Analysis of the Portrayal of the Molecule Man's Costume, Face, and Character Across All His Appearances

*(update: posts are all complete)*

WHAT’S THIS?

Welcome to my magnum opus!

I will be straight-up: this is a 60+ page Word document. I don’t really expect anyone to read from beginning to end. But if you are interested in the evolution of Molecule Man, or in the way comics use visuals to connect to character, then skip around read whatever parts you are interested in! And of course, I would welcome anyone to read the whole thing.

This is a complete history of the visual portrayal of Owen Reece, the Molecule Man, over the years, focusing in particular on the evolution of his costumes, the rendition of his face (in particular his nose and scarring), his body type, and his personality.

Now, you all probably best know this look of Reece’s, right?

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But, do you know all of these?

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That’s not even all of them! Reece has had numerous costume changes, big and small, over the years, and I’m going to give painstaking detail on all of them.

Hey, do you remember when the Molecule Man was a woman? A lizard? African-American? We’ll talk about all those too!

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I will also go on the occasional tangent about other issues of note as we go along. For instance, I’ll note times when Reece controlled organic molecules and energy prior to Secret Wars I, contrary to the general understanding and editorial statements to the effect that he could only affect organic molecules and energy after Doom lifted his mental blocks. (He actually manipulated energy and/or organics in every issue before Secret Wars I!)

So: This will itemize every appearance of the Molecule Man, including his standard 616 appearances, appearances within flashbacks (largely other characters recalling Secret Wars I and II) and imaginary sequences, appearances in alternate universes, and handbook entries. These are all issues I own myself, so if you have questions about anything, let me know.

These stories include:

• 6 stories pre-Secret Wars I

Secret Wars I & II, Avengers 266

• Cosmic Cube version: 13 appearances, although really only 9 actual stories, ending in Dark Avengers

• 6 appearances in New Avengers’ (vol. 3) run-up to Secret Wars 2015

Secret Wars 2015

• 3 appearances post Secret Wars 2015

• 22 flashbacks/imaginary sequences

• 12 handbook entries

• 17 alternate universes

I have also made three charts:

One noting the chronology of his appearances in real time, showing when he was used often and when he went without appearances for years

One breaking down much of the costume information below in chart form

One listing all the creative teams that have worked on his appearances, showing who has worked on multiple story arcs

Click the text links above to download full-size PDFs of each. Smaller JPGs below.

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Over time, I will add “Takeaways” entries in separate posts that analyze the information below.

INTRODUCTION

Owen Reece, while generally identified with what I will call his “classic” costume—the Secret Wars I & II costume I showed at the top—has actually had several costume changes over his career.

Artists have also rendered his face, body, and posture quite differently, depending on whether he is being portrayed as a villain, hero, or schlub in a particular storyline.

Again, you’ve seen his normal face, and his “Molecule Man” face before:

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But we will see that the portrayal of his facial scars in particular is hugely inconsistent. Of course, every character has been drawn and written differently over the years, but as can be seen, his portrayals have changed quite radically from appearance to appearance, and these physical changes often track changes in his character. When he's more heroic, he's drawn more handsomely, and when he's a loser or evil, he's drawn differently to enhance those qualities. Just for instance, compare these two versions, one super-schlubby and the other drawn in the same style they’d use for Peter Parker:

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I will describe and analyze these various costumes and visual portrayals over the course of his history, going his appearances in chronological order, organized into four categories:

• Present-tense Earth-616 Appearances

• Earth-616 Flashbacks

• Alternate-universe Appearances

• Handbooks

For each entry, I will provide a brief summary of the issue, then describe his costume, his face, his body, and his personality. [Note: if you just want a list of all his appearances, download the chart of the creative teams. If you want a list of them via these categories, you can download the costume chart.]

Representative images from each issue will be included at the end of each issue's entry.

Finally, before I begin, I’d like to give a shout-out to Jim Shooter, who made Reece respectable in the ‘80s, and Jonathan Hickman, who brought him back to respectability after a long time in the wilderness in the last few years.

PRESENT-TENSE EARTH-616 APPEARANCES

Fantastic Four 20 (first appearance)

November 1963

Writer: Stan Lee, Penciler: Jack Kirby, Inker: Dick Ayers.

Uatu the Watcher contacts the Fantastic Four about the danger posed by Reece. Reece is described by Uatu as being able to destroy universes. His origin is recounted, and he goes on a rampage. The Fantastic Four create feedback when he tries to control their bodies, since he cannot control organic molecules. He does, however, control electricity in this issue. Uatu transports him to another dimension.

His costume on the cover is slightly different from his costume in the interior, as noted below.

Interior Costume: Reece’s first costume is fairly close to his now “classic” costume—a sort of tunic or Mao jacket and pants with shoulder pauldron—but differs in various ways. It is mostly pure green, with light green belt (square buckle and vertical ribbed texture, which I will tend to refer to as cylinders, below), black bracers with green edges, and brown boots with light green tops. The clothes are loose, not skin-tight. His shoulder pauldron goes around and under his armpits, usually with something close to the “classic” lightning/zig zag pattern on the edges. His wand is black, thin, tapered at the end, and has no ornaments.

The biggest difference from his “classic” costume is the lack of purple.

Cover Costume: It has the same pauldron shape, but with a star-shaped light green shape around his collar. The bottom of the jacket has pockets. The boots are brown, with the top part light green and black right above them. He has a red wand.

Interior Face: His face is shown with varying numbers of scars, which cover his forehead and cheeks, from 2 to 5 per cheek, 3 to 10 on the forehead, and up to 3 on his chin. Both his upper and lower lips are usually scarred and shown as jagged lines. His hairline is sometimes shown as receding, or almost bald, but other times he has a full head of brown hair. He is not classically handsome (no strong cheek bones etc.), but his face is not otherwise of note.

Cover Face: Normal, with a tuft of brown hair on top; the sides look shaved. 5 scars on his forehead and 2 on each cheek, perhaps 3 on the chin. The lips are unscarred.

Interior Body: Reece has a standard human build that is not heavily muscled, nor unusually thin or overweight, which I will call “average” or “normal” from here on.

Cover Body: Average.

Interior Character: Reece is a maniac who wants to rule the world and get back at people for his terrible life. Generally speaking his physiognomy does not reflect his character as much here as it does in later issues.

Cover Character: Villainous.

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Marvel Two-in-One 1

January 1974

Writer: Steve Gerber, Penciler: Gil Kane, Inker: Joe Sinnott

After his first appearance, a dramatic change is made in the character: having been sent by Uatu to an alternate dimension, and apparently robbed of his powers, he dies of old age in the dimension’s sped-up time, and creates a “son” to live on in his place. The son recreates his “father’s” powers by recreating the original accident with his own advanced technology (consider what this means, given the post-Secret Wars origin of his powers from the Beyonders’ Cosmic Cube universe, and its intertwining with the original Beyonder’s power). The “son” seems to have its own personality, and in fact can create and manipulate organic molecules with no difficulty (the father fixed the organic molecule problem when he set up the machines to recreate the accident). He comes back to earth and goes on a rampage as well, until he is stopped by Thing and Man-Thing: when the “son” drops his wand, he ages super-quickly and dies. However, the original Molecule Man’s spirit and power is still in the wand. For unknown reasons, he did not tell his “son” about this; perhaps the son’s spirit and power was really a portion of his father’s spirit and power all along. I tend to believe that the “son" is really just an alternate personality of the father; for instance when Reece’s spirit is shown in Iron Man Annual 3, he has the same brawny, bald physical appearance as the son has here, as he also does in Fantastic Four 187-8, although technically that’s because he possessed a boxer who just happened to be bald and brawny. The idea that the bad, brawny son is really just an alternate personality of the father also makes sense given the much later idea that the bald muscular version seen in Fantastic Four Annual 27 and Incredible Hulk 441-2 is his “evil” side. Basically the argument is that Reece splits his self in half, and puts half of it in the son, which represents his more evil side. Then this side has ascendancy until he recreates himself in Avengers 215-6, at which point the physical re-creation of his original body perhaps brings back some of his original personality, and when he subsequently sees a therapist, he fully submerges the evil side of himself, as represented by the son. Much later, after going through the trial merging with the Cosmic Cube and then being ejected from it, his personality becomes less stable and the “evil” side is able to re-emerge a few times. Eventually it seems that this side is perhaps more fully integrated into him and he become unbalanced in general, but no longer split into good and evil, as seen in Dark Avengers 10-12 and the New Avengers/Secret Wars 2015 stories. (At least this is one explanation; Secret Wars 2015 has its own explanation for his mental imbalance.)

