I usually devote a bit of time Tuesday to discuss a superhero who died and usually got better. Then I got a request from Jimmy Impossible. He’s been reading along and writing up stuff for the current Secret Wars and while chatting with fellow Gabbing Geek Ryan, it came out that Ryan had no idea who the Molecule Man was.
So, this one’s for you and Ryan, Jimmy.
The Molecule Man was originally Owen Reece, a mama’s boy who had an accident that granted him power over all molecules. He couldn’t affect organic matter, but the rest was fair game. I mean, I read an issue of Fantastic Four once where the Molecule Man, battling a rogue Watcher, turned a group of passing clouds into iron to drop on the Watcher’s head. Granted, that didn’t work, but that’s kinda scary if you think about it.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for Fantastic Four #20 in 1963, the Molecule Man would spend a lot of time being basically one of those really powerful bad guys that the FF had to smack around between trips to Latveria. The biggest saving grace was he actually wasn’t very bright. At various points he had to channel his power through a wand, or it wasn’t really him but an artificial construct that thought it was his son, or other crazy stuff that doesn’t need thinking about.
What makes the Molecule Man different was his role in the original Secret Wars. That would be about when he realized two things: 1, how powerful he really was, and 2, that he really didn’t want to be a super villain.
Yeah, it turns out all Owen Reece wanted was to settle down with a nice girl and live a life of domestic bliss. And hey, during a trip to the original Battleworld, he managed to find a reluctant female super villain named Volcana to do just that with.
Yeah, the villains stuck on Battleworld for the most part only got home because the Molecule Man lifted the city they were in and transported it across space with a breathable atmosphere with just a little bit of power with his mind.
After that, Molecule Man even became something of a good guy, helping out when the Beyonder returned to cause trouble.
The character would still pop up from time to time. His power level was always high, but his mind was another story. He did stuff to Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers which showed his sanity had taken a permanent vacation at some point.
But then there was what came up just before the current Secret Wars.
See, Molecule Man has always played a roll in the different Secret Wars series. The most recent run-up revealed that while most people in the Marvel multiverse were different depending on which universe they were in, the Molecule Man is the same in every reality. In every reality Owen Reece performs the experiment that accidentally makes him the Molecule Man. The reason he went crazy is because they all sorta share a hive mind.
The Molecule Man, you see, had a purpose. The Beyonders were conducting an experiment to see if they could kill the multiverse. The Molecule Man was their unknowing agent, who would explode at the right time and take every universe out with him. As it was, the Molecule Man had enough of…well, something, to try and ruin that plan by telling it to Doom. Doom them went around the multiverse killing Molecule Men, gaining a cult to help him do that, and eventually leading to the current Secret Wars where it looks like Owen is just a statue in Doom’s personal garden.
We’ll have to see what that’s all about.
How’s that, Jimmy?