Franklin Richards is the elder child of Earth’s first family of super heroes. He had a troubled childhood from the start; while pregnant with him, Sue suffered strange “cosmic impulses of living energy” in her blood due to the cosmic rays that empowered the Fantastic Four, risking the lives of herself and her unborn son. The rest of the Fantastic Four entered the Negative Zone and retrieved Annihilus’ Cosmic Control Rod, which Reed used to reduce the energy’s effects. Though the birth proved uneventful, Franklin would become one of Earth’s most powerful mutants. Reed and Sue named their child after Susan’s father Franklin, who sacrificed his own life to save his children, and after Reed’s best friend, Benjamin Grimm.
Franklin’s powers manifested when he was still young: he perceived his invisible mother, controlled ants’ behaviors, and restored consciousness to his “uncle” Ben. Realizing something unusual was occurring, Reed studied Franklin to try and understand and control the infant’s powers; but Annihilus came to similar conclusions and kidnapped Franklin to the Negative Zone, where he enhanced Franklin’s energy with a cosmic ray gene trasmuter. Though the Fantastic Four defeated Annihilus, Franklin’s powers continued to accelerate, threatening to release psychic energy “strong enough to kill every living creature in the solar system”. With no time to act and with no options, Reed used an experimental and defective anti-matter weapon which stopped the power build-up but left Franklin comatose. Many months later, a psychic assault by Ultron-7 against the Avengers, Inhumans, and Fantastic Four inadvertently restored Franklin; his unconscious mind retaliated against Ultron and Franklin awoke with his powers dormant.
His powers quiescent for years, Franklin enjoyed a more normal childhood. A resilient child, the powerless Franklin adapted to his parents’ chaotic lives, once holding off the mercenary Deadpool with his own gun; however his powers reemerged when Franklin’s nanny Agatha Harkness and the Fantastic Four were taken captive by Nicholas Scratch and Salem’s Seven. Franklin’s unconscious mind was strong enough to free Agatha, the entire population of New Salem, and his family from Scratch’s control. Scratch possessed Franklin, using his powers against the Fantastic Four, but the team freed him with Agatha’s help. Developing conscious control over his powers, Franklin wielded them against the alien Brain Parasites which controlled his mother. Reed resumed testing Franklin’s powers until one test resulted in Franklin’s unconscious mind creating Ego-Spawn, a superhuman manifestation of Franklin’s insecurities. Reed took more covert actions after that, creating HUBERT (Hyper-Ultronic Brain Employing Randomized Tracings), a robotic baby-sitter for Franklin which monitored him for superhuman activity. Franklin soon lost control of his powers, transforming into an amnesiac, virtually omnipotent adult dubbed Avatar. When his mother realized who he truly was, Franklin restored himself to childhood, placing psychic dampers in his own brain to limit his own access to his powers. Simultaneously, he restored Ben to his rocky Thing state he’d temporarily lost. (The realization that Ben subconsciously wanted to be the Thing stopped Franklin from actually curing him). Losing his powers again gave Franklin as normal a childhood as possible in a life where he could be whisked off across galaxies without notice, as happened when Franklin and the Thing saved the K’rithian race from an alien Gh’runji Gobbler, or where his bedroom could be unexpectedly invaded by miniature Micronauts.
Franklin’s mother became pregnant again, but the pregnancy was cut short with a stillbirth. Though no one realized it, Franklin’s future self would unconsciously intervene to save the dying child, sending it “somewhere else”. The family moved to Belle Porte, Connecticut, where Franklin attended school as Franklin Benjamin. A nosy neighbor believed the family to be witches, and a subsequent exorcism led to the destruction of their home and put them at the mercy of the demon Mephisto. Franklin’s nascent powers surfaced again and he temporarily destroyed Mephisto, scattering the demon across multiple dimensions, though Mephisto would soon return and use Franklin as a plot against the Asgardian death-goddess Hela. After the destruction of the Baxter Building at the hands of Kristoff Vernard, Franklin and the Four stayed at Avengers Mansion during the construction of the FF’s new headquarters. Edwin Jarvis, the Avengers’ butler, functioned as a caretaker for Franklin.
