Appearing in "A Sky Full of Fear!"
Synopsis for "A Sky Full of Fear!"
With Power Man having gone on a rampage and stolen the Fantasticar, Reed takes Ben into a room where Reed has been working on another project, apparently another Thing. Ben is furious that Reed has gone to the trouble of turning someone else into the Thing, but soon realizes that it is in reality an exo-suit designed to look like Ben's former monstrous form for Ben to wear in combat so that he can rejoin the Fantastic Four. With Alicia gone after Luke's rampage and the Torch out of commission due to injuries sustained fighting Power Man, Ben tries on the new exo-suit and tests it out.
To his surprise, it's almost as strong as his old self, however Ben isn't sure if he has what it takes. This puts Reed into a false rage intending to make Ben lash out and realizes that he is still just as valuable to the team as he used to be. With the test a success, Reed takes Ben down to one of the storage rooms where he finds that Reed has stored a duplicate of their original model Fantasticar. They take it to chase after Luke, and along the way Ben enquires why Reed was paying the Hero for Hire to be one of the Fantastic Four -- Reed informs him that everything Luke was paid went to charity.
Meanwhile, at a nearby maximum security prison, Alicia Masters brought onto the property be helicopter. She has requested a special audience from the warden to check on her step-father Phillip Masters, aka the Puppet Master, because she suspects that he is responsible for making Power Man go on his rampage through the Baxter Building. Assuring her that they have taken every precaution to make sure her step-father cannot escape or make any of his special puppets the warden takers her to Phillip's cell. There the Puppet Master swears that he doesn't have one of his puppets, however Alicia searches his room and finds a false brick with a Power Man puppet inside. The Puppet Master lashes out and grabs hold of the special puppet, that uses a new blend of clay that allows him to control his victims making them involuntarily do things under their own personality instead of being mindless drones. When Power Man smashes through the wall to Phillip's cell to spring him, Alicia realizes that the Puppet Master was behind the recent strange happenings that the Fantastic Four experienced the past few days.
Grabbing Alicia as a hostage, Power Man escorts the Puppet Master onto the Fantasticar and make their escape. Upon leaving the prison they are attacked by the Thing and Mr. Fantastic, much to everyone's shock and surprise. As the Thing and Power Man fight, Power Man tries to fight off the effects of the puppet but cannot. Their battle, however, causes the Fantasticar to pitch around enough for Phillip to drop his puppet and send Alicia overboard. After a split second decision, Phillip jumps after his step-daughter and both are saved from a fatal fall from Mr. Fantastic. As the puppet dissolves in the water below, Power Man is freed from its control and the battle is ended.
With Phillip turned back over to the authorities, he flies back with Alicia aboard the original Fantasticar. As Ben comforts her he thinks to himself that now he finally has the best of both worlds: He can become the Thing and Ben Grimm whenever he wants and can live a normal life and that of a super-hero. He then begins to consider the idea of finally proposing to Alicia.
- Ben mistakes his Exosuit for the Reed Richards of Earth-721 who became the Thing of his world. Richards-721 last worked with the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #160-163.
- Ben will wear this exosuit until Fantastic Four #175 when his powers are restored.
- This story reveals that the Puppet Master was responsible for possessing people in the last two issues. He's next seen in a flashback from Iron Fist #11.
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