This team profile is a “base camp” entry, so we don’t have to repeat information once you start reading the individual profiles for the members.
Like most of our Ultimate material, it covers the early years of the universe.
Exploration and responding to threats attracted by said explorations.
Extent of operations:
Bases of Operations:
Ultimates, S.H.I.E.L.D., Spider-Man.
Number of active members:
Number of reserve members:
Sue or Reed tend to take the lead, as they generally know what’s going on, but there’s no formal structure.
Known former members:
The Baxter Building
The Baxter Building think tank was established by the U.S. military to harness the minds of young geniuses to create technology for them. They recruited the likes of Reed Richards, Victor Van Damme, and Susan Storm (whose father, Franklin Storm, ran the place). They also had the likes of Arthur Molekevic among their teachers.
Reed’s primary preoccupation during his time there was the study of the N-Zone. He ultimately cracked the problem of reaching it with the aid of Victor Van Damme, while helping him with his robotics. Reed got the government to let him build a life-sized N-Zone transporter.
To boldly go…
On the front line for the first demonstration were Reed, Victor, Sue, Sue’s brother Johnny, and Reed’s friend Ben Grimm. Victor made last minute changes to the superposition calculations without Reed’s knowledge, which caused the experiment to go awry.
The accident physically altered all five of them, scattering all but Reed around the world. S.H.I.E.L.D. helped recover Johnny and Ben, and they and Reed tracked Sue under Manhattan. She was held by her former teacher, Molekevic, who’d been dismissed a while before.
Calling himself the Mole Man, he lived with his underground monsters. The ensuing battle erupted into central Manhattan, where S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to keep a lid on it.
The Baxter Building became their base as the four were given the team name the Fantastic Four. The other students were moved to an alternate location.
Confined to the Baxter Building, Reed soon realised what Van Damme must have done. Thus, Richards now wanted to hunt him down so he could get the information to reverse the process. They were refused permission, told to leave it to S.H.I.E.L.D.. Van Damme wasn’t so constrained, and sent a swarm of robotic insects to attack Reed.
Ripping through their guards, the swarm failed to kill the empowered foursome. But it did transmit the experience back to Van Damme. Reed used the robots to track him back to Copenhagen and they set off to confront him. The quartet were afraid they’d never get to talk to him if S.H.I.E.L.D. got him first.
Van Damme, calling himself Doctor Doom, was ready for them. He drew them into battle. The Four beat him, but Doom manipulated events so that he had diplomatic protection. Then the Danish army forced S.H.I.E.L.D. to leave him. Reed didn’t get an answer to what changes Victor had made.
Continuing to examine a connection to the N-Zone in hopes of understanding what’d happened to them, Reed built a craft capable of travelling there. With reluctant permission from S.H.I.E.L.D. – who were swayed by the prospect of getting weapons out of it – the Four were allowed to make the journey.
In the N-Zone they made contact with Nihil. He was the leader of the last survivors of that dying universe. Reed learned that dimensions were stacked one atop the other, with those further down the stack being the older ones.
When Johnny’s failing health caused them to try departing, Nihil turned on them. He saw their craft as a way to escape the death of his universe. They evaded him and fled to the transfer point, Nihil’s forces in pursuit.
The Four escaped back into their universe, but not without some of Nihil’s forces following them. They crashed into Las Vegas, but were able to defeat Nihil and his forces. The public nature of the spectacle made it impossible for S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep them a secret though. Thus, the four soon became celebrities.
Gah Lak Tus
The Four worked with the Ultimates and Captain Marvel when the Kree attempted to destroy Earth’s space flight capabilities. This was in order to prevent anyone escaping the approaching Gah Lak Tus.
Reed and Sue were drafted by S.H.I.E.L.D. to help prepare planetary defences. Unable to find another solution to dealing with the global threat, Reed reluctantly used a younger dimension, further up the stack, as power source for a weapon. He destroyed a fifth of Gah Lak Tus’ mass, sending the planet killer fleeing.
The knowledge of how to build this weapon was sent out into the universe ahead of Gah Lak Tus, to aid future victims of his hunger.
