- I ain't exactly famous fer my sense a' humor!
- -- Thing
Appearing in "By Reed... Betrayed!"
- Moon Knight
- Avengers West Coast
- New Warriors
- Alpha Flight
- Cyclops' Visor
- Daredevil's Billy Club
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
- Photon Sword
- Quantum Bands
- Gamma Bomb
- Black Widow's Gauntlets
Synopsis for "By Reed... Betrayed!"
Suspecting that there is something strange going on with her husband -- unaware that he is an evil doppelganger created by the Magus --- Sue watches as he begins contacting various groups of super-heroes, requesting that they meet him at the Four Freedoms Plaza to discuss a universal threat. After Reed has successfully contacted the X-Men, Sue asks her "husband" what is going on. Reed tells her that it is too important to tell her right now and that she must wait until the other heroes arrive. Sue is upset by being left out and walks out of the room. She begins to ponder Reed's strange behavior and notes that he has been acting strange ever since the alarm on the Encephalizer. Suddenly she considers the idea that some other influence has taken over her husband. Recalling how the Encephalizer monitors the group's brainwaves to detect outside interference, Sue rushes to the lab. However, knowing that if her husband were ever taken control of, he would have the know how to bypass the device, and so Sue secretly had a secondary device constructed, created for her by Tony Stark. Sue uses the back-up device and is horrified to learn that her suspicions are true. She petitions herself to keep it together for the sake of the universe.
Meanwhile, Ben Grimm has gone out for coffee with his estranged girlfriend Sharon Ventura, who has up until recently gone missing after being cured of her She-Thing form by Doctor Doom. When she notes that Ben isn't too happy to see her, he wonders if Doom is influencing her in some way. Sharon tells Ben that she is going to have to trust her that that isn't the case. Thinking to himself, the Thing wonders how the recent return of the real Alicia Masters has complicated things and how he feels. As Ben ponders this, he spots the Puppet Master skulking in an alley across the street from the coffee shop. Ben tells Sharon to wait there and goes to confront his old foe. Once Ben is out of earshot, Sharon pulls out a small communication device telling the person who is listening in that she has made contact and things are going according to plan.
Outside, Ben confronts the Puppet Master who berates Ben for seeing Sharon Ventura even though he knows how much Alicia feels about him. When Ben tries to explain the complications caused by Lyja abducting and posing as Alicia over the last few years, and the fact that she was married to Johnny made things difficult. When Phillip reminds Ben that it was an impostor, Ben responds with the fact that knowing and accepting are two very difficult things. While they are arguing an evil doppelganger of the Thing materializes behind him. The Puppet Master tries to warn Ben, but the Thing thinks this is a trick until it is too late and his evil duplicate attacks him. The duplicate and Ben battle it out, all the while the evil shade begins mocking Ben for his emotional insecurities. This proves to be a distraction that gives the shade the upper hand, wrapping the real Thing in a fire-escape ladder and landing a powerful punch that sends Ben sprawling.
Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Sue is preparing to deal with the impostor posing as her husband. In order to ensure that Franklin is safe, she sets up a security robot in the boy's room to defend him. As Franklin sleeps, Sue kisses the boy and leaves his room. Once she is gone, Franklin opens his eyes which then immediately begin to glow. With "Reed" sealed in his lab, Sue returns to the security monitors to find that he has disabled the ones that let her look in there. Checking the other monitors she notes that Wolverine has broken into their headquarters and is currently traveling through the ventilation system. She wonders if this man is also an impostor or the real Wolverine. She decides to wait and find out, disabling security to allow Wolverine to continue down his path uninterrupted.
At that moment, the battle between the Thing and his impostor rages on. Their battle takes them first into a construction site, then crashing down below into a nearby subway station. The Puppet Master seeing that Ben is in trouble pulls out the Thing puppet that he originally intended to use to coerce Ben into going to his step-daughter and rushes down into the subway. As the two Things battle it out, the Puppet Master alters the puppet he is holding to make it look like the evil impostor of Ben. Once completed, the Puppet Master then tosses it onto the third rail of the subway tracks. The electricity destroys the puppet, likewise incinerating the being that it was based off of. Ben realizes that if there was an impostor after him, there could be more coming after the team. Ben then rushes back to the Four Freedoms Plaza where he is suddenly restrained by Sue, who only lets him free once she has run a scan to ensure that it is the real Ben Grimm and not an impostor. The following morning when Johnny arrives in answer to Reed's summons, Ben is there to greet him. Ben then restrains Johnny until Sue can also confirm his identity as well. As Sue quickly explains everything to them, they then quickly go to the meeting room where an assemblage of the East and West Coast Avengers, X-Men, X-Factor, Alpha Flight, the New Warriors and other heroes are waiting for Reed to begin his meeting.
