As marvel’s premier super-genius, Reed Richards has embarrassed Tony Stark on several occasions, and the Fantastic Four‘s anti-Namor mech shows that even when it comes to superpowered armor, Mister Fantastic can leave Iron Man in the dust. Iron Man has famously built many versions of his ‘buster’ armor to take on specific foes, but they are generally just more powerful suits which hit harder and sometimes have an ability to absorb specific energy signatures, such as Thor’s lightning or the Hulk’s gamma radiation. In contrast, one mech suit Reed Richards used to fight Namor goes way, way beyond Tony’s ambitions.
The fight took place in the Ultimate Universe – a version of Marvel’s reality which was rebooted so superheroes only emerged in the 2000s, doing away with decades of complex lore to tell new, often edgy stories that weren’t possible in Marvel’s main reality. In this world, Namor wasn’t the king of Atlantis, but a dangerous criminal from the undersea kingdom, and one who posed a major threat to New York City. When Namor became violent with the Invisible Woman in Mark Millar and Greg Land’s Ultimate Fantastic Four #26, Reed Richards deployed the Fantastic Oh-Five – a giant mech with a huge host of superpowers.
Mr. Fantastic’s Mech Is a God-Tier Invention
Reed’s ‘Namor-Buster’ armor was something Mister Fantastic created in his free time, without any specific threat in mind, and yet it’s one of the most powerful suits Marvel fans have ever seen. The suit includes the entire team’s powers combined – Mister Fantastic’s elasticity, Invisible Woman’s force fields, Human Torch’s fire power, and the Thing’s strength and rocky armor. If that wasn’t enough, it also included a weapons array which allowed Reed to project his imagination as hard-light holograms, assaulting Namor with various threats plucked from his subconscious. While Namor was eventually able to pierce the suit’s armor, its combined armaments finally hurt him, even though he’d previously shrugged off the Human Torch’s hottest flame and earth-shaking punches from the Thing (who in this reality is strong enough to knock out the Hulk single-handed), forcing the villain to grudgingly propose a ceasefire.
Reed Richards’ Armor Proves He Doesn’t Need Superpowers
While Tony Stark’s suits have amazing capabilities, they generally stop short of fully recreating superpowers, let alone five at once. Indeed, while Iron Man has constructed countless Hulkbuster suits, it’s rare that he actually manages to compete against the Green Goliath, and likewise his Thorbuster armor was torn apart by the Thunder God. In so casually wielding otherwise unique powers, the Fantastic Oh-Five subtly shows that Reed Richards doesn’t need powers of his own, or indeed even a team – his genius is enough to create any ability he wants. Sadly, this proved to be foreshadowing, as the Ultimate Universe’s Reed Richards eventually abandoned morality and his three teammates, adopting the identity of the Maker and becoming one of the foremost villains in the multiverse.
Iron Man may be known for his armor, but that’s most because Reed Richards has claimed dominion over every other area of science – there’s a reason why, when Tony Stark hijacked Galactus’ powers to grant everyone in New York his own genius intellect, Reed Richards actually became less intelligence. While Tony Stark is undoubtedly one of the planet’s smartest men, Reed Richards‘ anti-Namor armor confirmed that the Fantastic Four‘s leader can more than compete when it comes to ultra-powerful armor.
Next: Spider-Man Is Mr. Fantastic’s Equal as a Genius (But Marvel Ignores It)