If there was a man in the Marvel Universe who could be called a "Mad Scientist," it would probably be Doctor Doom. If you expanded the definition just a little bit of what makes a scientist "mad," the real nutty professor in all the Marvel Universe would have to be Reed Richards. The guy creates pretty much whatever he needs or wants whenever he likes and while that may seem on the surface to be a good trait for a superhero to have, more often than not it gets him and his team into trouble. The biggest problem with Reed is that he is the smartest man in the Marvel Universe... and he knows it. Because of that knowledge, he never asks other people what they think of his ideas. After all, why would he? He already knows what is best and just dives right into creating things without ever looking back.
Over the years, this has caused problems in his marriage and for his teammates, but that's not to say everything Reed Richards invents is all bad. Most of his creations are exceptional and have made life better for all the people of the world. After all, he does have good intentions and most of his devices are simply amazing. He really can throw a few things together and make miracle machines, which is why we threw together this list of his 10 most amazing and wondrous inventions, but threw them up against 10 of his most dangerous. He may never have intended for the latter to be used for evil, but good intentions and all that...
20 WILDEST: UNSTABLE MOLECULES
A lot of what Richards throws together in the comics is really just a way for the writers to get themselves out of a corner. Unstable Molecules are a perfect example of this. When you have characters who burst into flame, can stretch beyond the limits of their clothing and turn themselves invisible, it only makes sense to create a type of clothing that can follow suit.
Unstable Molecules are little more than a nonsense term used to explain the fact that the character's costumes won't tear, stretch or burn while they go about using their powers. Regardless, they are one of the most useful and amazing inventions Richards has ever come up with. For all intents and purposes, he whipped up magic clothes that never tear or get worn out.
19 DANGEROUS: CHILD-TRACKING NANITES
There are a lot of parents out there who track their children via their phones. It's a little weird, but not so unheard of in a world where children can be abducted leaving the phone as a way of determining where they might be. For most parents, that's enough, but when you're Reed Richards and your kid is the most powerful Mutant in the universe, a phone doesn't cut it.
In Fantastic Four and Power Pack #2, Reed surprised his wife by revealing he had injected their son Franklin with nanites that allowed him to track his whereabouts. Had he seen a particular episode of Black Mirror, he might have known this wasn't wise, but that ignorance pales in comparison to his wife's rage at learning what her husband did. Such invasive tactics have dangerous implications to say the least.
18 WILDEST: THE FANTASTICAR
Here it is, 2019, and we still have no jetpacks or hovercars taking us about the planet. Granted, there are flying cars of a sort and jetpacks that fly for short spurts, but the future we were promised as children has yet to arrive. That's not how it works in comics, which is why one of Reed Richards' most useful inventions is also one of his most amazing: the Fantasticar.
Not only is this a flying vehicle capable of taking him and the rest of the Fantastic Four anywhere, it can separate into four individual vehicles. Originally, it was rather boxy in design, but over the years, it has received various upgrades and redesigns to make it appear as sleek as possible. We may not be living the lives we expected in this century, but the Fantastic Four certainly are!
17 DANGEROUS: THE ORIGINAL ROCKET
Looking all the way back to the very first issue of the Fantastic Four from 1961, there was one invention that proved to be incredibly dangerous, the spacecraft that took Reed and his team into space where they got their powers. Granted, those powers enabled the group to save the world and many other planets time and time again, but that doesn't negate the fact that the ship was poorly designed and horribly dangerous.
When the U.S. Government denied Reed's request to take off in the rocket he designed due to safety concerns, he decided they didn't know what they were talking about and did it anyway! The group snuck onto the base, commandeered the rocket, flew it out and ultimately crashed the thing after various issues and cosmic rays caused some problems.
16 WILDEST: THING'S EXOSKELETON
One of the most persistent storylines in the Fantastic Four comics revolves around Ben Grimm's dissatisfaction with turning into a giant rock monster. Various attempts over the years were undertaken to return him to his normal appearance with a variety of mixed results. When Ben actually lost his powers and reverted to human form, Reed launched "Project X" to restore him to the team resulting in the creation of a Thing Exoskeleton.
This was essentially an Iron Man suit, but made to look and function exactly like the Thing. Ben was able to put it on and resume his normal duties, which begs the question, why doesn't Reed make these things for soldiers and would-be superheroes? The answer probably has to do with cost and Reed's shortsightedness, but whatever reason he has, it certainly is an amazing creation.
15 DANGEROUS: THE HULK'S RIDE TO SAKAAR
When the Civil War was getting ready to heat up in the Marvel Universe, Reed Richards and his Illuminati buddies determined it wouldn't be safe if Hulk was around. They convinced him to help out with a problem via S.H.I.E.L.D., which got the green giant into space. When the mission was over, the Hulk expected to be returned to Earth, but the Illuminati had other plans.
