Nathaniel Richards has had various incarnations over the years and each identity has its own ever expanding history. For the sake of clarity this article will only cover the history of Nathaniel Richards during his time as Iron Lad. For more information on the other identities of Nathaniel Richards please refer to the entries on Kid Immortus, Rama-Tut, the Scarlet Centurion, Kang the Conqueror, Immortus, and Mister Gryphon.
Nathaniel Richards was born in the 30th century of Earth-6311 a reality where humanity never went into the dark ages. After centuries of advancement and warfare, peace was brought to the land by a time-traveller from Earth-616 named Nathaniel Richards. Because Richards brought peace to this war-torn future, he began known as the legendary benefactor. The Nathaniel Richards born to this reality is said to be a descendant of the Benefactor, although other records also indicate that he may also be a descendant of the Latverian monarch known as Dr. Doom. An inventive genius, by the age 16 Nathaniel had already made his first invention, his Growing Man stimuloid. Richards was bullied for years, but one day when he was being beat up by a bully named Morgan, destiny stepped in and changed the course of young Nathaniel's life forever. At that moment the fight was interrupted by Kang the Conqueror, Nathaniel's future self. Kang had stepped in at this very moment to prevent Morgan from cutting Nathaniel's throat, an injury that nearly killed him and almost bankrupted his parents trying to treat. Kang then outfitted his younger self in Neuro-Kinetic armor and showed Nathaniel glimpses of his future where he was destined to become a time-travelling conqueror and his destiny to do battle with the heroic Avengers. Kang had hoped that his past self would begin on his destined path earlier than planned, however the young Richards was horrified by what he was destined to become and attacked his future self. Richards decided to renounce his destiny and used the time travelling capabilities in his armor to travel back in time and across dimensions to the modern age of Earth-616.
Knowing that Kang would follow him, young Nathaniel attempted to find the Avengers to protect him. However when he arrived at Avengers Mansion he found it in ruins and that the Avengers themselves had disbanded. Richards then attempted to get in touch with industrialist Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man of the Avengers. However Richards found Stark hard to get in touch with directly due to his security details and body guards. Richards decided to take another route and broke into a Stark Industries facility and recovered the remains of the android Avenger known as the Vision. In downloading the Vision's memories Nathaniel hoped to find a means of contacting the Avengers. Instead he found a failsafe program created by the Vision to find the next generation of Avengers in the event that the group disbanded or was destroyed, all potential recruits had some kind of ties with Avengers history. From these files he recruited the super strong Eli Bradly, shape-shifter Teddy Altman, and mystic Billy Kaplan. They all took on the costumed identities of the Patriot (Bradley), Hulkling (Altman) and Asgardian (Kaplan). Nathaniel restructured his armor to resemble that of Iron Man, calling himself Iron Lad. The newly formed and unnamed group began training together in the ruins of Avengers Mansion. Deciding to go out on the town the group ended up stumbling upon a plot by the villain known as Electro who was blacking out of part of the city. The novice group proved no match for Electro, and had to abandon the fight in order to deal with a hotel that caught fire during the battle. The story was covered on the front page of the Daily Bugle with reporter Kat Farrell calling them the "Young Avengers", a name that the group eventually adopted officially. Incidentally enough, due to their inability to stop Electro, the Young Avengers were partially responsible for his part in a massive break out of the Raft prison, which was the catalyst that brought together the so-called New Avengers.
The Young Avengers next attempted to stop a gang of criminals who were holding the Bishop family hostage during a wedding at St. Patrick's Cathedral. A rescue operation that they almost botched if not for the quick thinking of Kate Bishop. With the criminals subdued, the Young Avengers fled the scene before they could be arrested by the authorities and returned to the ruins of Avengers Mansion. There Iron Lad found ex-Avengers Captain America and Iron Man waiting for them as well as their ally Jessica Jones who demanded answers. As Nathaniel explained the events that brought him to the present day, his allies incidentally recruited both Kate Bishop and Cassie Lang daughter of the recently deceased Ant-Man. Iron Lad, Iron Man, Captain America and Jones were then drawn outside when they heard Cassie Lang fall down after suddenly growing in size. While Cassie adopted the costumed guise of Stature, Iron Lad continued to explain his presence in the modern era and his intentions of forming the Young Avengers. Cap and Iron Man were firmly against the idea and attempted to convince the youths to disband when suddenly they were attacked by a Growing Man stimuloid. The group were able to defeat the creature when Iron Lad unmasked and revealed his identity, but this allowed the Growing Man to signal Kang and bring him to that era to collect his young self. Before Kang’s arrival, the Young Avengers were all tricked by Cap and Iron Man to undergo a "training session" and found themselves locked in the training room. The Young Avengers eventually broke free and arming themselves tried to take the fight to Kang, but were shocked to find that the Iron Lad's presence in the present was starting to alter history in a negative fashion. Still Iron Lad fought on until he was overpowered by Kang and his superior weaponry.