Note that Uatu says, in Secret Wars II, that he “reinforced the mental blocks which limited him” while in the other dimension, thus explaining why Reece had no powers there, and “confused his self-perceptions,” possibly explaining how he made a copy of himself without really knowing it.

For his next several appearances after this comic, people find the wand and are possessed by his spirit.

Father Costume: Green robe.

Son Costume: Light blue lightning-bolt-style pauldron on chest and back. No shirt, green speedo and no pants, green tight boots, and yellow bracers with four round studs. His costume for his next several appearances is based on this costume. His wand is red, with oblong shapes at each end. The oblongs have holes at the end, and have stripes around them. He briefly wears a purple hooded robe while in his original dimension.

Father Face: Bald. 4 scars on the forehead and 3 on each cheek. None on the chin. Both lips are scarred.

Son Face: Bald, with around 5 scars on his forehead and 3 on each cheek, and none on his chin. Both lips are zig-zags. The son has no scars (or powers) until after the “father” dies, and the “son” replicates the accident that gave the original his powers.

Father Body: Normal, frail.

Son Body: Highly muscular.

Father Character: Desirous of vengeance on the Fantastic Four.

Son Character: Hyper-aggressive, violent, and cruel. He can control organic molecules and uses them, for instance, to turn a normal human into having Mr. Fantastic-like powers. He then stretches the human until his body rips apart. He also changes Thing and Man-Thing into their normal human forms. His powers reside in his wand, and when the wand is taken away, he turns to dust, and his spirit goes into the wand. Uniquely, the son and the father are both apparently technological geniuses, having rebuilt an atomic reactor from scratch in order to recreate the accident.

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Iron Man Annual 3

July 1976

Writer: Steve Gerber, Penciler: Sal Buscema, Inker: Jack Abel

His spirit can now possess anyone who finds the wand: first a girl named Cynthia, then others.

The boy the Thing gave the wand to plays with it with his friends. A girl tries to grab it when it falls in the swamp, and drowns in a radioactive pool of water. Reece’s mind, in the wand, combines with the radioactivity, and is able to resurrect her and transform her into an adult weeks after her death. Angry with her parents over a rough upbringing, she attacks her mother, and then Iron Man gets involved. The Man-Thing later grabs the wand, and Reece’s spirit leaves the girl (who stays alive). A snake bites the wand, and Reece transforms it into a humanoid. Then Iron Man grabs it and Reece starts to control him, but then the Man-Thing grabs it again, and since it has no intelligence, Reece can’t possess it, and his spirit is trapped in the wand. The Man-Thing walks off with the wand.

It is notable that Reece is able to control organic molecules in multiple situations: he makes a mirror out of wood and water; he resurrects the girl’s body and then transforms it into an adult body; he turns a log into a bicycle; he turns her mother into a doll; he animates some skeletons; he transforms a snake into a snake-man. Multiple handbooks note that the “Son of” the Molecule Man from Marvel Two-in-One 1 was an exception from his normal pre-Secret Wars I inhibitions, and could control organic molecules, probably because the “Son” didn’t realize it was Reece, and thus was not held back by the original’s mental blocks. However, there is no explanation for why Reece, from this point on, could control organic molecules, since he no longer considers himself the “Son.” (There is no explanation for why he no longer thinks of himself as the Son.) It notes, at the end of the events of Marvel Two-in-One 1, that “at the instance before his ‘death’ [he] funneled his essence into his wand.” This caption is placed next to a picture of the Son dying, implying that the “Son of” Molecule Man is the same “spirit” as all the later incarnations of them. However, OHOTMU A-Z 7 says the original Reece channeled his spirit into the wand the instant before his death. So perhaps that is what the text meant.

Note that when inhabiting the girl Cynthia’s body, the narrator calls him the “Molecule Person.

The cover, interestingly, shows Reece largely looking like Cynthia, but male!

Costume, Cover: Green skintight suit with light green pauldron. Green gloves. No bracers.

Costume as Cynthia: After he takes over Cynthia, she has a full-body, skin-tight, all-green costume, with a light-green pauldron, “underwear,” and boots, and the yellow bracers, now with six bumps. The wand is like in Two-in-One 1: red with ovoid ends. However there are no lines on the wand.

Costume as His Mental Self-image: In scenes showing the battle between his spirit and Cynthia’s spirit, he is shown with his bald, muscular male body, as in Marvel Two-in-One 1, and a costume like Cynthia’s: skin-tight, all green with light green boots, underwear, and pauldron.

Costume as Snake-Man: As the humanoid snake, he wears the light green pauldron, underwear, boots, and the yellow bracers.

Costume as Iron Man: When he possesses Iron Man, his costume continues to look like Iron Man’s armor.

Costume, Cover: Male face with 4 forehead scars and 1 on each cheek. No lip scarring. Long blonde hair.

Face as Cynthia: Around 3 scars on her forehead and 3 on each cheek, and none on the chin. Her lips are both zig-zags. The scars are specifically described as “black lightning,” and the lips as “bear traps.”

Face as His Mental Self-image: In the psychic battle and similar scenes, he has 3 scars on his forehead and 2 on each cheek, with both lips scarred.

Face as Snake-Man: The lizard has 3 scars on the forehead and 2 on each cheek. No scarred lips.

Face as Iron Man: As Iron Man, his facial scars appear on the outside of the helmet! 3 on the forehead and 2 on each cheek, but no scarred lips.

Body, Cover: A decidedly male muscled body.

Body as Cynthia: As Cynthia, she has a standard female comic book body, although she is fairly heavily muscled.

Body as His Mental Self-image: Muscular, as in Marvel Two-in-One 1.

Body as Snake-Man: Muscular.

Body as Iron Man: Normal heroic Iron Man body.

Character: Psychotic and murderous, as reflected in his bald head and muscular body. It takes him a while to take over Cynthia, and until he does, her own emotions sometimes take over. The snake fully submits to him. He does not fully take over Iron Man.

