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Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 5 1 Opeña Variant cover

Preface

A number of the incidents recounted of Ben Grimm's life prior to becoming the leader of the Fantastic Four are cited to have occurred in specific decades relative to the era of publication. However, the Earth-616 universe operates on a Sliding Timescale these events could not have occurred in the times they appeared due to the fact that it would drastically age the character.

Early Life

Childhood

Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) as a boy (Thing Vol 1 1)

Ben Grimm as a child.

Benjamin J. Grimm was born and raised at 7135 Yancy Street[1] on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where he grew up in poverty. His father, an alcoholic, was unable to hold a job. Much of the family's income came from Grimm's older brother, Daniel, who obtained funds illegally as leader of the Yancy Street Gang. [2] The earliest recorded event in Ben's life was when he was a young boy and one of his aunts had died of cancer. At only eight years old, when Ben learned that the doctors could not do anything for his ailing aunt, he prayed to God to save her. When she eventually died, the already miserable young boy raged up at the heavens at what he saw as a cruel an uncaring god. [3] Grimm, who idolized his brother, became further embittered against the world when Daniel was killed in a battle between rival gangs. [2][note 1]
Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) as a teen (Thing Vol 1 1)

Ben Grimm in the Yancy Street Gang.

Seeking to become a member of the Yancy Street Gang, he was tasked with stealing a golden Star of David pendant from local pawnshop owner Hiram Sheckerberg. Succeeding, Ben was accepted into the group. [4] Within ten years, he had succeeded his brother as leader of the Yancy Street Gang. Around this time, Ben's parents died, although the circumstances of their deaths are unrevealed. Grimm was taken in by his Uncle Jake and his young wife Petunia, who had risen from poverty to become a successful physician. At first, Grimm resisted his new guardians' kindness toward him. But eventually, he came to return their love.[2] One day during this transition period, Ben and his friend Tommy sneaked onto a fairground to check out the freak show. There Ben bullied a young deformed boy that was the son of the fair's gypsy. Seeing Ben treat her son with cruelty, she cursed Ben claiming that he would know tears one day, seemingly foretelling his later transformation. [5]

When Ben tried to return to the gang, he found himself pelted with garbage and called a traitor. The general census among the rest of the gang was that when Ben left Yancy Street he lost all right to lead the gang. Grimm has been at odds with the gang ever since. [4] Ben moved on with his life without looking back, leaving his life with the Yancy Street Gang behind, entered high school, and became a football star there. While he was a senior at Stuyvesant High School, Ben received a football scholarship to State University in Hegeman, New York. On the football field, Ben received the nickname "Grimm Reaper". [6]

State University

Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) at Statue U (Thing Vol 1 2)

Ben at State University with Alynn Cambers.

Grimm's freshman year roommate was the brilliant science student Reed Richards, who became his closest friend. During their first meeting Richards confided in Grimm his intention to build a starship for interstellar travel someday. Grimm jokingly promised that he would pilot the starship for Richards if he ever built it. Also during this period, Ben met Latverian student Victor von Doom, Reed's chief rival, who was later expelled from school after an unauthorized experiment literally blew up in his face. A failure that von Doom bitterly blamed Reed for[7][8][9][2]. While in university Ben began dating fellow student Alynn Chambers, while also trying to push Reed to become more social, despite Reed's lingering crush with his landlady's niece Sue Storm. On the day of a big game, Alynn suddenly broke up with Ben, upsetting him enough to lose the game. Ben tracked Alynn down and attempted to propose to her with his mother's wedding ring, but Alynn turned him down, telling Ben that she feared that in pursing a career in Hollywood she might neglect their marriage and left him for good. Angrily, Ben threw his mother's ring into a nearby river[10]. Shortly after this, Ben encountered a strange man claiming that aliens were attempting to invade Earth. Thinking it would be a good prank to send a supposed crack-pot to his pal Reed, Ben's prank inadvertently prevented an early invasion of Earth by the Skrull race[11].

Military Career and Test Pilot

Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) in the Army (Captain Savage Vol 1 7)

Ben Grimm in the Air Force.

Upon graduating Grimm went into the U.S. Air Force and became a highly skilled fighter pilot[6]. During his time with the Air Force, Ben was involved in a conflict in the South Pacific where he was briefly captured by enemy forces until he was rescued. [12] [note 2]. One account states that Ben even fought alongside the legendary Howling Commandos. [13] [note 3] Ben was later tapped by veteran soldier Nick Fury to fly a new prototype stealth plane into Russian territory to investigate why the Soviets were setting up ultra-low frequency radio wave transmitters. Joining him on this mission was the Canadian soldier known only as Logan and Department of Defence agent Carol Danvers who were part of a secret sealed mission the details of which they would know only once they crossed over into Russian airspace. As they crossed over into Russia they were intercepted by KGB fighters led by Russian operative Natalia Shostakova, soon realizing that someone betrayed them and their mission[14].
Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) and James Howlett (Earth-616) from Before the Fantastic Four Ben Grimm and Logan Vol 1 1 0001

Ben Grimm as a test pilot.

