Appearing in "After the Fall!"
Synopsis for "After the Fall!"
Searching for the Hulk after his battle with the Thing,   Ms. Marvel has stormed in on the apartment of the Hulk's cousin, Jennifer Walters -- aka the She-Hulk. When She-Hulk hears about how Ben is in the hospital she offers her condolences, but Sharon is too angry over the situation that she lets out her frustrations on Jen, accusing her of taking Ben's place when he had been estranged from the Fantastic Four and bailed as soon as he returned. Jennifer defends herself, reminding Ms. Marvel that she was chosen by the Thing and that she served the Fantastic Four proudly. She also offers her apologies for Sharon's recent transformations into a She-Thing. When Sharon blows this off, She-Hulk reaches for her demanding to know why she is seeking out the Hulk. When Sharon tells Jen that she intends to defeat the Hulk in a fight, she angrily slaps Walters' hand away. This leads to the two female powerhouses trading blows, smashing through the walls of the apartment building, spilling the battle out into the street. Although Sharon has the advantage of landing the first blow, eventually She-Hulk turns the tables and knocks Ventura down. Feeling like she has gotten her aggression out of her system, Sharon finally decides to listen to reason and talk things out with Jennifer instead.
As peace is being made, the two women are unaware that they are being watched by a mysterious being who has rented out an empty office space on the 100th floor of the Empire State Building. His viewing of the events happening in the city below are almost interrupted by the night time janitor making his rounds. However before he can open the door into the empty office, the mysterious man uses his mental powers to make the man believe that he has cleaned the office already, forcing him to turn and leave. Satisfied that his work will be uninterrupted, he whistles for his minion to get to work. Above the Empire State Building, the Dragon Man howls in response and flies into the air above the city.
Meanwhile, at a nearby bar, the She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel sit down for a drink so Sharon can tell her all about what has happened. Sharon recalls how she, Johnny and his wife Alicia rushed down to the hospital to check on Ben after his fight with the Hulk. Sharon had apologized for not being there, but Ben remarks how he finally managed to beat the Hulk in a one-on-one brawl. Ben recalls how the battle was briefly interrupted by a mechanical version of the Hulk, and how at the end of the fight the Hulk attempted to drown him. With the story over, Alicia offers to stay and keep Ben company. This causes a moment of unease with Johnny, but Sharon doesn't have a problem with her staying, as they all know where everyone stands in their relationships. She then remarks on how when she left the hospital, Sharon spotted a strange man standing on the street. This individual then blasted her with an energy beam and then quickly vanished. Concluding her tale, Sharon explains why this was why she was in such an angry mood when she showed up on She-Hulk's doorstep looking for her cousin.
Back at the hospital, Alicia and Ben have a moment to talk about how strained things had gotten after Ben found out that she and Johnny were in a relationship and later got married. The two reconcile the pain that union has caused, and Ben tells her that he sees the bright side now, if it weren't for Johnny and Alicia getting together, he wouldn't have his current romance with Sharon. Elsewhere in the city, the Human Torch flies in the air mulling over his current troubles, realizing that while he loves his wife he still has feelings for his old girlfriend Crystal. This is made all the more troubling after he felt jealousy when Alicia opted to stay with Ben at the hospital. Thinking it all over, he is glad that Crystal has returned to the moon to try and work out her marriage with Quicksilver and be with her husband and daughter. He finds that even though he has been faithful with his wife, these thoughts about Crystal still make him feel guilty.
At that very moment, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel are walking the streets as Sharon explains the romantic troubles plaguing her teammates over the last while when suddenly they are both attacked by the Dragon Man. The creature begins striking Sharon, and when She-Hulk tries to come to her aid, the android pushes her aside. Sharon manages to fight it off and Jen tries to rejoin the fight but gets tripped up by the creature's tail. As they continue fighting, She-Hulk realizes that she has to change tactics. Remembering hearing about how the Dragon Man had an infatuation for the Invisible Woman, Jen begins flaunting her body at the android, making it bashful enough that it flees the scene without further incident. Sharon then remarks on the irony of how its the very femininity that she lost becoming the She-Thing, the thing that she so reviled, that ultimately won the battle that day. But still in the end, Sharon still feels that she gained so much being mutated by cosmic rays she is glad she sacrificed her womanhood in order to be where she is now.
As the two women walk away from the scene of the battle, Dragon Man secretly enters the Empire State Building, returning to its master. The mysterious man considers this attack a complete success as he managed to collect just what he was seeking: a sample of Ms. Marvel's blood. Having already harnessed the cells of the Thing, all that remains are the cells belonging to the Torch, a challenge considering the hero's flame powers. However, the mysterious being is convinced that this will not prove to be a difficult problem for someone who is a Watcher.
