Twenty-Three is the final clone of the Wizard. The previous twenty two were failures (see notes below). The Wizard used some of his clones to try once again to defeat the Fantastic Four. They were defeated and Reed Richards found his way to the Wizard's lab. He detained the Wizard and sent him to prison.
Twenty-Three was taken in by the Fantastic Four as one of their own. He refers to himself as Twenty-Three because he believes he has not earned the right to call himself by his 'fathers' name. The Four still call him Bentley. Eventually he believed he had earned the name as a member of the Future Foundation.
While brilliant like his 'father,' Bentley was dark, brooding and seemingly sinister in thought. While often somewhat of a loner, he developed a relationship with Valeria and was only close with her. He would eventually face his father, who told him that they were one and the same and there was no escaping it. Bentley kicked his father in the groin and rejected him, proving that nurture over nature had prevailed.
Bentley 23 was created by Jonathan Hickman and first appeared in Fantastic Four #570.
In his original appearance, Bentley was the thirty-second clone of the Wizard. Beginning with the FF series, this number seems to have reversed - Bentley being referred to on multiple occasions as Bentley 23 or as Twenty-Three by the Wizard. This number has stuck and been used regularly.
Major Story Arcs
The Future Foundation
Besides feeling partially responsible for 23 after getting The Wizard arrested, Reed also wanted to prove that The Wizard could be fixed by raising this uncorrupted version of him. Thus, 23 was invited to Reed’s new think-tank-meets-classroom, The Future Foundation. He spent much of his time sulking in the early days of the FF with a knee-jerk reaction to villainy. He loved to tinker with explosives and weapons to help the F4 and FF fix their problems.
When Val ended up in a timeout after inadvertently starting the War of the Four Cities by releasing members of the Council of Reeds, Bentley broke her out. Once freed, she outfitted the top three levels of the Baxter Building with a transporter so she can flee from the action with the other FF kids. She sent them to the location of the last remaining Reed variant so they could use her dad’s teleporter to get him home. This meant fighting the Mad Celestials that ran the Reeds out of their void in the first place.
The Wizard Returns
When the F4 went on a road trip in space, they left the FF kids in the capable hands of new staff: She-Hulk, Ms. Thing, Medusa, and Ant-Man (Scott Lang). Ant-Man used this as an opportunity to get vengeance on Dr. Doom for killing his daughter, however, that was interrupted when The Wizard returned.
It all began when Medusa started acting strangely. She was luring Bentley-23 to sleep, and her niece, Luna, could sense something wrong with her powers. It turned out she was being controlled by The Wizard, who was using Medusa to get close to Bentley. Then, with his partner, Blastaar, he teleported the Baxter Building to The Negative Zone, and the FF with it.
He wanted Bentley-23 to return home, but Bentley-23 immediately rejected the Wizard’s family and started scheming how to get rid of them. Using a teleporting vest, he took Blastaar off the battlefield. Meanwhile, the kids dogpile Medusa hoping she would snap out of Wizard’s hypnosis, with Leech’s powers playing a significant role. It gave She-Hulk the opportunity to knock out The Wizard and Bentley to return to his chosen family.
The Fall of the Fantastic Four
When NYC sued the Fantastic Four for some of the collateral damage they were causing, the Future Foundation kids were taken from them and put in the custody of SHIELD, specifically agent Jim Hammond. Bentley and his team put pressure on Jim to help them save Dragon Man. SHIELD had ordered he be dismantled, and being a synthetic being himself, Jim didn’t like it much.
Eventually, The Quiet Man, the person responsible for all of the F4’s recent misfortune, made himself known. Among his many individual attacks, he kidnapped the FF kids. He had big plans for Franklin, and he needed The Wizard’s help to achieve them. The Wizard used this opportunity to manipulate Bentley into returning to him. Bentley was tempted, but when he saw how much pain Franklin was in and how disappointed Onome was with him, he betrayed his father.
With Franklin’s torture ended, Bentley allowed The Wizard to escape. Before he made his getaway, The Wizard admitted to being impressed by the man Bentley is growing up to be. So much so, The Wizard leads the Frightful Four into a fight beside the Avengers and Fantastic Four against the Counter-Earth doubles that The Quiet Man unleashed.
After the events of the Secret War, The Richards continued to travel space with the Future Foundation collecting the pieces of Molecule Man to put him back together after he helped them resurrect the universe. When the Richards went home early, the FF stayed on the case in space.
Using one of Onome’s gadgets, they had traced alternate reality energy at a space prison. That energy turned out not to be Molecule Man but The Maker. His likeness to Reed Richards allowed him to manipulate the FF and steal one of their Molecule Man pieces. In the confrontation, the FF were able to secure the Molecule Man pieces, but they got stranded on a planet with a beach.
Back on Earth, when the parents of some of the FF members complained to the F4 about the location of their kids, Reed used his Forever Gate to bring them home. Without a home to go back to, Bentley was the only kid to stick with the Fantastic Four, along with Dragon Man.
As a member of the family, Bentley would most likely be teamed up with Dragon Man to help out the F4 with the events of both Empyre and King in Black. He had a good routine going when The Wizard showed up to throw it all into turmoil. He serves Dragon Man and the F4 with papers for full custody of Bentley.
In court, The Wizard did everything he could to make the Fantastic Four look bad. With She-Hulk’s legal help, the Fantastic Four stick to trying to clear their name in court, but Bentley had other ideas. He created a clone of The Wizard to come to court and trick the real Wizard into thinking he was, in fact, a clone. This clone of the Wizard would renounce his custody and recommend that Dragon Man continue to raise him.
With this new information, Dragon Man and Bentley decide to leave the F4’s home and strike out on their own. They set up shop in The Wizard’s old lab after Bentley cracks all his passwords. He even reclaimed The Wizard code name for himself.
Powers & Abilities
Like his "father," Bentley possesses a genius level intellect and great understanding of technology and mechanics.