During this period, Franklin’s powers again emerged, in a more controlled form: Franklin began precognitive dreaming, and could form a non-physical dream-self which could see, hear, and speak in the real world. One of his earlier dreams was of the young super-hero family known as Power Pack being attacked by aliens. While out with Jarvis, he met the Power Pack children and warned them, leading them to their Kymellian ally Kofi. The six were attacked by the Snark Jakal, an enemy of Power Pack, and it was Franklin who created the strategy to defeat him. Power Pack gave Franklin friends nearer his own age, and he enjoyed visiting a “real family” where he could watch movies, eat popcorn, and actually fight as he “never got to argue before”. The newly confident Franklin decided that he now wanted to be called “Frank”, and Katie Power gave him a super-hero name: Tattletale. With the FF off in space again, Frank spent Thanksgiving with the Power children, Cloak and Dagger, Beta Ray Bill, and the X-Men’s Wolverine and Kitty Pryde, also meeting future friend Leech (and Leech’s guardian Annalee) there. Tattkletale’s powers soon helped Power Pack save Leech and Caliban’s lives during the “Mutant Massacre”.
When the Snark again attacked Power Pack, Frank pursued them in the Pack’s Smartship Friday. Tattletale’s dream-self enabled Friday to rescue Kofi, after which the trio rescued Power Pack and saved the Snark emperor from Jakal and his mother Maraud. The Fantastic Four headed for the Snark’s world to find their missing son. In the FF’s absence, Power Pack and Tattletale returned home and stayed with the Power family, while Kofi located the FF and explained that Frank had been returned. Frank and his parents were reunited in the Power’s living room, which helped forge a friendship between the two families, enabling Frank to spend more time with his friends. Frank was attacked during this period by the rogue Sentinel Master Mold, which believed that Franklin was “the Twelfth” (“Ultiman”), one of twelve mutants instrumental in humanity’s future. This information was later claimed to be false by the mutant Apocalypse, but in any case Tattletale and Power Pack temporarily destroyed Master Mold. Unfortunately for Frank (now calling himself Franklin again), the Richardses left the Fantastic Four and moved to Stamford, Connecticut in an attempt to provide a safe life. While leaving, they were attacked by Dr. Doom, who kidnapped Franklin to use his powers to free Doom’s dead mother’s soul from Mephisto. Doom won Franklin’s trust but betrayed him to Mephisto, who jumped at the chance for vengeance. Reed followed Franklin into Hell and released Franklin’s psychic dampers, forcing Mephisto to return them both. Franklin nearly condemned Doom to Mephisto’s realm in retaliation before Reed stopped him.
Franklin joined the Powers on a three-week Maine vacation, there bonding telepathically with a school of dolphins, and then left the planet with the Power children to visit New Kymellia (where the Pack fought and defeated the Kymellian warriors Force Four). The Pack met the cosmic being Numinus, who helped save the Kymellians when their artificial world was destroyed by the Snark Maraud. After the Richards family moved back to New York City, they allowed Franklin to stay with the Powers, and he attended public school beside them, again as Franklin Benjamin. When the world was threatened by the Star Stalker and a possessed Nova (Frankie Raye), Power Pack helped Franklin seek Galactus and retrieve an Elemental Obliterator. Aware that employing the device would kill him, Franklin still attempted to use it against the entity possessing Nova, but a member of the Elan race intervened. Tattletale’s time with Power Pack ended when the Powers went into space seeking help for their son Alex; though they did return, the Powers moved to Washington state, ending Franklin’s association with them.
In an alternate “Days of Future Past” reality (Earth-811), a maturing Franklin attended Xavier’s Academy, joined the New Mutants, and romanced Rachel Summers before being slain by Sentinels. As this future Franklin died, he sent a dream-self back in time to Earth-616 (mainstream Earth), tapping he younger Franklin’ powers and altering reality. When this “tapping” began to harm young Franklin, the dream-self voluntarily discorporated, agan unlocking Franklin’s potential. Franklin’s grandfather Nathaniel Richards returned as Franklin’s powers began manifesting anew. Claiming Franklin’s presence was a threat to the timeline, Nathaniel stole Franklin away to the future, where he trained in the other-dimensional world of Elsewhen for years beside his aunt Huntara under the Warlord Kargul. Nathaniel returned Franklin to a point in time moments after he was taken, as the now-adult Psi-Lord.
As Psi-Lord, Franklin aided his family against several threats and was briefly possessed by the malevolent psychic entity Malice before using Malice to destroy the other-dimensional Dark Raider. When his father was apparently killed and the Fantastic Four briefly dissolved, Franklin formed his own team, the Fantastic Force. Consisting of Psi-Lord, Huntara, Vibraxas, and Devlor, the team also briefly included Lyja, She-Hulk, and the Human Torch. They opposed a number of threats, including Klaw, Dreadface, Go-Devil, and Diablo. During this time, Franklin’s powers changed again and he briefly projected three dream-selves (Avatar, Ego-Spawn, and Tattletale), while still maintaining his Psi-Lord abilities; the three dissipated when Psi-Lord released his full-force powers against Vaanguard. Fantastic Force disbanded soon after the discovery of the living Reed Richards.
