Franklin Richards is the son of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisibke Woman, two founding members of the Fantastic Four, and potentially the most powerful mutant alive. This is the Joint Venture Universe version of the character.
Franklin Richards was never going to be 'normal'. The son of Reed and Susan Richards, two founding members of the Fantastic Four (later Future Foundation), it was generally accepted that the cosmic radiation that had altered his parents' DNA would inevitably alter his own, practially from the moment of conception.
Indeed, not only did he prove to be a mutant, but he developed powers at a very young age. By the time he was five years old, Franklin had the ability to astrally project through his dreams, as well as have dreams that told of possible futures.
This power created a rift between his parents. Reed Richards, taking the more scientific, analytical approach, wanted to harness Franklin's powers and use his foreknowledge and clairvoyance to avert future catastrophes. He worked on expanding the boy's awareness and vocabulary through intensive home education, and Franklin proved himself an apt pupil - unsurprising, given his heritage.
However, Sue saw things quite differently from her husband. While she readily acknowledged the potential of Franklin's power, and his extreme intelligence for his age, she firmly believed a five-year-old could not be reasonably expected to psychologically handle knowledge of future events, and she was loath to risk her son's well-being for any reason, particularly such an abstract possible benefit.
This fear eventually became justified when Franklin, now seven years of age, predicted the horrific deaths of his uncles, Sue's brother Johnny and the family's old friend Ben Grimm, the other two members of the Fantastic Four. While their deaths were averted by his clairvoyance, the horror of the vision took its toll on Franklin, and he stopped speaking of his astral experiences, eventually refusing to speak at all, withdrawing completely into himself in a state resembling catatonia.
Terrified for their son's mental health, Reed and Sue took Franklin to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Professor Charles Xavier, one of the two headmasters, analyzed Franklin's mind and immediately realized the problem. He had dealt with this exact scenario multiple times over the course of his career, most notably with Jean Grey. Just like with her, Xavier helped Franklin deal with the trauma in his mind and resurface as the same bright little boy he had been before.
Knowing that the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning was the ideal place for Frnklin to learn to handle his abilities, the entire Fantastic Four agreed that it would be best for him to stay there as part of the student body. It wasn't long before Franklin found himself a codename his childlike mind found ideal: Tattletale, due to his clairvoyance and precognitive dreams and his propensity to talk at length without truly considering his words until they were already out of his mouth. Xavier also implanted a psychic safeguard for the boy's psyche: if his dreams caused him too much anguish, Franklin would heed a post-hypnotic command to write them down, and then forget them altogether as soon as he was done. Though he gave these transcripts to Xavier upon realizing he'd written them, the Franklin Diaries, as they were affectionately called, were never found following the destruction of the Xavier Institute.
Under Xavier's tutelage, Franklin, the youngest mutant ever accepted to Xavier's, grew into a healthy, socially active preteen. By the time his little sister Valeria was born, Franklin had completed his education through middle school and learned to control his clairvoyant powers to the point where he could project astrally at will, and no longer needed to forget his precognitive dreams, though he had long since gotten in the habit of wriitng them down when he awoke. With a new little sister and the Fantastic Four having grown into the Future Foundation, Franklin felt the time had come to go home.
Fall of The Future Foundation
By this time, the Future Foundation consisted of ten members: Franklin's parents Reed and Sue; his uncles Johnny and Ben; Johnny's wife Crystal, Crown Princess of the Inhumans; She-Hulk, a longtime friend of the family; and the Power children, collectively known as the Power Pack: Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie, who had gained superhuman powers from a dying alien who had befriended their parents. Franklin was considered an honorary member by way of his parentage, andf it was made official once he returned home for good.
However, Franklin's timing for returning home could not have been worse. Not a week after he walked through the doors of the refurbished Baxter Building, now Four Freedoms Plaza in honor of the original Fantastic Four, the anti-mutant poitician Graydon Creed was brutally assassinated by a group of unknown mutant terrorists. Public backlash against mutants was instant and vehement.
In response to this backlash, the government instituted Project: Wideawake, a national initiative that facilitated the creation of Sentinels, giant robots with the abiltiy to track and destroy mutants, and Prime Sentinels, humans infected with nanotechnology that turned them into sleeper agents, becoming human-sized, cyborg Sentinels upon contact with a mutant. A battalion of Sentinels and Prime Sentinels attacked and destroyed the Xavier Institute, killing Professor Xavier and most of the staff and student body, with only a small handful of X-Men and students surviving.
