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During a battle with the Hulk, Thing lost his powers due to a prolonged proximity to the Hulk, causing the ambient gamma radiation coming from the Hulk's body to reverse the effects of the cosmic rays that had mutated Ben into the Thing years earlier.[1] Fellow Fantastic Four member Mr. Fantastic developed an exo-suit for Ben to wear that resembled his previous mutated form to imitate his powers.[2]

The suit was highly durable, and although Richards had hoped that it would boost Ben's strength to the level of heroes like Luke Cage, it in reality proved to be at least 90% as powerful as Ben in his Thing form.[3] The "head" of the suit was removable from the main body, and Ben could remove it via a zipper down the front which would remain hidden when done up. Likewise when the suit was being removed, it would collapse as though it were made of cloth. Reed also installed a means of triggering the suit to become undone through controls hidden inside the suit so that Ben could take off the costume in situations where his hands were bound.[4] The suit was also air-tight and able to resist the vacuum of space for a few minutes, provided that the suit's mouth was kept closed.[5] Ben first used the exo-suit to stop temporary FF replacement Power Man from breaking the Puppet Master out of prison.[6]

Ben wore the suit when he travelled back in time with the Fantastic Four to World War II to aid the Invaders in stopping Baron Zemo from utilizing a cylinder of Vibranium that was accidentally sent into the past,[7] and later aiding the Liberty Legion in stopping Brain Drain and his Nazi operatives from using the other half of the cylinder to attack the United States, before returning to his own time.[8][9] Ben also fought the New Man known as Gorr when his arrival on Earth caused him to grow to gigantic size.[3] Accompanying the restored Gorr and the Fantastic Four to Counter-Earth, he battled against the Destroyer armor, then a Herald of Galactus outside of the High Evolutionary's artificial world.[5] The suit was able to withstand a direct blast from Galactus himself.[10] When Ben and Reed were sent to the planet Mekka to see if the inhabitants would be willing to sacrifice their world to save Counter-Earth from Galactus, he and Reed were taken as prisoners by Mekka's ruler, Ben's old ally Torgo.[10] Using the internal release mechanism built into Ben's exo-suit, he was able to escape his restraints and free Reed as well.[4] Teleported back to Counter-Earth, Ben battled Galactus directly. Galactus, noticing something different about Ben, blasted him with cosmic rays, which (following the defeat of Galactus) caused Ben to revert back to his mutated form. As he was wearing his exo-suit when this transformation happened, his growing body ended up destroying the suit.[11]

The exo-suit was repaired (presumably by Reed Richards) and when Ben lost his powers again he used the suit to aid the Avengers in opposing the Deviant Ghaur's attempted invasion of New York. He wore it to travel into the realm of Set with Dr. Strange, Thor, and Quasar; and later to aid the Fantastic Four and Avengers in defeating Ghaur and his minion Llyra, foiling their plot to bring Set to Earth.[12][13][14][15]

During the Acts of Vengeance conspiracy, the Fantastic Four were attacked by villains under the control of Dr. Doom while testifying to congress. Ben donned his exosuit once more and battled the Super-Adaptoid, helping the Fantastic Four to stop the attack.[16] Later while investigating temporal anomalies on an island, Reed, Sue, Johnny, and She-Thing lost their powers, so Ben wore his exosuit to defend them from dinosaurs brought to the present by the anomaly until the situation could be reversed.[17] When appearing in public with the reformed villain Sandman to watch a game, Ben wore the exosuit.[18]

Ben next wore the exosuit to aid SHIELD director Nick Fury on a mission into space to take back a satellite hijacked by Peter Lohan.[19]

During another period after Ben regained his powers, then them lost again, the exosuit was modified to resemble a further mutated form that Ben once maintained for a while. In this modification, Ben wore the suit to distract Namor long enough until his surprise birthday party was ready.[20] Restored to it's original appearance, Ben wore the exosuit when welcoming Alex Power of the Power Pack to the Four Freedoms Plaza.[21] Ben would wear the suit again to aid Alpha Flight in freeing their comrades who were under the control of Headlok.[22] During the final battle, the suit was destroyed in a fight against Sasquatch, one of the Alphans under Headlok's control.[23]

The suit was repaired once more, and Ben wore it in battle alongside the Fantastic Four and the "New" Fantastic Four (a temporary team consisting of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ghost Rider) to battle the Mole Man.[24] He also wore the exosuit to defend the Four Freedoms Plaza when it was attacked by the Presence;[25] aiding the FF and the Guardians of the Galaxy in battling Korvac's ancestor Jaboa Murphy,[26] and again when the Fantastic Four were being tested by the cosmically powered Kosmos and Kubik.[27]

Ben last wore the exosuit in an attempt to try and help fellow teammate Sharon Ventura get used to her She-Thing form. However, when this proved to only annoy her more than help, Ben opted to abandon the suit and have his powers restored.[28]

Darla Deering

FF Vol 2 4 Variant Textless

The current user of the Thing Exoskeleton is Darla Deering a pop star and ex-girlfriend of Johnny Storm. When the team went away on a long mission each member chose a replacement except Johnny, who at the last minute asked Darla to take his place, to which she agreed. Due to not having any powers, she was given the Thing's old exoskeleton which was modified by Dragon Man. She can access the armor via two rings dubbed the Thing Rings.[29]

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. Fantastic Four #167
  2. Fantastic Four #169
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fantastic Four #171
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fantastic Four #174
  5. 5.0 5.1 Fantastic Four #172
  6. Fantastic Four #170
  7. Fantastic Four Annual #11
  8. Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1
  9. Marvel Two-In-One #20
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fantastic Four #173
  11. Fantastic Four #175
  12. Avengers Annual #18
  13. West Coast Avengers Annual Vol 2 #4
  14. Thor Annual #14
  15. Fantastic Four Annual #22
  16. Fantastic Four #336
  17. Fantastic Four #345-346
  18. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #24
  19. Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol 3 #15-19
  20. Namor the Sub-Mariner Annual #1
  21. Power Pack #62
  22. Alpha Flight #93
  23. Alpha Flight #94
  24. Fantastic Four #349
  25. Quasar #20
  26. Fantastic Four Annual #24
  27. Fantastic Four #351
  28. Fantastic Four #350
  29. Marvel NOW! Point One #1
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