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Fantastic Four 187-88

October-November 1977

Writer: Len Wein, Penciler: George Perez, Inker: Joe Sinnott

Klaw runs into the Man-Thing, who drops the wand. Klaw picks it up. Reece is unable to possess him due to his nature as living sound, so they travel to New York City where Reece possesses a boxer, who very coincidentally is bald and muscular, just as Reece appeared in Marvel Two-in-One 1 and Iron Man Annual 3. Reece wants to use Mr. Fantastic’s tech to permanently transfer his consciousness from the wand into his new body. After a battle with the Fantastic Four and the Impossible Man, he takes over Reed Richards’ body. Richards fights to keep him from control and remains partially aware. Uatu appears but only watches. Reece tries to kill the Fantastic Four with a major blast, but the unstable molecules in their costumes create a feedback that makes him drop the wand, reverting Richards’s to himself. (This is very similar to, but different from, what happens in Fantastic Four 20, where it is the heroes’ own molecules that causes the feedback.) The wand goes into a chimney.

Note that he turns the Thing to glass, once again controlling organic matter, but is unable to control the Impossible Man’s body because he controls his own molecules, the Invisible Woman’s forcefield because it is not made of molecules, or the Fantastic Four’s costumes made of unstable molecules.

Costume as the boxer and Reed Richards: In both cases, very similar to that in the psychic battle in Iron Man Annual 3: a green skin-tight suit with light green lightning-style pauldron, light green speedo, and light green boots, with yellow bracers with six bumps. There are two minor differences: a light green line delineating a belt on the speedo, and the tops of the boots are no longer straight lines, but have 3-5 jagged angles jutting upward in the front. The wand is the same as in the last two appearances, red with oblong ends. The wand connection to the oblongs is slightly more detailed, with a few ringed details.

Face, as the boxer: Bald, with 3-5 scars on the forehead and 2 on each cheek. 0 chin scars. Both lips are jagged.

Face, as Reed Richards: Richards’ normal face, with 3-5 forehead scars and 2-3 on each cheek. Both lips are jagged. 0 to 3 chin scars.

Body: Muscular in both forms (more obviously as the boxer).

Character: Still angry and aggressive. Fully in control as the boxer, partially in control as Richards.

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Micronauts 23 (vol. 1)

November 1980

Writer: Bill Mantlo, Penciler: Pat Broderick, Inker: Danny Bulanadi

Reece now possesses an African-American homeless man, who grabs the wand when it ends up in a junk yard. He battles the Micronauts and is eventually knocked out by falling electrical wires. He drops the wand into a river.

He is able to transform hubcaps into flowers, again showing the ability to control organic molecules, and also channels electricity from some wires (he is later struck by them and knocked out).

Costume: The same as the previous issue, albeit without the subtle belt line. The boots now have three jagged angles.

Face: Now African-American, he has 4 scars on the forehead and 2 on each cheek. His lips are normal, not jagged. In one image, the scars have more of width than the normal single line. On the cover only, they appear as two actual two-dimensional lightning bolt shapes that narrow to a point on the forehead, with one more on each cheek. The only other place this appears is New Avengers 33. He wears a short Afro. Interestingly, his face and body are all colored in a purple silhouette on the cover, so you can’t easily tell that he is African-American from the cover.

Body: Muscular, although perhaps not as much as before.

Character: Still a maniac, although perhaps slightly less so.

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Avengers 215-16

January-February 1982

Writer: Jim Shooter, Penciler: Alan Weiss, Inker: Dan Green

He recreates his original body by himself after his wands is picked up by the Surfer. He notes his inability to control organic molecules (this assertion is repeated multiple times in this arc), but it’s explained that he can make a new body for himself because it’s encoded in himself. He is able to disintegrate the Surfer’s board, Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer, and Iron Man’s suit, but when he recreates them, he is unable to recreate Iron Man’s armor because it is too complicated. It is interesting that Iron Man’s armor is more complicated than Mjolnir’s magic, one of few instances where he affects magic directly. He is also unable to make working plumbing in his base for the same reason.

Avengers 216 is the first issue where his name, Owen Reece, is revealed.

Costume: This is a step towards the “classic” costume, the first use of purple, and the first giant hat. He also returns to a lose-fitting tunic and pants. They are green, with a purple jagged design on the front and back of the bottom of the tunic. He wears purple gloves, with have a jagged edge design, and purple boots, which have a jagged design incised on the side. His pauldron is now seemingly thicker, with a simpler set of three jagged angles at the bottom. This connects to a cowl, featuring ear-pieces with antennae, and a giant hat, mostly blue with purple jagged panels. His wand, returning to the original black, tapered at one end and with no oblongs, can fit in the front of the hat, to stand up like an antennae. However, he now realizes he no longer needs the wand. He wears a belt with a square buckle. The belt is usually drawn plain, but occasionally has vertical ribs. He creates the hat to look more like Galactus, who he decides to act like. Also wears a blue business suit at the end.

(When he first recreates himself, he wears a slightly different costume: the pauldron is less jagged, he has bracers instead of gloves, and he has no hat.)

Face: Usually 4 forehead scars, 2 on each cheek, and 3 on the chin, with 2 on the space between the nose and lips. Sometimes the lips are jagged, sometimes they’re not. This is the most scarring he’s had since the beginning. His hair is slicked back and black, and his head is noticeably round in shape.

Body: Shorter, perhaps somewhat overweight, in any case decidedly non-heroic.

Character: Now much dweebier, he is a super-geek loser. Creepy sexual attraction to Tigra. Wants to destroy the world by eating it like Galactus, but loses interest in that. Ultimately is convinced by Tigra that he needs to see a therapist to overcome his personal problems. A big switch from the previous very masculine, aggressive persona of the last few appearances. More of a restoration of the original, but still dorkier than that.

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Secret Wars I, 1-12

May 1984-April 1985

Issues 1-3, 6-12: Writer: Jim Shooter, Penciler: Mike Zeck, Inker: John Beatty

Issues 4-5: Writer: Jim Shooter, Penciler: Bob Layton, Inker: John Beatty

After seeing his therapist for a while, he is still brought to Battleworld as part of the villains’ group.

He starts off trying to show off to the villains, but falls in love with Volcana and shows that he has been learning to be good from his therapist. His mental blocks are removed by Doom, and he gains his full power. He then helps the villains and the people of a suburb of Denver return to Earth, and feels much more at peace.

Although there are some differences in his appearance from issue to issue, I will treat the series as a whole and not individual issues.

Costume: The first appearance of his now “classic” costume: loose-fitting tunic and pants, purple bracers, purple belt with no buckle and vertical ribs, purple boots with flat tops, lightning-style pauldron. In this case, the pauldron does not end in a point, but has a flat bottom ending flush with the belt, with a vertical line dividing the right and left sides. No wand for the first time.

Face: Normal human face—not ugly or geeky, not alpha-male bald. Brown tousled hair. 5 forehead scars, 2 on the cheeks, both lips are normal.

Body: Normal human—not muscular, not skinny, not overweight. Sometimes with broad shoulders and a slightly more heroic build—usually more towards the end of the series, as he gains in confidence.

Character: Geeky and with low self-esteem, but in meeting Volcana he falls in love and begins to gain self-confidence. After Doom lifts his mental blocks, and can now control all matter and energy, he becomes much more at peace with his self.

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Secret Wars II, 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9

July, September, October, December 1985, January, February, March 1986

Writer: Jim Shooter, Penciler: Al Milgrom, Inker: Steve Leialoha

Reece meets the Beyonder, who has come to Earth. He tries to help him gain peace as he has himself. After Volcana pretends to leave him to trick the Beyonder into not hurting Reece, Reece is very hurt, but then finds even more solid peace with himself and a more mature love with her. Eventually he kills the Beyonder to save the universe.

Although there are some differences in his appearance from issue to issue, I will treat the series as a whole and not individual issues.