The spacecraft was designed to take the Hulk to a lush, yet uninhabited planet where he could finally be left alone. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and the was blown off course and into a wormhole that dumped him on Sakaar where he was forced to become a gladiator. Eventually, he returned to Earth mad as he's ever been at the injustice he suffered at the hands of Reed and his allies.
14 WILDEST: COSMIC RAY CHAMBER
When Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Ben Grim and Johnny Storm encountered cosmic rays on their rocket trip, they emerged to become the Fantastic Four! Each was imbued with amazing powers that enabled them to fight crime as superheroes and one of the greatest comic book teams of all time was born. Sadly, for Ben, he had to go about life as a gigantic orange rock monster, which couldn't have been an easy thing to deal with.
To fix the problem, Reed tried a number of inventions and techniques, but had little success. One device he created actually worked: a chamber that could bathe a person in the same cosmic rays that empowered them. This essentially means he created a means of turning people into superpowered beings (and reverting them to normal) making this one of his most impressive devices.
13 DANGEROUS: THE DEMOLO-GUN
Back in Fantastic Four #73, the team believed Doctor Doom was on the verge of attacking New York City. They got their information from Daredevil, but thanks to Doctor Doom's body transference ray, they thought the Daredevil running about the rooftops was actually Doom come to destroy their beloved Big Apple. Not wanting to see their city destroyed, the Fantastic Four battled Daredevil.
While they were fighting, the Thing and Daredevil nearly stumbled into a device called the Demolo-Gun, which set it to fire. There isn't much known about the device other than what Reed said after begging Ben to destroy it, "Firing unchecked, it might have destroyed the city!" Whatever its full capabilities, the Demolo-Gun is clearly a dangerous weapon.
12 WILDEST: UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR
If there's one thing the Fantastic Four are known for, it's being an interstellar team who has, on more than one occasion, fought bad guys in space, on planets and in other dimensions. When you engage with people from interesting cultures in faraway lands, they rarely speak the same language as you, which can pose a problem when they say, "hello" and all you hear is "punch me in the face as hard as you can."
To combat this, Reed cooked up a Universal Translator, which does exactly what the name implies. Unlike other franchise like Star Trek, Reed's Universal Translator doesn't need time to figure out alien tongues. It can instantly convey words spoken from creatures of another dimension, another planet or another country on Earth.
11 DANGEROUS: COMA CANNON
Franklin Richards is a lot of things, but he isn't a bad kid. Regardless, he's a Mutant whose abilities to completely control matter and energy by recreating reality as he sees fit manifested when he was only a child. That can be a major problem when a nightmare suddenly turns off gravity or some other such nonsense. Because his son was effectively a god, Reed did what any father would do and he took care of it, albeit in not the most fatherly way.
To keep the more destructive aspects of his son's behavior in check, Reed invented and fired a special gun at him to put him into a coma. Susan didn't take his actions well and moved out of the Baxter Building for a while because what mother wants to see her son shot by his father?
10 WILDEST: THE STIMULATOR
The Fantastic Four picked up their superpowers in a rather strange way thanks to the so-called "cosmic rays" that bathed them and their spacecraft. Over the years, one or all of the members of the team lost their powers or had them significantly diminished. To combat this problem, Reed created a device called the Stimulator, which could restore lost superpowers or give them to someone without them.
Yup, the man built a gun that could give people superpowers. It drew energy from another galaxy and has been used several times in the comics to restore various members' powers. This is another invention that could certainly be used for evil, but seeing as it gives people superpowers, it stands as one of Reed's wildest and most useful devices.
9 DANGEROUS: THE NEGATIVE ZONE PRISON
Marvel's Civil War event disrupted the entire collection of superheroes on Earth and it had significant repercussions ever since. Reed Richards was one of the people responsible for the whole thing happening (more on that later), but his biggest monstrosity to the event has to be his creation of the Negative Zone Prison. This was a place superpowered people could be sent—without trial—to be housed in another dimension they had no hope of escaping.
While Reed's intentions were good, he acted far more like a supervillain than a hero when he backed the creation of this prison. He didn't create the prison on his own and worked alongside Tony Stark to make it happen, but despite having help, he played a large part in unjustly imprisoning his former allies as well as enemies.
8 WILDEST: OPERATION: ARTIFICIAL POWERS
When a villainous group's Q-Bomb detonated, the team lost their powers, but still had a desire to run around as superheroes. Fortunately, Reed's ingenuity wasn't harmed so he launched Operation: ARTIFICIAL POWERS in Fantastic Four #39. The goal of the operation was to restore the powers of the team through artificial means and that's exactly what Mr. Fantastic accomplished.
For himself, he crafted an exoskeleton with extendable arms and legs. Sue picked up a special Electro-vibra suit, which could generate a force field rendering her invisible. Johnny wore a suit that could ignite and allow him to fly and Ben was given the remote controls to a robot Thing he could operate remotely. This was yet another instance where Reed found a way to mimic/restore the team's powers in amazing ways.