While continuing his study of other dimensions, Reed was contacted by an older version of himself from another reality. Together they designed a machine to take Reed there. Making the journey alone he discovered he’d been tricked.
The superheroes of that dimension had become zombies. They had devoured most of the population.
Reed was rescued by Magneto, who was protecting the few survivors. The rest of the Fantastic Four came looking for him, and they managed to flee back to their own universe. Magneto stayed behind to destroy the device. But the portal didn’t shut in time to prevent the zombie Fantastic Four from following.
They were beaten and imprisoned within the Baxter Building.
Sue and Johnny’s supposedly dead mother, Mary, turned up requesting their help to explore Atlantis. The Four reluctantly agreed. Examining what she’d identified as the tomb of the prince of Atlantis, they were surprised when the tomb’s occupant emerged.
Namor took an immediate liking to Sue, insisting she introduce him to this new world. When Reed completed his translation of the Atlantean language, he realised Mary had been wrong. Namor had actually been an imprisoned criminal.
Reed, Ben and Johnny arrived as Namor turned violent with Sue. The battle spread through the streets of Manhattan. Reaching a stalemate, Namor animated a gigantic water creature to threaten the island unless Sue kissed him. While Ben held Reed back, Sue gave Namor a kiss. He then left.
Still on uneasy terms with her children, Mary Storm left to continue her study of Atlantis. She reported to her backer – Doctor Doom, now ruler of Latveria.
When Johnny fell seriously ill, Reed was forced to turn to Doom for aid. He deduced that Doom caused the illness in the first place, but had little option other than to accede to Doom’s demand. Doom used his magic to switch their consciousnesses, and returned to the Baxter Building in Reed’s body.
During their absence the zombie Fantastic Four had broken out. The zombie Mr. Fantastic worked to reopen the portal back to their world to allow the other zombie heroes through.
Reed, in Doom’s body, arrived in time to force the zombie Fantastic Four through the portal. He intended to go with them to seal it behind him. But the real Doom couldn’t bear the thought of Reed taking the glory, so switched their minds back. He sealed himself and the zombies in the other dimension.
Seed Nineteen, freedom fighters from another universe, landed on Earth. As a result, the Fantastic Four were drawn into a battle with their pursuers. It ended with them transported to the other universe.
Helping Seed Nineteen escape Thanos’ forces, the Four managed to get home. But not before Thanos has implanted the idea for the cosmic cube in Reed’s mind.
After being denied permission by S.H.I.E.L.D. to launch probes into other dimensions, Reed did so anyway. A short while later the Squadron Supreme arrived to arrest him for the devastation the probe caused their world.
The conflict drew in the Ultimates, Spider-Man, and the X-Men. It was only resolved when Reed agreed to accompany the Squadron back to their world to help if he could – and accept whatever justice was due. Nick Fury allowed him to go over Sue’s protests, to prevent the fight escalating in the middle of Manhattan.
The collected heroes followed the Squadron to their Earth, where the groups again clashed. It was soon revealed that Fury had recruited Doom to tamper with Reed’s probes (which he knew Reed would send behind his back) so the information went to S.H.I.E.L.D. first.
The actual contaminant had been introduced after the probe had been found on that Earth. It had been created by Squadron member Emil Burbank. The government secretly relied on Burbank to deal with the other members should they become a problem. The organism produced a radiation that affected Hyperion, but had gotten out of control.
The conflict was resolved relatively peacefully. The Hulk was deployed, and the Squadron Supreme of another universe pulled in by the interaction of Arcanna and the Scarlet Witch’s magic – but it did not go further. Nick Fury was turned over to the local authorities for his part in things, and Reed was allowed to return home.
When their loved ones were kidnapped, the Four travelled back to 15th century Milan. Their goal was to free the hostages from the imprisoned alchemist Menendez Flores – also known as Diablo. As well as manipulating the Four into freeing him, he also began experimenting on Reed’s sister, Enid. Diablo gave her powers as he sought the secret of immortality.
With the help of the alchemists who’d imprisoned him, the Four freed the captives. Diablo disappeared when touched by the empowered Enid, his fate uncertain.
