Venom: who is The Maker, and why is he named Reed Richards?
And also: why does he wear a xenomorph skull for a helmet?
Thanks, Jay, for that last question. I was getting to it, I promise.
Anyway, if you’ve been keeping up with the excellent current run on Venom, you might have noticed a peculiar-looking character with a familiar name: Reed Richards. He also goes by “The Maker,” and if, like me, you haven’t kept current with Marvel for some time, then you might be scratching your head. Who is this Reed, who can clearly stretch like his more well-known counterpart? Why is he called The Maker? And yes, what’s with the bizarre headgear? It is once again time for me to do a Google search—so you don’t have to!
He’s the Ultimate Reed Richards
Thaaaaat’s right. If you enjoyed reading the Ultimate Universe’s take on the First Family, then you’ll be happy to know that you’re actually looking at a familiar face in The Maker. Well, happy or horrified—maybe horrified. So how did a different-but-similar Reed turn into an evil weirdo with a crazy helmet?
Evidently, I stopped reading Ultimate FF before things got too crazy—and I thought a trip to a zombie Earth was bad! It seems that Ultimate Reed’s actions during the Ultimatum miniseries led to the death of a number of heroes, and that Sue was done with him after that. The two broke up, the Four disbanded, and Reed became rather a bit more sinister.
His villainy reached a peak when he genetically-engineered a race of superhumans, and it was about this time that he took on the name Maker. After numerous squabbles with old teammates and friends, the appearance of Galactus Prime drove Reed and Spider-Man Miles Morales to Earth 616 in search of knowledge from the prime Reed. In the wake of Secret Wars, Ultimate Reed ended up sticking around in 616 and working out his villainous schemes there, as its only Reed Richards (until the return of prime Reed and his wife and children in 2018’s relaunch of Fantastic Four).
So what does this have to do with Venom?
After taking on Knull, creator of the Klyntar and master of righteous dragons, Eddie Brock woke in the custody of The Maker and his organization. Richards is clearly interested in getting the symbiote off of Eddie, and while he claims his goal is study, one can’t help but wonder whether or not he’s hoping to bond with it. Genetic manipulation is in his wheelhouse, after all, and what better way to push humans beyond their limits than to merge them with an organism that endows them with remarkable abilities?
The helmet? I’m guessing it’s to protect his disgustingly-enlarged brain—a feature he brought on himself as a side effect of increasing his mental capacity. Gross.
Anyway, that’s enough about the artist formerly known as Ultimate Reed Richards. As always, there’s much more detail out there on the web, and in the pages of Marvel comics, if you still want more.