When Kang opened a portal to return his young self to his proper time, thus reversing the effects on history - and potentially erasing the formation of the Young Avengers from history - Stature intervened, having developed feelings for Iron Lad, she knocked Kang through the portal alone. Safe once again, Iron Lad shared a kiss with Cassie. However this did not change things and Nathaniel soon had to face the reality that in order to save the present day he would need to return to his own era and follow his destiny to become Kang the Conqueror. When Kang returned to take Nathaniel back to the future, he removed his Iron Lad armor, and programmed it into a new version of the Vision, one with Nathaniel and the original Vision's memories. While Kang was otherwise distracted battling the Young Avengers, young Nathaniel sneaked up behind his future self and seemingly slew Kang with a sword through the chest. With Kang dead and history still in flux, risking to erase the Young Avengers from history, Nathaniel decided to do the only thing left for him to do: return home. Having the Vision open a time portal, Nathaniel did just that and his departure from the modern era caused history to return to its normal course. However, the Young Avengers endured and continued operating as team, even though their elders often disapproved of their continued operation. It seemed for a while that young Nathaniel Richards was going to pursue his destiny to become Kang, while monitoring the progress of the Young Avengers.
However young Nathaniel began to study the Timestream and learned ways to travel it without affecting history and sought to undo the work of his future self Kang the Conqueror, Nathaniel resumed his guise of Iron Lad and began travelling to alternate universes and timelines to undo the damage he had done there. Arriving on the planet Moord on Earth-11051 Iron Lad was too late to stop that reality's counterpart of Kang from committing mass genocide on the Badoon race. Iron Lad was shocked to find that this version of Kang was a member of that reality's Avengers, which consisted of adult members of the former Young Avengers. Iron Lad learned that the group had taken hardlined tactics and had been using the timestream as their means of travel to avoid being shut down by the original Avengers. They explained that the catalyst to this future was the Avengers of the modern era killing both Billy Kaplan (now calling himself Wiccan) and his mother the Scarlet Witch. Horrified to learn this, Iron Lad reentered the time stream and headed back to the modern era of Earth-616 to see what he could do to prevent this tragedy from occurring. Iron Lad was completely unaware that that reality's Avengers had lied to him about the fate of Wiccan in the hopes of manipulating Kang's younger self to follow his destiny.
Iron Lad reappeared in the modern era in Latveria, where a battle over the Scarlet Witch and Wiccan was being fought between the Young Avengers, the Avengers, Magneto, and Dr. Doom. When the mutant hero Wolverine attempted to kill the Scarlet Witch to prevent her from being a threat again, Iron Lad blasted him out of the way. Iron Lad then came to the aid of Stature, who was happy that he had returned, however this caused issue with the Vision -- who thanks to the fact that he shared Iron Lad's memories also had feelings for Cassie. When it appeared that those after the Scarlet Witch would not give them a moment's rest, Iron Lad teleported himself, the Young Avengers, and the Scarlet Witch into the timestream where they could strategize. With the Scarlet Witch unable to remember her past or use her powers, she suggested they take her to the day she went insane and attacked the Avengers. The shock of seeing the reanimated corpse of Jack of Hearts about to explode caused the Witch's memories and powers to return and she instinctively brought them all back to the present, taking Ant-Man with them, saving his life in the process. With the Scarlet Witch back to normal, Iron Lad and his comrades began working with her to try and reverse the devastation she caused on M-Day. However soon the X-Men arrived at the Mansion to seek retribution against the Witch. With the help of X-Factor the Young Avengers defended the Witch, but eventually they fled back to Latveria where they learned that the Witch gained her powers by tapping the "Lifeforce". In attempting to do so again however, they succeeded in empowering Dr. Doom with it instead. With Doom attempting to use his power to control the world, Iron Lad and his comrades joined the Avengers and the X-Men to oppose him. Doom was ultimately defeated and the connection between him and the Lifeforce severed, but at the cost of Stature's life. Iron Lad decided to take Cassie into the future in the hopes that future science could bring her back to life, but the Avengers refused. Furious at them, as well as the Vision's mimicking his love for Stature, Nathaniel destroyed the robot. When those gathered questioned if Iron Lad was beginning his path to become Kang the Conqueror, Richards told them that he intended to become "better" than Kang and disappeared into the timestream once again.
