revenge on Franklin.
By the wake of Mr. Fantastic's activation of the Ultimate Nullifier to destroy Abraxas, Franklin lost all his powers in the process of reforming Galactus and thus became a normal child. Shortly afterwards, Doctor Doom made a pact with the Haazareth, to gain vast magical power. During Doom's attacks upon the Fantastic Four, Franklin was sucked into Hell by the Haazareth. After the defeat of Doom, his parents rescued him. Franklin had a hard time coping with the traumatic experience of being tormented in Hell. With help from the Thing and Franklin's mother, he made a complete mental recovery. Because of the danger of their adventures, Child Welfare questioned the safety of the Baxter Building, due to the numerous supervillain attacks on it.
After much reluctance, Reed and Sue agreed that if necessary, their children could be taken away. However, an initial condition was that a "dummy" safe house was to be set up, and a press release to be announced that the children had already been moved. It is uncertain exactly which of the FF's enemies carried out the attack, or why (there is speculation that Reed carried out the attack himself to allow him and Sue to keep the kids), but it was enough to convince Child Welfare.
When the Scarlet Witch used her powers to depower countless mutants, including Magneto and Prof. Xavier, the power lost by Magneto and Xavier combined and restored Onslaught (whose consciousness still remained lingering after his death), who was now determined to kill Franklin Richards and every hero in existence. Onslaught took control of both the Human Torch and Mister Fantastic in an attempt to get Franklin but was interrupted by the Thing and Invisible Woman. When Franklin fled to Counter-Earth, Onslaught followed him. While the Avengers assessed their new threat which did not exist until Franklin appeared, they took into account what the boy said about Onslaught.
However, they were in disbelief that he was the son of Susan Storm and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four as they were not married in their reality. After a brief skirmish, the heroes and villains decided to work together to defeat Onslaught, but it was Rikki "Bucky" Barnes who defeated him, using a Fantasticar to send them both through the Negative Zone barrier in the Fantastic Four's lab, trapping them. Franklin returned home, Bucky found herself on Earth 616, and Onslaught was last seen floating outside the Area 42 Prison in the Negative Zone.
In the beginning of the Skrull strike on Earth, the Skrull Lyja, impersonating Sue Richards, sends the entire Baxter Building into the Negative Zone with Franklin, Valeria, and Johnny Storm inside. Franklin and Valeria team up with Johnny and the Thing to fight the Skrulls. Benjamin Grimm asks the help of the Tinkerer, who is a prisoner in the prison for the unregistered villains in the Negative Zone. The Tinkerer refuses, seeing no reason to help the people who arrested him as he was taking his grandchildren out for ice cream, and sent him to prison without due process. Franklin and Valeria plead with the Tinkerer. They strongly remind the old man of his own grandchildren. He is moved to tears, repents and agrees to help, in exchange for his freedom and reunion with his grandkids.
Franklin briefly appears in Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1, asking his parents, why people hate mutants and does that mean they hate him too, but they’re too busy working in the lab.
During the Dark Reign: Fantastic Four miniseries; Franklin finds himself along with his sister under siege by Norman Osborn, Venom and a number of H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. The siblings were on their own due to their father's experiment which left him unreachable and the other members of the Fantastic Four stranded in alternate realities. Valeria manages to separate Osborn from the rest of the H.A.M.M.E.R. agents by using a bureaucratic technicality and by having them underestimate her. Osborn is led into a room where he faces Franklin who is wearing a Spider-man mask and calls him a villain. In the next scene, the two are chased down a hall by Osborn who is getting ready to shoot them. The Fantastic Four return just in time to protect the children. Mr. Fantastic informs Osborn to leave the Baxter Building and not to come back, dismissing him. Infuriated, he attempts to shoot Reed, only to be shot by Franklin in turn.
Although all are shocked, none understand how Franklin managed to shot Norman since he was only wielding a toy gun (both Johny and Ben examine the gun once it was shot) hinting that perhaps some of Franklin's reality altering abilities have resurfaced. On his birthday, Franklin is seemingly attacked by a strange intruder which is later revealed to be a future version of Franklin himself sent back through time to deliver a warning to Valeria about an approaching conflict. In the final pages, it is revealed that the attack by the adult Franklin was to plant a telepathic suggestion in the mind of his present-day counterpart, thereby reawakening young Franklin's dormant mutant powers.