Only a few years after the destruction of his alma mater, Franklin found himself face to face with Sentinels in his own home, as the Wideawake initiative began to spread from targeting mutants to any beings with superhuman powers at all. Franklin's powers did not lend themselves well to combating robots, but he armed himself with some of his father's inventions and joined the fight regardless. However, despite trying his very best, the teenager was powerless to save most of his family, and only escaped death himself thanks to the timely intervention of his former classmate Rachel Summers, now the X-Man known as Phoenix in the wake of her parents' death.
Rise of Legacy
With the entire Future Foundation dead or captured, save for himself, Franklin had no choice but to flee with Rachel and join the remaining X-Men, taking a new codename for himself: Legacy, in honor of his lost family. He would spend his adolescence fighting a losing battle alongside the dwindling remnants of Earth's heroes, especially Rachel, who he came to fall in love with.
During these years, his powers began to grow and alter in strange ways. At first, he would devleop some minor telepathic skills, like the ability to psychically share his dreams with others, or simply communicate telepathically. However, over the course of time, these small increases would become vast leaps and changes. Soon Franklin found himself possessed of full telepathy, then telekinesis, then flight, then the ability to generate various forms of energy, and eventually, the ability to warp reality to his will in a small area. He wanted to use this last ability to bring his parents and family back from the dead, but Rachel dissuaded him of that, citing a time that she had tried to bring her parents back with the Phoenix Force, only for it to go wrong in ways she refused to elaborate upon. The dead were dead and she felt it was best they stay that way. While he disagreed, Franklin conceded he didn't know enough about his powers to successfully accomplish it in the way he wanted, so he chose to wait until he'd mastered his new, vast powers.
Franklin vs. Galactus
However, mastery would never come for Franklin, as tragedy struck yet again. The X-Men's final stronghold, the remains of their secondary academy in Massachusetts, was breached, attacked by Nimrod, the most powerful Sentinel model ever created, and many of Franklin's teammates perished. Each death added to Franklin's anguish, fueling his powers to unimagined heights, and finally, he snapped, unleashing his powers to their ultimate extent, and accidentally summoning Galactus, the ancient, cosmic Devourer of Worlds.
While the Sentinels and Prime Sentinels proved no match for the might of Galactus, falling by the thousands in the face of his power, neither did the the remainder of the X-Men, or any of Earth's superhumans, and yet more perished in the attempt to stop him from fulfilling his terrible purpose and eating Earth. In the end, the Silver Surfer, one of the last remaining heroes and Galactus's former Herald, gave Franklin the entirety of his power in addition to his own, pleading with his final breath for Franklin to save what was left.
Now with his considerably mutant powers augmented by the Power Cosmic, Franklin and Phoenix engaged Galactus together. While they could never kill the World-Eater outright, lest the universe itself die, they were able to drive him away from Earth. The battle took its toll, however: somehow, Rachel lost her connection with the Phoenix Force, and Franklin expended not only the Power Cosmic, but most of his own powers in the effort to repel Galactus.
Diminished powers notwithstanding, the two were victorious, and not simply at saving Earth from Galactus. From their very inception, the X-Men's purpose had always been the protection of a world that hated and feared them, and in that confrontation, Legacy and Phoenix both proved themselves exemplars of that ideal.
Franklin, Phoenix, and the last few superhumans alive had proven their worth to the human population of Earth beond the shadow of a doubt. However, their numbers and power were decimated by the countless conflicts, and by now the Sentinels were too powerful and too dedicated to their programming. When people in power tried to speak out against the Wideawake Inititiative, they were silenced. When the government tried to create countermeasures against the Sentinels, they were converted into Prime Sentinels. Eventually, the Sentinels conquered all of North America, and life for everyone there began to change drastically.
Not a decade after the assassination of Graydon Creed,, North America's entire populace was split into three separate categories: 'B' for baseline human, with no potential for mutation in their genes; 'L' for latent mutations, or humans who could conceivably pass on the X-Factor and give birth to mutants -- allowed to go about their daily lives, but forbidden to breed. And 'M' for mutant, someone with an active mutation, like Franklin and Rachel, fit only for internment into concentration camps where they toiled as slaves or were condemned as prisoners.
