Appearing in "Going for Broke"
Synopsis for "Going for Broke"
The She-Hulk us taking time to exercise at Avengers Mansion when she hears a news report about the Thing being wanted in questioning for a series of acts of destruction. Deciding to go to California to see what is going on with the former member of the Fantastic Four, She-Hulk asks Jarvis if she can take a Quinjet, but is informed that the Avengers are no longer cleared to launch their trademark jets from the mansion anymore. With no other choice, She-Hulk then takes a commercial airliner to the west coast, hoping that it is not too late.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the Thing, Ms. Marvel and Michael Lynch crash into the Power Broker's hideout and find that he has skipped down. As they try to figure out their next move, the Thing is suddenly struck by another one of his dizzy spells. Suddenly they are confronted by the various wrestlers that the Power Broker has hooked on drugs. As a fight breaks out, Ben continues to feel dizzy and weak and suddenly collapses in the middle of the fight. The fight itself loses its steam when the wrestlers all realize that the Power Broker has abandoned them. Suddenly the Thing begins screaming in pain as his body spontaneously begins to mutate even further. When other wrestlers try to get him some help, Ben angrily shoves them aside. Ms. Marvel orders the others to grab a hold of the Thing and subdue him before he can hurt someone. The wrestlers comply but are grossed out by how clammy the Thing now feels and by the strange pustules that are now growing on his rocky skin. The Thing puts up some resistance but is too weak and after another wrack of pain he passes out. With the Thing out of commission an ambulance is quickly called and Ben is rushed to a hospital.
At the offices of the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, owner Ed Garner is trying to deal with the press and avoid a scandal over the accusations that his wrestlers have been illegally enhancing their strength. Suddenly the She-Hulk arrives and forces all the reporters out of Garner's office and begins demanding answers about the Thing's whereabouts. Garner explains that he was unaware of the Power Broker or how he hooked the other wrestlers and how he just found out about it all and how the Power Broker threatened to cut off the wrestlers drug supply in order to get the Thing and Ms. Marvel. Suddenly one of Garner's aids comes in and tells him that the Thing has been taken to the hospital, prompting She-Hulk to head there on the double.
At the hospital, Ms. Marvel learns that Dynamite Dunphy is recovering well from his drug withdrawl but the Thing's condition continue to worsen. When Sharon suggests they contact Reed Richards to help, Ben protests against the idea. When she goes to check on Dunphy and learns about the drugs he's on, she also finds out that Ben hasn't been taking them and his condition is in no way connected. Stumped on what to do next, Ms. Marvel looks out the window and spots the She-Hulk approaching the hospital. Realizing that this will upset Ben even more, Sharon rushes out to confront her. Hearing that She-Hulk is on her way, Ben decides that she cannot see him like this, getting out of bed even as his body mutates even more. Outside, Sharon stops the She-Hulk at the hospital door and tries to bar her passage and this leads to a fight between the two women. Seeing this from his hospital room window, Ben decides that he needs to get far away.
As the two women fight it out, Ben begins trying to smash his way out of his hospital room. Eventually She-Hulk manages to get past Sharon and get into the hospital, but Ms. Marvel catches up with her. The two decide that instead of continuing to fight, She-Hulk should at least have a chance to call up to Ben's room and see if he wants her to visit. While they wait for Ben to answer the phone, the Thing finally smashes through the wall to the outside. Hearing a large crash the two women rush up to the room to see that the Thing has fled. The two try to trace Ben's footsteps but lose all trace of him once they reach the highway, leaving them both to wonder where Ben could have gone. While elsewhere in along the highway, the Thing hops out of the back of a dump truck. Needing to get away from humanity, and thinking that everyone is better off without him Ben makes his way toward the ocean, bidding farewell to the cruel world he has endured for so many years...
- The Thing's animosity towards his former teammates in the Fantastic Four is a complex one:
- In Fantastic Four #245, Mister Fantastic theorized that the Thing could change back and forth between human and Thing form at will and that the only thing preventing him from doing so was a psychological block caused by Ben's fear that his girlfriend Alicia Masters would leave him if he wasn't the Thing. Reed decided to keep this a secret. Ben began re-evaluating his relationship with Alicia between Thing #2–10.
- Later Mister Fantastic, the Thing and the Human Torch were kidnapped by the Beyonder to participate in the Secret Wars in Thing #10.
- Between Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1–12, Ben discovered that he could change back and forth at will and assumed that it was because he was on Battleworld. When the Secret Wars were over Ben decided to stay behind and sort things out, and had She-Hulk take his place on the team while he was gone.
- From Fantastic Four #265 onward, Johnny began a relationship with who he thought was Alicia Masters. It's later revealed years later in Fantastic Four #358 that this isn't the real Alicia Masters but a Skrull spy named Lyja who took her place to spy on the Fantastic Four.
- Meanwhile, Ben's time on Battleworld between Thing #11–22 forced him to slay his darkside Grimm the Sorcerer which cost him his ability to change back and forth at will, trapping him in his Thing form.
- With nothing left to keep him on Battleworld Ben returned to Earth where he discovered Johnny and "Alicia's" relationship in Fantastic Four #277. That and Reed's telling Ben his secret in Thing #23 prompted Ben to quit the Fantastic Four.
- Jarvis mentions how the Avengers have been forbidden from launching their Quinjets from the mansion. This was due to a then newly imposed FAA ruling in Avengers #261.
- Ben waxes on his current situation with Sharon Ventura. Ben's been obsessed about her since Thing #27 as she resembled Tarianna the woman created from his imagination on Battleworld. However his infatuation is not reciprocated as she blew him off in Thing #33. Although Ben thinks that she and Lynch are going to get together, this doesn't pan out as he is not seen again after this story.
- An epilogue to this story is tacked onto the end of West Coast Avengers (Vol. 2) #10.
- Ben's condition doesn't last very long as when he's next seen in Fantastic Four #296 he has been cured by the Mole Man.
- The Thing refers to Michael Lynch as Sergeant, but in the previous issue he is identified as a Lieutenant.