Forced to land their plane, Ben and Logan faced off against Russian forces while Carol fled into the woods with their black box flight recorder. Ben and Logan were soon captured and loaded aboard a prisoner train that was also carrying a Soviet weapon called Project: Red Storm, the objective of Logan's mission. Ben and Logan managed to break free, steal Red Storm and were pulled off the train by Carol who had stolen a scout plane[15]. The trio then managed to recover their stolen plane and escape the Russians, but their mission was not yet complete[16]. However, the details of the rest of their mission are unrecorded. Ben was later reunited with Logan shortly after Logan was experimented on by the Weapon X Project, coating his bones with Adamantium, and wiping out his memories. Ben flew Logan to Washington D.C. so that Logan could meet with Myron MacLain, the inventor of Adamantium[17].
Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) as an astronaut (Thing Vol 2 1)

Ben as an astronaut.

After his tour of duty, Ben continued to be a test pilot as well as an astronaut[18]. During his time as a test pilot, Ben began a romance with Dr. Linda McGill. During an outing at a freak show, Linda admitted to Ben that she loved him no matter what he looked like, as she cared about who he was on the inside[19]. In the meantime Richards went ahead with his project to build a starship, using both his own fortune and funding from the Federal government. On the day that Grimm left the military, Richards came to him to remind him of his promise to pilot the starship[6]. The last night Ben spent with Linda was the evening before the fated launch that would change Ben's life forever[19].

Ben relocated to Central City to prepare for the launch which was partially funded by Reed's money and a grant from the government. The project was jeopardized by the arrival of an alien invader named Gormuu a creature that grew massive in size and was seemingly unstoppable. When Reed deduced that the alien drew power from his ship to grow in size, he created a device to infuse Gormuu with more energy. Unaware of Reed's full intentions, both Ben and Reed's fiancée, Sue Storm, attempted to stop him. However they failed and Reed's invention worked: so bombarded with energy, Gormuu grew until his molecular structure dissipated, ending his threat[20].

Modern Age

Year One

Birth of the Fantastic Four

Following the Gormuu incident, the federal government threatened to withdraw its funding from Richards' project, so Richards decided to take the starship on a test flight himself as soon as possible. Grimm was opposed to the idea, warning that the starship's shielding might prove to be inadequate protection from intense radiation storms. Nevertheless, Grimm was persuaded to serve as pilot, along with his passengers Sue and her teenage brother Johnny who insisted on accompanying Richards. The four friends stole into the launch facility, entered the starship, and launched it[21]. They intended to travel through hyperspace to another solar system and back. However, unknown to Richards, a solar flare caused Earth's Van Allen radiation belts to be filled temporarily with unprecedented, ultra-high levels of cosmic radiation. Since the ship was designed to shield against ordinary levels of radiation, the cabin interior was subject to intense cosmic ray bombardment which irradiated the four passengers and wrought havoc on the ship's controls. Pilot Grimm was forced to abort the flight and return to Earth. [21] [note 4]

Once back on Earth, the four passengers discovered that the cosmic radiation had triggered mutagenic changes in this bodies. Grimm was transformed into an orange-colored, thick-skinned, heavily-muscled, and superhumanly strong "thing." Richards convinced the three others that the four of them should use their new powers for the good of humanity as members of a team named the Fantastic Four.
Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 0001

Ben Grimm first turning into the Thing [21]

Richards called himself Mister Fantastic, Susan and Johnny Storm took the names of the Invisible Girl and the Human Torch, and Grimm, morose over his new grotesque appearance, named himself the Thing[21]. The quartet were quickly picked up by the government and were then contained in a government quarantine facility for those exposed by cosmic rays under the command of Reed's colleague General Walter Montgomery. There Reed was contacted telepathically by Professor Franz Stahl, another cosmic ray mutate who saw their transformations something that evolved them beyond humanity. Ben lashed out over his transformation, trashing his room. When Linda attempted to see him in his room, she was frightened away after looking at him. Stahl caused another mutate, Raymond Perry to go on a rampage in the facility. [22] While the fledgling Fantastic Four stopped Perry's rampage, Stahl escaped from his cell. Having demonstrated the effectiveness of their new powers, Reed managed to convince General Montgomery into releasing the Fantastic Four and allowing them to operate freely. When a series of nuclear facilities began to vanish, Montgomery convinced his superiors to give the Fantastic Four a change to prove themselves. [23]

After his transformation, Ben returned home and when Linda came to visit him she was still horrified to find him in his new form and ran out on him. This threw Ben into a rage, destroying his apartment. Slipping into a depression, Ben traveled to a nearby bridge and contemplated committing suicide. However Linda tracked Ben down, having come to her senses and suggested that they give their relationship a try, but Ben angrily rejected her, sending the frightened woman fleeing[19].

