Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Underrated Heroes and Villains: The Thing Part 2

Underrated Heroes and Villains:  The Thing Part 2

Tonight I’m going to finish talking about one my favorite super-heroes and I hope one of yours too, The Thing.  But before I start tonight’s article I want to say thank you to all of you out there that read the Part I and I appreciate your comments. The reason why I broke it down to parts is because a few people out there felt my articles where too long. But since it seems that more of you out there really want to hear what I have to say, you won’t have to worry about that again.

Now I don’t feel The Thing is an Underrated Hero, that’s just the title of my articles. What I want to try to teach some of the younger readers out there about is some of the trials and tribulations that Ben experienced.

I feel that too many young reads out there might not know how many times comic book companies have tried to reinvent heroes and villains. There are times when it doesn’t work, and they just sweep it under the rug and fans forget all about it. For example, how many of you out there remember when Spider-man had Captain Universe's power? 

Or when Superman had developed electricity-based abilities and then he was split into two beings that represented different aspects of his personality? 

Or when Frank Castle aka the Punisher was sliced up & killed by Daken (Wolverine’s son)? 

And then Castle’s body parts are collected and put back together and revived as Franken Castle? 

My articles are a way to teach the young readers and to remind the old ones of what once was.  

Now with that being said when we last left The Thing, he had just lost his powers and was turned back into regular Ben. The Fantastic Fourhad just finished fighting the Frightful Four (the Wizard, the Klaw, Hydrant-man and Tatiana). Ben was enjoying being human until the Frightful Four captured the Fantastic Four. Ben was able to free them using only his natural abilities. After the battle, Ben is happy being human again and mentions to Ms. Marvel that maybe she would want to go back to being human herself. The conversation does not go well.

Ben continues fighting alongside the Four, with an exo-suit that resembles his previous mutated form and imitates his powers which was made by Reed. The suit was highly durable, but it would only boost Ben's strength to about at least 90% of what it was in Thing form. The head of the suit was removable from the main body.  Ben would remove it via a zipper down the front which would remain hidden when pulled up.  Likewise when the suit was being removed it would collapse as though it were made of cloth. Reed also installed a means of triggering the suit to become undone through controls hidden inside the suit so that Ben could take off the costume in situations where his hands were bound.  He suit was also air-tight and able to resist the vacuum of space for a few minutes provided that the suit’s mouth was kept closed.

For a time things where good for Ben, but he should have known it would not last. Ms. Marvel starts to hate her she-thing from and wants to be human again. She decides to take Doctor Doom up on his offer to turn her back when Reed fails to do it. Ben loves Ms. Marvel so much that he decides to use Reeds machine to re-exposes himself to cosmic radiation.

It works and Ben is The Thing once more. I’m sure you all will agree with me that there ain’t nothing like the real Thing. Ben and the rest of the team attack Doom’s castle to rescue Ms. Marvel.

Ben is shocked to find Ms. Marvel returned to human form strapped to a table. Ben fights with Doom.  Doom is about to lose the battle when Ben is attacked from behind. Ben is shocked when he turns around to see Ms. Marvel is the one who attacked him.

Things get better for Ben for a while, he is back to being The Thing. He is still with Ms. Marvel. Everything was going good until sometime later. We find the Human Torch on the run from the authorities because Johnny going Nova and sets Empire State University on fire while battling Skrulls. 

The new Fantastic Four (Ghost Rider, the Hulk, Spider- man & Wolverine) are sent to bring him in. 
When they find him Johnny signals the Original Fantastic Four for help. 

 When they arrive an all out battle between the two teams breaks out.  While in a battle Ben is horribly wounded, when Wolverine in a maddening rage slices Ben’s face. 

After receiving a punch in his wounded face from a robot Ben decides to wear a helmet to protect him until his face can heal. 

A little way down the road, Ben goes looking for Wolverine for a little payback for what he did to his face. Logan just wanted have a drink with Ben and let him know that he had screwed up by scaring his face. Ben had other thoughts on his mind, revenge. 

But thanks to a little help from their friend Scott Lang aka Ant-man and a group of rogues sent by the Mad Thinker to facilitate their destruction. The two were able to put the past behind them by defeating the scoundrels, and the two ends the battle as friends.

During a battle with Doctor Doom, Ben is gravely wounded. After the battle Ben is in a coma at death’s door. The rest of the Fantastic Four would do anything they could have to do to stop Ben from slipping away.  They would move heaven and hell for him. This is kind of what they did. When Ben passed away, the rest of the FF followed his sprit to the Pearly Gates. There Ben met his long-dead brother at the Gates. The Fantastic Four where able to get the Heavenly Creator and restores Ben’s life.  Surprisingly the Heavenly Creator looks a lot like Jack Kirby.  For those of you who don’t know he was co-creator of marvels first family.

