Issue(s): Thing #11
In this one, the device that can transport him back to earth is stolen by a race of thieves...
...and he finds the thieves living at the top of a giant unclimbable tower. Around the base of the tower, an entire community has developed, populated with people who have followed the thieves trying to get their stuff back. A young girl named Llrrllllnnllyyrrl provides Ben Grimm with a flying lizard that allows him to reach the top of the tower, in return for his agreement that he'll bring back her stolen item as well.
The top of the tower turns out to be a teleporter (it's left open whether the teleportation leads to another part of the Battleplanet or a different planet altogether). Ben is forced to transform into the Thing...
...and he's then able to penetrate the thieves' castle and get his transporter back.
The girl's item (we're never told what it is), however, is buried deep in the thieves' treasure rooms and they say it will take some time before they can find it and give it back, although they promise to do so.
Ben is very disappointed that he has to turn into the Thing in order to achieve his goals. I find that a little strange - the value of this planet is that he can control his transformations. I didn't think he never wanted to become the Thing again; i thought he just wanted to have the choice (as he said in Secret Wars, "Why can't I control it -- like the Torch?").
The other aspect of this series that is worth considering is the difference between the way the Battleplanet is depicted in this book vs. the Secret Wars series. Of course, this series was initially being published before Secret Wars was completed (this issue was published the same month as Secret Wars #1). So it's not surprising that things don't line up neatly. One thing that's consistent is the idea that the planet was put together from chunks of other planets. So while Ben is chasing the thieves, he runs through mountains, then a strange rock-tentacle landscape, and then desert, with each terrain ending abruptly as the next one begins.
But what's odd is that we will encounter lots of alien races. My impression of Secret Wars was that it wasn't a very populated planet. There was the suburb from Denver, and there was Zsaji's people. That's all we ever saw. We'll be introduced to a lot more people during the course of this series. In this issue, it's the thieves and those who futilely followed the thieves trying to get their stuff back. Ben thinks their city:
Don't quite look like it wuz built. Looks kinda like it grew here, like coral. Each generation buildin' on the last.
I'm not quite sure what the problem is. My assumption was that the whole city was lifted from whatever planet they were originally on. There's no need for it to have developed after on Battleplanet. If the aliens that populated the city were from disparate races from around the newly formed planet, then the question of how it developed so quickly would have been valid. But they're all of the same race - green, big foreheaded people. Anyway, we can chalk that up to Ben Grimm's ignorance for now.
Frankly, i'm not a big fan of these "Rocky Grimm, Space Ranger" stories, as the title of this issue puts it. John Byrne did a similar type of story during the FF's romp through the Negative Zone in Fantastic Four #251-256. Maybe it's the fact that he's not drawing it, maybe it's the lack of team interaction, but i feel like these stories aren't quite as good. Later the series will take on a more psychological aspect, but for the first few issues it's purely adventure stories, and they're not all that exciting to me.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
The "Rocky Grimm" storyline seemed like a complete waste to me at the time. It was like the book just stopped dead until Secret Wars ended, and the title never really got back onto whatever footing it had. Too many anatagonists just seemed silly(especially the "monsters" issue) and Grimm's constant complaining of having to turn into the Thing to get stuff done really gets on the nerves.
And "Rocky Grimm" refers to the early 1950s sci-fi TV show "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger".
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