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Richard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,432



I've been googling this but getting very little results, other than that Stan Lee Vanity fair interview.

What I'm looking for is an explanation of:

* WHY, in his solo title, did Ben start to mutate further?

* HOW was this resolved? It suggests it continues in the Avengers book, but he just ducks out of joining them, then turns up in the FF. It seems like a strange subplot that "fell between the cracks" of titles folding and editors changing.



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The Black Guardian

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 20,573


The Fantastic Four issue does resolve it: the Mole Man cured him. It's just rather pat.


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Grimm Warrior


Location: Des Moines, Ia
Member Since: Mon Dec 30, 2013
Posts: 1,323


I thought it had to do with his extended stay on Battleworld, but, it has been so long since reading the old Thing series I'm not sure if that was the given explanation. It might have had something to do with his confrontation with the Beyonder during Secret Wars 2. That explanation is tickling the dusty halls of my memory. I could be wrong, tho.




IT'S PONDERRIN' TIME
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Dakota


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 295



    Quote:
    The Fantastic Four issue does resolve it: the Mole Man cured him. It's just rather pat.


Yes, in #296 they show that the Mole Man uses some machines to stabilize him.


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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,444



I don't know if it was ever completely articulated what was really going on there. At least not the sudden hideous mutation he had at the end of the Thing series.

Ben went to Battleworld during Secret Wars 1 and decided to stay there after the war was over. Beyonder's world was built to fulfill human desires I think. While Ben was there I believe he realized he could control his transformations and go back and forth between Ben Grimm and the Thing. During the Thing series it turns out the magic of Battleworld had created a second Ben Grimm and a love interest for Ben named Tarianna and pretty much everything else left there that wasn't there from Secret Wars. Duplicate Ben was evil and during a battle evil Ben was killed by Tarianna and vice versa. While Tarianna (just a figment of his mind + Battleworld juju) was dying Ben explained that for years he had a mental block that prevented him from being human (and that always caused him to return to being human despite all of Reed's solutions). The mental block was because in Ben's mind Alicia Masters loved him as the Thing and didn't really love him as Ben. Between their relationship problems (which he alludes to even before catching her with Johnny) and Battleworld the mental block seemed to be gone. But Tarianna killing the evil Ben and Tarianna being a part of Ben made Ben come to the conclusion that his subconscious was going to keep him as a Thing forever.

After Ben finds out about Johnny and Alicia he has a conversation with Reed. Reed tells him that ever since FF #245 when Franklin considered turning him back to Ben Grimm but chose not to he's known that the reason Ben stays the thing is because of that mental block where he thinks Alicia only loves the Thing. Franklin had been worried that curing Ben would have ruined his relationship with Alicia and Ben couldn't have handled that. Reed reasons that the relationship breaking down and Battleworld was why Ben was able to control the change and reasons that now that Alicia is out of the picture Ben should be able to control the change at will. Ben is upset because he killed the human side of himself on Battleworld so he's back to being unable to control the transformation again.

To me there was no real explanation as to why his mutations were getting worse when they did...it was some time after killing evil Ben.

Other details:
1. Ben later discovers Sharon Venture looks just like Tarianna the woman his subconscious supposedly conjured up.

2. Sharon gets turned into a Thing and Ben into the pineapple version in Englehart's run.

3. When Sharon first meets Reed she takes Reed to task for telling Ben he could control his transformation at will. Saying that giving Ben that false hope made him more miserable.

4. The Thing lost his powers later that same issue. My belief has always been that it was easier to depower the more powerful pinecone version that it ever was the standard Thing form.

5. Later Sharon betrays the team to Doom so he can depower her as the She-Thing while in a gift of the magi type twist Ben turns himself back into a Thing so she won't be lonely as She-Thing.

And of course the thing I've always wondered...does Sharon have a mental block? Is the reason she looks like her ex-boyfriend because she can't get over her ex-boyfriend?



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The Black Guardian

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 20,573


I've always believed that Sharon has a great many psychological issues that even predate Ben.

But I think Ben's problems are psychological, too.