For their part, the two tried to keep fighting, but for all their will and defiance, both mutants' powers were a mere fraction of what they had been. This became tragically apparent when the two were ambushed by a Sentinel-employed cyborg named Ahab and a pack of animalistic, mutant-hunting "Hounds", mutants with psychic or enhanced tracking powers. While they fought as hard as they could, Rachel was eventually incapacitated and captured, taken to be converted into a Hound herself.
XSU and the Final 'Days'
Franklin only survived Ahab's attack because he was saved by members of the Xavier Secret Underground, the last remnants of the once-great X-Men and other superhumans, making a last desperate stand against total extinction. Whie he was grateful for the rescue, Franklin insisted that he be allowed to save Rachel, despite his diminished power. Magneto, the former co-headmaster of the Xavier Institute and leader of the last surviving rebels against the Sentinel regime, heard the objections of others, but ultimately agreed that the XSE should help Rachel, as her parents had been among his and Xavier's first students.
Franklin led a small strike force, consisting of the siblings Lucas and Shard Bishop, Power Gem (the daughter of Champions Luke Cage and Jessica Jones), and Savant, a technopath (and the son of the X-Man Colossus). Thanks to Savant's abilities bypassing the technological boundaries, and the others' combat prowess dealing with many Hounds, the five mutants were successful in retrieving Phoenix. A small victory, they agreed, but a victory nonetheless.
The battle of attrition would wear on, the XSU fighting to survive while savoring what other small victories they could muster, like liberating mutant concentration camps or learning to dissolve the tracking technology in the 'M' tattoos that identified mutants. Most mutants wished the mark dissolved as well, including Franklin; only the Bishop siblings kept theirs.
However, there were mutitudes of Sentinels, and rather than gaining ground expunging them from the continent, the XSU only managed to keep them from expanding their fascist empire, maintaining a years-long stalemate that wore on Franklin's psyche. In addition, his powers did not recover as he'd hoped they would, instead seeming to diminish as the years wore on.
Becoming the Lost
The stalemate between mutants and Sentinels would finally be broken, not through a climactic final battle, but by treachery. One of the XSU's members, a teleporter named Trevor Fitzroy, was possessed by a malevolent psychic entity known as the Shadow King, killing two of his teammates and tearing open a portal in time, vanishing just as Sentinels had located the XSE's stronghold and were mustering their forces for a siege intended to wipe out the remainder of mutantkind altogether.
Faced with no other options, the XSE made their final stand as they simultaneously enacted one last, desperate plan. Darkchilde, a demon sorceress who had once been the X-Man Magik, evacuated the XSE stronghold as best she was able using her "stepping-discs", though she had no idea where or when she was sending anyone. Most escaped, but a few sacrificed themselves to buy time for the rest, including Magneto, who had been there from the start.
Finally, only Franklin, Rachel, the Bishop siblings, Savant, and a few others remained. Darkchilde prepared to open one last portal when a catastrophic interruption ruined their escape plan.
A mysterious vessel, the timeship Graymalkin, suddenly appeared in front of the XSE, and a man stepped out, claiming to be Cable, a mutant from a future where the mutant Holocaust had led to the subjugation of the entire world by a threat far worse than the Sentinels.
Unfortunately, his arrival was poorly timed, as his timeship's energies reacted with the Darkchilde's portal, and everyone she was intending to send through together was seized by its energies and scattered across time. Only Cable and Lucas Bishop managed to hold their ground.
Franklin and Rachel, who had gone through fire, hell, and into space itself for each other, were sucked into the vortex and sent spiralling in different directions along the space-time continuum. Where they will resurface, not even they know.
Franklin Richards, at his peak, was one of the most powerful mutants in existence, though he had started humbly enough.
as Tattletale: As a child, Franklin's powers were limited to the ability to observe things that were happening far away, and see possible futures in bizarre, precognitive dreams.
Astral Projection: Whenever he slept, the young Franklin could project his consciousness anywhere in the world. Typically, he could project himself to people he was close to, like his family or his friends, the Power Pack. However, he could sometimes use this power to project to people who were in great pain and try to comfort them. When he astrally projected, he would often appear in a child-sized version of his parents' Fantastic Four costumes, or a specialized variant of the outfits the Power chidren wore. Eventually, he would learn to project his astral form while he was awake.
Precognition: Sometimes, instead of projecting his consciousness, Franklin would have dreams that foreshadowed possible future events. Unfortunately for him, these dreams were often nightmares, surreal interpretations of the worst possible outcome of a given scenario, which he would then have to spend his waking hours working to avoid.
as Legacy: After hitting puberty, Franklin's powers eventually multiplied and increased to fantastic degrees.
