Reed Richards' True Multiversal Nemesis Already Exists in the MCU

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While the Fantastic Four haven't yet been seen in the main reality of the MCU, Reed Richards' biggest threat is already waiting for him. But rather than his well-known nemesis Doctor Doom, time traveler Kang the Conqueror, or the shapeshifting Skrulls, Reeds' most devastating threat is the Celestials.

In many ways, Earth-616’s Reed Richards is an anomaly compared to his multiversal variants. When Reed meets his counterparts in Fantastic Four #570, written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Dale Eaglesham and Paul Mounts, he realizes that he is the only version of himself to grow up with his father. Because of their lack of a father, the other Reeds find it easier to give up their lives on their worlds and come together to form the Council of Reeds. However, Nathaniel Richards instilled such a sense of family into Earth-616’s Reed that he turns down the Council and refuses to join. Not long after Reed first comes across the Council of Reeds, their fortress is breached by Celestials.

Desiring the Council's Bridge technology to subjugate other realities, the Mad Celestials of Earth-4280 attack their base in Fantastic Four #572 - by Hickman, Eaglesham, and Mounts - and decimate the Council, slaying the most powerful and accomplished versions of Reed from across the multiverse, including some who command Infinity Gauntlets. While the mainstream Reed is able to escape, the slaughter is significant, and the Celestials later return in an attempt to conquer Earth-616. What's fascinating about this battle is that it unquestionably makes the Celestials Reed's true multiversal enemies, having slain a huge number of his variants - specifically those who are the most powerful. In all the multiverse, Reed Richards is most likely to be slain by a Celestial, especially the closer he comes to fulfilling his goals. In contrast, while Doctor Doom is the main enemy of the mainstream Reed, the Council of Reeds reveal he's not much of a problem in the wider multiverse.

Before the Celestials attack, Reed is made aware of the fate of Doctor Doom’s variants at the hands of the Council. Understanding the threat posed by Doctor Doom, the Reeds deal with them permanently on joining the Council, affixing them with collars that destroy higher brain functions, effectively lobotomizing them. On a multiversal scale, Reed Richards conquers Doctor Doom on an industrial scale. While he's a threat in the small picture of Reeds' day-to-day life, on the multiversal scale, the Celestials are the true danger, coveting Reeds' dimension-hopping tech.

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The patterns of the multiverse have a tendency to clarify who heroes and villains really are at their core, and at this scale, Reed is far more likely to fall victim to the Celestials than any terrestrial or even alien enemy. From the perspective of the multiverse as a whole, they could even be described as his natural predator.

Whether the movies will follow this comic logic remains to be seen (technically, any movie Reed should grow up without Nathaniel, and thus be more similar to the Council than the Mister Fantastic of the comics), but it's a mark of Reed's relevance to the whole of reality that his main threat is so powerful in nature. Few people even come to the notice of the Celestials, let alone are targeted by them to such a devastating extent. Doctor Doom may think of himself as Reed Richards' arch-nemesis, but when the leader of the Fantastic Four perishes across Marvel's many realities, it's far more likely to be a Celestial who strikes him down.

Next: Doctor Doom's Hellfire Gala Costume Shows Why the MCU Needs Him So Badly