Costume: The continuation of his classic costume. No changes from Secret Wars I: loose fitting green tunic and pants, purple pauldron ending in a blunt end at the belt, purple belt with square buckle and vertical ribs, purple boots and bracers. He often appears now in normal clothes, such as a turtleneck sweater and pants, or in his janitor’s smock. The normal clothes are usually well-fitted.

Face: Usually 3-6 scars on his forehead, 1-3 on the cheeks, and 0-3 (usually 0) on the chin. It varies from panel to panel, let alone issue to issue. Usually, his upper lip is jagged, but not the bottom. His brown, sometimes reddish brown, hair sometimes has a bit of an tousled uplift in the back—a slightly swankier looking haircut. His face usually looks pretty angular, and is probably his most handsome.

Body: Normal body. Looks trim.

Character: Calm, at ease, enlightened. Has a fall-out with Volcana, which is healed, bringing them to true love. Acts as a mentor to the Beyonder before killing him. Is shown as being his most handsome when he is most confident and heroic.

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Avengers 266

April 1986

Writer: Roger Stern, Penciler: John Buscema, Inker: Tom Palmer

Epilogue to Secret Wars II. Reece heroically saves the Earth, and pretends to lose his powers.

Costume: Doesn’t wear a costume, wears normal clothes. On the cover, he wears his classic costume, with the pauldron only going halfway down his chest, a belt with cylinders and no buckle, and green cuffs.

Face: Starts off normal, with 2 to 6 scars on forehead and 1 to 2 each cheek. Both lips are jagged. Hair is brown and tousled like in Secret Wars II. Then he seems to lose his powers and his nose becomes rounded and more protuberant, his hair more generic, and he loses his scars. His eyes are even more rounded, and he gains eyebrows. Then he returns to his normal form, getting the scars, pointier nose, no eyebrows, more slitted eyes, and jauntier hair. (Note: he has eyebrows in Secret Wars I & II.)

Body: Normal.

Character: Possibly his most heroic. He seems to sacrifice his powers to save the Earth, although actually he does retain his powers. The switch from his somewhat geekier looking “normal” self to his more handsome “powered” self is pretty overt and shows how he seemingly either intentionally changes his body to fit his self-image, or does so subconsciously. It’s possible that the more rounded-nose version is what he looked like before the accident, given his appearance in flashbacks before his accident.

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Fantastic Four 318-319

September-October 1988

Writer: Steve Englehart, Penciler: Keith Pollard, Inker: Joe Sinnott

Reece appears for the first time after his most powerful appearances (in Secret Wars II), only to have the origin of his power retconned into being created at the same time as the Beyonder, from a pocket universe meant to power a Cosmic Cube, which was in turn created by the Beyonders.

Note that when Doom blasts Reece into unconsciousness, it seems to make him less powerful than the way he is presented in Secret Wars II, showing that his body is still vulnerable to standard attacks, but simultaneously shows that the power is always working in the background, since it saved him from dying on its own, giving it a semi-sentience.

Costume: Starts with normal clothes (button up shirt, pants, dress shoes, jacket), switches to his “classic” costume. The purple pauldron doesn’t reach his belt, which is made of large squares. He has purple boots and bracelets. The costume is somewhat loose/baggy on him.

Face: Somewhat skinny, big hooked nose. 2 to 4 scars on the forehead, 1 or 2 on each cheek (different in different panels, even though close up), lips are unscarred. When he is walking around in public with Martha before Doom attacks, he has covered up/erased his scars; however, they show up when he’s unconscious. Tousled hair.

Body: Somewhat skinny. A bit dweebish or weak-looking, especially after he gets in costume, but not completely consistently. Significantly shorter than Martha—more of a height difference than in Secret Wars I & II and Avengers 266.

Character: Kind of nerdy, but not weak. Especially once he realizes what’s going on with the Beyonder, he is confident and philosophical, willing to fight for what’s right, and accepting of the change of his origin.

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Fantastic Four Annual 23

August 1990

Writer: Len Kaminski, Penciler: Greg Capullo, Inker: Larry Mahlstedt

Reece’s life-force is sent out of the Cube, back towards Earth. A flashback is also shown, see Flashbacks below.

Appearance: In the present-time panels, Reece appears only as the Cosmic Cube, and then as a bolt of pure orange energy shooting out of the Cube. See Flashbacks for his other appearance in this issue.

Costume/Face/BodyCharacter: N/A

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Fantastic Four Annual 24

July 1991

Writer and Pencils: James Brock, Jr., Inkers: Jeff Albrecht and Tim Dzon

Reece describes how he split off from the Cosmic Cube and flew back to Earth as energy.

He appears both in normal clothes and in new armor.

He gets his powers back (which he had hidden within Marsha) and wears a suit of armor inspired by, but different from, his “classic” costume. This is the only time he wears this armor. He has a broken arm at the end, since he can no longer affect organic molecules (this time, the limitation is attributed to organic molecules being too complex, as opposed to having a mental block).

Costume: Green pants and tunic. His boots are purple and somewhat looser-fitting than usual. He has purple bracers and belt; the belt has cylinders and a square buckle. The pauldron is technological-looking; it is made of various plates and much more like metal than his normal pauldron; it is also missing the lightning bolts. It does not go all the way to the belt. His helmet is open on top and on the face; it has two “horns” or spikes on the sides. It is relatively “cool” looking—it’s not as absurd and ego-compensating as some of his later helmet-wearing silly costumes.

Face: His nose is larger and clearly not a “bold, superhero” nose, but he does not look nerdy. He is unshaven. His hair is relatively long. When he comes back after the fight, his hair is shorter and he is shaven, looking more kempt. No jagged lips. While wearing the helmet, his forehead is not visible, but his scars return on his cheeks, 2 on each side.

Body: He has a normal body, not being skinny, paunchy, or muscled. He is again much shorter than Marsha.

Character: He goes back and forth. He starts off being very unconfident and worried that Marhsa wouldn’t want him back without his powers, but gets confident again after getting his powers back—which, very uncharacteristically, he had hidden in Marsha without telling her. When she dumps him, he is crestfallen. This issue is a turning point in their relationship, inconsistently throwing out their time-tested trust and instead making him seem manipulative and untrusting of her (and for that matter she is not very forgiving of him, either).

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Fantastic Four 372-373

January-February 1993

Writers: Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan, Penciler: Paul Ryan, Inker: Dan Bulandi

Reece starts by pining absurdly for Marsha. He now lives in a self-created futuristic-looking home outside Denver, where he has made multiple statues of Marsha. He is then mind-controlled by the Puppet Master and fights Aron the Watcher. He is still unable to control organic molecules.

Interestingly, the Puppet Master’s statue of Reece shows him wearing his classic costume, which is not what he actually wears here (or in his last appearance). The statue also makes him look much more respectable and less nerdy looking in his posture and body.

Costume: The first of his absurd helmets since Avengers 215-216. This is the basis for his next several costumes. He has tight green pants, like spandex, and unusually they run over his feet and act as foot coverings, instead of him having boots. The “skirt” part of the jacket is unusually split in the front. The purple lightning bolts on the chest appear to be part of the shirt, and are connected with a purple band across his neckline. They dip below his belt, forming a tetrahedral shape below the belt. His belt is unusually more of a fabric wrap. He has purple gauntlets, with metal rings. He has a purple cape, which is a first. His helmet is chrome, and runs from two large shoulder pads through a neck piece to three swooping metal pieces that end in a purple circle on his forehead.

Face: He is explicitly nerdy-looking, with a large hooked nose. He usually has 1 scar on each cheek, and 4 on his forehead. No jagged lips. His hair is a bit wavy but not really tousled.