- She-Hulk makes her appearance here following the events of Avengers #294–297 where she and her fellow Avengers battled Nebula.
- Sharon mentions She-Hulk's previous membership with the Fantastic Four. Here are the facts:
- Following the events of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12, the Thing had decided to stay behind on the Beyonder's Battleworld and chose She-Hulk as his successor.
- She-Hulk was a member of the Fantastic Four from Fantastic Four #265–Fantastic Four #300 even after Ben grudgingly returned in Fantastic Four #296.
- She-Hulk's last stint with the Fantastic Four was in Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #1–4.
- She-Hulk mentions that Sharon was recently mutated by cosmic rays, this happened in Fantastic Four #310.
- Sharon mentions when she last battled She-Hulk, this was back in the Thing #36 when She-Hulk went looking for the Thing during his time away from the Fantastic Four.
- During the fight She-Hulk compares their fight to the Detroit Pistons and the LA Lakers. This a reference to the 1988 NBA Finals when the Lakers defeated the Pistons. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 this should be considered a topical reference.
- Aron the Rogue Watcher was last seen observing the Fantastic Four and the Inhumans battle the High Evolutionary in Fantastic Four Annual #21.
- The woman here posing as Alicia Masters is actually the Skrull spy Lyja. As revealed in Fantastic Four #358 she took Alicia's place to spy on the Fantastic Four, this happened around Fantastic Four #265.
- Dragon Man was last seen when the Puppet Master used him to prevent the Mad Thinker and Wizard from crashing the wedding of the Human Torch and "Alicia Masters" in Fantastic Four #300.
- Ben's flashback recounts the events of Incredible Hulk #350. Some facts about this flashback:
- Ben initially didn't recognize the Hulk has reverted back to his original grey form that is more intelligent but less powerful in Incredible Hulk #324 and at the time of this story the Hulk had recently faked his death in Incredible Hulk #346.
- The green Hulk seen here is a robotic construct first seen in Eternals #16 it was commandeered by Doctor Doom as early as Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #5. He unleashed it upon the Hulk and the Thing last issue.
- Ben mentions he "finally" won a fight against the Hulk. This is not a very accurate point of view. To date the pair have clashed in Fantastic Four #12, Fantastic Four #25–26, Incredible Hulk #122, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #5, Fantastic Four #112, Incredible Hulk #153, Marvel Feature #11, Giant-Size Super-Stars #1, Fantastic Four #166–167, Rampaging Hulk (Vol. 2) #5, Marvel Two-In-One #46, Marvel Two-In-One Annual #5, Marvel Fanfare #21, and Marvel Graphic Novel: The Big Change #1. Most bouts were a tie, with the Hulk only winning 4 fights (in Fantastic Four #25, Fantastic Four #167, Marvel Fanfare #21, Rampaging Hulk Vol 2 #5) and the Thing winning 3 (in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #5, Incredible Hulk #153, Fantastic Four #166).
- Mention is made of the various romantic problems that are centered around the Thing and the Torch. They are:
- Alicia used to date the Thing for years, starting in Fantastic Four #9.
- 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.
- 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 in Battleworld between Thing #11–22 where he eventually lost his ability to change back into Ben Grimm and returned to Earth.
- 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.
- Ben later returned to Earth in Fantastic Four #277 and discovered that Johnny and "Alicia" were in a relationship. He quit the Fantastic Four in Thing #25.
- While estranged with the Fantastic Four, Ben first met Sharon Ventura in Thing #27 and was had an reciprocated romantic interest in her. He eventually went into hiding after infected with a virus in Thing #36. .
- Ben was eventually cured and grudgingly returned to the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #296.
- Johnny recently married "Alicia" in Fantastic Four #300.
- Meanwhile, Crystal had and affair with Norm Webster and was eventually caught during the events ofVision and the Scarlet Witch (Vol. 2) #6 through 12.
- In Fantastic Four #303 Ben realized that he still loved Alicia Masters.
- 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, partially to spite the Torch.
- Johnny went so far as to accuse Crystal of trying to break up his marriage in Fantastic Four Annual #20.
- Ben later asked Sharon, now Ms. Marvel, to join the Fantastic Four, and Johnny and Crystal buried the hatchet though in Fantastic Four #306.
- Sharon was mutated into a She-Thing and Ben mutated further in Fantastic Four #310.
- Johnny has started to become attracted to Crystal again after holding her in his arms in Fantastic Four #313. The tensions have been rising since until she returned to the moon in Fantastic Four Annual #21.
- She-Hulk recalls Dragon Man's infatuation with the Invisible Woman. This was first observed in Fantastic Four #35.
- Following his appearance here, the Human Torch has a cameo appearance in Daredevil #260.