Fantastic Four #303
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #303
My reading of the past few issues of the Fantastic Four was that the Thing had accepted the fact that he and Alicia were no longer together. After all, he came back to Earth with the intention of breaking up with her. And he's accepted Johnny, agreed to be best man at the wedding. I don't expect him to be jumping around with joy, but i had hoped he was past the depression and regret. Roy Thomas has a different interpretation though.
With Alicia gone as a love interest, Thomas brings back Thundra.
And she brings him to her alternate future, where the Femizons are apparently at war again with the men of Machus, who have "risen in revolt in their prison" and developed an android that emits "alpha waves" that make women weak. So she needs the Thing to fight it.
And when it's defeated, Thundra asks him to marry her.
The Thing rejects the offer ("you deserve somebody who'd marry you for your seven-foot self -- not cause he was on the rebound") but then casually mentions that he wishes he could live his life over again, at least from the point where he left for Battleworld. And Thundra tells him that thanks to the wonders of alternate future technology, he can.
This time, he jumps out of the way of the beam that brought the FF into space with the other participants of Secret Wars.
And he heads back to Alicia and asks her to marry him. And she accepts.
We start to jump quickly in time, and with some continuity differences, like Sue not being pregnant right after the FF return from Secret Wars...
..and the Avengers attending a wedding that otherwise looks identical to Johnny and Alicia's.
The Thing calls things off at the altar, and has Thundra send him back to his proper time.
However, this doesn't seem to have changed anything for him. He's still in love with Alicia.
There's nothing like a blast from the 70s past using Thundra and the men of Machus to remind us how women were written before the improvements of the 80s.
I'm totally fine with the idea that the Thing is going to remain in love with Alicia, but we've now been dwelling on it in a hundred different ways, from his return in Byrne's FF, all through the second half of his solo series, the anniversary issue, and then when it seemed like we ripped the bandage off, again in Roger Stern's run. And now again from Roy Thomas. Enough already. It's tragic, but the tragedy is that the Thing doesn't think that he can be with a woman like Alicia, not that Johnny stole or he let her slip away. He made his decision. Now let him move on. (And the good news is next issue Steve Englehart is taking over the book, and he has Sharon Ventura waiting in the wing.)
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
That Thundra link should be to MTIO 67, not 68
Posted by: S | March 6, 2014 1:05 AM
Thanks, S. Fixed it.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 6, 2014 7:23 AM
I believe, outside of the Labyrinth mini in 1986, this is Romeo Tanghal's first work at Marvel. He mostly worked for DC inking the likes of George Perez on New Teen Titans.
Posted by: Robert | June 2, 2014 12:51 PM
The main man fnord writes at the outset here that he felt Ben had: "...accepted the fact that he and Alicia were no longer together." This needs a bit more clarification. Does he feel as I do that acceptance in this case is they shoved him aside, the marriage is over, now to try and get past it? He's certainly not fine with it as the last page clearly shows.
Posted by: KevinA | June 9, 2018 9:36 AM
Acceptance of a loss doesn't mean that it no longer pains you or saddens you. It only means that you've worked through whatever hyper-emotional response you were having to the cognitive dissonance of the loss, and learned to live with it. Here Thomas has Ben using time travel to work through one of the "if-only" scenarios, i.e, "if only I had stayed behind instead of going to Battleworld, things would have worked out differently." But in the end he still didn't marry Alicia. It was always his choice. As for Johnny's reactions, I read those as not necessarily being so Alicia-specific but rather, more along the lines of, "Woe is me, I never have any luck with women but here even the monstrous Thing is successful with a wonderful gal like Alicia." But we don't know what Johnny is thinking, we only get to read what Ben is thinking. For Johnny we only get his spoken words, Buscema's ambiguous facial expressions, and Ben's interpretation of what he thinks Johnny is thinking. So we don't really know.
Not the worst (nor the best) thing that ever came out of Roy Thomas' typewriter. Maybe Don Daley, Editor, had something to do with that. I agree wholeheartedly with Shooter that writers should not edit their own output. Especially not the editor in chief.:-)
"However, this doesn't seem to have changed anything for him. He's still in love with Alicia."
I don't think a single tear or stray thought means that he's still "in love" with Alicia or ever truly was.
Posted by: Holt | June 9, 2018 11:37 AM
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