Telepathy: Franklin's astral projection eventually upgraded irself to full-fledged telepathy. He can read minds, communicate across vast distances with words or images, link the minds of others through his own as a kind of "psychic switchboard", and influence the minds of others in various ways. He can also attack people's minds with "psi-bolts", which can stun, disorient, paralyze, cause intense pain, and even kill, though Franklin is loathe to use his powers in this manner.
While telepathy is common in the Joint Venture Universe, each telepath normally takes a different approach to the use of their powers, practicing different specializations and excelling in different things. However, perhaps due to the nature of his mutation, Franklin seems to excel in every aspect of his telepathy, with no real specialization or weakness to speak of. This remained true even after the battle with Galactus.
Telekinesis: In a similar manner to his mother's ability to manipulate invisible force fields, Franklin possesses the ability to project psychokinetic energy, which can be used in a variety of ways. He can levitate, propel, or manipulate objects however he wishes, or generate blasts or bursts of telekinetic force. The upper limit of matter that Franklin can affect is unknown.
- Telekinetic Flight: Franklin can levitate or fly by focusing his telekinesis on himself. While most telekinetics ho can achieve this power need to concentate to maintain the field supporting them, for Franklin it seems nearly effortless. He has approached speeds of Mach 1 with this power.
- Force Fields: Franklin can erect barriers of telekinetic force, manipulating them in virtually any way he wishes. Perhaps in honor of his mother, the Invisible Woman, this is his preferred way of using his telekinesis.
- Matter Transmutation: An ability reserved for only the most powerful telekinetics, Franklin can narrow his focus down to the molecular level and thus transmute matter from the microscopic level. Normally he uses this to quickly change from civilian clothes into his costume, but it has a number of other uses as well.
Reality Warping/Omnipotence: At his peak, Franklin Richards is classified as a "Beyond Omega-Level" mutant, thanks to his ability to affect reality on a microscopic or macroscopic scale in literally any way he wishes. Among* the feats he has accomplished with this ability are:
- Power transference/augmentation
- Mass teleportation
- Full Elemental Control (Earth, Fire, Air, and Water)
- Physical Augmentation (strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability)
- Energy Projection
- Pocket DImension Creation
- Spontaneous matter manifestation
- Planet-wide psychic networking
- Matter/Energy Conversion
- FTL travel
*It should be noted this is by no means a comprehensive list.
Power Cosmic: In addition to his own powers, Franklin was gifted with the Power Cosmic by a dying Silver Surfer, fueling his already-considerable power with the might of a Herald of Galactus. Though Galactus tried to take the power back from him, Franklin was able to resist, though it seems as though that power was nevertheless expended during the battle.
Superhuman Intelligence: Franklin Richards is the son of Reed Richards, one of the most intelligent men in the history of the Joint Venture Universe. As such, he is extremely well-versed in a variety of educational disciplines, particularly in the STEM fields, where his father excelled. He is also a gifted mechanic and rocket scientist, to the point where he can repair vehicles from completely alien cultures. It should be noted that Franklin's intelligence is not a power so much as an environmental trait.
Despite being one of the most powerful mutants in existence, Franklin Richards is possessed of limits.
Mental State: Franklin's powers have been known to fluctuate wildly, apparently based on his mental and emotional well-being.
- When Franklin is mentally sound and in little to no emotional distress, his powers are kept at a reasonably stable level, striking an optimum balance between versatility and controllability.
- When Franklin is mentally sound but agitated or strongly motivated, his powers increase dramatically, reaching a certain threshold of nigh-omnipotence when he reaches an emotional stress threshold. In this state, he can alter reality virtually at will, without limits.
- When Franklin has endured enough trauma that his mental health is damaged, his powers suffer a dramatic downgrade. During his childhood catatonia, Franklin completely lost his "Tattletale" powers of astral projection until Professor Xavier healed his psyche.
Recharge Time: Sometimes, after performing a major feat with his abilities, Franklin will find his powers dramatically decreased, even completely gone, for a period of time. Most notably, following the fight with Galactus, not only did he lose the Power Cosmic, but his ability to warp reality was also drastically reduced. While his powers used to regenerate to full potential within a day or two of performing a particularly great feat, it has been over ten years since the Galactus fight, and Franklin's powers have yet to regain even a quarter of their full strength.