Appearing in "The Big Top Bandits"
- Circus of Crime
- Spider-Man (Only in flashback)
- Hulk (Only in flashback)
- Daredevil (Only in flashback)
- X-Men (Only in flashback)
- Ringmaster (Main story and flashback) (Death)
Synopsis for "The Big Top Bandits"
The Thing, his girlfriend Alicia Masters and William Foster are out enjoying the circus, unaware that it's a front for the recently freed Circus of Crime. When the Clown spots the Thing he goes and warns the Ringmaster, who is putting in the final touches of a new giant-sized version of his hypno-disc that can put an entire city under his thrall. The Ringmaster is furious that super-heroes have once more wandered into his business to cause trouble, however, is confident that he can stop these apparent meddlers.
Elsewhere in the city, Bobby Drake hitches a ride to his dates house as the Ice Man before meeting up with her in his civilian guise to take her to the circus as well. Back at the Circus, the Ringmaster uses his hypnotic hat on the crowd and begins robbing the people. However, he doesn't account for the fact that Alicia's blindness makes her immune to the device, and she manages to rouse the Thing out of his trance and instantly starts fighting the Circus of Crime.
While outside, Bobby Drake and his date find that they have been barred admission, figuring that there is something wrong, he sends Terri to call for help while he goes into action as Ice Man to investigate the situation further. With the added assistance of Ice Man, the Thing is able to fight off the various members of the Circus of Crime. The Ringmaster, not wishing to get caught comes up with an escape plan by grabbing Alicia and then releasing the crowd from his hypnotic control and causing a panic by releasing all the circus animals to cover their escape.
However, they do not account for the fact that William Foster is secretly the hero Giant-Man, who changes into his costumed identity. With Giant-Man's added muscle, the three heroes manage to put the animals back to safety and fight off the Circus of Crime members. However the Ringmaster attempts to use his giant hypno-device, however, Ice Man manages to resist its control long enough to use his ice powers on it causing the device to explode.
Trying to flee the scene in their truck, the Circus of Crime are easily defeated and rounded up for the police to take into custody. With the battle over, Ice Man changes back to his civilian guise and meets up with his date, and Ben is reunited with Alicia, only the terminally ill Giant-Man has nobody close to him and he briefly broods over this fact before leaving with Ben and Alicia.
- This issue makes many references to the fact that Giant-Man has contracted cancer. This happened thanks to radiation he was exposed to while battling Atom Smasher in Black Goliath #3. He is eventually cured in Marvel Two-In-One #85.
- The Ringmaster's recollection of his "father's" circus is a reference to Fritz Tiboldt the original Ringmaster who fought Captain America back in Captain America Comics #5. All references to the original Ringmaster being Maynard's father or the fact that Maynard was alive during World War II should be considered topical references relative to the date of publication. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, as time slides forwards it becomes increasingly impossible to explain how Maynard could be Fritz's father. As such all familial relations between the two men should be generalized.
- The Ringmaster mentions a number of his defeats at the hands of the Hulk, Spider-Man and Daredevil. These are references to...
- Iceman recollects his time with the X-Men, at the time of this story he had left the X-Men back in X-Men #94 to make room for the new team and to being his post-secondary education. However, he rejoins the original X-Men in forming X-Factor much earlier in X-Factor #1. Eventually rejoins the team X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #281.
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