Nathaniel Richards is the loving husband of Evelyn Richards and father of Reed Richards who would later become the famous superhero, Mr. Fantastic. He lived happily with his family, noting his son's intellect at a young age and trying his best to encourage it along with his wife. Unfortunately, around the time Reed was 7 years old, his mother had passed away.
Major Story Arcs
Nathaniel, always the scientist, was secretly developing a machine that would allow him to travel through different dimensions. By the time Reed hit adulthood, his father disappeared (presumed dead) and Nathaniel left him all his fortune so his son could fulfill his dream. In reality, however, Nathaniel had traveled to a different dimension which was mixed in with cowboys and fantasy, and he stayed there upon meeting and falling in love with the daughter of the leader of the place.
The daughter while beautiful, manipulated him and used Nathaniel's inventions for her own gain, the people of that dimension thinking Nathaniel was the cruel warlord. In time the truth would come to light, with the appearance of his son and the rest of the Fantastic Four.
It was found out that it was his wife who was the cruel tyrant, manipulating Nathaniel's love for her and ultimately going too far. Reed and the rest of the team eventually escaped but decided to leave Nathaniel behind. But he would not be forgotten so easily.
Years later, Nathaniel once again appears in the lives of the FF, but this time with more dire consequences. He had come from the future where he had learned that his grandson would set off a chain of events and came back to his son's life to take the boy away.
With the help of Agatha, the plan was successful and Nathaniel took his grandson to the future where he trained him as best he could alongside his aunt, Huntara. Sometime later, Nathaniel, The Fantastic Four, The Fantastic Force and Kristoff Vernard became wrapped up in an epic final confrontation between The Celestials and their arch-nemesis' The Watchers.
After revealing that the source of The Invisible Woman's powers was actually the same wavelength that The Celestials use to control and maintain the existence of their armor in our reality and its counterparts, he managed to infiltrate the armor of Exitar the Exterminator, one of the most powerful Celestials in existence. While inside Exitar, Nathaniel and his allies were assaulted by Exitar's anti-bodies, who managed to incapacitate Nathaniel and the others, with the exception of The Invisible Woman who managed to reach the mind-chamber and sever Exitar's connection to our plane of existence.
With Exitar gone, The Celestials retreated to far corners of The Universe and began the several thousand year process of rebuilding his armor and bringing him back to full power, while The Watchers did the same to The One, an Exitar-sized Watcher seeking to bring about the end of The Universe and free The Watchers of their Oath.
Uatu, who decided not to stay and aid his people in rebuilding him, teleported Nathaniel and the others back to his base in The Blue Area of The Moon. Nathaniel then took leave and ventured to another timeline. It is believed that Nathaniel is the father of Kang the Conqueror, which if it's true would make Kang half-brother to Mr. Fantastic.
The Great Hunt
Sometime later, Nathaniel and Howard Stark's fight with The Night Machine ended with a massive explosion of temporal energy caused by the destruction of a powerful engine within The Night Machine's body. Having been in contact with the explosion, Nathaniel gained control over time and possibly immortality (at minimum he gained a great extension on his aging). There was one side effect though: every Nathaniel Richards that existed in all realities were brought six thousand years into his future.
This event garnered the attention of Immortus, a future incarnation of his alleged son Kang, who saw this as a great risk to the timestream. He ordered their deaths but did so in a most unexpected way: by making a game out of the execution process. Thus began the Great Hunt in which each version of Nathaniel began killing the others or resorted to committing suicide, the goal of all to be the last one standing.
Oddly enough, the reality in which they were stranded and forced to do battle was the home reality of Nathaniel responsible for the event taking place. He chose not to participate in the Great Hunt but knew that one day it would come to him.
With he and only one other remaining, Nathaniel used his grandchildren of the future to help him with his plans. He himself chose to gain the assistance of his son Reed and his friend Ben (the Thing) while still in college. Upon learning the situation, Reed also enlisted the assistance of Victor Von Doom. Together they traveled to the future world where the other remaining Nathaniel, who had somehow come to earn the nickname "The Beast" during the course of The Great Hunt, resided, a city known as Chronopolis, where his demented counterpart had gathered many artifacts from the past.
In order to level the playing field and make his battle with Nathaniel a one on one, The Beast brought forth The Anarchonaughts, a group of super-powered warriors who were once the property of another Nathaniel and sent them after Reed, Doom and Ben. But, for all their power, The Anarchonaughts turned out to be nothing more than cannon fodder and were easily dispatched by the trio. They all then turned their attention on The Beast and attacked. Though Ben and Reed were easy to incapacitate, The Beast found it impossible to overcome Doom, who saved Nathaniel from death and slaughtered The Beast for him.
With The Beast dead, Nathaniel had won The Great Hunt but the victory was a bittersweet one. Nathaniel's actions, which led to Immortus initiating The Great Hunt had orphaned every other version of his son across The Multiverse for eternity.
After parting ways with the young Reed, Nathaniel returned to the realm that Franklin had created, was promptly kicked down towards a wave of temporal energy capable of killing those who came into contact with it and, just as Franklin planned, managed to teleport away before hitting the wave.
Though, because of interference from the wave, Nathaniel's destination was randomized. Not even Franklin would be able to tell when or where his grandfather would end up, but did not care, so long as Nathaniel corrected his greatest error: orphaning his own son.
After Johnny Storm's death, Nathaniel returned.
War of the Four Cities
In the future, Nathaniel worked with his grandchildren Valeria and Franklin to revise a plan to save their reality. In all possible futures, his son Reed used the Bridge to join The Council, a group of all Reed's from alternate realities with one purpose: Solve Everything. This would eventually attract notice of the Mad Celestials, who would seek to destroy all the Reed's of the multiverse. Knowing that this was unavoidable, Nathaniel set his plans in motion to prevent the death of his son.
While only avowing the information to anyone as it was needed, the carefully constructed plan teetered on the edge of success. Nathaniel had seen the future multiple times and there was no room for error, or they would fail. Through careful manipulation of events and the help of Valeria, Franklin, Doctor Doom, the Future Foundation and even Galactus, the Mad Celestials were defeated and his son saved.
Powers & Abilities
Nathaniel Richards has no superhuman powers. He does however possess a scientific genius intellect. He is also a skilled inventor in advanced machinery and devices.
Nathaniel is an experienced time traveler and creator of his own time travel device which he called the Time Platform. He also created his own armor which gives him super strength and durability. He also carries teleportation devices and energy weapons for defense.
During the Great Hunt, all versions of Nathaniel Richards were brought to a single universe. Upsetting the time stream, Immortus forced them to kill each other, where only one should remain. The Nathaniel Richards of Earth-616 is the only surviving version of himself in the multiverse.