Hyperstorm (the child of Franklin and Rachel Summers in another divergent future, Earth-967) destroyed Psi-Lord to ensure his own existence, time traveling back and transporting the child Franklin from the moment when Nathaniel Richards kidnapped him to the present day. Psi-Lord no longer existed, and the child Franklin was restored. While the Four fought Hyperstorm, Franklin faced the evil psychic entity Onslaught, who disguised himself as a young child named Charlie, befriended Franklin, and absorbed Franklin Richards and the powerful mutant X-Man (Nate Grey) into himself. While X-Man and Franklin escaped from within, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and several others sacrificed their lives to stop Onslaught. Franklin emerged alive to find his family seemingly dead. In the aftermath, Franklin was given into his grandfather’s custody.
After a ceremony honouring the fallen (where he gifted Four Freedoms Plaza to the Thunderbolts, who later destroyed it), Franklin attended Emma Frost’s Massachusetts Academy branch of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. He studied with children his own age, including Artie Maddicks and his old acquaintance Leech. When the Academy was attacked, Franklin unconsciously rescued himself by creating a dimensional gate. This act transported the Man-Thing there, and Franklin, along with Man-Thing, Leech, Artie, Tana Nile (an alien Rigellian who’d been recuperating there) and Howard the Duck, became lost in a succession of child-like memories, chased by the shadowy being known as the Dark Hunter. It became apparent over the course of their travels that Franklin’s powers were creating friendlier realities for them, including a reality giving the Man-Thing the power of speech. The Dark Hunter was revealed to be a manifestation of the pain and fear Franklin couldn’t accept, and Franklin ultimately merged with the Dark Hunter, accepting the loss of his parents.
Franklin was soon approached by the Celestial Ashema, who showed Franklin that his parents (and Earth’s other heroes) were alive. Franklin had subconsciously shunted them into a new reality, another Earth which resided in the blue globe Franklin had been carrying with him since Onslaught. Ashema forced Franklin to make a choice: one of the worlds had to die. Literally fleeing from this awful choice, Franklin plummeted over a cliff, nearly dying. To ressurect him, Ashema melded with Franklin’s consciouness, acquiring his human perspective on life and death. Through Franklin, a compromise was struck: both worlds could live, but Earth’s heroes had to leave Franklin’s creation and return to their own world. Franklin’s alternate Earth was later transported to our solar system by Dr. Doom and placed in orbit on the far side of the sun, where it was named Counter-Earth (an earlier Counter-Earth had been created by the High Evolutionary and removed by the Beyonders).
Reunited with his family, Franklin moved into Pier Four, the FF’s new waterfront headquarters. Franklin got a pet,a dog-like creature named Puppy who seemed a younger, smaller twin to the Inhumans’ Lockjaw, and a new caretaker, the dimensionally displaced Caledonia. Franklin also acquired a sister when the time-dancing Valeria von Doom (claimed daughter of Susan Richards) joined the family. Franklin’s time at Pier Four proved brief; when catastrophe loomed, Reed and Sue sent Franklin, Puppy, and Caledonia to Haven, a school located on the far side of the universe, where they were soon joined by Valeria. When Franklin dreamed of Valeria’s death at the hand of the cosmic force Abraxas, he and Valeria retuned to Earth. When Abraxas did appear, Valeria and Franklin combined their powers to ressurect the only being capable of stopping Abraxas: Galactus.
Franklin learned that Valeria was the sister he had sent elsewhere, and he exhausted his remaining powers to restore her to his mother’s womb as an infant. After Valeria’s birth, Franklin felt ignored and unloved, and his attempts to regain his parents attention inadvertently led to the creation of the mathematical menace Modulus. As he began to feel apart of the family again, he was transported to Hell by Dr. Doom; though quickly rescued, Franklin was severely traumatized by the incident, even believing he was still in Hell. Only his family’s love and the honesty of his uncle Ben made Franklin realize that no matter how bad things got, his family would always do their best for him. Franklin has since sought a more normal childhood, attending private academies, going on New Jersey camping trips with friends his own age, and even playing Little League baseball. While trying desperately to succeed in the latter, he tapped into his powers again, temporarily disrupting the space-time continuum. With his family’s guidance, Franklin has the potential to become one of the most powerful beings in existence.