Quote1.png Where do we catch the next trolley for the 23rd century, Gloria Steinhem version? Quote2.png
-- Thing (Benjamin Grimm)

Appearing in "Alternatives"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Android with 6-arms

Other Characters:




Synopsis for "Alternatives"

The Thing tries to cheer himself up by spending time in the Fantastic Four's trophy room, but the idea does little to affect his mood. The problem is that even though he was the best man at Johnny and Alicia's wedding he is still hurting over the fact that Alicia ended up marrying the Torch instead of him. Thinking about how this happened, Ben comes to the conclusion that if he hadn't gone to Battleworld and took part in the Secret Wars none Johnny and Alicia's relationship would never would have happened. Ben then decides to see what Reed and Sue are up to, but when he finds them watching over their son Franklin as he sleeps, he decides that he doesn't need them to babysit him during one of his moods and decides to go out and get some fresh air.

Ben finds himself walking through a powerful storm and as he continues to think of how things would have been different had he not gone to Battleworld, he is suddenly blinded by a flash of lighting. Appearing before him is his old ally Thundra, who explains that she had returned to her own future recently thanks to the Nth Command's reality projector, but now needs his help. She explains that the warriors of Machus are revolting against the women on her world. When she asks for Ben's help to quell the uprising, he agrees to join her. Activating her D-Belts, Thundra transports the two of them to the 23rd Century.

The pair appear in the middle of a dungeon where the warriors of Machus have the Femazon guards chained up as hostages. They easily fight off the men, but they then unleash a six-armed android against them. At first neither Thundra or the Thing are any match for their foe, but Ben eventually knocks it out and the uprising is ended. In the aftermath of the battle, Thundra asks Ben to marry her, but she warns him to make up his mind quickly as the D-Belt -- at it's current settings -- will send him back to his own era. After some thinking, Ben decides instead of going back to the moment he first left, he wants another crack at trying to be happy with Alicia and asks Thundra to send him into the past so he can prevent himself from going to Battleworld and losing Alicia.

Thundra agrees and a device is constructed to project Ben not only back in time, but into his body during that point in time. Ben is merged with his past self just moments before he, Johnny and Reed are tricked into entering the Beyonder's transporter onto Battleworld. At the last moment, Ben dives out of the way while Reed and Johnny are teleported away. He then goes back to Alicia's apartment where he tells her what happened, but assures her that with the other heroes that were also captured, Johnny and Reed will make it back okay. He then asks Alicia to marry him and she agrees.

Not long after this, Reed and Johnny return and are reunited with Sue and Ben, who tells them of the upcoming wedding. Ben is surprised to see that Johnny is a little sad to hear that he and Alicia are going to tie the not, making Ben question if Johnny only fell in love with Alicia after he came back from the Secret Wars. Eventually it is time for the wedding and the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and their friends, family and allies are all present. During the exchange of vows, Ben continues to doubt if this is the right course of action and suddenly decides to call the wedding off, much to the shock of everyone. Ben then charges out of the church, leaving the super-powered guests to prevent it from collapsing on the other guests.

As the guests try to make sense of what was happening, Ben rushes to a nearby cliff and begins calling out to Thundra, thinking that she has taken some kind of perverse pleasure in this turn of events. An image of Thundra appears before him and explains that she had no hand in the ensuing tragedy. When Ben asks to return to her world and accept her wedding proposal, she informs him that the D-Belt charge cannot return him to her time but only his proper point in history. With no other choice and the others coming to demand answers, Ben is shot forward through time and space and returns to the present time in his own era. Returning to the Four Freedoms Plaza, Ben takes a seat in Franklin's room to watch the boy sleep and come to terms with everything that has happened that evening. When Ben mulls it over he breaks down in tears when he realizes that he is still in love with Alicia, and fears that perhaps he always will.


Continuity Notes

  • Some of the objects in the Fantastic Four's trophy rooms have been previously seen in other stories. These items are:
  • In the original course of events -- as later revealed in Fantastic Four #358 --- Alicia was replaced by Lyja circa Fantastic Four #265. It is unclear if that is the case in the divergent reality that is created when Ben goes back in time. Obviously, at the time this story was published the idea of Lyja taking Alicia's place to spy on the Fantastic Four had not been developed as a concept.
  • Other continuity irregularities in this new timeline are as follows:
    • This story apparently ignores the fact that Sue was pregnant at the time of the original Secret Wars and went into labor shortly after the Fantastic Four returned in Fantastic Four #265 and that she had a miscarriage and nearly died giving birth in Fantastic Four #265. This was probably overlooked for narrative pacing, an explanation should be considered speculative.
    • She-Hulk and Wyatt Wingfoot appear to be in a relationship in this alternate timeline. On Earth-616 their relationship began when She-Hulk joined the FF in Fantastic Four #265. She met Wyatt when the FF battled Terminus circa Fantastic Four #269-270. This story suggests that She-Hulk did not end up joining the FF because Ben remained behind on Earth. How Wyatt and Jen ended up in a relationship in this new timeline is not explored.

See Also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks

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