Body: He is skinny.

Character: This continues the turning point from Fantastic Four Annual 24. Reece now makes a full turn into patheticness and absurdity, similar to his early days, like Avengers 215-6, but without the anger. He seems divorced from understanding emotional reality.

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Fantastic Four Annual 27

May 1994

Writer: Len Kaminski, Penciler: Mike Gustovich, Inker: Don Hudson

Reece, still dealing with the fallout of his breakup with Volcana, starts off normal, then goes insane, turns into the bald muscled version seen in the early days of Marvel Two-in-One 1 through Fantastic Four 187-8, and ends up fighting the Beyonder-persona that evolved from the Cube. In both personas, he can control organic molecules again, and for the first time, is shown to be more powerful than the Beyonder.

Costume: He first appears in normal, respectable working-person clothes. His costume has tight green pants and a green shirt with baggy arms. The “skirt” is open in the front to show a purple metal codpiece. He has green “shoes” with purple metal calf armor. He has purple metal bracers. His cape connects at the shoulder and weirdly goes under the armpit to connect from the front as well. He has a metal purple belt divided into two horizontal strips, which dips down in the front. His chest has a purple jagged design that is part of the shirt which uniquely is one piece, not two separate lightning shapes coming together. He has a large chrome helmet that is attached to the shoulder pads again, but in a different form than in Fantastic Four 372-3. It is jagged around the head.

Face: As his normal self, he has a skinny face with a large hooked nose, but while he looks decidedly like a normal person and not a heroic face, he does not look particularly nerdy. He essentially looks like a specific (non-archetypical) and non-heroic person. He has 1 scar on each cheek and 2 on his forehead. His hair is combed and parted in the middle. As the “evil” self, his face is notably rounder and has 1 scar on each cheek, 3 on his forehead, and has the jagged lips for the first time since Avengers 266. The scars are much more distinct than usual—they have width, and are darker pink than the rest of his skin, instead of just being black lines.

Body: As a normal person, he is trim and short. As the “evil” version, he is taller and muscled.

Character: As a normal person, he starts off despondent about Marsha. He then goes into a rage as the “evil,” insane version of himself, similar to the Son of Molecule Man/villain who possessed people through his wand, full of arrogance and aggression. He then reverts to himself and has learned a lesson in love and humility, and seems to have once again found some measure of self-respect for the first time since returning from the Cube (unfortunately this only lasts for this issue). His transformation into an evil version, who is said to be repressed under his normal self, becomes a minor theme after this (it is seen again in Incredible Hulk 441-2), and to a certain degree tries to resolve the problem of the different physical forms and personalities he has had in the past. However, in the past it wasn’t shown to be a completely different personality (other than in Marvel Two-in-One 1), just one he slowly modified through therapy. Similarly, the last time he had the crazy muscled bald persona/body was in Fantastic Four 187-8, when he coincidentally possessed the body of a bald boxer; since the time when he finally his own body instead of just possessing someone else’s (Avengers 215-6), he has just had a normal body with hair.

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Avengers Unplugged 4

April 1996

Writer: Glenn Herdling, Penciler: John Statema, Inker: Scott Koblish

Absorbing Man and Titania hold a wedding with many villains in attendance. Volcana, as a childhood friend of Titania, is there, as is Reece, but they did not arrive as a couple.

Costume: He is only shown in normal clothes: a shirt, tie, and jacket.

Face: Skinny, and a mostly normal nose. He has 5 scars on his forehead and 2 on each cheek. His lips are unscarred. Based purely on his face, he looks pretty “normal” and not nerdy. His hair somewhat stands on end.

Body: Skinny.

Character: He is first shown picking his nose and wearing an “I hate everybody” yellow pin. The entire issue is somewhat of a parody/comedy issue, and Reece here is certainly the epitome of his pathetic “nerdy/outcast” persona—perhaps only to be matched in his next appearance the following month in Incredible Hulk. He has lost whatever dignity he seemed to reclaim in Fantastic Four Annual 27. When he runs into Marsha, she has turned into her plasma form and burned off all her clothes. She greets him with an enthusiastic “My Dinky Winky!” but he only turns away and hands her his jacket, asking her to cover herself. (Even though normally her clothes are not burned, and she wears a pink bathing suit for a costume.) He says, “Don’t expect a smile from the man you drove out of your life months ago.” She realizes that their separation has affected him strongly, seemingly more than it did to her, and second-guesses her enthusiastic greeting. This is the second-to-last time we shall see her response to their relationship. (I don’t describe it here, but she does have a few appearances in comics without him, where she tries to get on with her life).

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Incredible Hulk 441-442

May-June 1996

Writer: Peter David, Penciler: Angel Medina, Inker: Robin Riggs

Reece has gone insane once again, with the bald persona now acting essentially as a secondary personality. However, he seems to be able to switch back and forth to his primary, dweebish, personality at will. In issue 441, we only see shadow monsters that he created, which capture Doc Samson. In 442, the bald persona interrogates Samson, asking him for counseling about his relationship with Marsha. She-Hulk shows up and Reece turns back into his “normal” self, thinking for an instant that she’s Marsha. He is unstable, and starts switching back and forth, before finally taking Samson’s advice about trying to pull himself together. He decides he needs to win Marsha back, and then walks off and add Marsha’s face to Mount Rushmore. (No mention is ever made of her face being removed.)

Costume, Evil clothes: Casual Hawaiian shirt and tan pants

Costume, Evil costume: Variant on his “classic” costume, with a larger-than-normal trapezoidal buckle, the cylinder belt texture, the pauldron reaching his belt, and metal-looking purple bracers. The green clothes are tight and show off his muscles. He also briefly shifts into a pure energy form.

Costume, Good clothes: Casual Hawaiian shirt and tan pants

Costume, Good costume: Variant on classic costume, this time with a normal-sized buckle, looser clothes, less-metal-looking bracers, and a limper-looking pauldron. The left and right sides of the pauldron don’t quite meet: there is a thin vertical green line between the two parts.

Face, Evil clothes: Strong-faced, tough-looking guy. He has 2 scars on each cheek and 5 on the forehead, and his lip is not scarred.

Face, Evil costume: Strong-faced, tough-looking guy. He has 2 scars on each cheek and 5 on the forehead, and his lip is not scarred.

Face, Good clothes: Somewhat longish, combed back hair. His face looks significantly less strong and more cartoonishly dweebish, with a large nose and weaker cheekbones. He now has 6 scars on his forehead, 2 on the cheeks, and unscarred lips.

Face, Good costume: Somewhat longish, combed back hair. His face looks significantly less strong and more cartoonishly dweebish, with a large nose and weaker cheekbones. He now has 6 scars on his forehead, 2 on the cheeks, and unscarred lips.

Body, Evil clothes: Standard build—not skinny, not muscular, but a bit tough-looking.

Body, Evil costume: Extremely muscular, to an absurd degree

Body, Good clothes: Much shorter and slighter

Body, Good costume: Significantly shorter, almost dwarf-like. This marks the epitome of his trend towards being portrayed as physically slight, starting with his proportionally smaller size than Volcana in Fantastic Four 318-9. (Volcana is in fact much taller than Reece, 6’5” to 5’7”, but originally the size difference was not portrayed as being so great.)

Character, Evil clothes: Angry and clearly somewhat delusional, but also somewhat in control of himself.

Character, Evil costume: Melodramatic maniac, akin to in Fantastic Four Annual 27.

