Appearing in "The Main Event"
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Synopsis for "The Main Event"
The Thing and the Hulk are meeting face to face for a one-on-one brawl against each other in the middle of a street. However in the middle of it the fight suddenly ends. As it turn out that the two are fighting in a virtual reality simulation as part of a charity show. However the Thing isn't willing to call the fight over, nor is a secret spectator. The Thing tries to take a shot at the Hulk, even with the Invisible Woman and Human Torch trying to pull him back, but the Hulk easily subdues Ben. Ben decides that he has had enough and decides to go be by himself for the moment. On his way out of the Colisseum he bumps into the Ajax, one of Hulk's allies in the Pantheon, making him spell his popcorn. The simple minded Ajax gets mad for dropping his snack while the Thing is upset that the bump knocked his helmet off his face, revealing his scarred face. The two almost come to blows when they are broken up by members of the Pantheon and the Fantastic Four.
Meanwhile at the Pantheon's headquarters known as the Mount, their teammate Delphi awakens form a nightmare. Back in Las Vegas, the Pantheon meets with the Hulk to discuss what they are going to do next, however the Hulk has no interest in seeing the sights in Vegas due to his past history in the region as Mr. Fixit. The rest of the group decide to go out for supper, agreeing to meet with the Hulk in the morning so they can return to the Mount. Later that evening, Delphi awakens from her nightmare with a vision of the Thing choking Atalanta to death. She sends out this dire warning telepathically to her teammates, prompting the simple minded Ajax to rush off to stop the Thing before he can theoretically harm Atalanta. Delphi tells the others that since her dreams are not always accurate they should stop him before someone gets hurt. Ajax manages to find the Thing first and ambushes him, as the fight begins to cause a large amount of damage the Hulk is called in his hotel room and alerted of the problem. The Hulk breaks up the fight just as the Pantheon and Fantastic Four arrive on the scene with the authorities. As they are hashing things out, they all realize that Atalanta is nowhere to be scene and go out to try and find her.
In the middle of the Nevada desert, Atalanta is taking in the sights when suddenly a massive hand rips out of the ground and pulls her down into the ground. As the heroes continue to search for the missing girl, the members of the Pantheon find a letter saying that Atalanta was hitching back to the Mount and will meet them there. Even though it is probably a forgery, the Hulk sends Ajax, Paris, and Hector back to the Mount anyway while he and the Fantastic Four keep searching the desert. No sooner are the Pantheon gone does the ground break open dumping the Hulk and the Fantastic Four into the realm of Subterranea. There they are ambushed by a massive snake that breaths sleeping gas that knocks them all out. When the Hulk awakens he find that the Mole Man has contained the Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and Atalanta. The Mole Man then shows the aging body of his lover Kala. He explains that he has not been able to restore her youth since the Subterranean Wars and has now rigged up a machine that absorbs the massive energies from when the Hulk and Thing fight to try and restore her.
Despite Kala's protests to let her die and the prisoners pleas for the Thing and Hulk not to follow the Mole Man's wishes, the Thing is convinced to fight when his old foe begins torturing his captives. At first it looks as though the Thing and the Hulk are just following the Mole Man's wishes, even as he begins to torture their friends. But in reality the two are working together, pounding on each other to get close enough to the Mole Man and smash his control rod. With it's destruction all the gathered energies are released ruining the Mole Man's plans. Angered by this affront, he summons his Megataur to destroy them. As the Hulk holds the creature at bay, the Thing frees Sue, Johnny and Atalanta. With the Megataur defeated, Kala frees herself from his rejuvenation and tells him that she accepts her old age even as the device goes through one final malfunction. Realizing that she loves him for who he is, the Mole Man agrees to stop his insane scheme and asks Kala to marry him. Kala accepts and with the danger over, the heroes return to the surface where the Thing continues to press his luck by insisting that he can take the Hulk in a fight.
- There has been a long standing feud between the Thing and the Hulk and they have clashed many times. As of this story these previous times are: Fantastic Four #12, Fantastic Four #25–26, Incredible Hulk #122, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #5, Fantastic Four #112, Incredible Hulk #153, Marvel Feature #11, Giant-Size Super-Stars #1, Fantastic Four #166–167, Rampaging Hulk (Vol. 2) #5, Marvel Two-In-One #46, Marvel Two-In-One Annual #5, Marvel Fanfare #21, Marvel Graphic Novel: The Big Change #1, Fantastic Four #320, Incredible Hulk #350, Incredible Hulk #365, and Incredible Hulk Annual #18. The two next meet in Hulk #9.
- The Thing is wearing a helmet here because his face was slashed by Wolverine in Fantastic Four #347. Eventually the Thing's face is healed in Fantastic Four #409.
- The reason why Mister Fantastic is not present in this story is because he was seemingly slain in Fantastic Four #381. However it is later revealed that he was actually taken prisoner by Hyperstorm as seen in Fantastic Four #405.
- The Hulk mentions how he used to live in Las Vegas when he was "Joe Fixit", this is a reference to the period between Incredible Hulk #324–371 when Banner's "grey Hulk" persona was in charge. From after faking his death in Incredible Hulk #346 he operated as Joe Fixit a Vegas mob enforcer from Incredible Hulk #347 on until Banner and his Green and Grey Hulk personas merged into the "Professor" identity in Incredible Hulk #377.
- The Mole Man mentions that during the Subterranean Wars Kala was stabbed by a Deviant Mutate and fell into a coma. that happened in Avengers: West Coast Annual #6.
- Ben mentions that the scene of the group fighting the Megataur seems familiar. Herb Trimpe was attempting to draw a homage to the cover of Fantastic Four #1. It's a very horrible rendition. Incidentally that story is the first time the Fantastic Four fought the Mole Man.
- Although Kala agrees to marry the Mole Man again, she is never seen again. Her subsequent fate is unknown.
- This story features a pin-up of the Fantastic Four fighting the Frightful Four.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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