Early Adventures

Thing Pin-up - Fantastic Four 2

Ben in Human Form and Early Transformation

Soon Ben was summoned along with the others to Reed's side where he enlisted their aid in determining what was causing nuclear facilities all over the world to suddenly sink into the Earth. Reed had tracked the tremors to their source: Monster Island. There Ben and the others found an underground world filled with monsters under the control of the so-called Mole Man who sought to conquer the surface world. Ben's superior strength was a great help to the team in fighting off the Mole Man's various creatures, and facilitating their escape. Defeating the Mole Man detonated the island, seemingly sealing off Subterranea from the rest of the world[21]. Their first mission was a success, but the group faced some publicity issues due to the damages caused by the group. Meanwhile, Franz Stahl continued to contact Reed to try and convince him that they were beyond normal humans. [23]

Shortly after this, the Skrulls resumed their plans to invade the Earth, sending four of their minions to pose as the Fantastic Four and framing them for acts of treason. This led to Ben and the others becoming wanted criminals. They were apprehended but the Four soon broke out and captured their impostors. Posing as the Skrull invaders, the Fantastic Four travelled to the mothership where Reed tricked the Skrulls into thinking the Earth was filled with giant creatures by using pictures clipped out of comic books, thwarting the invasion. On their return to Earth, they passed through the same cosmic radiation that transformed them, changing Ben back into human form, however this transformation to be the first in many short lived restorations to his human form. With each subsequent transformation, Ben gradually went from having a reptilian like hide to more stonier features. With the Skrulls defeated, the Fantastic Four took their captives and Reed used hypnosis to make them believe they were ordinary cows[24]. Reed then set up temporary operations for the group in a warehouse along the New York City shoreline. Discovering that the cosmic rays also altered their space suits so that they could meld along with their powers. Reed decided that they should wear them as costumes until he could better examine them. The threat from the Mole Man was not yet over however as one of his creatures, Giganto attacked New York City. The Fantastic Four quickly defeated the creature which then fled out to sea, revealing themselves to the public and the press for the first time. [25]

Reed next rented out the top floors of the Baxter Building in New York City as their new headquarters. [26][27] Reed then began to examine Ben's transformation, feeling guilty over transforming his best friend into a monstrous form, Reed began investigating how to return him to human form. [28][27] However the group began to show signs of falling apart, particularly Reed's relationship with Sue, which Sue believed was taking a back seat to the establishment of the Fantastic Four. After Johnny, Ben and Sue stormed out on Reed, he was contacted once more by Stahl who was going to unleash the cosmic rays within a meteor at the decontamination facility and mutate the entire world. [27] Reed went after Stahl alone, and soon found himself caught in a telepathic conflict with his foe. Meanwhile, the other members of the group reunited and went after Reed, only to have to face an army of soldiers mutated by cosmic rays. [29] During the conflict, the Fantastic Four defeated the cosmic ray mutated soldiers, and Reed and Sue defeated Stahl in mental combat with the strength of their love for one another. With Stahl seemingly slain, all those affected by his cosmic ray bombardment were restored to normal. The Fantastic Four however only saw a temporary reversal of their powers. In the aftermath of the battle, Reed and Sue reconciled, and Reed vowed to focus on their relationship, fashioning her a ring out of a fragment of the meteor that Stahl attempted to use against the world. [30] The group was then revealed publicly [31]. The group spent the next few months taking down various monsters and imprisoning them on Monster Island. Ben contributed in taking down such creatures as Fin Fang Foom, Gruto, Klagg and Googam[32].

Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 0001

Ben's early costume.

When the Fantastic Four later clashed with the illusion casting Mircale Man, Sue had created a new costume for Ben, which included a long sleeved shirt, pants, and a helmet to cover his face. Despite the fact that he was upset over his transformation and hated those who gawked at him,
Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 0002

Ben's original costume briefly included a helmet, which he refused to wear.

Ben abandoned them early in the battle, preferring to wear only shorts in battle. When Sue was captured by Miracle Man along with an atomic tank, the remaining trio bickered among each other over various reasons. Ben took issue over the fact that Reed's experiment turned him into a monster. Despite their differences, they managed to defeat Miracle Man, although Johnny left the team in anger after his defeat[26]. Ben and the others went looking for Johnny. Ben found Johnny first but failed to nab him when he briefly reverted to human form again. The group did eventually find Johnny but not before the boy revived the memories of the Sub-Mariner who had been living in a flop house for decades with amnesia. Furious at the seeming destruction of his kingdom, Namor then unleashed an attack on New York City, using a gigantic creature known as Giganto. Ben ultimately slew Giganto with an atomic bomb which he tricked Giganto into swallowing. With Giganto defeated, the reunited Fantastic Four defeated the Sub-Mariner in battle, sending him fleeing back into the ocean vowing revenge[33].

