- I was screwed up before, but that was only in my mind...
Appearing in "I Want to Die!"
Synopsis for "I Want to Die!"
Having been transformed into a Thing-like creature by cosmic rays, Ms. Marvel is horrified by what she has become and tries to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff. However her new durable body survives the fall. As Ben calls down to Sharon to stop, she frantically breaks off a tree trunk and tries to impale herself, but this also fails. By this point, the Thing has reached her and restrained her from further harm. In a wail of tears, Sharon tells Ben that she wants to die explaining that her beautiful body was all that she had left but now that has been taken away as well. Ben tries to point out that her beauty doesn't matter and that she has gained immeasurable strength and durability. He also tells her that she liked the look of the Thing form on him. When Sharon tries to explain that it's different because she is a woman, Ben reminds her that the one thing she didn't want when joining the Fantastic Four, was the notice of men. When she insists that it's different being a woman, Ben firmly explains to her that it doesn't matter the gender, living is difficult for everybody. His attempts to calm her down fall on deaf ears as Sharon breaks away and charges at a jagged rock outcropping, but this two crumbles to rubble when she goes crashing into it. When Ben tries to stop her again, he gets frustrated with her shouts of "I want to die" that he backhands her sending her flying into the nearby jungle. Ben suddenly realizes that his own further mutation has enhanced his strength putting him on par with the Hulk.
Pulling her out of the foliage, it appears as though Ben has managed to knock some sense into Sharon, or at least calm her down for the moment. However Ben is convinced her mental state is even worse now than after she was before. Leading her through the jungle, Ben can't help but think back to the space flight that led to the creation of the Fantastic Four and first turned him into the Thing. Recalling how angry he was when he first transformed that he lashed out at his friends. He hopes that, unlike when he was first the Thing, Sharon will be able to come to terms with her mutation with his help -- as he knows all too well what she is going to endure.
Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, Crystal is in the lobby of the Four Freedoms Plaza and accepts a visitor. It is Norman Webster, the New Jersey real estate agent that she had an affair with, who has answered her call for a visit. When Crystal expresses an interest in continuing their relationship now that she is separated from he husband, he is a little unnerved when he tells him that the Fantastic Four's receptionist Roberta is actually a robot. He is frank with her, telling Crystal that her world is just too strange and glamorous that he cannot understand how she could still be interested in him, especially with the Human Torch around. When she reminds Norm that Johnny is married, Norma remarks that so was she. Before he leaves, he tells her that he hopes that nobody else gets hurt this time. At that very moment, Roberta answers a call from Alicia who wants to speak with her husband. Roberta tells Alicia that Johnny is out, and assures her that he went out alone.
Johnny has flown to Aqiria to find out what happened to Ben and Sharon following their clash with Fasaud. He lands at the palace and meets with King Khafir and the American ambassador Winsor Raymes. Unaware that they were working with Fasaud, Johnny buys their lies when they say that his two comrades left empty handed, deflecting Johnny's questions about a rocket site in the area.
Elsewhere, Ben and Sharon walk through the unknown jungle. Sharon hasn't said a word and Ben tries to keep things positive with conversation but cannot figure out where they are with all their equipment destroyed when they crash landed. As they go along, Ben tries to come up with a new code-name for her, but decides that Ms. Marvel still fits and she should still use it. Sharon is oblivious to all this, as well a boa constrictor that tries to attack her, but loses interest when it discovers it can cause her no harm.
Eventually they come across a strange red humanoid in front of a mountain. When they get too close it reaches out and grabs onto Sharon. Angered by this silent affront, Ben strikes their mystery attacker and is surprised when his blow does nothing more but increase the muscle mass of the strange being. It then strikes down Ben with a single blow and then strikes Sharon as well. Recovering from the hit, Sharon believes that their attacker might be strong enough to kill her and rushes back, striking the creature and goading it to get stronger and strike hard enough to kill. Ben leaps back into the fray and gets between the creature and Sharon. Although Ben keeps the attacker at bay, it continues to grow in mass and strength with each blow. Soon it begins to glow as though it is getting ready to hit critical mass. Before Ben can land a fatal blow, the Black Panther suddenly appears on the scene and orders Ben to stand down. Quickly leaping on the back of the attacker and pushing a switch on its back, it suddenly becomes inert and reverts back to its natural size.
