WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Future Foundation #2 by Jeremy Whitley, Will Robson, Paco Diaz, Daniele Orlandini, Greg Menzie, Chris O'Halloran and VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
The current volume of the Fantastic Four sister series Future Foundation has the young team of superheroes and geniuses traversing the far reaches of the Marvel Universe searching for fragments of Molecule Man, who was scattered across the cosmos following the crossover event Secret Wars. The team's mission has led them to a maximum security prison in deep space where they have discovered the Maker (the Ultimate Universe's evil Reed Richards) and another forgotten figure from another reality: Rikki Barnes.
Created by Jeph Loeb and Rob Liefeld in 1996's Captain America #1 (vol. 2), Rikki resided within a pocket universe created by the omnipotent Franklin Richards as part of Marvel Comics' Heroes Reborn publishing initiative. To save the Avengers, Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom from being killed by Onslaught, Franklin sent the various characters to an alternate reality known as Counter-Earth, where they were literally reborn with updated origins as a means to retcon anachronistic elements within each character's backstory. Among those heroes awakened in a new reality was Steve Rogers, who met Bucky Barnes' teenage granddaughter Rebecca "Rikki" Barnes there.
Rikki's brother James was involved with her reality's version of the Red Skull and met Captain America as he rose against him. Trained by the reborn Star-Spangled Avenger, Rikki became an expert combatant, marksman and acrobat. She wore a bulletproof costume resembling the classic World War II outfit of her grandfather. Dubbing herself Nomad after Steve Rogers' alter ego the first time he dropped the mantle of Captain America, Rikki became a hero in her reality, wielding a vibranium-photonic energy shield modeled after Captain America's along with vibranium boots that allow her to greater degree of stealth and the ability to run up walls due to their high-tech soles.
Following Scarlet Witch's vast depowering of mutants during the events of House of M, the mass disruption restored Onslaught who swore revenge and pursued Franklin to Counter-Earth. After an epic battle against that world's heroes, including Nomad, Rikki sacrificed herself by pushing herself along with the villain into the Negative Zone. In the aftermath, however, Rikki mysteriously found herself in the main Marvel Universe where she formed her own young superhero team known as the Young Allies. Rikki eventually discovered her true form had died in the Negative Zone and Onslaught had created her current body as a means to invade the Marvel U. Upon this revelation, Rikki had Gravity kill her to sever Onslaught's connection seemingly for good.
The exact specifics of Rikki's return is still unknown but the young hero provides timely assistance to longtime Power Pack member Julie Power as they make their breakout escape from the interstellar prison while the Maker's villainous nature has been exposed to the unsuspecting Future Foundation members. However, given Rikki's origins, a return of Onslaught may be in the cards, especially after writer Jeremy Whitley teased the villain's return in a panel by artist Will Robson from its upcoming third issue.
Rikki Barnes is perhaps the greatest product of one of Marvel's most controversial storylines, rebooting many of its most iconic heroes with updated origins and bold, new directions. However, as an accomplished teenage hero in her own right, her potential recruitment into the Future Foundation is a logical, inspired choice as the team continues to scour the universe for Molecule Man. But while the team is currently confronting the Maker, Rikki's return may signal to a far greater threat, one that has defeated the combined might of the Avengers and Fantastic Four single handedly.
Future Foundation #3 releases October 2.