Character, Good clothes and costume: Extremely pathetic, lonely, and unsure of himself, and almost a complete idiot. He misunderstands advice from Samson in a way that no adult human would, essentially acting like a buffoon—dramatically stupider than in Secret Wars II or Fantastic Four 318-9, or even Fantastic Four Annual 27. The fact that he puts Marsha’s face on Mount Rushmore is obviously completely insane. (Marsha, in her last documented commentary on their relationship, says, “Ohh, Owen…what have you done now?”) He does specifically call his bald self “an alternative personality problem,” thus continuing the approach that started in Fantastic Four Annual 27 in which the bald self is a separate personality that he’s trying to repress, as opposed to the original interpretation, where he was just evil in general, and eventually learned to be a better person through therapy. This issue, and the Avengers Unplugged appearance immediately before it, are the low point in the way he is presented by the writers and artists: i.e., absolutely without respect.

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New Avengers 1

January 2005

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Penciler: David Finch, Inker: Danny Miki

When Electro breaks all the prisoners out of the Raft, Molecule Man is one of them. He only appears in a crowd scene. His original capture and placement on the Raft was not shown on panel anywhere; the New Avengers Most Wanted Files say he was apprehended during a moment of mental instability, obviously some time after Incredible Hulk 442, which was nine years previous to this issue.

Costume: Prison uniform.

Face: Nerdy face with a big nose, and slicked-back hair. No scars, which is interesting because normally that’s a sign that he’s using his powers to cover them up, or in unpowered, as last seen in Fantastic Four Annual 24.

Body: Average body type.

Character: Just standing there, but his expression looks beaten down and sad; he does not look particularly proactive.

No Caption Provided

New Avengers 4

April 2005

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Penciler: David Finch, Inker: Danny Miki (although the actual image of Reece is by Keith Pollard and Josef Rubenstein)

He only appears on an Avengers video screen of the characters that escaped.

Costume: He is wearing the costume from Fantastic Four 372-3 (1993), using a drawing from the OHOTMU Master Edition 31 (1993) handbook. This same drawing is soon reprinted in the New Avengers Most Wanted Files handbook (December 2005).

Face: It’s not easy to see in the video screen image, but the full-scale handbook drawing has a distinctly nerdy face, skinny and with a large nose and big ears, with 2 scars on the forehead and 1 on each cheek. The lips are unscarred.

Body: Slightly skinny.

Character: Not apparent, but looks kind of harmless.

No Caption Provided

Spider-man: Breakout 1

June 2005

Writer: Tony Bedard, Penciler: Manuel Garcia, Inker: Raul Fernandez

A wiki lists this as being an appearance of Reece, but I am not totally convinced that he actually appears here. There are three images that MIGHT be of Reece. The character in question has no scars, but in New Avengers 1, Reece is shown without scars, so it’s possible that it’s him.

Costume: Prison uniform.

Face: Thin, a bit haggard and/or conniving, with hair: long and parted in the middle and hanging in front of his forehead in the first panel, short and somewhat standing up in the second, short and hanging down in the third. Otherwise unremarkable.

Body: Normal.

Character: In the first panel, he holds Spider-man’s mask as Jigsaw grabs Peter. In the second panel, he is hit in the face by Captain America’s shield. In the third panel, he is vomiting or dripping blood from his mouth and nose. Beyond questions of whether any of these are Reece or not, the character in the first panel may not be the same as the character in the second and third panels, who seem to have somewhat shorter hair.

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Fantastic Four Foes 1 (mentioned), 5

March, July 2005

Writer: Robert Kirkman, Penciler and Inker: Cliff Rathburn

In issue 1, the Thinker and Puppet Master gather a number of villains together for a meeting to discuss defeating the Fantastic Four. None of them agree to join, but the Thinker and Puppet Master collect all of their genetic information while they’re there, which they plan to have the Puppet Master use to control the villains (instead of his standard clay statues). Later, Reed Richards mentions that Reece was among those whose information had been collected, although he is not shown in the picture of the villains when they are assembled. This takes place soon after the Raft breakout; seemingly Reece was at least considering a villainous career again.

In issue 5, the Fantastic Four use the Thinker’s information to track down many of the villains and put them in a new super-prison in the Negative Zone. Reece is one of those who are captured; as with many of the others, this is shown in a single panel. It is unknown how he was defeated, but the presence of his wand (see below) indicates that he was in a highly unstable mindset.

In issue 6, a few of the villains escape the new Negative Zone Vault; it is unknown whether Reece is among them.

Costume: Only his upper body is shown, but it seems to be his classic costume, with three exceptions that are all more similar to his appearance in Avengers 215-6: his pauldron goes all the way to the neck, with no green collar; he wears purple gloves and no bracers; and he carries a wand, which he hasn’t used since Avengers 216, and has not carried again since this issue. This wand is significantly different in appearance than any previous versions, being much shorter, grey, and being the same width for its whole length with no oblong shapes at the tips. It has a line demarcating the top end, somewhat like a classic magician’s wand.

Face: Normal, with hair tousled and slicked back. He seems to have 2 scars on the forehead and 1 on each cheek, which are more organically jagged and less like a classic lightning bolt. No lip scarring.

Body: Mostly not visible, but seemingly normal.

Character: Seemingly villainous.

Note: in pics below, one shows the assembled villains without Reece in issue 1, another shows the time Richards mentions him in issue 1.

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Secret Invasion 1

June 2008

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu, Inker: Mark Morales

If Reece escaped the Negative Zone Vault at the end of Fantastic Four Foes, then he was apparently recaptured off-panel and returned to the Raft. If he did not escape the Negative Zone Vault, perhaps it was closed; in any case he was apparently transferred to the Raft.

A guard walking through the Raft counts off the prisoners, including Molecule Man. Reece is only mentioned, not seen. The Raft is then hit by a Skrull technology virus and many of the prisoners escape, including Reece (off panel).

Costume: Not seen, but presumably a prison uniform.

Face: Not seen.

Body: Not seen.

Character: Not seen.

No Caption Provided

Dark Avengers 10-12

December 2009-February 2010

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Artists: Mike Deodado (drawn pages) and Greg Horn (painted pages on 11 and 12)

This is Reece’s first appearance as a major character in a storyline since Incredible Hulk 441-2, thirteen years beforehand. After escaping the Raft a second time (the first in New Avengers 1, the second in Secret Invasion 1), he went to the town of Dinosaur, Colorado, where he was born. He hides out, but is insane, and makes everyone in town disappear. The Dark Avengers get wind of this and come to deal with him. He defeats them easily, but in the process, Sentry learns that the basis for his own powers is also in molecular manipulation, and defeats the insane Reece, either by temporarily disintegrating him, or teleporting him away somewhere. See here for a detailed breakdown on how Sentry could have overpowered Molecule Man.

In some scenes with Sentry, he appears in painted artwork, with a different costume. These are noted below.

Drawn costume: A variant on his classic costume, which has now carried on to some future issues. The jagged points of the pauldron now go down, instead of sideways, and the inside of the pauldron is a v-neck, instead of more zig-zags. The pauldron goes partway down his chest. His belt is now replaced by a lightning-style design around his waist. He doesn’t have gauntlets.

Painted costume: The belt looks a bit more like the belt in Fantastic Four 372-3 and Fantastic Four Annual 27. The pauldron is also similar to their design, with a somewhat more right-angled, rather than zig-zag, edge. It appears to be metal rather than fabric. He has purple bracers.