Ben realizes that they are in Wakanda, and it takes a moment for the Panther to recognize Ben in his new mutated form. With the battle over, the Panther explains that their attacker was a Trans-Human Robot -- or THROB for short -- an android that was created to defend the sacred Vibranium mound of Wakanda from those who sought to steal from it. Explaining how they got to Africa, the Black Panther calls up a hidden communicator from the ground so they can contact the Four Freedoms Plaza and let the rest of the team know where they are. Crystal answers the call and tells Ben that she will inform Johnny when he gets back home and they'll come as soon as they can.
With that business out of the way, T'Challa has to reluctantly tell them that he has another visitor in his kingdom as well. Before he can explain who it is, they are interrupted by the visitor himself -- Doctor Doom. Since he has been forced out of his kingdom by Kristoff Vernard -- who believes himself to be the true Doctor Doom -- T'Challa has offered Doom sanctuary in his own kingdom, in thanks Doom created THROB for the Panther. When they ask how the Black Panther could give Doom sanctuary, T'Challa explains that it is a bond that kings share with one another that obliges him to do so. Seeing Ms. Marvel transformed and listening to her want of death, Doom tells her that suicide is not an option -- pointing out how the former Avenger known as Henry Pym recently attempted such an avenue but opted to put his talents to better use. When Doom offers Sharon the chance of being cured by his scientific expertise, he offers it in exchange for her loyalty in his quest to destroy the Fantastic Four. This offer angers Sharon and she tries to strike Doom, but he is protected by his force-field.
Sharon then tells him that she swore that she would do whatever it took to deserve the honor of being called a member of the Fantastic Four. Before a fight can break out, T'Challa activates nearby defenses to diffuse the situation, telling them that while they are guests in his kingdom, he will not allow them to fight out their petty rivalries in it. Sharon seeks comfort in Ben, and confides that she almost forgot the honor she felt being in the FF and asks him to be someone he can trust. As they walk away, Ben believes that maybe Sharon will pull through and eventually things will be all right.
- Sharon was transformed into a She-Thing and Ben was mutated further after being exposed to cosmic rays last issue.
- Sharon's traumas started while she was raped by thugs while a captive of Karl Malus in Captain America #330-331. That happened behind the scenes but was confirmed in Fantastic Four #306. It's not outright stated here but heavily implied as censorship and content restrictions imposed by the Comics Code Authority as it was enforced at the time of publication limited how such a sensitive subject could be broached.
- Ben's recollection of how he was first mutated by cosmic rays is, of course, a recounting of the events of Fantastic Four #1.
- Roberta, the Fantastic Four's robotic receptionist was last seen in Marvel 1985 #5, After the Baxter Building was destroyed in Fantastic Four #278, Mister Fantastic rebuilt Roberta in the Four Freedoms Plaza as explained in this issue. She next appears in Fantastic Four Annual #21.
- Norman Webster was last seen in Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol 2 #12 after he and Crystal were discovered as to having an affair. This is his last appearance to date.
- The woman whom they refer to as Johnny's wife is not the real Alicia Masters. Unknown to all at the time, Alicia was replaced by a Skrull spy named Lyja around the events of Fantastic Four #265, this was not revealed until Fantastic Four #358.
- The Black Panther appears here following his appearance in Daredevil #245 where he and Daredevil were at odds at how to guide the course of one of his young citizens who was then living in New York.
- The THROB is next seen fighting off the forces of the High Evolutionary in West Coast Avengers Annual #3.
- Doctor Doom's loss of the Latverian throne is a long and complex tale and is as follows:
- It started when he took young Kristoff Vernard as a ward in Fantastic Four #247.
- When Doom was seemingly killed in Fantastic Four #260, his Doombots reprogrammed Kristoff's mind with the personality and memories of Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #278. The Fantastic Four defeated Kirstoff and contained him while they tried to find a cure.
- Meanwhile, Doctor Doom's body was restored to normal by the Beyonder in Fantastic Four #288.
- Later, Doom kidnapped young Franklin Richards in Fantastic Four Annual #20 (Doom's last appearance) to use him as a bargaining chip to have Mephisto free the soul of his mother. In order to get into Doom's caste, the Fantastic Four allowed Kristoff to go free and led them into Doom's domain. In the ensuing battle, Mephisto was defeated, and the Doombots decided to believe Kirstoff was the true Doctor Doom, when Von Doom expressed having failed at something and ran him out of the country.
- Doctor Doom mentions how Hank Pym contemplated suicide. This occurred in West Coast Avengers Vol 2 #17, but was prevented by La Espirita.
- Doom offers to cure Sharon of her condition. Although she refuses him here she eventually accepted his offer in Fantastic Four #350, but this cure eventually came with a price as evidently was seen in Fantastic Four #379.
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