Appearing in "Legends"
- Mr. O'Keefe
Synopsis for "Legends"
Trying to make it down to the highway to catch his bus, the Thing cuts across a farmers field where he suddenly hears gunshots. Following the sounds of the shots he comes across a farmer named O'Keefe who is going on about "little devils" while blasting away. When Ben asks what he is shooting at, O'Keefe believes his trespassers have set a monster after him and tries to shoot the Thing. The bullets bounce off him, which impresses him even less than being called a monster. When Ben continues to press the Irish immigrant for answers, O'Keefe continues spouting nonsense about "little people" and how Ben is a monster. Eventually Grimm gets fed up of being called a monster and yanks the rifle out of O'Keefe's hand and bends it out of shape. Shocked by Ben's show of strength, O'Keefe warns Ben that he doesn't know who he is helping out and storms off telling Ben that if he continues to defend the "wee ones" he will be party to their shenanigans soon enough and storms off. Ben laments over his current run ins with crazies but his attention is turned back to the highway when he hears the bus approaching. Making a mad dash to catch it, Ben arrives too late to stop it and it drives on. Wondering how things could get any worse turns out to be the worst thing to say at that moment as a heavy thunder storm suddenly hits the area.
Running for cover, Ben goes back into the farmer's field wishing he could find some kind of shelter. Suddenly out of the blue a barn appears that he swears wasn't in the field earlier but decides to go inside anyway. Inside he is delighted to find barrel after barrel of beer and decides to help himself while he waits out the storm. Sitting down to a stein of beer, Ben reflects on recent events: his time on Battleworld during the Secret Wars, how he decided to stay when he found out he could change back and forth from human to Thing form, finding and falling in love with Tarianna, his loss of his abilities and return home to learn that Johnny is dating Alicia Masters and Reed knew about his ability to change back and forth at will for months and didn't say anything. Nodding off he completes his recounting with his thoughts about how he quit the Fantastic Four over these infractions.
Suddenly Ben is awoken by the sound of rumbling, but this is not thunder but -- impossibly -- a gang of Leprechauns playing a game of bowling in the middle of the barn. At first Ben thinks he has had too much to drink, but one of the Leprechauns comes up and talks to him. It explains it saved him from the rain. The little man explains that O'Keefe has been trying to capture one of them for years so they could grant him three wishes, all because he allows them to store their ale in his barn. The Leprechaun explains that when Ben interrupted O'Keefe he saved his life and to return the favor hitched a ride on Ben's boot and decided to grant him three wishes. He tells Ben to make good use of them, as he only has two left after he wished for shelter when the storm first started. After some thought, Ben decides that his next wish is to be human once again. The Leprechaun obliges him by tossing dust in his face, and when it finally clears Ben is surprised to find that it actually worked and he is back to normal. Ben rejoices and laughs how Leprechaun "pixie dust" was able to succeed where Reed and his science had failed so often. Suddenly he spots the shadow of O'Keefe standing outside of the bar and decides to go and check it out. However as he goes he suddenly realized that the crazed farm has lit a fire in the way. Trying to stamp the blaze out, Ben realizes too late that the dry hay in the barn is going up light crazy. His attempts to put out the fire with a barrel of beer only makes the fire worse because of the wood. With the barn turning into an inferno and at risk of collapsing on him, Ben begins to panic over what to do. When his uniform catches fire, Ben is able to roll over on a spilled puddle of beer to put the flame out. By the time he has put himself out, Ben realizes that he is trapped, and with one more wish left he wishes for the only thing he can: to be changed back into the Thing, just as the barn completely collapses.
Meanwhile at the Baxter Building, Mister Fantastic meets with She-Hulk and Wyatt Wingfoot to discuss Ben's recent departure from the team. As they begin to discuss going out to look for him they are suddenly interrupted when the Baxter Building begins to shake. Back at the barn upstate, Ben wakes up to find that he is the Thing again and the fire in the barn is now just beginning again. Thinking his encounter with the Leprechauns must have just been a dream, he decides to high tail it out of there not caring what truth there is or if O'Keefe is just a lunatic. Not willing to let the barn go up, Ben rips out the grain silo and uses it to carry water from a nearby stream that he uses to put out the blaze before it gets out of control. With the fire out, the storm suddenly stop. Spotting another bus making its way down the road, Ben manages to stop this one and climb aboard and tells the driver to take him wherever he is going. As Ben drives away he doesn't see the Leprechauns at the side of the road waving him goodbye. As he sits in the bus trying to make sense of the situation he suddenly spies what appears to be the Baxter Building taking off into the sky. Deciding if he should get involved or not, Ben almost asks the bus driver to pull over but decides against it, deciding that since he is not a part of the Fantastic Four anymore it's not his problem and besides the point, he has places to go and people to see.
A good old light-hearted tale where everyone has fun — everyone but Ben! He's up to his ears in leprechauns! They've granted him three wishes — but there's a big difference between what he wants and what he gets!
- At this point in time, Ben was recently involved in the Secret Wars in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1-12. After which he decided to stay on Battleworld because he believed that that planet allowed him to change back and forth between his human and Thing form. He was there from Thing #11-22 when he sacrificed his ability to return to human form to stop Grimm the Sorcerer. In Fantastic Four #277 and Thing #23 Ben learned that not only that his teammate Johnny Storm is now dating a woman who everyone thinks is Alicia Masters, but also that Reed Richards knew that Ben could change back and forth any time he wanted for some time prior to the Secret Wars. Some additional facts:
- Johnny isn't really dating Alicia Masters, as revealed in Fantastic Four #358 she is really Lyja, a Skrull spy who took Alicia's place circa Fantastic Four #265.
- Reed was aware that Ben could change back and forth at will in Fantastic Four #245. Although Ben thinks he's lost his humanity for good following the events of Thing #22, this is also proven as false as seen the next time Ben is restored to human form in Fantastic Four #326.
- The danger at the Baxter Building is caused by Kristoff Vernard trying to launch the Baxter Building into space as seen in Fantastic Four #278-279, imitating a similar stunt that Doctor Doom attempted in Fantastic Four #6.
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