During the Super-Human Civil War, Ben’s family put to the test. Ben saw Johnny attacked and beaten into a coma by a group of angry New York citizens, Reed and Sue broke up after Reed spent more time working with the Registration forces and their leader, Tony Stark, then being concerned for Johnny's state.  Ben reluctantly fights along side of pro-registration with Iron Man. Until he witnesses a battle on Yancy Street between Captain America's anti-registration group and Iron Man’s pro-registration group.
During the battle he witnesses a civilian death caused by villains trying to intensify the already calamitous situation.

Disgusted by both sides’ of lack of heroism, Ben decides to become neutral and briefly moves to France. When Ben returns to the States the Civil War is still going strong. Ben doesn’t return to pick a side, he returned to fight to protect innocent civilians from the danger the super heroes and their battles against one another.

After the Civil War he returned to the FF in time to see Reed and Susan leave the team to work on their marriage. Reed leaves Black Panther and Storm to take their place.

Things start looking up for Old Benjy.  Reed and Sue return to the team after mending their marriage. Ben finds love in a kindergarten teacher named Debbie Green. Ben finally sees all his dreams possible and becomes engaged to Debbie. 

But in the end it seems that Ben will not find happiness.  Ben starts think it won’t when he starts to get messages from the FF rogue’s gallery threatening her life. 

When Ben gets to the church, he sees all the other heroes would have loved and lost because of their alter egos. Ben calls off the wedding. 

At the end of the day Ben is found drinking his sorrows away by his closest friends Reed and Johnny.  Reed tells Johnny to go order drinks, and the 2 of them just sit there drinking and smiling in silence. At this point in their friendship words where not need.

Sometime later the Future Foundation, lead by Valeria Richards (daughter of Invisible Woman & Mister Fantastic) create a potion that well change the Thing back to a regular person for around one week a year, every year. At first Ben doesn’t want to take it, but after a battle with the High Evolutionary Ben has a change of heart. So with Johnny watching to make sure the potion doesn’t kill him Ben chugs it down. Johnny watches in awe as The Thing’s hard shell crumbles away leaving a human Ben Grimm standing in front of him.

Happy to be human again Ben and Johnny hit the town for a night out, with actives such as catching an Giants game, dinner with old friends, going to the super hero poker game,and getting in a old fashion fist fight with the Yancy Street Gang.

Ben ends a great night out spending the night with his old love Alicia Masters.

Now I know what you’re, thinking Ben having one of the best weeks in his life, what could possibly go wrong?  Since you asked so nicely I will tell you. Later on in the week Annihilus has one of his minions on earth attack the Four Freedoms Plaza to try to open the portal that leads to the Negative Zone, in which they succeed.  Ben, still in human form, and the Human Torch are able beat back the wave of bugs that where waiting on the other side of the portal with the help of Franklin Storm who just got his powers back.

They are able to get the shields up on the portal. Ben calls for back up from the Avengers, but the shields well not hold up until help arrives. Since the main controls where destroyed during the battle Ben has no choice but to lead a team in the Negative Zone to activate vibranium shielding on the other side. Upon exiting the portal they are attacked by an Annihilation Wave of bugs, after defeating the threat they realize there is a big threat coming. They have to close the portal on the Negative Zone side. The problem is someone would have to stay to active the shields, thus leaving someone trapped in there with the Annihilation wave.

Ben being the heart and soul of the Fantastic Four decides to sacrifice himself for this duty and told tells Johnny to get everyone home safe. 

Johnny tells Ben stop joking.  Ben tells Johnny because of him, he just had one of the best weeks of his life and there was no way he was going to go out owning him one.

Just when Ben is about to say goodbye to everyone, Johnny pushes Ben through the portal and presses the button. 

While Ben bangs on the shield he starts to turns back in to the Thing. Back in Thing form, Johnny tells Ben you didn’t wish this anymore then he did. Ben and Johnny touch hands on the shield. 

Ben stood horrified; not being able to do anything but watch as Johnny turn to battle the wave. Ben is left to watch Johnny go down fighting as the shields close.
 Ben is left laying on the ground holding Franklin and Valeria in his arms crying, knowing that he lost one of his best friends. 

Grief stricken Ben blames himself for Johnny’s death, Ben finds himself out in the dessert where he meets Donald Blake and Bruce Banner,for those of you who don’t know they also go by the names The Mighty Thor and The Incredible Hulk.
The Hulk and Thor give Ben a way of dealing with his anger by giving him someone to hit. 

After these events the Fantastic Four disband soon after. The remaining members of the FF, including Ben, join the Future Foundation team with Spider-man.

During the “Fear Itself” story line, the Serpent God of Fear begins sending his hammers down to earth to find the worthy to help him fight Odin the All Father. The Breaker of Souls hammer lands on Yancy Street, the Thing and other members of the Future Foundation arrive to remove the hammer for study. While trying to move the hammer, Ben still grief stricken over the death of Johnny, easily succumbs to the influence of the hammer and is transformed in to Angrir Breaker of Souls. 

 He quickly destroys Yancy Street and kills dozens of innocent bystanders. 

