- I'm Ben Grimm again! The Real Ben Grimm!
- -- Ben Grimm
Appearing in "And Now... the Thing!"
- Fantastic Four
- Richard Janus (First appearance)
- United States of America
- Negative Zone Portal
- Janus' energy-ray
Synopsis for "And Now... the Thing!"
The Fantastic Four have returned to their headquarters to finish the crucial final phase of Reed's latest experiment to restore the Thing back to human form. While Sue protects her husband with an invisible force field, Johnny uses his powers to melt the ice that has kept Ben in suspended animation while they were off fighting a battle. With Ben's life on the line, Reed finishes the final phase of the transformation. It is a complete success as Ben is reverted back to human form. Reed also has another surprise in store for his old friend; he can now change back and forth into the Thing at will. After some initial strain, Ben succeeds in triggering his transformation.
They are soon joined by Alicia, who was called in after she was informed of the good news. Changing back into human form and putting on specially treated clothing, Ben takes his girl Alicia out on a date. After the happy couple have departed, Johnny laments that Ben's happiness only reminds him that Crystal is gone. Thinking that nobody will help him, Johnny storms off to brood alone. More trouble begins to brew when Sue asks Reed to join her in picking up Franklin from Agatha Harkness' home on Whisper Hill. This leads to a brief spat between the couple when Reed dismisses her request in favor of an important experiment. As Sue leaves to pick up Franklin alone, she begins to wonder if perhaps the Fantastic Four need to spend some time apart from one another.
Things are less than ideal for Ben and Alicia as they ride the subway. When Alicia comments how this is the first time they have gone out without being gawked at, Ben decides to have some mean spirited fun by transforming into the Thing, scaring all the passengers riding with them on the subway. The stunt troubles Alicia, but Ben brushes it off as nothing but fun. As they walk the street they come across a warehouse robbery. When Alicia is almost gunned down, Ben transforms into the Thing and puts a quick stop to the crooks' escape attempt. Giving into his anger, Ben is about to kill them when Alicia manages to talk him down. Ben reverts back to human form, and, when she comments on how different he is now, he decides to take her home instead of on a date.
Back at the Baxter Building, Reed receives a call from downstairs made by Richard Janus. Much to Reed's dismay, Janus has come demanding access to the Negative Zone. Reed admits Janus to his lab and shows him the Negative Zone from his view screen and stresses the absolute danger of that dimension, recounting the Fantastic Four's recent battle against Annihilus in that realm.  Dismissing Reed's warnings, Janus pulls out a ray blaster and uses it to incapacitate his host. He makes a break for the portal into the Negative Zone.
Meanwhile, at Whisper Hill, Sue tries to surprise her son Franklin by attempting to sneak up on him while invisible and is shocked when the boy is somehow able to see her. When Sue tries to tell Agatha, the old woman dismisses it, leaving Sue to believe that Harkness is keeping some kind of secret from her. At the Baxter Building, Johnny returns to find Ben reading the paper and demands to know where Reed is. Short of temper, the two men soon begin scrapping when Reed rushes into the room. He stops them to tell them that they have been attacked. Rushing back to Reed's lab, they arrive too late to stop Richard Janus from entering the portal into the Negative Zone.
Once again the dreaded Negative Zone threatens to destroy the entire world! But, just when he's needed most - what's happening to - the Thing?
- The last time the Thing was restored to normal was in Fantastic Four #78 a cure he gave up to protect Alicia Masters from the Android Man in Fantastic Four #79. This is the first time a cure yielded Ben the ability to switch back and forth between his human and Thing forms.
- Johnny is upset about his girlfriend Crystal being forced to return home to Attilan in Fantastic Four #105. The pair had been dating since Fantastic Four #64. Johnny does not see her again until Fantastic Four #117.
- Reed references his encounter with Annihilus in Fantastic Four Annual #6. However, Reed battled the lord of the Negative Zone one more time after that prior to this issue in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #9. In Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #12 Reed used the Cosmic Cube to erase everyone's memories of the events of that series, which likely goes to explain why Reed doesn't mention it here (other than the fact that FFWGCM was published years later).
- This story drops a hint that Franklin has super-human powers, a plot point that reaches its fruition in Fantastic Four #141.
- This issue features a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Ronald Brummitt, Wilson Fong, Mark S. Cowell and Lee A. Ruff.
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