Rick & Morty featured a parody of a Marvel Comics character, but it’s not the first time the series has referenced the Fantastic Four.
The fifth season premiere of Rick and morty further explored program fixation with Fantastic four introducing a character taken directly from the pages of the comic. Mr. Nimbus, a straightforward parody of Prince Namor the Submarine, isn’t just a silly parody either. The underwater ruler who serves as Rick’s arch enemy highlights the parallels between Rick Sanchez and the The Fantastic Four Reed Richards, also known as Mr. Fantastic, a concept that is not new to the series.
Often fondly dubbed “Marvel’s first family,” the Fantastic Four served as the publisher’s initial foray into the Silver Age of comics in the 1960s. When they first arrived on the superhero scene so many years ago. years, the quartet was characterized by their messy discussions but their undying loyalty to each other as a family. They were imperfect human beings imbued with cosmic powers learning to live and love one another, and it was Reed Richards’ genius-level intellect that was both his greatest strength and his most glaring flaw.
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The highly dysfunctional Smith family in Rick and morty it makes the Fantastic Four seem stable in comparison, but both often face conflict resulting from the misguided experiments of their senior scientists. Despite their fundamental moral differences, Reed Richards and Rick Sanchez share similar personality traits, especially when it comes to their arrogance and sense of superiority. The difference is that while Reed relies on loved ones to anchor his humanity, Rick neglects or exploits his own family and often drags them with him. In a way, Rick is emblematic of what would happen to Reed if the scientist completely succumbed to his own arrogance.
This is where Mr. Nimbus comes in, who is Rick’s rival and a hornier version of Prince Namor, a character who has been featured in the Fantastic Four myths for almost as long as the team. The ruler of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis has appeared as friend and foe, but always as a contrast to Reed, who might be smarter but not as charismatic or even emotionally aware. Likewise, Nimbus’ self-assertive demeanor and confidence is a nuisance and threat to Rick despite the ocean lord’s silly demeanor. Most significantly, Nimbus and Namor may be idiots, but they are idiots whose cheek helps them call out Rick and Reed for their flaws.
This is not the first time Rick and morty built a story around a Fantastic four reference, either. The show took a story from writer Jonathan Hickman. Fantastic four run where a Council of Reeds existed in an interdimensional nexus and they worked together to solve problems in the multiverse. As “mainstream” Reed discovers, these other Reeds sacrificed their dedication to their family to dedicate their entire lives to science, causing him to turn away from his lonely transdimensional counterparts. On the other hand, “mainstream” Rick C-137 refuses to join the Ricks Council of the Citadels, united not to save the multiverse but each other from their enemies, because he is disgusted by their bureaucracy and cowardice.
Both Reed and Rick choose their own personal lives over an organized governing body, and both are honored by a surprisingly observant fishman. Reed’s tendency to overlook family obligations in the service of his scientific obsessions is a trait Namor the Submarine loves to point out about his rival. Nimbus isn’t as aware of Rick’s home life, but he makes a valid point about his pathetic loneliness (and it almost establishes a canon backstory). The comparison between the two also reveals each other’s potential for moral growth, a reminder of what Reed’s arrogance can lead to and how Rick can change if he can be a little less selfish in the current fifth season of Rick and morty.
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