By this time, Reed's university rival Victor Von Doom resurfaced, now calling himself Dr. Doom, and coming to the Baxter Building to get revenge. Taking Sue prisoner, he forced Ben and the others to use his time machine to go back in time to recover Blackbeard's treasure chest in order to claim jewels within that supposedly belonged to the wizard Merlin. Sent centuries into the past, the three men disguised themselves in that era's clothing and when they were captured by a band of pirates, they took their ship. Much to Reed and Johnny's surprise, the pirates took Ben to be their master, calling him Blackbeard. Recovering the treasure chest, Ben refused to go, wanting to stay behind now that he was finally accepted. However a tornado soon wrecked the ship, and Ben came to his senses deciding to return to the present with them. Before Doom could bring them back to the present, Reed replaced the treasure inside the chest with chains. Learning this Doom furiously trapped them in an air tight room but they were rescued by Sue, and forced Doom to retreat[34]. Back at the Baxter Building, Ben received a letter from the Yancy Street Gang, beginning a long series of antagonizing interactions between Ben and the gang. That same day, Dr. Doom established an alliance with the Sub-Mariner to defeat the Fantastic Four. The pair planted a magnetic device in the Baxter Building to pull it into the sun. Doom betrayed Namor, forcing him to put aside his differences to help the Fantastic Four defeat Doom, leaving him stranded in space while the Baxter Building was returned to its rightful place[35].

Ben and the other were next manipulated in leaving Earth by Kurrgo of the planet Xanth, who sought use Reed to save his people from a runaway asteroid. Ben came along for the ride and was on Xanth until Reed devised a shrink gas to reduce the size of the planet's people so they could fit in one of the two only space craft. After saving the race from eradication, Ben and the others returned to Earth[36]. During this period, Sue and Johnny spent time between living in New York and the suburb of Glenville while Johnny finished high school. When Johnny was dealing with the Communist saboteur known as the Destroyer, Ben offered his assistance, but Johnny refused, sending Ben away angry[37]. Back in New York, Ben stormed out on the team when they refused to let him see what Reed was working on, unaware that Richards was working on yet another attempt to cure Ben of his mutation. While out on the street Ben was put under the thrall of the Puppet Master, who was seeking to conquer the world using his radioactive clay. When the Puppet Master realized that the Invisible Girl was with Ben, he knocked Sue out and forced his blind step-daughter Alicia to disguise herself as Sue and help infiltrate the Baxter Building. There the Puppet Master ordered Ben to attack his remaining teammates, but Reed tricked the mindless Thing into slamming into his experiment, causing Ben to revert back into human form, freeing him from the Puppet Master's control. The cure proved short lived as the others, and Ben was more disheartened to find that Alicia seemed to be only interested in him as the Thing. Ben and the others then thwarted the Puppet Master's attempt to stage a jail break, rescued Sue and the Puppet Master was seemingly slain after he tripped over one of his own puppets and went crashing out a window[38].

Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) and Namor McKenzie (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 9 0001

Namor vs The Thing on the set of the Fantastic Four Movie[39]

Ben and Alicia soon started dating, and not long after this the Fantastic Four went into bankruptcy, forcing Reed to sell off their assets to keep creditors at bay. However a letter from SM Studios expressing interest in a Fantastic Four movie brought the team to Hollywood to take them up on the million dollar offer. To their surprise, SM Studios was run by the Sub-Mariner who insisted that he legitimately wished to cast them in a movie. With no other choice, the Four agreed to he deal as they needed the money. Namor used this as an attempt to lure the male members of the team into various death traps in the hopes of taking Sue as his betrothed. While Namor chose elaborate traps for Reed and Johnny, he chose to fight Ben one-on-one along a beach. Ben managed to get the upper hand until a fluke bolt of lightning struck him, changing him back into human form, allowing Namor to defeat him. Ben eventually returned to his monstrous form and reunited with Reed and Johnny and rescued Sue. Namor was forced to honour his deal and a film was completed, allowing the Fantastic Four to resume their operations in New York[39]. Upon returning to New York, Ben and the others got an unexpected visit from the novice hero known as Spider-Man, who came seeking membership with the group. Ben clashed with Spider-Man until Reed stopped the battle. When Spider-Man learned that membership in the Fantastic Four was not an income earning job, he stormed out on the group[40][41]. Also during this period Ben met the extremely powerful hero known as the Sentry, who fought along the side the Fantastic Four against such foes as Dr. Doom, and later the Android Pirates of Dimension Nine[42].

