When I saw the cover for Fantastic Four #570, with the new creative team of Jonathon Hickman and Dale Eaglesham, I was more than a bit put-out by what I saw — namely a ripply-muscled Reed Richards in short sleeves. Hair on the arms… five-o’clock shadwo… everything that our pliable Plato is not.

Having read the issue, I’m a little bit relieved. And, honestly, given the nature of the recent Dr. Doom arc, I really should have surmised it sooner.

It seems as if there is an extra-dimension League of Reeds that meets to solve crises across reality. It’s really kind of a neat idea. I mean, if you had the choice to work with nobody but carbon-copies of yourself… what could be better than that?

Of course, these copies are less than “carbon.” All of the Reeds in the All-Reed Squad are products of their unique dimensions (click on the thumbnail to the right for a larger view). Some aren’t even stretchy — exhibiting instead traits of one of the other Four.

Which means, in my opinion, that this Reed — the ‘roid Reed with the biceps and the chest and the body hair and everything — is not our Reed. He’s some other Reed.

But he’s a Reed that is going to play a crucial role (most likely alongside or against Real Reed) in the story to come.