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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked - So Why Did Reed Richards Support the Superhuman Registration Act?

In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically "overturned" by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An' Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we take a look at the conflicting reasons behind Reed Richards' support of the Superhuman Registration Act.

This is a bit of an odd one. You can argue that there aren't any outright retcons here, so it might fit better with Abandoned Love, but I dunno, I think there's probably a retcon here.

Anyhow, the story all begins with the initial discussion of the Superhero Registration Act back in the late 1980s. In 1988's Fantastic Four #336, Walter Simonson, Ron Lim and Mike DiCarlo show Reed Richards opposing the idea of the act...

We fastforward to 2006, in the New Avengers Illuminati Special #1, where Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev have Iron Man reveal that the act is once again being considered by Congress (here it is still referred to as the Super Hero Registration Act)...

As you can see, Reed is all the way on board with Iron Man's plan.

Okay, so "Mr. Futurist" Iron Man was spot on - the exact scenario he described occurs, the New Warriors get in a fight with a bad guy and the fight results in an explosion that kills most of the New Warriors as well as hundreds of innocent people. So Iron Man, Reed Richards and Yellowjacket head up a charge to push the Superhuman Registration Act (as it is now called) into law and Reed is clearly thrilled to be working with two other geniuses on problem-solving, as seen in Civil War #2 (by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines)...

Number 42 is a Negative Zone prison. It is called 42 because it was #42 on a list of 100 ideas Tony, Reed and Hank came up with. Johnny Storm was assaulted in Civil War #1 at a night club by anti-superhero nutjobs. Anyhow, Reed keeps on keeping on with the rounding up of superhumans, including Captain America's team of "Secret Avengers." In Civil War #4, he, Tony and Hank actually clone Thor to help capture the Secret Avengers and the Thor clone kills Giant-Man. Sue has had enough and she breaks from Reed and helps the rogue heroes escape.

In Fantastic Four #540, by J. Michael Straczynski, Mike McKone, Andy Lanning and Cam Smith, Reed and Sue have it out...

The "protect me" line leads to Sue showing off how powerful she is by creating a giant force field column through the Baxter Building.

The fight continues...

So Straczynski is rocking two motivations for Reed here.

1. It's the law and the law is the law is the law.

2. Reed has done the calculations and he knows that this the right move. This is a bit of a key point.

Okay, so later in the issue, Peter Parker asks Reed why he's doing it, and now Reed has a slightly different answer...

That was a super weird story. I really don't know where Straczynski was going there.

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