By this time, Ben's mutation had stabilized to to a more rocky form. Shortly thereafter, Reed was forced into switching bodies with Dr. Doom, who had mastered the ability after being rescued by the alien Ovoid race. Doom tricked the other members of the team into thinking that he was truly Reed Richards, and used them to capture "Doom". "Reed" developed a shrink ray to dispose of "Doom" once and for all, intending to use it against the rest of the team as well. Reed broke out and convinced Alicia who he really was, and later the team. Upon admitting that he was really Dr. Doom, Victor was forced back into his own body and became the victim of his own shrink ray, and was shrunk to seeming nothingness[43]. After more harassing mail from the Yancy Street Gang and another failed attempt at a cure[6], Ben assisted Reed and Sue in stopping Johnny from being exploited by Acrobat who enticed Johnny into quitting the Fantastic Four and joining his Torrid Twosome in order to trick Johnny into robbing a bank[44]. Ben then joined his fellow teammates in clashing with a strange alien that could change its shape into anything it wanted and was causing trouble throughout the city. Ben dubbed the alien the Impossible Man, whom they learned was on vacation and really enjoyed entertaining himself by playing pranks. Reed eventually deduced that ignoring the Impossible Man would make him so bored he willingly left Earth[6]. During this adventure, Ben also encountered Turbo a female hero from a few years in his future who was briefly trapped in their time[45][46].

Ben and the rest of the Fantastic Four were next enlisted by General Thaddeus Ross to go to Nevada to stop the Hulk who was accused of sabotaging equipment being tested by the military. This ultimately led to the Thing clashing with the Hulk, the first of many clashes. However the results of the bout were inconclusive when the real saboteur, a communist agent calling himself the Wrecker, felled the Hulk with a powerful ray. The Fantastic Four easily captured the Wrecker, but the Hulk managed to escape[47][48]. Back in New York, Ben joined Reed and his teammates on a rocket trip to the fabled Blue Area of the Moon. There they found they were followed by the Russian scientist known as the Red Ghost who purposely bombarded himself and his so-called Super-Apes with cosmic rays to gain super powers. Clashing on the moon with the enhanced creatures, Ben was confronted by Uatu the Watcher, an alien who was charged with examining and recording all Earth history. Uatu issued a challenge to see which nation was the greatest, pitting the Fantastic Four against Red Ghost and his Super-Apes, a battle the Four ultimately won[49].

When they returned to Earth, Sue was captured by the Sub-Mariner who was under the thrall of the Puppet Master who had survived their last encounter. Bringing Alicia with him to face the Sub-Mariner. Ben played an integral part in freeing Sue and the Puppet Master's defeat, freeing Namor from his control[50]. The Fantastic Four were next manipulated into taking a leave of absence by the criminal mastermind who called himself the Mad Thinker. Through these manipulations, Ben left the group to become a professional wrestler in the mid-west. Growing bored with the scripted matches, Ben eventually quit and returned to the Baxter Building, reunited with his comrades. The found their base taken over by the Thinker and his minions. Ben and the others managed to retake their headquarters, defeating the Thinker and his creation the Awesome Android[51]. Shortly after this Thor was convinced to go to war against humanity by his half brother Loki. During their attack on New York City the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man attempted to stop their rampage and were slain in the process. However, when Thor regained his humanity and fought back against Loki, Odin restored all the damage and returned all the dead back to life. [52] After yet another temporary cure, Dr. Doom soon resurfaced and used his shrink ray to bring the Fantastic Four to the Microverse world of Sub-Atomica, which he took over since their last defeat. Ben and the others defeated Doom with the assistance of the size changing hero known as Ant Man, forcing Doom to flee back to their world[53]. The group returned to New York where Doom captured Alicia and used her as a hostage and attempted to force the United States into surrendering to him, using special disintigraters on his ship to the Fantastic Four's unique DNA. Since the weapons were designed to destroy the Thing in his mutated form, Reed administered the temporary cure allowing Ben to break through the barrier and gain the others access to the ship. They then rescued Alicia, and Doom seemingly perished when he fell out of the ship[54]. Doom survived however and attempted to lure the Fantastic Four into another trap by holding Spider-Man hostage. However unknown to Doom he had really captured Flash Thompson, a devote Spider-Man fan. By the time Ben and the others arrived to rescue Flash, Doom had already been defeated and forced to retreat by the real Spider-Man[55]. Next, the Skrulls sent their enhanced warrior the Super-Skrull to Earth. The Super-Skrull was able to imitate all the powers of the Fantastic Four, and had the team on the ropes until Reed deduced that the alien's power source was beamed to him. Ben was instrumental in his defeat, brawling with the Skrull until Sue could plant a jammer on him leading to his defeat and burial in a dormant volcano[56]. When the villain known as the Eel was loose with an active nuclear miniature nuclear pile which threatened to explode, Ben attempted to find the villain on his own, but was unsuccessful in capturing the criminal. Later, Johnny nearly lost his life capturing the Eel and absorbing the nuclear blast. Ben was incredibly shaken by Johnny's near-death experience[57].

