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Thing (Ben Grimm)

Appearing in "Their Name Is Legion!"

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Synopsis for "Their Name Is Legion!"

Continued from Fantastic Four Annual #11....

Having just returned from the year 1942 with his comrades in the Fantastic Four having prevented the Nazi's from taking advantage of a cylinder of Vibranium that was accidentally sent back in time, Ben is before the Watcher and realizes their job is far from over. Having only recovered half of the Vibranium cylinder, Ben is determined to make the Watcher tell him what he needs to know. The Watcher is honor bound to not interfere with the affairs of humans and remains silent. When the rest of the Fantastic Four realize what's going on, Ben bars them from Reed's lab determined to handle the problem by himself.

Going over the events that led up to this catastrophe, how he and the rest of the FF traveled back to 1942 and aided the Invaders in crushing Baron Zemo's weapons factory that was utilizing the time displaced Vibranium. As the World Trade Centre vanishes from existence, Ben realizes that the Vibranium cylinder must have been broken in half in the time stream and activates Dr. Doom's time machine before the entire Baxter Building is erased from history as well.

He appears in the middle of New York City circa 1942, where he meets a young boy named John Romita. There even though he reveals that he is a human in an exo-suit he is accosted by the police who think that he is a Nazi spy. Angered again by being called a Nazi he attacks the officers when suddenly the fight is interrupted when air raid sirens go off. Off in the distance, a battalion of Nazi Stukkas are crossing over the horizon much to Ben's surprise because as far as he knows history the Nazi's never attacked New York City. Young John recognizes one of the fighters as the one piloted by the Nazi known as the Skyshark, who is joined by the Japanese villain known as Slicer. Before Ben can act Jack Frost, Blue Diamond, Red Raven, Thin Man and Miss America of the Liberty Legion go into action to deal with the threat.

Ben climbs up on the Times Building, Ben attempts to use a flag pole to launch himself toward the action when he is stopped briefly by the Patriot and Whizzer until he can identify himself as an ally from the future. As Ben is explaining things, the Liberty Legion members that are fighting the Stukka's destroy them all except for Skyshark's ship, who flees the scene, covering his escape with a smoke screen. With Skyshark making an escape, the Liberty Legion help Ben take his time machine some place safe. Unable to substantiate his story, the Liberty Legion decide to believe him for now, but leave him behind in order to track down the Skyshark.

The Skyshark meanwhile has landed at a secret Nazi's ship hidden in a cloud of mist off the shore of upstate New York, where he explains Slicer that he is the most feared fighter pilot Nazi Germany that Adolf Hitler had appointed him his current position.

Knowing that the US Military is developing new weapons for the war effort in upstate the Liberty Legion goes to investigate things. Miss America, Blue Diamond, and Whizzer go to a military site where a special new cockpit is being developed and clash with Master Man, who has come to capture it. Despite the Legion's best efforts, Master Man succeeds in capturing the cockpit. At another laboratory where a new jet engine is being developed, Jack Frost and Red Raven attempt to defend it from the Nazi backed Atlantean known as U-Man, their efforts also end in failure. Lastly, Thinman and the Patriot are flying to the site of a scientist who has developed a new gyroscope. They arrive too late to prevent the Skyshark and Slicer from gunning down the scientist and taking what they require. After a brief dog fight, Skyshark manages to escape, prompting the Thinman and Patriot to head back to New York City to compare notes with their comrades.

In New York City, Ben finds the flag pole he attempted to use as a catapult finds that it can support his weight. Just then the Watcher appears leaving the Thing to wonder what's going to happen next: Next, to his astonishment, comes a giant flying Nazi ship in the shape of a Swastika. With the ship smashing through nearby high-rises Ben launches himself from the flag-pole looking to smash the device.


Continuity Notes

  • Any references to Ben serving in World War II, and references to the modern era of this story being in the year 1976 should be considered topical references relative to the date of publication due to Earth-616's Sliding Timescale. Modern stories still state that Ben served in the military, however they no longer reference any specific conflicts he may have participated so as not to prematurely age the character.
  • Ben recaps the events of Fantastic Four Annual #11 wherein the Fantastic Four went back in time to World War II to prevent the Nazis from obtaining Vibranium. The events during World War II that happened in this issue are said to have happened in an alternate time line and thus why Sub-Mariner and Captain America in the modern era do not recall meeting the Fantastic Four back in the past during the war. Both men met the Fantastic Four in the Modern Age in Fantastic Four #4 and Fantastic Four #26 respectively. This created an alternate reality, however, Marvel has yet to officially index it. As such it has been designated Earth-TRN558 on the Marvel Comics Wiki. However, the events in this story that take place during World War II did happen in the Earth-616 universe as specified in Official Marvel Index to Fantastic Four #10 and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Golden Age 2004.
  • The depiction of the Twin Towers at the site of the World Trade Center should also be considered a Topical Reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The twin towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Per the Sliding Timescale, Marvel time slides forwards so that the current month's publications take place in the year we live in, and you subtract the passage of Marvel years from there. As of the year 2015 all appearances of the original twin towers are considered topical references because subtracting Marvel time from the current year always places the Marvel timeline after the year 2001.
  • Appearing in this story is a young John Romita, Sr. Typically real life people who appear in the Earth-616 are considered Topical References per the Sliding Timescale. The only exception is the depiction of Marvel Comics creators. For example Stan Lee and Jack Kirby appear in Fantastic Four #10 and later stories and are identified as being the "real" Lee and Kirby. They exist in the modern era. How this will impact the fact that John Romita is seen as a child in 1946 and as an adult in his prime in the modern age has yet to be explained.
  • Reference is made to U-Man's previous appearance in Invaders #34.

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