7 DANGEROUS: THOR CLONE
After Thor fell, the good scientists of Earth found their team lacking in a Norse God so they got to work. Reed Richards, Tony Stark and Hank Pym worked tirelessly to clone the Asgardian for the sole purpose of helping them implement the Superhuman Registration Act during the Civil War event. The first time the Thor clone hit the field, he took out Goliath without mercy or consideration for anything or anyone.
The mad scientists truly stepped out of the shadows with the cloning of Thor. He wasn't easily controlled and he took out a major player in the Marvel Universe. What's worse is that Ben and Goliath were close friends so this event drove a wedge between Reed and Ben's friendship, which had lasting impacts on the Marvel Universe.
6 WILDEST: THE "SOLVE EVERYTHING" PLAN (EARTH 81551
Reed Richards is arguably the smartest guy in the world, but he never got around to taking care of the mundane issues that plague the rest of humanity. That's not true of the Reed Richards of Earth-8155. In that reality, Reed put together something he called the "Solve everything plan" and got to work fixing up... well, everything.
Disease, hunger, war and pretty much everything else that make movies and comic books interesting was completely wiped out. He found a way to literally fix every problem the planet had and became the savior of humanity. In the story, Doom ends up travelling to Earth-616 to try and implement the plan there, but things go awry and various levels of chaos ensue as they do in Fantastic Four books.
5 DANGEROUS: NEGATIVE ZONE PORTAL
The Negative Zone portal is one of Reed Richards' most impressive creations, but that doesn't make it any less dangerous than it is. When the team first opened a portal to the Negative Zone, it was an amazing achievement that brought about ... unwanted results. On its own, the Negative Zone is rather amazing. It's molecules re negatively charged and it houses a breathable atmosphere throughout, but there are few people who call it home.
The problem with the Negative Zone comes about when the team discover who does live there. Among the dangerous people who inhabit the Negative Zone are Blastaar, Annihilus, Stygorr and Noktiis, all of whom have tried to take over the regular matter universe otherwise known as Earth-616. Opening the portal has brought intense destruction making it one of Reed's most dangerous devices.
4 WILDEST: THE BRIDGE AND SUBSEQUENT "COUNCIL OF REEDS"
Speaking of portals to other dimensions, not every portal has been bad. One of Reed's most incredible achievements was the creation of a portal he calls "The Bridge." By using The Bridge, Reed has found a way to contact and communicate with other versions of himself from other realities. By doing this, he helped form the Council of Reeds, which is comprised of Reeds with different powers and abilities from across the multiverse.
In the Marvel Universe, the Council of Reeds is used to combine the intellect of every Reed imaginable to commit to solving whatever problem is at hand. Seeing as he is the smartest guy in any universe, this means the most powerful minds in all realities come together to find answers, which make the Council of Reeds one of the most impressive organizations in all of fiction.
3 DANGEROUS: PSYCHOHISTORY
In Isaac Asimov's Empire anthology, he created a form of mathematics capable of predicting the future called Psychohistory. The theory works on the principle that in a large enough population, predictive models can be made to determine the potential outcomes of wide-ranging events and it was used in the books to help save all of humanity, which had spread across the galaxy in a 20,000 year history.
For Reed Richards, he found a way to create a workable Psychohistory in the Marvel Universe. While this may seem like an amazing feat (it is), the implications and his use of it were incredibly dangerous. He used Psychohistory to determine what actions he needed to take up to, during and after the Civil War event. Considering his actions during that time, his creation of Psychohistory was far from innocuous.
2 WILDEST: THE AFTERLIFE TRANSPORTER
Over the course of their publication history, several members of the Fantastic Four have passed away. It happens in comics, but fortunately, being deceased is rarely a permanent condition... especially when Reed Richards is involved. When the Thing is lost, Reed takes a device created by Doom to communicate with his deceased mother and tinkers with it. He turns the communication device into a transporter and succeeded in making a device that transports people to the afterlife.
The three surviving members of the team actually transported into Heaven to look for the Thing's soul. they found a god who looked a lot like Jack Kirby and managed to arrange to have the Thing's soul returned to Earth... and he didn't return as a zombie, which makes this a successful mission in anyone's book.
1 DANGEROUS: ATOMIC SPACE DISPLACER
Back in Fantastic Four #32, Dr. Franklin Storm was taken from his prison cell to the Skrull home planet by the Super Skrull. He then changed his form into that of Dr. Storm and assumed the guise of the Invincible Man in a plot to weaken and divide the Fantastic Four. It didn't take long into their initial fight for Reed to work out who they were battling, which led him to builf the Atomic Space-Displacer.
Following their second fight, the Super Skrull was defeated and Reed made a call to the Skrull homeworld via an Ultra-Sonic Radio Transmitter to arrange a prisoner exchange. In doing so, he threatened to use the Atomic Space-Displacer on their homeworld if they got up to any shenanigans. If you're wondering what the device can do, it has the ability to destroy a planet.