Appearing in "Dual Deul"
- Pyramid of the Air
Synopsis for "Dual Deul"
The Sphinx learns that the Thing has now joined a wrestling league and vows to get revenge against him for foiling his attempts at fully reforming the Ka Stone, denying him its full power and the immortality it grants. He has since spent the following months searching in vein for the remaining fragments but to no avail. However his pyramid ship suddenly detects a strange energy reading coming from a nearby junk yard and pulls a mass of clay from the rubble. Using his sophisticated devices aboard the pyramid, the Sphinx manages to reform the Puppet Master from his clay prison and restore him to human form. The Puppet Master explains how his essence was trapped in a new clay form which later crumbled after being defeated by the Thing in their last battle. Hearing this, the Sphinx deems the Puppet Master too weak for his intended plans to destroy the Thing and ejects him from the pyramid ship and takes off. The Puppet Master vows that he will get his revenge against the Thing before the Sphinx succeeds at his.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles the Thing practices with Dynamite Dunphy for an upcoming match as Battleaxe and some of the other Grapplers watch the bout. Battleaxe still suspects that the Thing threw their previous fight and believes she still could have beaten him in a fair fight. They are soon greeted by Sharon Ventura who tells the other women she will be joining up with the Grapplers after her consultation with the Power Broker. Seeing Sharon talking to the Grapplers distracts Ben who believes that nothing good can come out of their association. Ben is so distracted he is taken off guard when Dynamite Dunphy lands a punch. Ben commends Dunphy for a hit but is confused when Dynamite doesn't respond. Suddenly Dunphy begins attacking him again and shows no signs of emotion. Ben quickly confirms his growing suspicions when he looks up into the stands and spots the Puppet Master controlling Dunphy with one of his puppets. In order to stop Dunphy from attacking, Ben rips up the floor mat on the ring and uses them and the ropes to tie him up and then takes off after the Puppet Master. When Ben catches up with him he learns that the Puppet Master is going after him because he sees Ben as a threat to his step-daughter Alicia Masters. Ben quickly explains to his old foe that he and Alicia broke up a while ago and she is now dating the Human Torch. To punctuate this point, Ben even shows the Puppet Master the photos of Sharon he has in his wallet to demonstrate how he has moved on. Glad to hear this news, the Puppet Master quickly departs telling the Thing that he will trouble him no further.
The Thing then helps free Dunphy who is free from the Puppet Master's control, and is upset because he didn't see where Sharon went with the Grapplers. Dunphy tells Ben to give Sharon some space otherwise he is liable to smother her. Later that evening, Ben is in the ring fighting against a wrestler named Little John when suddenly the Sphinx arrives over the arena in his pyramid ship and calls out a challenge to the Thing. Suddenly Ben is pulled up to the roof and the two begin battling it out. Their fight spills out into the street. From his hotel room across town the Puppet Master hears the news reports about the Thing's battle with the Sphinx and decides to do something about it. Rushing to the scene of the raging battle, the Puppet Master watches as the Thing is losing the fight. Not wishing his former foe to die, the Puppet Master quickly crafts a puppet based on the Sphinx and takes control of the ancient sorcerer. With the Sphinx under his control the Puppet Master forces him to remove the fragmented Ka Stone from his brow and crush it. With the destruction of the Ka Stone all the centuries of time catch up with the Sphinx and he crumbles to dust. While Ben struggles to thank the Puppet Master for his help, Masters tells him that they are even and says goodbye. Exhausted from his fight, Ben can do nothing more than pass out.
The Sphinx is back, intent on destroying the Thing! The Puppet Master is back, concerned about Ben and Alicia! And bashful Benjy is caught in the middle!
- The Thing has earned the Sphinx's ire after preventing the ancient sorcerer from completely reforming the Ka Stone as seen in Marvel Two-In-One #91.
- The Puppet Master glosses over the events of how he became living clay. He lost his original body back in Fantastic Four #236 when he transferred his mind into a tiny robot body in the miniature town of Liddleville. That body was crushed by a Doombot in Fantastic Four #246, but his mind succeeded in transferring to his psychic clay as seen in Thing #4. He battle the Thing in this form in Thing #5-6 which ended with the Puppet Master crumbling into a pile of inert clay.
- Battleaxe mentions her fight with the Thing that happened last issue.
- The Thing explains to the Puppet Master how his former girlfriend Alicia Masters is now dating his former partner the Human Torch and how he had recently quit the Fantastic Four. There is a complicated series of events surrounding this: It all started when Ben and most of the Fantastic Four were kidnapped by the Beyonder to battle in the Secret Wars in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1-12. When the battle was over Ben decided to stay on battle world for a while because he had been re-evaluating his relationship with Alicia between Thing #2-10 and also because he believed that he could change back and forth between his human and Thing forms:
- While Ben was on Battleworld from Thing #11-22, Ben ultimately sacrificed his ability to change back and forth by slaying his dark-half Grimm the Sorcerer, trapping him in his Thing form seemingly forever.
- While Ben was gone Johnny and the woman claiming to be Alicia started a courtship from Fantastic Four #265 onward. Ben found out about this romance when he returned to Earth in Fantastic Four #277.
- He also learned in Thing #23 that Mister Fantastic had been hiding the fact that Ben was actually able to change back and forth between human and Thing forms at will since Fantastic Four #245 and had been keeping it a secret because Ben's fear that Alicia wouldn't love him as Ben Grimm. Thinking he lost his ability to change back to normal ever again, the Thing quit the Fantastic Four.
- Although Ben does eventually return to human form a number of times following this. The next time is Fantastic Four #326.
- Although the Sphinx seemingly dies here he is later seen alive again in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #26. His resurrection, as explained in New Warriors Annual #2, was caused by his successor reforming the Ka Stone and using it to alter reality in New Warriors #11-13. Although her plot was foiled and reality was restored to normal, the original Sphinx was resurrected as a result.
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