Drawn face: Thin, almost handsome and intelligent-looking. Most similar to his Secret Wars II face. No lip scarring. 2 scars on each cheek, and 4 on the forehead. Hair stands on end in highly-tousled wisps.

Painted face: The same, but with 2 scars on the forehead and 1 on each cheek.

Drawn body: average, perhaps a little skinny.

Painted body: More muscular.

Drawn and painted character: Insane and emotionally wounded. Highly desirous of being left alone, and feeling emotionally vulnerable. Does not have villainous or aggressive intentions, except in defense of his solitude. Seems unaware of the fact that he has been killing people. Would have liked to be friends with Sentry, who he sees as a kindred spirit. He has, strangely, created versions of the Beyonder, Ghost Rider, Enchantress, and Mephisto to act as alter egos and friends (this is especially odd since he has never met Ghost Rider before, and didn’t interact with Enchantress much during Secret Wars I), and seems to live with them in a hell-like pocket dimension inside one of the town’s buildings. The hell-like dimension indicates the deep-set negative feelings Reece has about himself. All together, this is Reece at his most deluded and insane—usually when he was insane in the past, he was psychotic, and a megalomaniac, with some delusions about Marsha’s love for him. Here, he is deluded about the nature of reality, creating imaginary friends, and unaware of his own actions, in a deep but non-psychotic way.

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New Avengers (vol. 3): Contrary to how I dealt with Secret Wars I & II, I will deal with all his appearances in this issue individually, because the various artists that worked on it each gave him their own visual treatment.

New Avengers 24

November 2014

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Valerio Schiti

Reece is shown in only one panel. Somehow, he has returned, or been found, after his fight with Sentry. Doom is using him to work out a plan regarding the Incursions.

Costume: Pretty close to his classic. He has a slight collar, and green cuffs rather than bracers. The belt has large square shapes instead of tubular shapes. The biggest variation is the boots, which have a more obviously pieced-together construction, with a piece riveted on the front and holding the two sides together.

Face: Normal, thin-ish. Similar to Secret Wars II. His hair is tousled in that era’s fashion. No lip scar. 4 scars on the forehead and 2 on each cheek. His eyes are white while using his power.

Body: Average.

Character: Unknown, but seemingly serious and focused.

No Caption Provided

New Avengers 26

January 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Kevin Walker

Doom and the Mad Thinker talk with Reece about the Incursions. He alludes to the gradual killing of Molecule Men from other dimensions

Costume: As in New Avengers 24.

Face: Thin, a somewhat hooked nose, unusually large teeth in a gritted, insane expression, and wide eyes. 2 scars on each cheek and 4 on the forehead. No lip scarring. His hair is on end.

Body: Average.

Character: He chatters as if insane. He desires to help the universe.

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New Avengers 27

January 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Szymon Kudranski

Doom and Reece discuss how Reece’s power has a similar energy signature to a rock from a world destroyed by an Incursion. Reece teleports himself and Doom away.

Costume: Somewhat different from in New Avengers 25 and 26. The pauldron is similar in the front, and reaches to his belt, but uniquely, the back is different from the front, and only goes halfway down his back. His belt’s nodules are about halfway between the squares of issue 25 and the normal cylinders. He has purple bracers, or perhaps just cuffs. The boots are not shown in detail but seem to lack the details of issues 25 and 26. Most interestingly, he has created (or found) a copy of Dr. Doom’s iron mask, which he wears in front of his face, lifting it up briefly. It is unclear why he wears it, other than to annoy Doom.

Face: A bit pudgy. His nose is protuberant. He has 2 scars on each cheek, 4 on the forehead, and no lip scars. His hair is on end.

Body: Perhaps slightly pudgy.

Character: He is insane and his conversation bounces around, but is also knowledgable and wise, telling Doom details about what’s going on in the multiverse and how people understand the world.

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New Avengers 29

March 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Kevin Walker

Reece has teleported himself and Doom into an empty space, perhaps the Beyond Realm. Reece says this is where it all started, and that he used to live here. He says he can take Doom, but that while he can show him the way, Doom needs to open the door. Doom magically creates a machine that creates a dimensional opening, and they follow it.

Costume: Largely his classic costume, including purple gauntlets. The pauldron goes halfway down his chest and back. The belt is not well-seen, but seems to have wide cylinders. The boots are not seen clearly.

Face: Thin, with wide eyes. 2 scars on each cheek, and 4 on the forehead, with no lip scarring. He strangely has purple eyes. His hair stands up on end.

Body: Somewhat thin.

Character: He seems to still be insane, given his dialog’s mysteriousness and lack of clarity, but he also seems to know what he’s talking about, and Doom respects and trusts him.

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New Avengers 31

May 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Kevin Walker

Doom introduces Dr. Strange to Reece, who is helping Doom. Doom calls him a disciple and an oracle for the times.

Costume: Basically his classic costume. He has no cuffs or gauntlets. His pauldron, unusually, does not rest on his shoulders, but curves up above them.

Face: Thin, with a large hooked nose. 2 scars on each cheek and 4 on the forehead, with no lip scarring. His hair stands on end.

Body: Somewhat thin.

Character: Still rambling, but clearly aware of what is going on cosmically, and keeping an eye on things.

No Caption Provided

New Avengers 33

June 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Mike Deodato

Doom and Reece explain to Dr. Strange what they’ve been doing. Reece was created by the Beyonders to self-destruct after 25 years, taking his universe with it. Moreover, the Molecule Man is the same in every parallel dimension (this is contradicted by his many actual appearances in parallel universes), so when each of him goes off, the entire multiverse will be destroyed. We learn that in issue 29, Reece was taking Doom back in time to when one of those parallel Reeces gained his power. Then 616 Reece kills his other self. He tells Doom that Doom must now do this to all the other Molecule Men across the multiverse. Doom attempts this but is not able to kill enough for their purposes. In the present, Doom, Strange, and Reece attack the Beyonders with a strange device, and a great flash of light goes off.

Costume: The same costume as he wore in Dark Avengers—which was also drawn by Deodato. All the Molecule Men seen to be killed in alternate dimensions have the same costume. In the last panel, but no other, his cauldron’s fabric has a surface pattern of lightning bolt designs.

Face: Thin, with a fairly normal nose. His hair is on end. Interestingly, his scars look like the same 2 scars on each cheek and 4 on the forehead that he has had recently, but on further examination, they are actually 1 single lightning bolt on each cheek, and 2 on the forehead, but each lightning bolt is drawn with two edges, and ending at a point—so the bolt is two dimensional, not just a single line. The only other time the scars are illustrated this way is on the cover of Micronauts 23. In the last panel, there are now 3 two-dimensional lightning bolts on his forehead and 2 on each cheek. No lip scarring.

Body: Thin. When the alternate Reece is shown at his origins without a shirt, he is shown to have very defined, fit muscles—but he is still thin, not bulky like he was in, for instance, Marvel Two-in-One 1 or Fantastic Four Annual 27.

Character: When Reece brings Doom back in time and explains his mission, Doom notes that he has lost his “psychotic wildness…the hysterical chatter.” Reece explains that his insanity came from his slow progression to his “terminal state,” i.e. the time when he would explode. The closer he got to that time, the more unreliable and fractured he would be. This explains his increasing insanity over the character’s arc. He is presumably sane when explaining the problem because he is back at his time of origin, and thus reversed his mental regression. He says that his selves have a single, shared consciousness, so presumably he now cares the consciousness of that origin era. Reece is also quite aware of the multiversal situation, and willing to sacrifice his self to save the universe: his morals have returned along with his sanity. Back in the present, he is once again raving but intent on helping.