Reed decided it was time for the team to take a vacation and Ben brought Alicia along with him on a cruise. At this time, Namor had finally found his lost people and reclaimed the Atlantean throne. Seeking to claim dominion over the seven seas, Namor kidnapped the Fantastic Four and ordered them to deliver his ultimatum to the United Nations before releasing them. When the United Nations refused, Namor led an invasion of New York City. Ben was sent out to capture an Atlantean soldier so that Reed could learn their weakness. This allowed Reed to develop a device that evaporated the water in the Atlanteans' helmets forcing them into retreat, however Namor attacked the group and kidnapped Sue. Ben and the others went after him and clashed with him again, until his minions Lady Dorma and Warlord Krang attempted to drown Sue, prompting her teammates and Namor to come to her rescue, ending the fight. After Sue was delivered to a hospital by Namor, the undersea monarch fled, only to find that his people had abandoned him for saving the life of a surface dweller[41].

Not long after this, Reed began studying Egyptology and discovered evidence that an ancient Pharaoh named Rama-Tut had managed to cure himself of his blindness with a special radioactive herb. Ben agreed with a plan to travel back to the year 2950 BC using Dr. Doom's time machine. Travelling into the past they were shocked to learn that Rama-Tut was really a time traveller from the 30th Century (of Earth-6311) who had come to this era to conquer it. The Four were easily defeated by Tut's future technology, Sue was made Rama-Tut's slave while the others were taken prisoner[58][59]. Ben was forced to row on a ship, when suddenly he reverted to human form[58]. Unknown to Ben, the transformation was caused by the secret assistance of Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange who travelled to this era from a few years in the Fantastic Four's future[60]. Ben then broke free and fought his way to Rama-Tut's throne room, freeing Sue before reverting back to his monstrous form. Freeing the others they fought against Rama-Tut forcing him to retreat in his time machine. Reed and the others recovered the needed radioactive herb and returned to their own era[58][61]. However when they returned to the present they were disappointed to find that Doom's machine neutralized the radioactivity of the herb, rendering it useless[58].

Ben and the others were next warned by the Watcher of the creation of a new super-powered menace known as the Molecule Man whose powers threatened to destroy the universe. Ben joined the others in clashing with the Molecule Man. Reed deduced that their foe could not manipulate organic matter, and they tricked the Molecule Man into going to Alicia's apartment where the team posed as clay statues, easily over powering the Molecule Man, subduing him long enough for Utatu to take him away[62]. The group next went after a racist rabble rouser calling himself the Hate-Monger who was spreading prejudice across New York. The Four were subjected to his Hate-Ray causing them to fight amongst themselves, leading to the group splitting up yet again. When Reed went off to San Gusto to stop the Hate-Monger's coup there, the other members of the team went after him to fight Reed again. Reed administered a cure to Ben and the others, and when the Hate-Monger was slain, they were surprised to find that he was a clone of Adolf Hitler[63]. Back in New York, the Puppet Master soon returned to get revenge against the Fantastic Four, using his puppets to turn Ben against Johnny and forcing them to fight across the city. This was until Alicia spotted her step-father, who informed Johnny. Johnny destroyed the Puppet Master's puppets freeing Ben from his control. Before Ben could pummel the Puppet Master, Alicia convinced him to let her step-father go[64]. The Mole Man resurfaced and tricked the Fantastic Four to seek to purchase an island to store some of Reed's equipment, leading themselves into a trap. Ben and the others managed to stop the Mole Man from lowering Manhattan and Moscow into the Earth to set off World War III[65]. Sometime after this, Johnny was present when Reed began experimenting with the Cosmic Cube with the Sentry. When the Cube took possession of Cloc, the Sentry's computer system, Johnny helped defend the group from various threats created by the computer until the Cube was ultimately stopped[42].