As Reed begins the meeting he talks about how he was attacked by a duplicate that was seeing to replace him. As he continues his speech, Sue continues to listen in on the conversation from the security monitors waiting to follow through on her plans. It's at this moment when Wolverine enters the meeting and accuses both Reed and Iron Man of lying. As Sue's scanners detect minute traces of gamma radiation coming from the room, Daredevil also calls out Reed and Iron Man calling them impostors. Realizing there is a bomb in the room, Sue rushes back to the meeting. When she enters the room there is a full on brawl going on between all the heroes inside. Unsure how to tell the real heroes apart from any impostors, Reed calls out to Sue begging for his help. Sue refuses, forcing the impostor to show his hand: Activating a stud hidden on the side of his podium, the evil Reed doppelganger reveals that he has hidden a gamma bomb within it. As the evil Reed mocks Sue's love for her husband, the bomb explodes destroying the upper levels of the Four Freedoms Plaza, seemingly killing all the heroes within as well.
- This story is part of the Infinity War, events in this story take place simultaneously in other issues tied into the event. They are:
- Sue mentions the Encephalizer a device that monitor's the brainwaves of the members of the Fantastic Four. Reed began developing this device in Fantastic Four #357 following an attack on the group by the Puppet Master in the previous issue.
- Sue discovers that the Reed Richards present in this story is actually an impostor as seen in last issue and Infinity War #1. Reed is a prisoner of the Magus and is later freed next issue.
- Sharon Ventura and the Thing's relationship is thus:
- Sharon joined the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #307. Ben was romantically interested in her, but she was afraid of men after she was raped by the minions of Karl Malus in Captain America #330-Captain America #331.
- She didn't give into her feelings for Ben until after she was mutated into a She-Thing in Fantastic Four #310 the pair began a romance in Fantastic Four #317.
- Tensions started when Ben was accidentally turned back into human form in Fantastic Four #326 making Sharon feel insecure.
- After an incident where her powers were briefly taken away in Fantastic Four #345-346, Sharon sought a cure and found one from Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #350. Ironically, Ben mutated himself back into the Thing in order to make things easier for Sharon.
- Sharon disappeared following the events of Fantastic Four #354. She resurfaced last issue and it is later revealed in Fantastic Four #375 that she is spying on the Fantastic Four for Dr. Doom.
- Ben mentions the complications over his feelings for Alicia Masters. They are as follows:
- Alicia and the Thing began dating in Fantastic Four #9
- After Ben was kidnapped by the Beyonder to participate in the Secret Wars in Thing #10, Alicia was left alone and (as revealed in Fantastic Four #358) replaced by a Skrull spy named Lyja.
- When the rest of the Fantastic Four returned from the Secret Wars without Ben in Fantastic Four #265, (who decided to stay behind in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12) "Alicia" decided to pursue a relationship with Johnny Storm to maintain her connections with the Fantastic Four. Ben eventually returned to Earth in Fantastic Four #277.
- Johnny and "Alicia" later got married in Fantastic Four #300.
- Ben eventually was given leadership of the Fantastic Four for a period of time, recruiting Ms. Marvel to the group in Fantastic Four #307.
- Sharon was later mutated into a She-Thing in Fantastic Four #310 and by Fantastic Four #317 she and Ben were in a relationship.
- Eventually Sharon and Ben's relationship soured when Ben was cured of being a Thing in an accident in Fantastic Four #326. Tragically, as seen in Fantastic Four #350 on the same day Sharon secretly sought out Dr. Doom to cure herself, Ben purposely changed himself into the Thing again.
- Sharon disappeared after her last mission with the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #354.
- Shortly thereafter, Lyja was exposed as a Skrull spy in Fantastic Four #357 and the real Alicia was rescued the following issue. Thinking that she and Ben were still an item, Alicia has not been told about Ben's relationship with Sharon.
- The Magus created Thing impostor resembles the Thing's more mutated form he obtained when exposed to a second dose of Cosmic Rays in Fantastic Four #310 and maintained until Fantastic Four #326 when he was accidentally reverted back to Human Torch. Ben also briefly resumed this form in Fantastic Four #350-354 when he mutated himself again.
- Franklin's display of power is the second time the boy's powers have manifested since they were made dormant in Fantastic Four #245. Franklin's powers have been slowly coming back since he was tortured by Occulus in Fantastic Four #362-Fantastic Four #365. Last time his powers flared like this was last issue.
- The reason why Wolverine is breaking into the Four Freedoms Plaza is because he was attacked by a doppelganger of himself in Infinity War #1 and trusts nobody.
Although this evil Thing doppelganger is destroyed in this story, the Magus has made it so when one doppelganger is destroyed another takes it's place. Another Thing doppelganger is seen in Alpha Flight #111.
- The Iron Man doppelganger took the real Iron Man's place in Infinity War #1. He is also rescued next issue.
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