Clashing with a being resembling Gah Lak Tus’ humanoid probes, the Four discovered the Silver Searcher was actually an agent of the Psycho Man. He was looking for people to repopulate the planet of Zenn La in peaceful solitude.
They were taken along with other humans, their minds wiped and powers suppressed by the false memories. Reed became Danum Ket, Sue became Ivri Sansou, Johnny became Teph, and Ben, unmoving, became the Stone Man. Reed’s mind rebelled, and he freed the others and the Searcher, Norrin Radd. The Psycho-Man’s benevolent dictatorship was ended and everyone returned to Earth.
When they returned to Earth they found Thanos’ forces, wanting to take possession of the cosmic cube Reed had completed. It came down to a battle of wills between Thanos and Reed for control of the cube.
While Thanos was more powerful, and had experience of wielding a cube, Reed managed to win. He then sent the cube back in time to become the one that allowed Thanos to gain power in the first place. This ensured that it would cause no further damage before burning out.
Sue was called in when a recently hatched gigantic egg was discovered in an ancient buried temple. Investigating, she believed it had a connection to a new super-team, Salem’s Seven. The investigation was hampered when S.H.I.E.L.D. sent a psychiatrist, Agatha Harkness, to evaluate the team.
Salem’s Seven soon moved to New York. They clashed with the Four when the Seven got territorial about their activities.
Offering Sue S.H.I.E.L.D.’s help with her investigation, Harkness led her into an ambush by Salem’s Seven. They tried to kill her, but only managed to knock her into the ocean where Namor rescued her. He revealed the Seven were a Hydra. A Hydra is one of the creatures which destroyed Atlantis – a being which can split into seven.
Harkness – revealed to have faked her S.H.I.E.L.D. credentials – kidnapped Johnny in order to use his power to awaken a nest of hundreds of Hydra eggs. The Four tracked them down, and Reed destroyed the Seven and all the other eggs.
The Four were hit hard when a tidal wave smashed into New York. Sue and Johnny’s father was drowned, Johnny missing, and Sue was put into a coma after straining her powers to push the water out of the city.
Leaving Ben to watch over Sue, Reed went after Namor. He was convinced that the Atlantean was responsible. Finding him, Reed took Namor down, but the Atlantean protested his innocence. Their return to New York was intercepted by Dr. Doom and Power Princess, who revealed Magneto was behind the attack.
They convinced Reed they needed Nick Fury back, since he’d have plans in place to deal with Magneto.
While Reed accompanied them to the Squadron’s universe, Ben followed Mary Storm’s advice. He recruited Arthur Molekevic to help Sue. Using Pym particles they shrunk themselves and a craft and went into Sue’s body to fix her.
With Sue recovered, she and Ben tracked down Johnny. They found him the captive of Dormammu, arriving just as he killed Doctor Strange. They fought, and Johnny managed to break free, defeating Dormammu.
Reed and Fury arrived in time to join the attack on Magneto alongside the surviving Ultimates and X-Men. Fury threw Magneto by revealing the truth about mutants – that they were created by human scientists. Magneto was executed.
Following the Ultimatum incident, Sue split up with Reed. She was disappointed he’d decide to fix the larger problem rather than stay with her. She threw herself into her scientific work at the Baxter Building. Reed returned home to live with his parents.
Reed admitted to Ben that Doom had been ultimately responsible for Magneto’s actions. Doom had orchestrated the death of his children to force him to act. Reed built a predictive program to work out the best way to deal with Doom. But he found that the only resolutions which didn’t end in further disaster were those where Doom was killed before they happened.
Yet Reed couldn’t find it in himself to murder even Doom.
Ben flew to Latveria, storming Doom’s castle where he found Victor with the captive Namor. Taking Doom’s head in his hands, Ben crushed it, killing Doctor Doom. He then took up an offer to become a test pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D..
Using an assumed name and dyeing his hair for anonymity, Johnny returned to high school, moving in with Peter Parker.
