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Alicia Masters (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 49 0001.jpg
Alicia Masters
But... we can stay friends, can't we, Ben?
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Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616).jpg
Ben Grimm
Friends...? Always.
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Appearing in "You Can't Get There from Here"

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Synopsis for "You Can't Get There from Here"

Ben Grimm, in human form, is driving up to the city of Sunshine City in Florida. He has finally gotten the nerve to do what he needs to do, and he begins to think back to the events that have brought him to this moment....

A day earlier the Thing was in Reed's lab with the rest of the Fantastic Four and Namorita trying to find a way to help Johnny regain control of his flame powers. Although Reed builds a containment sphere that dampens Johnny's powers, it only proves to be a temporary solution as Johnny's powers flare out of control again. Johnny is horrified by the inability to control his powers. Reed warns that the Nega-Energy that he absorbed during their battle with the Gideon Trust is the cause and that draining this energy could be a risk to his health. However, Mister Fantastic believes that he can devise a suit that Johnny can wear that will help him regulate his powers, but it will affect his ability to fly. Johnny is not concerned about being able to fly, telling Reed that he is willing to sacrifice anything in order to be able to hold Namorita's hand again. This get's Ben thinking and he turns his attention to yet another letter that he has received from Alicia Masters...

... Looking at that envelope now just outside of Sunshine City, Ben transforms into his Thing form. Finally ready to meet his destiny, he gets back into his jeep and drives off. He soon arrives in town where he is a little surprised that nobody seems to take particular notice of him. He comes up to the home addressed on the envelope and rings the door bell. There he is greeted by Alicia Masters who is happy to see him and greets him with a hug. Meanwhile it Littlefield, Kansas, the Invisible Woman meets with Abigail Baxter to tell her the fate of her husband Noah. As it stands, Reed isn't sure what happened to Noah and his space station and is continuing to search for them, however Sue tells Abigail that Noah could be dead. However Abigail is convinced that Noah is still alive out there somewhere and is unconcerned, telling Sue to go back to New York and attend to matters there.

In New York, Reed has completed a prototype containment suit for Johnny which gets his powers back in check. Johnny then apologizes to Reed for blaming him for what happened and tells Reed he really needs to get some rest. However Sue soon returns and discovers that a package was delivered while they were out. It's unaddressed, but it's from Ben, and the letter inside tells them that he is quitting the Fantastic Four. Johnny is unphased by this and believes that Ben will be back in no time, but asks if Namorita can fill in while he is gone. However Reed and Sue are more concerned about this. They believe that Ben might be gone for good now that he has discovered a way to change back and forth between human and Thing forms. However Reed wants his best friend to tell it to their faces, so after learning Ben did not send back his 4 Signal, Reed goes to the computer and begins tracking its location.

They track Ben to Sunshine City where the Fantastic Four begin staking the place out in disguise. They find the place eerily mundane, like a picturesque version of small town America. As Reed and Johnny explore they are unaware that they are being observed by the Puppet Master, who is carving a puppet of the Thing. They soon find Ben operating a tractor at a farm and when they confront him, Ben explains that he just wants to be left alone and lashes out at Reed. This also causes Johnny to lose control of his flame. Knowing that Sue is lurking around somewhere nearby, Ben also forces her to become visible and begins fighting his teammates. The battle alerts Alicia who goes outside to see what is happening. When Alicia is almost put into harms way, Reed realizes what is happening and they force Ben to change back to human form, causing him to regain his sanity. Just when they come to the conclusion that the Puppet Master is involved they are warmed by a mob of locals. Johnny tries to fly off to look for their foe but somebody blasts him from behind.

The Fantastic Four soon find the Puppet Master at the local playhouse, but before they can deal with him they are stopped by two government agents. They explain that the Puppet Master has been granted immunity so that they can examine his powers while also reprogramming him for a normal life. Masters agreed to this instead of life in prison but was allowed to have his step-daughter live with him, however this proved to be a mistake. Later, Ben and Alicia are spending time alone and Alicia is certain that her father did not force her to mail out the letters to him. When they both realize that the Puppet Master just wanted them to be happy together, both Ben and Alicia realize that they while they still love each other, they are no longer in love with each other. Deciding it's best that they be friends for now, they both hug one more time.


Continuity Notes

  • Johnny's powers and Noah Baxter's apparent demise all occurred last issue. The plot thread about Johnny needing special suits to control his powers is eventually dropped by Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #49. However to date, the true fate of Noah Baxter has yet to be revealed. The plot involving the death of Noah's daughter years earlier is also dropped after this issue. Johnny's powers are restored to normal by Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #54.

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