He was one day approached by Spider-Man to study his new costume. Richards determined that the suit was actually alive and was trying to bond with Spider-Man. He advised Spider-Man remove the creature immediately out of fear for his health and for study, but Spider-Man refused, stating it was a living being and was accepting of its bond to him. When Richards touched Spider-Man's shoulder as he was leaving, Spider-Man crushed his hand and rebuked him before leaving.
When Spider-Man began killing criminals, Reed and the Human Torch began a frantic search for him with Reed feeling responsible for Spider-Man's murderous behavior. When Peter was finally able to separate himself from the black suit, the suit blamed Reed for the separation. So, it took over Reed and used his intelligence to begin extracting several offspring from itself and forcibly bonded one of them to the Thing.
The symbiote also used Reed's genius to make its offspring resistant to flames. To prevent anyone from interfering, the symbiote sealed the Baxter Building with symbiote biomass. While the Avengers, X-Factor, and the remaining Fantastic Four tried to deal with the situation, Spider-Man appeared and offered to inside to stop the symbiote. The symbiote allowed Spider-Man to enter the Baxter Building, and he was accompanied by the Human Torch and his girlfriend Mary Jane Watson. The symbiote sent a mind-controlled Ben to go after the intruders. Johnny and Spider-Man got separated, and Johnny eventually made his way to Reed's lab where Reed and the symbiote were. Reed and the symbiote wore armor that protected them from Johnny's flames. Then the symbiote unleashed its symbiote offspring upon New York City. As the symbiote had Johnny at its mercy, it was shot at by Mary Jane and ordered it to leave Johnny alone.
The symbiote then chased after Johnny and Mary Jane. While Johnny and Mary Jane escaped, the symbiote captured Reed's wife, Invisible Woman. When the symbiote returned to the Baxter Building, it found Peter willing to submit to the symbiote in exchange for the symbiote releasing everyone. The symbiote agreed but decided to kill Reed so he couldn't use his intelligence against it. Reed then fell from the Baxter Building to the ground below. The symbiote was eventually killed by Johnny, and Spider-Man took his place on the Fantastic Four.