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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,444





Well yeah. Englehart implied she had been gang raped by the Power Broker's men (didn't happen in the Cap story it was alleged to have happened in). Plus her dad didn't love her because he wanted a son and she spent her whole life trying to get his approval. And she was kicked out of the military school she liked because she wouldn't snitch on a classmate.

And I think becoming a Thing (and whatever happened with the Power Broker's goons) brought out some body dysmporphia issues. And the implied rape also left her unable to trust men.

Sharon was crazier than a sh*t house rat honestly. Poor She-Thing thing.



    Quote:
    But I think Ben's problems are psychological, too.






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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,444




    Quote:

      Quote:
      The Fantastic Four issue does resolve it: the Mole Man cured him. It's just rather pat.



    Quote:
    Yes, in #296 they show that the Mole Man uses some machines to stabilize him.


Did we learn WHY he mutated in the first place? I remember the resolution but I don't remember what caused the mutation to begin with. Was that ever explained?



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Richard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,432




    Quote:


      Quote:

        Quote:
        The Fantastic Four issue does resolve it: the Mole Man cured him. It's just rather pat.

      Quote:

        Quote:
        Yes, in #296 they show that the Mole Man uses some machines to stabilize him.



    Quote:
    Did we learn WHY he mutated in the first place? I remember the resolution but I don't remember what caused the mutation to begin with. Was that ever explained?


Yeah, this was my real issue with it. I did have that Mole Man issue to read on the backburner (bad memory there... it's not like I've never read it before) but I didn't get why it happened in the first place.



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Dakota


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 295



    Quote:


      Quote:


        Quote:

          Quote:
          The Fantastic Four issue does resolve it: the Mole Man cured him. It's just rather pat.

        Quote:

          Quote:
          Yes, in #296 they show that the Mole Man uses some machines to stabilize him.

      Quote:

        Quote:
        Did we learn WHY he mutated in the first place? I remember the resolution but I don't remember what caused the mutation to begin with. Was that ever explained?



    Quote:
    Yeah, this was my real issue with it. I did have that Mole Man issue to read on the backburner (bad memory there... it's not like I've never read it before) but I didn't get why it happened in the first place.


OK, my memory was bad here. 296 did not address it at all. In 297, Reed says he had undergone cellular mutation, but it went into remission while he was with the Mole Man. So physically, he wasn't much different after that then when he left the FF.

299 has he and Jen talking through his path from Secret Wars to the present, where he says "something" made him mutate, so he went to live with the Mole Man.

So yes, very vague and not much information. I'm guessing they (Roger Stern and the FF editors) didn't want to revisit the whole mutation storyline so they glossed over it to put it behind them.


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Jim Mc


Member Since: Sun Jan 20, 2013
Posts: 888


I recall him getting dizzy spells when he was hanging around with Vance Astro. Those spells eventually got worse and he started mutating. Ben wondered a couple of times why it was happening but it was never answered.




The Thing's battle record will return one day in the future!
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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,444




    Quote:
    I recall him getting dizzy spells when he was hanging around with Vance Astro. Those spells eventually got worse and he started mutating. Ben wondered a couple of times why it was happening but it was never answered.


Speaking of Vance...I was always a little disappointed their friendship didn't seem to carry over to when Vance became a super hero. Ben was a character witness at Vance's murder trial but I don't think the friendship was ever acknowledged again. Like that time Puppet Master used Vance to kidnap Alicia in Defalco's run...I don't think it even came up.



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Jim Mc


Member Since: Sun Jan 20, 2013
Posts: 888


No, I skimmed that issue and Ben doesn't even acknowledge Vance, or vise versa, in that issue. DeFalco was funny that way, he only used continuity when it served his plot. He was ahead of his time!

Vance did prevent Johnny from getting some from Lyja/Alicia.




The Thing's battle record will return one day in the future!
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Richard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,432



Just saw this online, I'll have to check this out later:

"As for what caused Ben's remission, while John Byrne quit before the story could have been told, Steve Englehart revealed in West Coast Avengers #23 and Fantastic Four #304 that the Mole Man used his "machines" to stabilize him. Which is pretty much the bottom line of Byrne's planned story, minus the ironic twist."



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