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Marvel Database

Appearing in "Aftermath!"

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Synopsis for "Aftermath!"

Mister Fantastic shows Ben the recorded footage of his recent attempt at trying to cure himself wherein he attempted to travel into the past and administer a cure made by Reed on his past self during an earlier stage in his mutation. Reed explains that while he originally believed that Ben created a divergent reality in going into the past, he has found evidence that actually supports that Ben really traveled to the past of a parallel dimension. When Ben doesn't understand, Reed goes over the footage, taking the time to zoom in on the headline of a nearby newspaper box that was visible during the battle between Ben and his "past self". Instead of being the New York Daily Bugle, the newspaper identifies itself as the New Amsterdam Daily Bugle. Soon after explaining the implications caused by this, Reed is then called away by his wife Sue who tells Reed that he needs to spend time with his son. Left to his own devices, Ben decides to check in on his alternate self to see how he has been doing since the Thing cured him. Going to the time platform, Ben programs it to return him to that reality, but in the present day. As he does so he wonders if his previous ventures into the past had no effect on history. Ben then activates the time platform and finds himself in the ruins of New Amsterdam of this alternate world. The moment he arrives he quickly realizes that it is a world that has been ravaged by Galactus.

Climbing down the ruins of the Baxter Building and into the decimated city, the Thing is soon attacked by a band of locals, forcing him to fight them off. Suddenly he is met by his alternate self, still in his human form. Promising to tell the Thing everything, Ben Grimm leads him to a camp in a long-abandoned subway tunnel. Ben explains that after he was cured, he decided to quit the Fantastic Four and opened his own bar. The group endured, however, taking on Spider-Man as a member of their team taking on such foes as Doctor Doom and the Mole Man. Then one day Galactus came and the Fantastic Four were the first line of defense but were easily slain by Galactus. The rest of Earth's heroes then tried to stop Galactus, but they too fell under his power. Galactus then fed upon the Earth, draining it of all its resources, leaving it a nearly lifeless husk for the remaining survivors. Ben is about to explain who has been cutting a swath of terror across the Earth since then, but they are interrupted when the subway is invaded by an army of muscle-bound androids. The Thing tries to fight them off, but they overpower him and take him prisoner.

When the Thing revives sometime later he finds himself a prisoner of the Red Skull. Meanwhile, Ben Grimm helps the survivors get out of the subway tunnels and convinces them to rise up against the Skull in order to free the Thing. They then head to the Red Skull's headquarters in the ruins of the World Trade Center. En route they are confronted by Nazi soldiers who tell them that they are in a restricted area. Back in the Red Skull's lab, the maniac begins to question the Thing. Ben has realized what's going on: because he cured this world's Ben Grimm, the spat that caused the Torch to temporarily leave the group early on in their career never happened. This, in turn, prevented the Sub-Mariner from being revived and thus Captain America was not revived in this era. When Galactus later consumed the Earth it somehow freed the Skull. Explaining all this to the Red Skull is met with skepticism and the Skull decides that he must torture his prisoner in order to learn the "real truth".

Meanwhile, this world's Ben Grimm and his allies have jumped the guards and stolen their weapons and uniforms. With them, they manage to smuggle themselves into the Nazi camp. When Grimm witnesses a blind woman named Alicia Masters getting pushed around, he doesn't care since in this reality they do not have a relationship together and he has more important concerns. When Grimm and his troops launch their surprise attack it distracts the Red Skull long enough for the Thing to break free. The Thing then helps Ben and his comrades defeat the Skull's soldiers and android. When the Red Skull later tries to employ his dust of death on Ben Grimm, the Thing blows it back in the Skull's face, killing him instantly. With the battle over, Ben Grimm thanks the Thing for helping liberate his world and both suspect this will be the last time they will see each other. When the Thing returns to his own reality and reflects on his meeting, he comes to realize that perhaps if he were to be changed back into Ben Grimm he would not have things as good as he's had them since his transformation.


Continuity Notes

  • This story recaps the Thing's battle with his Earth-7940 counterpart that was seen in Marvel Two-In-One #50.
  • The Thing questions if he ever became Blackbeard the Pirate or fought in World War II. Some details to these comments:
    • When Doctor Doom first sent the Fantastic Four back in time circa Fantastic Four #5 to collect the Stones of Merlin, the Thing ended up becoming the legendary pirate known as Blackbeard. While this story questions if Ben actually went into the past of Earth-616 or that of an alternate reality, the fact that Ben went into the past of Earth-616 has been reinforced in countless other stories and edition of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
    • The comment about the Thing fighting World War II could mean two things:
      • There have been a number of references to Ben fighting in World War II. This was first stated in Fantastic Four #11 and has been depicted in two different instances: Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #7 and Marvel Two-In-One #77. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 Ben's military activity in these stories are considered topical references relative to the ear of publication so as not to prematurely age the character. All current references to Ben's time in the military is now generalized. Marvel has not officially explained the appearance of Ben Gimm in those World War II stories.
      • Alternatively he could be mentioning how he has traveled back in time to World War II as the Thing on two different occasions. The first time he and the Fantastic Four battled alongside the Invaders in Fantastic Four Annual #11 and going back in time solo to fight alongside the Liberty Legion in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1. Recent editions of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe states that while the battle with the Invaders did create an alternate reality, his encounter with the Liberty Legion happened in the past of Earth-616. For more details on those facts please refer to the continuity notes for each respective issue.
  • The date that Ben punches into the time machine that he refers to as the "present time" is "March 23, 1983" since Earth-7940's timeline runs parallel to Earth-616's it is also subject ot the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, and this date should be considered a topical reference relative to the date of publication.
  • The attack by Galactus on Earth-7984 is analogous to the events of Fantastic Four #4850 on Earth-616. Other than the lack of a Thing on Earth-7984, on this reality, the Fantastic Four did not appear to have assistance from either the Watcher or the Silver Surfer in this reality.
  • It should also be interesting to point out that of the heroes who are seen battling Galactus, the members of the X-Men do not match the team roster during the same time period on Earth-616. At the time of the Galactus Trilogy the X-Men consisted of the original team who were still wearing the black and yellow training costumes. The X-Men depicted here are the "All-New All-Different" X-Men of Giant-Size X-Men #1 and wearing costumes from that era.
  • As of 2015, any depictions of the former twin towers at the site of the World Trade Center that appear on Earth-616 are now considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale. This is due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the fact that the timescale has slid forward enough that the Modern Age begins after the year 2001. That said, even though Earth-7984 operates on a Sliding Timescale as well, this does not mean that the appearance of the twin towers here is a topical reference due to the fact that this is a parallel and/or alternate dimension.
  • The lack of the Thing has some grave repercussions on history on Earth-7984 in relation to the Red Skull. On Earth-616 the Thing upset the Torch so badly in Fantastic Four #3 that he abruptly left the group. In the following issue he inadvertently revived the Sub-Mariner. Namor would later be responsible for uncovering the long lost Captain America in Avengers #4 leading to his recovery by the Avengers. Captain America is active in the modern age led to AIM finding and reviving the Red Skull in Tales of Suspense #79.
  • Incidentally while the Red Skull of Earth-7984 was vulnerable to his own Dust of Death, his Earth-616 counterpart had been using it much longer and developed an immunity to its more fatal effects as seen in Captain America #350.

See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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