Soon Ben and the others became discontented with Reed's leadership and fought over who would be the new leader of the team. Dr. Doom resurfaced around this time and empowered Bull Brogin, "Handsome" Harry Phillips and Yogi Dakor as his Terrible Trio to fight with the Fantastic Four. Doom sent Bull Brogin to lure Ben to Yancy Street, where the battle ended in Ben's defeat when he once more briefly reverted to human form. The group was captured and Doom intended to trap them in a room that would dump them into space by the passage of a solar wave that would create an opening through time and space. Ben and the others managed to escape and left Doom to fall through the solar wave. Realizing that Reed was indeed the only person fit to lead, the Fantastic Four stopped seeking a new leader among the group[66]. Ben and his teammates next defended New York from the so-called Infant Terrible, an infant alien with reality altering powers, stopping mobster Big Joe from manipulating the creature until the alien's parents came to recover their child before it could destroy the Earth[67]. When the Hulk arrived in New York seeking to destroy his former teammates the Avengers, Ben was the only member available to stop him as Reed fell ill, Sue was looking after his treatment and Johnny injured in the Hulk's attack[68]. Ben held his own against the Hulk until both Reed and Johnny recovered and with the assistance of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four easily defeated the Hulk, who was swept away in the Hudson River[69]. When the Sub-Mariner once again kidnapped Sue to force her to be with him, Reed -- who was about to propose to her -- went after Namor alone. Not wanting Reed to go up against their foe, Johnny and the Thing enlisted the aid of Dr. Strange to help them locate Namor and rescue Sue[70]. When Reed sought to obtain the legal services of blind lawyer Matt Murdock (secretly the hero Daredevil), he sent Ben to deliver the paperwork[71]. The Puppet Master and Mad Thinker soon joined forces and used a puppet to take control of the X-Men's leader Professor X in order to trick the X-Men into battling the Fantastic Four. Johnny clashed with the group until Professor X managed to fight off the Puppet Master's control and the two teams defeated their foes, who managed to flee[72]. Ben and Alicia next went on a double-date with Johnny and his girlfriend Doris Evans to the World's Fair grounds. Their date was interrupted by the armored criminal calling himself the Beetle, whom the duo managed to defeat[73]. Not long after this an ancient mummy named Gomdulla was re-awoken and went on a rampage. Ben and his teammates attempted to go after the creature with the help of Spider-Man. Later when Spider-Man accidentally knocked out Sue while trying to stop Electro from robbing a bank, the Fantastic Four fought with Spider-Man until Sue stopped them and they all worked together to bring Electro to justice[74].

The Red Ghost later resurfaced and attempted to kill the Fantastic Four by stranding them on the moon. The heroes managed to seek refuge in the Watcher's citadel, defending it from Red Ghost. When the Red Ghost was defeated the Watcher returned the group to Earth[75].
Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 30 0001

Ben partially cured by Diablo.

Ben joined his teammates on a vacation to Transylvania where the he was tricked into freeing the ancient alchemist known as Diablo who offered him the false promise of a cure for his mutation, administering a partial cure. Diablo then began his plans to try and take over the world, however due to the limited effects of his potions, Ben returned to his mutated state after a short period of time and joined his teammates in stopping Diablo's plans[76]. Fearing that they were getting less publicity, Johnny and Ben attempted to get a name for themselves by attacking the Sub-Mariner, foiling a plan of Reed's to make peace. Adding insult to injury, the reporters whom they believed were covering stories on Sue and Reed turned out to be researching a surprise article for both Ben and Johnny[77][78]. Johnny and Ben were once again targeted by the Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker, turning the Thing against the Torch. However one of the Thing's unstable and temporary reversions to human form eventually freed Ben from their control. With the help of Reed, the duo foiled the Thinker and Puppet Master's plot[79]. While out on another double date with Johnny, Doris and Alicia, both Johnny and Ben had to defend the city from a reptilian creature calling himself the Golden Gator, who was trying to use alligators from the sewers to invade the city. Unknown to them at the time, the creature was an aspect of the demon KhLΘG[80]. Once more having issue with Reed being the leader of the team, both Johnny and Ben were set straight when Reed posing as a mysterious villain soundly defeated them[81].

Unaware that their foe Dr. Doom had returned from space, nor that he was the secret ruler of the nation of Latveria, Ben and the others agreed an invitation to the Latverian embassy. There Doom tricked the Fantastic Four into drinking a drugged beverage that made them see the worst of each other forcing the team to fight each other. Johnny and Ben duked it out until Reed uncovered Doom's involvement and defeated him in battle[8]. The Mole Man then resurfaced and sunk a New York City block, taking Sue hostage. Ben and the others freed her and defeated the Mole Man, but Sue was injured. Johnny and Sue's father Franklin, who had just broken out of prison, treated Sue, saving her life before being apprehended again[82]. Johnny and Sue were in for a shock when he father seemingly broke out of prison again after gaining similar powers to the Fantastic Four and then committed a series of crimes calling himself the Invincible Man. However Reed correctly deduced that Franklin had been captured by the Skrulls and that their agent the Super-Skrull was posing as Franklin in order to prevent the Fantastic Four from interfering with their invasion plans. Reed forced the Skrulls to return Franklin to Earth, but they rigged him with a bomb to kill the Fantastic Four. Unwilling to harm his children, Franklin Storm sacrificed his life to blunt the blow. Later, Oscorp employee David Lowell experimented on himself turning into the super-powered Sundown and began terrorizing the city. Ben joined Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Dr. Strange and the X-Men in defeating the foe[83].