Powers and Abilities
Franklin Richards is a mutant with vast, psionic powers. When Franklin achieves conscious use of his full powers, he will have vast, telepathic powers, tremendous telekinetic powers, the ability to fire enormously-powerful energy blasts, and the ability to rearrange the molecular structure of matter and energy, even up to a cosmic scale. His powers are so great that he has been compared to the Celestials (Said to be even greater than them.), rather than other mutants. In terms of unrealized potential, Franklin was generally considered for years to be one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel Universe, greatly surpassing even mutants such as Charles Xavier and Magneto easily.
- Reality Manipulation: He has the ability to manipulate reality itself. Nigh omnipotent reality warping powers on a near infinite level. His abilities are so great that even at such a young age he can create “pocket” universes in alternate realities (A pocket universe is a cosmos that does not equal our own in size.).
- Molecular Manipulation: He can rearrange the molecular structure of matter and energy, even up to a cosmic scale.
- Telepathy: He can read minds and project his own thoughts into the minds of others on unlimited radius. His notable abilities include:
- Telepathic Illusion: He can create realistic, telepathic illusions and cause people to experience events which are not actually occurring.
- Telepathic Cloak: Can mask his presence from being detected by others. He can extend these defenses to others around him as well.
- Mind Link: Ability to develop a mental link with any person which remains as a connection to that individual.
- Telepathic Camouflage: Ability to mask himself, and other peoples' presence from those around him. Can telepathically disguise himself, making his appearance to those around him quite different (Changing the appearance of clothing, as well as more detailed disguising.).
- Mind Control: Ability to control the minds of others just by trying.
- Mind Possession: Ability to possess the mind of another, and use that being's body as his own.
- Mind Alteration: Ability to alter the minds of others by force of will.
- Mental Amnesia: Ability to cause loss of particular memories, and amnesia in another person or even in a group of people.
- Psionic Shield: Ability to erect a psychic shield for protection of himself and of others' minds.
- Psionic Blasts: Can project psionic force bolts which have no physical effects but which can affect a victim's mind so as to cause the victim pain or unconsciousness and can even kill an adversary.
- Astral Projection: Astral Travel and communication with others astrally through his own will, or through contact with the thoughts and memories of others. In the astral realm, he can use his powers to create "ectoplasmic" objects.
- Mental Detection: Can sense the presence of other superhuman mutants within a small but as yet undefined radius of himself by perceiving the distinctive mental radiations emitted by such a being.
- Mind Transferal: Able to transfer both his mind and powers into other host bodies should his own physical body be somehow killed.
- Telekinesis: Possesses telekinetic abilities enabling him to levitate and manipulate living beings, inanimate objects, and to some extent energy psionically. He can “lift” as much as 10 tons of weight at such an undeveloped age and potentially an unlimited amount of weight and it can enable himself to “fly” at great speed.
- Bio-Blasts: Ability to fire enormously powerful energy blasts which he generates from his body's extrasensory potential.
- Precognitive Dreams: Franklin has precognitive abilities, which manifest themselves in his dreams, enabling him to envision possible future events. Although there are countless possible futures, Franklin foresees the most probable future path, and therefore his predictions usually come true. Franklin seemingly cannot foresee events more than roughly a few days in the future. Franklin's precognitive power developed to the point at which he could see images of future events when conscious.
- Fundamental Forces Manipulation: Franklin has complete control of the four fundamental forces of the universe, reaching nearly any effect he desires. As a result, Franklin can absorb, manipulate and discharge energy of the entire electromagnetic spectrum with sufficient destructive force to destroy planets.
Franklin Richards possesses the strength of a normal human boy of his age, height, and build who engages in moderate regular exercise.
- It has often been speculated that Earth's human race is evolving into a superhuman race with great psionic powers, and Franklin may be an early example of what humanity will someday become.