Issue(s): Thing #35, Thing #36
Again, that's not the explicit reason given here. In fact, after she is nearly mugged by the Fonz...
...and is rescued by a soldier, Michael Lynch, that happens to be in the area...
...we get a flashback of her childhood that shows that she's really just driven to be the best she can be thanks to her inability to satisfy her father, a military man.
Sharon soon realizes that she's made a mistake in coming to the Power Broker, who runs a shady operation.
Evil scientist Karl Malus (i love the way he gets around) is the one who runs the program.
He administers Step One of the process, but Sharon has a freak-out before Malus is able to implement Step Two, and she escapes, demonstrating amazing super-strength.
As she flees she finds the failed rejects of the Power Broker program.
Meanwhile, the Thing comments on the dizzy spells he's been having recently, and asks Demolition Dunphy if he can have some of his "nerve pills", which Dunphy suspiciously doesn't want to talk about.
After filming a promotional spot with Dunphy...
...the Thing decides to go investigate the Power Broker himself, and he comes across the Fonz's gang beating up on Lieutenant Lynch. After that, he and Lynch hear the commotion from Sharon's escape and join her.
The Thing tells Sharon and Michael to run while he holds off the horde of super-wrestlers. They run to Auntie Freeze, and since Sharon's clothes are torn she changes into a new outfit that Auntie gives her, which is pretty obviously based on Carol Danvers' Ms. Marvel costume, although instead of just having Auntie confirm that explicitly, we only have Lynch say that the outfit reminds him of her.
(Sharon's legs are more than twice the length of her upper body. An effect of the Power Broker's process? Granted she's in heels.)
Unfortunately, Auntie Freeze is actually in cahoots with the Broker, so after getting into her new costume, more wrestlers show up.
We learn that all of the wrestlers enhanced by the Power Broker require pills to sustain themselves; that's what Stage Two is for. And now he's demanding that they all attack Sharon or he'll withhold the pills. Demolition Dunphy refuses, and suffers what will turn out to be just withdrawal effects, but he believes that he's dying.
The fight with the wrestlers is of such a scale that She-Hulk hears about it on TV...
...and takes a plane (because Quinjets are hard to access nowadays) to the West Coast.
Meanwhile, the Thing, Sharon, and Michael head back to the Power Broker's facility but find it cleared out.
There's still plenty of wrestlers to fight, though.
During the fight, the Thing starts to mutate, the next phase of whatever's affecting him after the dizzy spells he's been having. With the Power Broker having cleared out, the wrestlers realize that they no longer have access to the pills that keeps them stable, so they agree to help the Thing.
The Thing is brought to a hospital, and that's about when She-Hulk arrives. Thing says he doesn't want to see anyone, so She-Hulk and Sharon get into a fight.
While they are fighting, the Thing breaks out of the hospital, and the last we see of him he's clearly mutated horribly even though we can only see him in silhouette.
The series ends here, with immediate dangling threads to be picked up on in West Coast Avengers and the Power Broker story eventually getting addressed in Captain America. One of the wrestlers appearing in issue #36, Mangler (the third Marvel character to use that name), will appear again in Captain America as part of the Power Broker storyline. Lieutenant Michael Lynch will also appear again.
I do like these last two issues. I like the new color scheme for the Ms. Marvel costume, and i like giving Sharon Ventura super-powers, which is an interesting move considering this series is coming to an end. The Power Broker stuff as a metaphor for steroids in wrestling is obvious, but the whole wrestling theme in the Thing series has been fun, if goofy, and i really like the use of established villain-creator Karl Malus.
Of all the cancellations that happen around this time (Micronauts, Dazzler, Power Man & Iron Fist, Defenders) ostensibly to make way for New Universe books, this series feels the most significant. Remember that the Thing starred in 100 issues of Marvel Two-In-One before, like Marvel Team-Up/Web of Spider-Man, it was converted into a pure solo series with the decline of team-up books that happened with the move to the direct market. The Thing used to be one of Marvel's most popular characters, to the point where he was brought on to co-star with the Human Torch in Strange Tales and even had a weird cartoon in 1979. Part of the reason why his book is cancelled is because he works best as a member of the team, so taking him away from the FF removed the dynamic that made him most interesting. And additionally this book surely tested the patience of any Thing fan with the decision to isolate him on the Secret Wars Battleplanet for a year and then involve him in circuses and such. But Tom Brevoort made the interesting point that the Thing used to be one of Marvel's most dangerous anti-hero characters. But the necessities of the time periods where that was true eventually turned him into a much more cuddly character, with his outbursts more humorous than scary. Meanwhile we've had the rise of grittier anti-heroes like Wolverine and Punisher. So while the Thing is surely still popular and well recognized at least among current fans, he's definitely now a more traditional character (which would probably be pretty shocking to people reading in 1963!) and in that context less likely to be able to sustain a series outside the FF. It's hard to "prove" that since i think this series made a number of missteps, but it's an interesting insight.