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Secret Wars 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9

As with New Avengers, I will deal with many of these issues separately, since his costume appears in differently in some of the issues.

Secret Wars 1

July 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Esad Ribic

The scene from New Avengers 33, where Doom, Strange, and Reece confront the Beyonders, is shown again, but this time Reece wears a different costume.

Costume: Only the waist-up is seen. His chest and pauldron are quite different: the purple lightning bolts on his chest end at shoulder pads that have no zig-zag pattern, and instead simply lay flat on the shoulder and rise at a 90-degree angle to wrap around his neck.

Face: Normal. Seen from too far away to see the scarring. His hair is tousled, not really standing on end as it was in New Avengers.

Body: Normal.

Character: Silently stands by Doom.

No Caption Provided

Secret Wars 3, 8

August 2015, February 2016

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Esad Ribic

We see that Doom has erected a statue in respect of Reece outside Doom’s castle. The following refers to the statue.

Costume: Classic costume, but all in grey stone. The belt has cylinders. The pauldron reaches to the belt. He probably has defined cloth cuffs rather than hard gauntlets.

Face: Normal. Strangely, no scarring is visible. His hair is tousled.

Body: Normal.

Character: The statue was created, and is posed, to show Reece in a respectful, heroic manner.

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Secret Wars 4

September 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Esad Ribic

The scene where Doom, Strange, and Reece confronted the Beyonoders is again shown. We se them from behind and from a distance, and very little can be seen of him.

Costume: Unknown, presumably as in issue 1.

Face: Unknown.

Body: Normal.

Character: Just standing there.

No Caption Provided

Secret Wars 5

October 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Esad Ribic

The Molecule Man statue is seen again, and looks the same as before.

Doom also goes to a chamber below the statue, where the Molecule Man resides, alive, in an all-white space, hovering upside-down. They discuss how the universe was saved: when they realized they couldn’t kill enough Molecule Men, they decided to get them all in a group, and set them all off at once in the Beyonders’ faces, destroying them and absorbing their power. He also states, contrary to New Avengers 33, that his insanity is due to the killing of the Molecule Men—that the more of them that died, the less his mind held together.

Costume: Pretty close to his classic costume. However, he has a collar, and the part of his shirt between the pauldron opening seems as if it may be attached to the pauldron, rather than having the pauldron just sitting on top of the shirt. The pauldron reaches the belt. The belt has cylinders. Despite the fact that the parallel-universe Molecule Men in New Avengers 33 were all shown with the Deodato version of his costume, here they are shown with the costume he wears here.

Face: Thin. Somewhat hooked nose, but not geeky; with his somewhat maniacal expression, he looks more insane and intelligently dangerous than dorky. The scars are not so much of a classic lightning bolt as scraggly lines: 1 on each cheek and 2 on the forehead. No lip scarring. Hair is tousled.

Body: Normal.

Character: Insane, but wily and intelligent. Very desirous of something to eat, and matches Doom in a back and forth of conversation.

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Secret Wars 6

December 2015

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Esad Ribic

The statue is seen again, and looks the same. Peter Parker and Miles Morales visit Reece’s space under the statue, and give him a cheeseburger. Reece reveals that he is the source of Doom’s power.

Costume: From this vantage point, it looks like the green space between the purple lightning shapes of his pauldron is connected to the purple lightning shapes; the whole thing sits on top of his shirt. It may also have a collar, as Reece does in issue 5. Reece’s actual costume is the same as issue 5. His cuffs seem to be fabric rather than hard gauntlets; their color isn’t clear here.

Face: As in issue 5.

Body: As in issue 5.

Character: As in issue 5, but once he eats the hamburger, his mind and speech is more collected and sane.

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Secret Wars 9

March 2016

Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Penciler and Inker: Esad Ribic

Reed Richards and Ultimate Reed Richards go to Reece’s underground space. Reece asks for something to eat. Ultimate Reed attacks 616 Reed; Reece cuts Ultimate Reed into horizontal slices (and, we later learn, sends those slices to different universes). 616 Reed then tries to convince Reece to turn on Doom. Doom shows up. He tries to use the Beyonders’ power against Richards, but Reece won’t let him use the power, because neither of them brought him something to eat. Doom and Richards fight. When Doom admits Richards could have ruled better, Reece sides with Richards, and gives Reed access to the Beyonders’ power. Later, Reece says he owes Morales one for the hamburger; this is presumably why Morales is allowed to exist in the new universe. Afterwards, they all create a new arrangement where Reed gets an idea for a universe from Franklin, and then creates the universe using Reece’s power. They also anchor it with a slice of Reece, akin to those who were in parallel universes before, which also heals Reece’s mind, one at a time—he is more whole as he splits apart. (This supports the Secret Wars 5 explanation for his increasing insanity over the New Avengers explanation.)

Costume: Reece’s costume is more clearly shown to have the pauldron be continuous across his chest, including the green, and the collar. The purple lighting bolts are fairly separated and don’t even connect at the belt on the back, which is different from the statue and from Secret Wars 5. Otherwise it is the classic costume. The Reece that helps create the new universe seems to have the same costume, although the cylinders on the belt aren’t visible. He has purple cuffs and a purple collar.

Face: Same as issue 5.

Body: Same as issue 5.

Character: Seemingly sane now, although he doesn’t talk. From what Valeria says, he should be getting more sane and emotionally healed as they create more universes—which is counter to what we see of him in Ultimates. The Reece that creates new universes seems at peace as he waves to the new, split-off Reeces.

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Ultimates 5

May 2016

Writer: Al Ewing, Penciler and Inker: Kenneth Rocafort

The scene of Reece helping to remake the universe with Reed and Franklin Richards is shown again.

Costume: Based off his classic costume, but the pauldron is different—the two zig-zags coming off the shoulders don’t connect together, and instead just barely touch at the belt, as in Secret Wars 9. Uniquely, he has some pouches hanging off his belt.

Face: Normal. Probably 2 scars on each cheek and 4 on the forehead. No lip scarring. Brushed-back hair.

Body: Normal.

Character: Seen standing intently, but smiling in a nice way.

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Ultimates 6

June 2016

Writer: Al Ewing, Penciler and Inker: Christian Ward

Galactus talks with Reece about the multiverse’s condition.

Costume: Largely his classic costume. He has bare feet, as he is relaxing in his man cave of a pocket dimension. He has no belt or bracers, except randomly in one picture where he has a plain belt and gloves. The shirt and pants seem to be a onesie.

Face: A bit oddly shaped, with somewhat of a big nose and forehead. No scars, strangely. His hair stands on end, and is longer than usual.

Body: Thin.

Character: Somewhat crazy sounding, but not totally babbling—more like he is trying to be mysterious and manipulating. Not evil, but not necessarily good. He is trying to help Galactus, but also toying with him.

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New Avengers 17

December 2016

Writer: Al Ewing, Penciler: Paco Medina, Inker: Juan Vlasco

It is revealed that when Reece cut Ultimate Reed Richards into slices, he sent those slices across the multiverse, each to become their own version of Ultimate Richards. Richards says he did it because Reece knew he needed someone in each universe who would make things happen.

Costume: Reece is shown mostly as a glowing silhouette, but clearly it is his classic costume. Details can’t be seen.

Face: Can’t be seen clearly.

Body: Normal.

Character: Given Richard’s statement about wanting a version of him in every universe in order to make things happen, it seems as if Reece is trying to manipulate the way the universes roll out to some degree.

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