Issue(s): Thing #10
And then he goes with Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch to investigate an energy reading in Central Park that will lead to Secret Wars.
And of course the Thing will decide not to return after Secret Wars and while he's away, the Human Torch will strike up a relationship with Alicia (or, i suppose, with a Skrull impersonator). So this is actually pretty sad. On the other hand, the Thing's constant self-pity has been tiresome, so it's an interesting development to have a change.
With regards to marriage, the Thing says "We can't ever get married. At least, not the way real people do." I may be crass in thinking that's an anatomy-related comment, but i can't think of another interpretation.
The end of an era (at least until the Alica-Skrull debacle).
As for the issue itself, it's nice for the book to return to being character driven after the past two Egyptian warrior issues, but it's all a bit maudlin. And the art is sometimes great, and sometimes oddly blocky.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The FF (minus the Invisible Girl) leave for Secret Wars this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAlicia Masters, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Sergius O'Hoolihan, Thing
The marriage comment probably was anatomy-related; in an issue of X-Men Vs. Fantastic Four a thought balloon of Ben's states that he can't "be a man" with Alicia.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 2, 2011 4:56 PM
The comic's footnote is wrong. Ben (and the rest of the FF) first met Alicia in FF #8.
Posted by: Shar | November 27, 2012 10:59 PM
Reference updated. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 28, 2012 7:18 AM
This issue was originally annnouced to be a flashback story taking place between FF #1 & #2.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 3, 2013 2:06 PM
Well, there was a flashback dealing with the Thing's reactions to and from the humans after the spaceflight crash. It's less between FF #1 and 2 and more between chapters of FF# 1.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | June 27, 2016 3:57 AM
I'm not opposed to character-driven books, but man I feel like almost nothing happened in this issue. The conversation between the Thing and Alicia took13 pages, and yet what it really covered could have been done in 2 or 3 pages. The trip to Central Park to explore the Beyonder's "arena" was also drawn out. It was 4 pages long. The other books that included heroes being sent to Secret Wars spent fewer pages than this.
It also felt odd to me that the book didn't state why Reed thinks Ben can't change back to human form. This is the Thing's book, and yet we're expected to go to Fantastic Four 245 to learn this important detail.
The extended flashback - where we see the FF meeting with the soldiers right after their transformation, was interesting. It was the only redeeming feature of the issue.
I still can't get over how poor I find the quality of this book. I put it on the same level as Dazzler or Savage She-Hulk, in spite of Byrne's involvement and the high quality story telling in the concurrent issues of Fantastic Four. Perhaps it is telling that the cover of this issue features eying that occurs on the last page and was occurring in other titles as well. There was just nothing else cover-worthy in this issue.
Posted by: Peter Niemeyer | March 9, 2018 9:43 PM
I believe Byrne was only on the book because it was going to be a thing with or without him, and he wanted to maintain the control of the character -you may recall Two-in-One ignoring the extended leathery Thing, and k'know, it's Byrne; of course he was pissed about that- and it's clear enough that he didn't have any great feel for solo Thing or something, and one assumes, gave it up for a bad job not worth the effort after a year and change. Maybe he trusted Mike Carlin.
Posted by: BU | March 10, 2018 9:57 PM
It's quite possible when Ben says that he can't love her "as a man", he's just being overly dramatic OR he's simply worried coitus, or child bearing will kill Alicia. (He never brings that up with the superpowered women who come on to him, though he also wouldn't consider it any of their business) But it's not something that troubles his relationship with Sharon Ventura. Maybe he's just not as "sensitive" down there.
In less "Mallrats" talk, Alicia was pretty heavily brutalized by Annihilus. I imagine part of Ben's breaking things off with her had a lot to do with this, so that probably added weight to his anger at seeing Johnny with her.
Posted by: rabartlett | April 24, 2018 11:09 PM
"We can't ever get married. At least, not the way real people do."
IMO, this just means "we can't settle down, find ourselves a place, have a couple of kids, and work nine to five until we retire, the way real people do."
In effect, he saying they can't get married like real people because 'I'm a member of the Fantastic Four, I'm not real, I'm surreal. Real husbands might come home late from work because the car broke down or they were stuck in a traffic jam down at the Brooklyn Bridge. I might not come home at all because the spaceship has been destroyed by Skrulls or we were stuck in a jam against Blastaar down at the Negative Zone.'
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 24, 2018 11:53 PM
-I don't see any difference between this and how Byrne coded Northstar and Maggie Sawyer as gay so sharp adults would get it and kids too young wouldn't - it's how he writes that sort of sensitive sexual thing that would never fly in any all ages book, said explicitly. -[I]Definitely[/I] not the standard equipment down there on the Thing, according to Byrne...
Posted by: BU | April 25, 2018 10:46 PM
I've been re-reading my Byrne run of FF and also the Thing series since they're related. I still find it hard to swallow that despite the hints at a break up here that 10 FF issues from now (checklist says #265) we got the Johnny/Alicia morning after scene. If you don't consider the future storylines of Lyja or Franklin's manipulation which you wouldn't have known about either yet I never got the impression with things still unresolved that she was ready to chuck their long relationship to seek solace in the arms of Johnny of all people. Do something about the rut the Thing/Alicia was in, yes but I could never see her doing that to Ben.
Posted by: KevinA | May 1, 2018 1:48 AM
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