They were reunited when a series of attacks on scientific installations targeted the Baxter Building. Ben was visiting Sue at the time, and Johnny arrived soon after the trouble started to protect her. The top half of the building was destroyed. They soon learned of the other attacks, including one which appeared to have killed Reed and his family.
Ben was affected by the encounter, beginning to glow from under his rocky shell. This culminated in his rocky shell falling off. He regained his original human form, but was able to gain powers at will, accompanied by a purple glow to his body.
Investigating the attacks, Sue ended up at Project: Pegasus when it was under attack. There she learned the identity of the true culprit: Reed Richards.
The remaining members of the Four led the Ultimates to the other-dimensional base Reed had set up. Fighting through his genetically-engineered monsters they managed to damage the place enough to make it unstable. They fled before its destruction, leaving Reed for dead.
DC Universe History
After the events at the Baxter School (see Ultimate Iron man) Richards was reluctant to team up with Luthor and Kuttler even to save the Earth. He had real issues with the destruction of a baby universe under any circumstances. Sharing that knowledge with the greedy Luthor and amoral Calculator was more than he could bear.
The computer power necessary for the primal cannon necessary to defeat Gah Lak Tus was only available two places on Earth. Lexcorp and the Saudi complex of the now exiled Hank Pym. Reed, after much high-speed soul searching, picked Luthor as the lesser of two evils.
Sue made enigmatic references to the ability to keep Luthor from doing anything too terrible with the secrets of the project.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Sue used her powers to maintain covert contact with her old friend Bruce Wayne. He was brilliant, like Reed, and wealthy, like Stark, but not like either of them. He seemed to enjoy her correspondence with her because of her 204 IQ and her unabashed opinions and thoughts. She occasionally wondered if Bruce remembered she was a girl.
Kuttler’s ability to build devices to copy the powers of others allowed him to act as Stark in effigy. By this point Kuttler had finished his rather silly costumed calculator phase and had become an underworld power broker.
Sue watched him as closely as only an invisible person can. Reed and Lex pushed even their extreme minds to complete the cannon in time to stop Gah Lak Tus.
After the firing of the great cannon it was revealed that the site of the device itself was a property of the government contractor, Lexcorp, and not a SHIELD facility. This information was not revealed to Reed until the crisis had passed, as part of the deal made by Fury and Steel with Lex.
Reed was furious. He and Sue were escorted from the functioning cannon by SHIELD agents. Sue cautioned him against action. The two uber genius’ communicated in secret sign language using their powers. They knew that the SHIELD troops were watching them for some sign of insurrection.
Sue let him know that she had removed several of the key structural spars so the N-squared power core that ran the facility and literally held it up while it operated with her powers. If they attempted so much as a low power test the entire facility would fail in a very energetic way.
Reed was concerned with the secrets being stolen from the computers there, and a new genocidal device be built somewhere secret. Sue again had covered the contingency. An old pen pal of hers had introduced her to Kuttlers opposite number, Oracle. She would take care of things.
In the months that followed Luthor lost everything he thought to gain from the Gah Lak Tus cannon. His hatred for Reed and Sue became second only to his desire to destroy Superman. Reed had become an implacable enemy in the way the Man of Steel never could.
He was a brilliant mind that could predict and counteract the plans of the evil genius. The way that Reed chose to battle things were kept from exploding. Luthor became frustrated with his inability to be the smartest guy in the room.
Once, Lex managed to use esoteric devices to freeze Reed in form. Ben Grimm broke his arms for the trouble. In the Year without a Superman Reed took it upon himself to checkmate Luthor at every interval. His failures were few but spectacular.
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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly
Expansive Headquarters (Baxter Building)
The team has access to a variety of vehicles capable of travelling just about anywhere, some of the most sophisticated labs anywhere, and pretty much whatever technology they might need.
They have 4 10 AP ABCD Omni-Gadgets, automatically pass any 12 AP Wealth check for gadget construction, and have the Rich Friend Advantage to call on the Baxter Building think tank, and their S.H.I.E.L.D. backers, for checks above that level.
Source of Character: Marvel Comics, Ultimate universe.
Helper(s): Mike Winkler (provided the DC History section), Darci.
Writeup completed on the 7th of March, 2013.