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Fantastic Four: Marvel’s DARKEST Reed Richards Is Even More Dangerous Than the Maker

The Fantastic Four villain Dark Raider was a multiversal murderer who turned out to be one of Marvel’s most tragic versions of Reed Richards.

The Marvel multiverse is full of countless possibilities, including worlds where the heroes and their allies failed to stop chaos from overtaking their lives and costing them everything they hold dear. One such fate befell a version of Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, who in turn took it as a dark inspiration for a new and frightening crusade.

Now, we’re taking a look back at the Dark Raider to unearth how this dark version of Reed Richards even more twisted than the Maker.

The Dark Raider first appeared in 1994’s Fantastic Four #388 by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan. He was later revealed to be an incarnation of Reed Richards from across the multiverse, namely the reality of Earth-944. On this world, when Galactus first came to Earth, Mister Fantastic who was sent to recover the Ultimate Nullifier instead of the Human Torch. The more easily distractable Reed was kept busy on the ship ensuring that the Ultimate Nullifier was truly the right weapon to bring, wasting too much time and allowing Galactus the chance to wipe out the rest of the Fantastic Four and destroy that version of Earth.

Horrified by his failure and driven mad by his guilt, this version of Reed decided to travel the multiverse and free every reality from the burden of Reed Richards by way of horrific slaughter. His travels resulted in the deaths of multiple Reeds, as well as the Dark Raider running across the Earth-616 Fantastic Four during a period when the team was searching for their Reed Richards, who was presumed dead following a climactic battle with Doctor Doom. Eventually, the Dark Raider followed them to Earth-616 and found himself confronting not an alternate Reed Richards but rather an alliance of the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, and a super-charged Franklin Richards as Psi-Lord, where he angrily revealed his identity.

The Dark Raider was ultimately stopped when the Rogue Watcher Aron — in disguise as Uatu — arrived and seemingly killed him. In reality, Aron captured this version of Reed Richards to use as an agent in his coming schemes. Eventually trapping the Invisible Woman within the Negative Zone, the Dark Raider was unleashed against Sue in Fantastic Four #399. The demented Reed initially tried to pose as his Earth-616 counterpart, only for Sue to consistently rebuff his advances. This dark Reed grew angrier and angrier in the process, demanding the two began a romance so they could move past their losses together. In the battle, the Dark Raider lost his Hyper-Harness, briefly stranding them among the debris that floated in the vacuum of the Negative Zone.

Without his harness, the Dark Raider wasn’t able to escape a sub-spatial current and was dragged into an explosion of energy, using his final words being to apologize to Sue for trying to hurt her before dying in a flash of light. The Dark Raider isn’t the only version of Reed Richards who lost his family across the multiverse. He isn’t even the only evil version of Reed, with the Maker still threatening the entire Marvel Universe. But the Dark Raider’s efforts to “redeem” himself only brought more pain and suffering across the universe. The Dark Raider is but one of many dour reminders that without his family to ground him, Reed Richards can become one of the universe’s most dangerous figures.