Iron Lad eventually ended up working with two of his future selves, both Kang and Immortus, at a point in time-space called the "end of the road" to await the arrival of the "last Avenger". This came in the form of Captain America who was being hurtled forward through time thanks to the damaged Time Gem. He was rescued from the fractured time stream by Iron Lad after surviving an experience some 51,028 years in the future. Iron Lad then brought Cap before Kang and Immortus. When the Time Gem reappeared the three time travellers trapped it in a a bottle of "No-Time" to prevent it from activating and sending Cap through time yet again. They explained to Cap that the current crisis threatening to destroy the Multiverse was destined to fail if they allowed Cap to continue going forward, Iron Lad's future selves having already lived this moment. However Cap refused to stand back and do nothing when lives were in danger and broke the Time Gem free, and was transported back to his own era before the three incarnations of Iron Lad could stop him.
Eventually, Iron Lad would return to his destiny and follow the path that he was destined to follow. The exact events leading to that moment are as yet unrevealed. However, Nathaniel Richards would soon turn to the dark side, becoming Kid Immortus. Becoming an adult he later went on to become Egyptian pharaoh Rama-Tut, the Dr. Doom inspired dictator the Scarlet Centurion, the 40th Century ruler Kang the Conqueror and later still the guardian of time known as Immortus.
Powers and Abilities
- Neurokinetic Armor: Iron Lad's battle armor is produced from a rare synthetic alloy from the 40th century. It is neurokinetic, meaning it responds to his subconscious thoughts. Though Kang has no powers, his armor endows him with rough equivalents of super-human abilities.
- Enhanced Strength: Gives Iron Lad the ability to lift 5 tons.
- Durability: The armor has a built in force-field that extends from 2 feet away from his body, outward to 20 feet in all directions. It can withstand even a nuclear strike at point blank range.
- Video Communicator: Built into the right wrist is a video communicator, which he can use to stay in contact with his bases from any point in the time-stream.
- Time Travel: Iron Lad's armor can create temporal divergences, giving him the ability to travel through and manipulate time.
- Concussive Bolts: Iron Lad can fire concussive blasts from the finger tips of his gauntlets; these blasts have the force of several tons of dynamite.
- Neurokinetic interface: As Iron Lad, he uses a neurokinetic armor apparently designed by his future self. This armor responds to its wearers thoughts and emotions almost instantaneously. It is capable of forming various weapons somewhat similar to that of Iron Man as well as being able to alter its appearance and shape. For example, it might manifest spikes if someone tried to grab it.
- Artificial Intelligence: Iron Lad has also uploaded the AI of The Vision into the armor. It has currently reconfigured itself into a form similar to Vision and taken the name of Jonas.
- Flight: The armor allows Iron Lad to hover above the ground or fly at tremendous speeds, with complete control of gravity around him.
- Energy Blasts: Expel destructive energy blasts, magnetic rays, fire-extinguishing foam and is capable of suspending matter in mid-air
- Project holographic images masking Iron Lad's true appearance
- Download/upload massive amounts of data with its complex hard drive
- Override security systems
He typically carries various weapons, such as an anti-matter defense screen generator, a "vibration-ray" projector, an electromagnetic field amplifier, neutrino-ray warheaded missile launcher (hand-gun size), electrical paralysis generator, nerve gas sprayer and a molecular expander. He commands a vast array of warriors from across all periods of time, including his own future era, armed with advanced weaponry. He used numerous robots, most notably his Growing Man stimuloids, packed with the "Growth Pollen" of the world Kosmos, which causes them to grow in size and strength by absorbing kinetic energy; this Growth Pollen uses the same energy accessed via the size-changing "Pym Particles" discovered by Dr Hank Pym.
Possesses a large space ship, capable of travel through both time and space.
- 25 appearance(s) of Nathaniel Richards (Iron Lad) (Earth-6311)
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Nathaniel Richards (Iron Lad) (Earth-6311)
- 8 mention(s) of Nathaniel Richards (Iron Lad) (Earth-6311)
- 48 image(s) of Nathaniel Richards (Iron Lad) (Earth-6311)
- 4 quotation(s) by or about Nathaniel Richards (Iron Lad) (Earth-6311)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by Nathaniel Richards (Iron Lad) (Earth-6311)