Reed and Sue try to stop Ben, but in this new form he proves too powerful for them to stop.  
Alicia sees on the news what has happened to Ben and tries to come to his aid by trying to reach the man she in love with. But the influence of hammer is to powerful.

Angir, aka Ben, continues his rampage through New York City when he runs into the Red Hulk who tries to talk reach Ben. Failing to get Ben to stand down a great battle ensues.  Ben proves to be even too much for the Red Hulk to stand up to.  Ben hits him with his Breaker of Souls hammer and sends him f lying so far away from New York that he doesn’t return for some time. Soon after Ben’s rampage he goes to Avengers Towers where he shows his true power by destroying the Avengers Tower and the surrounding areas.

Soon after this, the Serpent sends the Thing (Angir) and the Hulk who was also chosen as one of the worthy and transformed into Nul Breaker of Worlds, to destroy Thor.

 During the Battle, Thor hits Ben with his hammer, Mjolnir.  Ben’s body is pierced by Mjolnir and is fatally wounded.  

Ben lies dying when his godchildren, Franklin and Valeria Richards, come to his side. Ben tells Franklin and Val that its ok this was meant to happen. 

But Franklin uses his powers to heal Ben completely, pushing out the possession of Angrir and returning Ben back as the Thing.

A little way down the road, Reed Richards and his time travel father Nathaniel Richards are just finishing up their latest time rewritten adventure. Reed and Nathaniel travel through time to New York in the year 3012 A.D. to see how the world turns out. There they travel to the Baxter Buildings to see some things never change, the Skrulls taking on the current the Fantastic Four. Now while membership has varied over the decades, Reed is not shocked to see that two members have been constants in the face of the passing centuries, Franklin Richards and you guessed it, Benjamin Grimm.

How is he still alive you ask? Well it seems that the one week a year that he is human is the only time he ages. Reed needs to see more so he and his father continue travel father in to the future. Their next stop is 4012 A.D. There they see an older Ben giving a speech to the 4012 Graduating class of the Future Foundation. Their next stop is the year 5012 A.D. They find Ben sitting talking to what looks like a ‎memorial of the 3 other founding members of the FF. 

Their final stop is the year 6012 A.D., where they find Franklin Richards saying good bye to his uncle Ben.  After seeing that Ben has finally passed away,

 Reed and Nathaniel travel back to the present date. Reed leaves his father to find Ben; the two best friends just sit drinking beer watching a boxing match. Reed never tells Ben what he knows.

After reading this issue it got me thinking Ben only ages one week a year and Wolverine ages slowly as well. Who is older and who dies first?

Now change just doesn’t come for Ben Grimm in the regular Marvel Universe. No there have been many changes for Ben across the multiverse.  For example on Earth 1610, or by its better known name the Ultimate’s Universe, Ben has under gone change and heart ache. After the events of the Ultimatum story line, pieces of his rocky skin start to fall off. Ben returns to New York to visit Sue. Now that Reed and Sue are no longer together Ben professes his love for her. Shocked Sue just stands there with nothing to say. Hurt that she didn't return the sentiment he leaves, but before he goes he leaves her a piece of his skin to remember him by. After a battling and defeating an alien creature Ben recovers from a blast that he had been hit with he notices that more rocks had fallen from his body

 and he started to glow with white light. Worried that Ben is dying Sue brings him back to the lab to watch over him. 

When all seems lost Ben starts glowing brighter and then there is an explosion. In the wake of the explosion, a glowing purple Ben Grimm in human form emerges. It seems that this new energy form was the next step in Ben’s transformation.

Later Sue approaches Ben and professed her love for him. Sue asks Ben to marry her stating she wants him near her. Ben happily accepts willing to start a new chapter in his life. So for at least one Ben gets a happy ending.

Now as I stated at the beginning of this article The Thing is not an Underrated Hero, he is the heart and soul of Marvels first family. No matter how many times he has gone through a transformation or gone through any pain or heart breaks, he has always been there for others. It would have been easier for Ben to give up when life kept beating him down. But that’s not who he is. He was never one to turn his back on someone who needed him.  In the end could you possibly say that the Fantastic Four would be who they were without him? I feel he is the type of character that you can grow with. The end Ben’s life is like how life really is, no matter what happens to you.  All you can do is stay strong no matter how hard life hits you. And even if the rest of the world sees you as a monster, it doesn’t matter as long as it is how you see yourself.

Wow, look at the time I best to get to steppin. I hope didn’t bore all my loyal readers out there. Sorry if I made this too long.  Please comment below if you felt that way. And if there any Heroes or Villains you want me to write about just let me know. Go ahead pick one and try to stump me. And remember to check out weekly Geek Brew Podcast. Which you can now download through Itunes and you can listen to us on Stitcher.

Likes us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Also check out for all your Geek Brew merchandise. But let me go before the cosmic storm outside gets any worse. I will end this with some words from every one’s favorite blue eyed ever lovin’ Thing “Hey kiddies, do you know what time it is? IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!”

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