Appearing in "Things to Come!"
Synopsis for "Things to Come!"
The Thing and Ms. Marvel have found themselves prisoners in Aqiria when after they discovered a covert space flight and that their enemy Fasaud, had been in league with King Khafir and American ambassador Winsor Raynes. Fasaud explains that with the launch of a new satellite his reach will get him anywhere around the world. Chained to a device that will severely shock them should they try to escape, Ben asks Raynes why an American ambassador is working with Fasaud. Winsor explains that the American government needs to get their military payloads into space but because NASA cannot fly these missions due to public safety, the government is doing it covertly through their allies in Aqiria. Fasaud then reveals that the two heroes are shackled just below the booster rockets of the shuttle as that they are incinerated when the rocket takes off. When Raynes tries to reach out to Ms. Marvel to touch her, she finally snaps and tries to lunge at him, but the electrical feedback incapacitates her. Thinking the woman man, the trio of men leave to finish their conspiracy.
Unwilling to give up and allow them to die, the Thing decides to try and push the electrified shackles to their limit. Eventually, his strength proves the better and he manages to break free. When Sharon tries to do the same, she is not nearly strong enough and Ben has to help free her after. As the two heroes make their escape, they run into some guards, including one in robotic armor. The two make short work of these guards, but Sharon's continued anxiety towards men continues to make Ben concerned about her viability on the team.
Back in New York, Johnny and Crystal are still on guard waiting for another attack by Fasaud when they are brought food by Alicia. When Alicia accidentally comments on how "boring" it must be for Johnny to be sitting around all day with Crystal, Johnny leads her out of the room to assure her that he and Crystal only work together. Saddened by the comment, Crystal goes looking through her purse and finds what she is looking for: a business card belonging to Norman Webster.
Back in Aquiria, the Thing and Ms. Marvel fight their way through more guards and steal a jeep so they can get to the space shuttle as quickly as possible. Stealing aboard, they blast off into space in the hopes of destroying the satellite that Fasaud intends to use for his own murderous deeds. Sharon is taken aback by the majestic view of space but still shirks when Ben tries to hold her hand, much to his chagrin. As they approach the satellite, a holographic image of Fasaud appears on their view screen. He tells them that he has full control of the satellite's onboard weapons and begins attacking them in earnest. With weapons of their own, Ben tries to blast the satellite, but the ship sustains damage causing a fire in the cabin. As Ms. Marvel tries to put out the flames, Fasaud appears in the ship and attacks her. But when Ben begins causing damage to the satellite, it starts to weaken Fasaud's broadcast signal, allowing Sharon to gain the upper hand over him. With his attention split, Fasaud is forced to teleport back to the satellite to focus his power there.
This proves to be a futile gesture, as Ben destroys the satellite soon after. As they celebrate their victory, Ben kisses Sharon on the mouth and is surprised when she doesn't pull away. However, Fasaud interrupts their tender moment with a broadcast telling them that he has stolen the last of the power from their ship in order to have the energy to beam himself back to Earth. With their ship now free-falling back to Earth, Ben fights his way back to the ship controls and tries to prevent a crash landing. As they approach the planet they pass through cosmic rays, much to Ben's horror. Soon the ship bursts into flames and the ship crash lands in a jungle. Having survived the crash, Ben pulls himself from the rubble and is horrified to discover that the cosmic rays have mutated him even further. Hearing Sharon call out for help, Ben searches through the wreckage and is shocked once again when he finds her and discovers that she has been mutated into a thing as well.
- Sharon's obvious discomfort with men is due to the fact hat she was raped while a prisoner of the mad scientist Karl Malus in Captain America #330–331 this was fully explained in Fantastic Four #306. That she was raped is not stated flat-out, instead it is heavily implied due to censorship and content restrictions imposed by the Comics Code Authority which was enforced at the time of this publication.
- The woman here claiming to be Alicia Masters is an impostor. As explained in Fantastic Four #358, Alicia was secretly replaced by the Skrull spy Lyja, who was sent to infiltrate the Fantastic Four. With the Thing no longer part of the team she focused her attention on Johnny. Lyja took Alicia's place during the events of Fantastic Four #265.
- The tense situation between Johnny, "Alicia" and Crystal is due to their history:
- Johnny and Crystal dated between Fantastic Four #65–105 until the outside world's pollution forced her to return home to Attilan.
- Crystal ended up rescuing Quicksilver along the way and the two fell in love as seen in Fantastic Four #131–132. Crystal and Quicksilver later got married in Fantastic Four #150. Johnny had a series of failed relationships while Ben and Alicia remained together over the years.
- Years later, Johnny and "Alicia" started dating circa Fantastic Four #275 and eventually got married in Fantastic Four #300.
- Meanwhile, Crystal had and affair with Norm Webster and was eventually caught during the events of Vision and the Scarlet Witch (Vol. 2) #6 through 12.
- Reed elected Ben to replace him as leader of the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #304
- Ben then asked Crystal to join the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #305.
- Ben mentions being hung up on Alicia Masters:
- Ben and the real Alicia Masters dated for a long time, since Fantastic Four #9.
- In Fantastic Four #245 Reed had realized that Ben could change back and forth between his human and Thing forms at will, but his belief that Alicia only loved him as the Thing subconsciously prevented Ben from doing so. Reed kept this a secret.
- When most of the Fantastic Four were among those kidnapped by the Beyonder to battle in the first Secret Wars on Battleworld, Ben discovered he could change back and forth and believed it was because of Battleworld itself. He decided to stay there in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12.
- Ben remained on Battleworld between Thing #11–22 where he eventually lost his ability to change back into Ben Grimm and returned to Earth.
- When Ben returned from Battleworld in Fantastic Four #277 he discovered that Johnny was now in a relationship with "Alicia."
- In Thing #23 the truth of what Reed had known came out and the Thing quit the Fantastic Four.
- Ben ended up joining the Mole Man's society Fantastic Four #296, where he still held a grudge against Reed and the Fantastic Four for everything that happened to him. Despite this he grudgingly rejoined the team when they later came looking for him.
- Johnny recently married "Alicia" in Fantastic Four #300
- In Fantastic Four #303 Ben realized that he still loved Alicia Masters.
- Following his defeat here, Fasaud is not seen again until Union Jack (Vol. 2) #1.
- Ben is mutated further, he maintains this form until he is reverted back to human form in Fantastic Four #327.
- Sharon's form resembles that of the Thing when he was originally mutated back in Fantastic Four #1. This form later evolves to a more rock-like appearance in Fantastic Four #322.