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Comic Book / The Thing

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The cover to volume 2, issue 8: in the center, Ben Grimm, and surrounding him, his friends.

The Marvel Comics character of the Thing has had three self-titled books so far:

The Thing Vol 1 (19831986) was initially written by John Byrne, with art by Ron Wilson. It begins with Ben pondering his childhood on Yancy Street and then goes into the aftermath of Annihilus's attack, with Ben visiting Alicia Masters in the hospital and getting into various misadventures. Thing #10 leads directly in Secret Wars (1984). For the next twelve issues, Ben is on Battleworld, having stayed behind because he could change back and forth between his Thing and human form. After the Battleworld saga came to an end, Byrne left the book, replaced by Mike Carlin. Leaving the FF due to Alicia being in a relationship with Johnny (it was actually a Skrull posing as Alicia), Ben goes on another series of misadventures while Walking the Earth. Eventually, Ben joins the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation and becomes involved with the stuntwoman Sharon Ventura. The book ended with thirty-six issues.

The Thing Vol 2 (2006) was written by Dan Slott, with art by Andrea DeVito. Ben has recently come into a lot of money (like, say, billions of dollars) and has decided to do the things he's always wanted to do. Like date a famous actress and go to fancy parties. Too bad Arcade and his new Murderland get in the way. The book ended with eight issues.

The Thing Vol 3 (2021) was written by Walter Mosely, with art by Tom Reilly. Trapped in a vibraniums prison cell with Hercules. Cursed by an eldritch specter. Getting a free month of membership for a supernatural dating service. And that's just in the first chapter of this six-issue story titled "The Next Big Thing".

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    Volume 1 
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Thing versus the Puppet Master inside Ben's mind.
  • Call-Back: The early issues take place after the attack by Annihilus in Fantastic Four #251-256 and Ben visits Alicia in the hospital, since Annihilus tortured her.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The end to the twelve-part "Rocky Grimm Space Ranger" saga: after finally finding some semblance of peace and even love with Tarianna on Battleworld, Ben learns that everything is actually a projection of his own mind and then, with the death of Grimm the Sorcerer (the part of him that couldn't reconcile his two sides), everything fades away. With nothing left, Ben teleports back to Earth and Battleworld explodes.
    • The entire book ends with Ben mutating further, becoming more grotesque and unable to stay with the UCWF, and thinking everyone is better off without him.
  • Dream Apocalypse: After Tarianna stabbed Grimm the Sorcerer, everything on Battleworld (including her) started to fade, since Ben seeing his human form die meant he could no longer transform in it (and thus no longer had the psychic powers that made everything on Battleworld). With nothing left on Battleworld except himself, Ben leaves...and the planet literally explodes.
  • Identical Stranger: When Ben meets Sharon Ventura, he realizes she looks exactly like Tarianna, his lover on Battleworld. This is because Tarianna was a mental projection whose appearance was based on Sharon's.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After Ben easily defeats a bank robber named Goody Two-Shoes, the writer of the In-Universe Marvel comic Fantastic Four (which is officially licensed and supposed to report on the FF's actual adventures) John Byrne decides that this wasn't exciting enough and embellished it for the next issue. Ben visits his office and gives him a piece of his mind. Of course, in the actual comic, we are presented with the In-Universe comic first and then with what actually happened.
  • Psychic Powers: Everything, every being that Ben encounters on Battleworld is actually just a psychic projection of his own mind. That includes his love interest, Tarianna.
  • Retcon: Issue #3 establishes the retcon that Lockjaw isn't actually a dog, but an Inhuman that just looks like a dog. This was quickly retconned to just be Quicksilver pulling a prank on Ben to minimize human dog implications.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • Similar to how Ben looks like a golem, when the Puppet Master comes back, he is made of living clay. When Ben finally defeats him in his mind, his clay body can't handle it and collapses.
    • Grimm the Sorcerer is literally a version of Ben Grimm that he made with the psychic powers being on Battleworld has given him. This version of Ben is at war with the other versions, the part of himself that was unable to come to terms with both sides of himself.

    Volume 2 
  • An Aesop: Issue #4 has Reed teach Franklin a lesson about money, that recklessly spending on yourself when others might need it more feels bad. This, of course, was more of a lesson for Ben, as he had been recklessly spending his own money.
  • Androcles' Lion: While he was already friends with Lockhaw, removing a piece of concrete from his paw while the other Inhumans didn't notice makes Lockjaw move from the Blue Area of the Moon to Ben's place.
  • Birthday Episode: Issue #7 takes place on Alicia's birthday.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Carlotta, the actress that Ben was dating.
  • Call-Back: During Ben's poker tournament, Hercules manages to win back almost all the money he had lost to the Constrictor back when the Constrictor sued him in Slott's She-Hulk.
  • Cool Old Guy: Hiram Sheckerberg, a pawnbroker on Yancy Street, who demands Ben pay him back what he owe...but not in money, in actual help. Yep, he forces the Idol o' Millions to sweep.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: Ben's got billions of dollars now.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Not fishing, but rather playing poker. Ben, in celebration of his bar mitvah, decides to throw a huge poker tournament and invites everyone he knows, which is mostly superheroes.
  • The Mafia: When Ben tries to make the Grimm Youth Center, the Maggia (Marvel's version of the Mafia) tries to get him to hire their construction workers, but it doesn't take. So they hire the Trapster to, well, trap Ben.
  • Namedworld and Namedland: Murderland, since Arcade already had Murderworld.
  • Time Travel: When Ben decides to take Alicia out for her birthday, he decides to take her back in time to touch the newly made Venus de Milo. Unfortunately, this results in a mix-up that means Ben is actually the one to destroy the de Milo's arms.

    Volume 3 
  • Actionized Sequel: Though not without poignant reflections and character moments, the Thing gets at least one climactic action scene per issue if not an outright fight.
  • Back for the Dead: The Faceless One (singular) appears for the first time in decades and is seemingly eaten alive by a horde of dog-sized alien spiders.
  • The Bus Came Back: One-time Avengers foe and superpowered cavemen turned heavily armored cosmic sellsword Berserker returns from the Shadow World to antagonize the Thing. Presumably, Doctor Doom freed him.
  • Denser and Wackier: A lot of ground and preposterous circumstances are covered in what is the shortest of the "main" books formally titled as The Thing.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Due to her shameless use of a Full-Body Disguise, both Ben and Alicia wind up having protracted intimate encounters with Death.
  • Healthy in Heaven: Well, not Heaven, but getting stranded in Death's Realm lets Alicia see since she's technically doing so with her very soul. The fact that she's also still alive grants her extra strength and toughness she doesn't have on Earth.
  • The Heavy: Doctor Doom and Mot, as they're the characters whose minions and actions impede Ben's attempts to figure out what's going on.
  • Tagalong Kid: Billy Spector, a young boy who acts as Grimm's sidekick for most of the volume and doubles as a Mr. Exposition with his bizarre holistic knowledge of everything strange they come across.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The Champion of the Universe concludes his city-spanning battle with the Thing (Ben swung at him first) with a devastating melee combo and an earthshaking duplex.


Video Example(s):


How The Thing Catches A Taxi

The Thing stops a taxi using his super powers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / PedestrianCrushesCar

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