I say ostensibly above because while it's been said that books were being cancelled because of New Universe, Marvel is actually expanding its line at this point. And in the lettercol for #36 it's said that the replacements for the Thing book are actually the "long-awaited Nick Fury vs. SHIELD 12-part limited series that we've been working on for the better part of two years" and an "all-new Wonder Man regular series".
Also on that lettercol page (which doesn't actually have any letters) is an encore to the Question of the Month feature that had been running in Gruenwald-edited books. The question this time is "What is your favorite answer to a Question of the Month given by Jim Shooter?", and it's pretty funny.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: She-Hulk appears here between Fantastic Four #292-293. Thing and She-Hulk next appear in West Coast Avengers #10.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
It's the Marvel Gruniverse: Malus has appeared exclusively in Gru-edited books so far. Thematically, Power Broker Inc. and Adametico, in Cap Annual 8, are examples of commodification of super-tech. Gru makes AIM a corporate-organized tech provider as well. TESS-1 and some of the Power Broker stuff that's coming up hint at a big super-soldier program, and Wolverine's inclusion in that Cap annual is at least a tease.
Interestingly, these are themes akin to some Claremont had toyed with for X-Men--a super-hero arms race and superbeings as commodities--but Gru arguably explores them more systematically.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 6, 2013 11:35 PM
Do you think Power Broker was always intended to be Curtiss Jackson? I can't really tell if he was supposed to be like some big shot-Marvel villain incognito, and while the Jackson revelation is something Grunewald likes to do (utilize a reasonably logical if somewhat obscure old bad guy), I guess I wonder about it.
Posted by: Michael Cheyne | December 7, 2013 10:41 AM
The Thing's silhouette behind a hospital curtain looks a lot like a pre-FF#1 Atlas giant monster.
The Thing's mutation goes into "remission" by the time we fully see him again in FF#296(probably because Byrne had quit Marvel and they couldn't use his plot) and doesn't get explained, although Steve Englehart mutates him again during his FF run(which seemed to be a totally separate occurrence).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 7, 2013 4:15 PM
I know John Byrne and others have stated Thing works only in the FF and not as a solo hero, but I never believed that. He would never have lasted 100 issues of MTIO (even though it is a team up book) if that were true.
The problem of the solo Thing series is that none of the writers did what was necessary to establish an effective solo book. It's just 36 issues of the Thing alone plus whatever lame villain he fights.
It needed a supporting cast for Ben Grimm independent of the FF. Maybe some barflys at his favorite hang out, old Air Force and test pilot buddies, and probably some professional contacts in the most likely hook for a career outside the FF - test piloting new and dangerous machines.
Then what's needed is a build up of solo Thing villains. Luckily there are a bunch of FF and MTIO villains to call upon initially. You just need to make sure that it's not a villain who previously fought the FF alone so their threat level isn't downgraded.
Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2014 2:16 PM
"Sharon Carter gets super-powers" - it's like a Stan Lee thing with you and names... :D
Posted by: BU | July 22, 2014 11:31 PM
Has there ever been any issues of anything where Ben sits with a psychiatrist? The way he talks in that last panel suggests he really needs one.
Posted by: A.Lloyd | October 10, 2014 3:28 AM
Why did the other wrestlers think the Thing's mutation could happen to them? They had to know of the Thing's origin. They got their power from the Power Broker. The Thing got his from gamma rays. They're not remotely the same thing.
Posted by: clyde | May 22, 2015 10:42 AM
Clyde, it was cosmic rays ;)
Posted by: Bill | May 22, 2015 11:31 AM
My bad. But, my point is still that it had nothing to do with popping pills. So, why did the wrestlers think there was a chance they might mutate as well?
Posted by: clyde | May 22, 2015 3:45 PM
As I recall, the wrestlers were under the impression that Ben was taking the pills as well. The wrestlers, not being depicted as the brightest bulbs, assumed that the Thing needed a boost like they did and panicked at the sight of his affliction.
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.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 20, 2016 1:00 AM
I was curious to see what The Thing mutated into. And isn't it a shame that 'Grand Poohbah' and 'Mister Cheese' haven't been adopted as screennames by members of this board?
Posted by: Wis | December 11, 2016 10:11 AM
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