Appearing in "Trial and Error"
- Norman Dunsell (First appearance)
- Deena Jasper (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Trial and Error"
As the Thing reads through the daily newspaper he is interrupted by the Human Torch who has just finished modifying his latest sports car and wants to know if the Thing wants to go out for a spin. When Ben tries to pass Johnny off, the Torch engages in his usual prankish torments on the Thing. After the mood has lightened up, Ben decides to take Johnny out for hamburgers and the two leave the Baxter Building.
While they are walking the streets they witness a young bespectacled man trying to ride a horse with little success. When this stunt causes a car to crash, Ben goes to the aid of the drive while Johnny stops the wild horse. When the two confront the young man, they are soon joined by his fiancée Deena Jasper. Deena scolds Norman Dunsell (her husband to be) for pulling such a stupid stunt. Norman tries to explain to the two FF members that all he is trying to do is accomplish a list of things he wanted to do before turning 30, this being a week away it is also coincidentally the date in which he and Deena are to be wed, and storms off. Deena tells Ben and Johnny that it's unlikely that Norman will stop his foolish quest and asks for their help and two decide to keep an eye on Norman.
When Norman manages to hop aboard a speeding fire truck and put on a uniform, he manages to fool the firefighters into thinking that he is one of them. Unfortunately for poor Norman, he has to help them put out a fire at the World Trade Center. This leads to Norman putting himself in danger along with the people he is trying to save, however, he is rescued by the Thing and Human Torch who manage to track him down and lend a helping hand. When Deena once more tries to get him to stop his foolish crusade, he refuses and storms off again.
Norman finds his next opportunity -- to be a detective -- when he happens upon a museum robbery. Taking the bound night watchman's gun and tries to stop the crooks. He is once more assisted by the timely arrival of Ben and Johnny, who manage to fight off the crooks until one of them grabs Norman. Through dumb luck and his natural clumsiness, Norman manages to trip up the crooks and turn the tables on them allowing Ben and Johnny to round them up for the police.
This time when Deena asks Norman to stop his foolish quest and just marry her, he agrees and leaves, dropping his crumpled list of things he wanted to accomplish before turning 30. When Ben picks it up and checks out the list, he finds that the last item on the list was to be a husband. Ben jokingly wishes Norman the best on the last point, figuring he won't survive it and he and Johnny depart to get a bite to eat.
- The Thing is reading the Conan Newspaper strips which were produced by Marvel Comics and published in syndicated newspapers from September 1978 to April 1981.
- This story depicts the twin towers at the site of the World Trade Center. Since the towers were destroyed during the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, it's depiction here should be considered a Topical Reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. As of the year 2015, the Modern Age has slid forward so that events beginning after Fantastic Four #1 occur after the year 2001.