Ben next joined his teammates in accompanying Lady Dorma back to Atlantis to assist Namor in repelling the invasion forces of the warlord Attuma[84]. When mutant twins Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch sought refuge from Mangeto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants they sought out the aid of the Fantastic Four. Only Johnny and Ben were home when they came calling and a fight broke out. Ultimately, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch got away, deciding to remain with Magneto for the time being[85]. Ben was later tricked into thinking that Reed was really a Skrull spy by millionaire Gregory Gideon who sought to eliminate the Fantastic Four in a bid to rule the world. However the Four realized the deception and Gideon. Gideon's master plan was to set up a Reed' Time-Platform as a trap, but when Gideon's son was transported back in time with Ben, Gideon relented and Reed brought them back to the present[86]. Spider-Man later attempted to crash one of Johnny's parties, leading to a clash between the wall crawler and the Fantastic Four that was quickly stopped by Sue[87].

By this time the Terrible Trio had broken out of prison once again and targeted both Johnny and Ben. Their ridiculously clichéd plot to tie the two heroes to a railroad track was easily thwarted and the Trio were recaptured once again[88]. Ben then accompanied the team to a speaking engagement at his old alma mater Statue University. There their old foe Diablo resurfaced and brought to life Professor Gregson Gilbert's Dragon Man android. Ben fought the creature along side his teammates until it and Diablo were seemingly drowned in underwater whirlpools beneath Dead Man's Lake. Following this adventure, Reed finally proposed to Sue[89]. Ben later joined Johnny, Doris and Alicia on a date to see a popular British rock and roll group, in one of their more mundane roles as super-heroes, the pair stopped a gang of robbers from stealing from the show's box office[90].[note 5]

Reed and Sue's Wedding

Johnny's rogue gallery soon came back to haunt him when the Wizard organized his counter group called the Frightful Four which consisted of Paste-Pot Pete (who quickly changed his name to the Trapster), the Sandman and the mysterious woman known only as Medusa. Reed, Sue and Ben were attacked after celebrating Reed's proposal and captured. However Alicia managed to signal Johnny who was away from the Baxter Building at the time. Johnny helped free his teammates and they defeated the Frightful Four, who managed to escape capture[91]. Sue and the others later discovered that the Mole Man was responsible for the theft of various classic works of art and put a stop to this scheme. [92] Not long after this both Johnny and Ben were targeted by the Mad Thinker, who unleashed his ridiculous "Bouncing Ball of Doom" against the pair as they attempted to thwart a bank robbery, it was a scheme that the pair quickly foiled[93]. Before she could go to the altar, Sue insisted that they bring down the Skrull responsible for murdering their father. Reed was convinced and soon the Fantastic Four flew to the Skrull homeworld. There they found that their powers were weakening, and they were soon captured by Warlord Morrat the man responsible for killing Franklin Richards. Unknown to the Four at the time, Morrat was attempting to usurp the throne from Skrull ruler Emperor Dorrek and win the hand of Princess Anelle. The Four freed themselves and restored their powers using Reed's power-booster weapon. When Morrat's schemes were revealed he died under the orders of Dorrek VII who allowed the Fantastic Four to return home to Earth[94].

Ben was next involved in a series of solo adventures with the aid of the Human Torch. First he tested out a new rocket capsule for NASA, foiling the machinations of mad scientist Professor Jack[95]. The pair were next attacked by the Puppet Master who briefly used mechanical dolls to try and defeat the pair, but to no avail[96]. The Watcher recruited Johnny and Ben to travel back in time to 6th century Camelot where they assisted King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table stave off an invasion from Kang the Conqueror a time traveller from the 40th Century, driving him out of that era before returning to their own time[97]. The Frightful Four then struck at Ben and his teammates again. This time the villains were successful in capturing the entire group and leaving them stranded on an island with a Q-Bomb. Although the bomb went off, Sue saved their lives with an invisible force field at the last minute[98]. However their exposure to Q-Bomb radiation stripped Ben and the others of their super-human powers. With no immediate means of restoring their powers, Reed quickly devised crude mechanical imitations of each members abilities. Ben was built a robotic version of his monstrous form which he had to learn how to operate via remote control. At this time Dr. Doom recovered from the hypnosis that led him to believe he defeated the Fantastic Four and launched a revenge plot against them. The Four were helped to cover by Daredevil[99]. Doom had taken over the Baxter Building, prompting Daredevil to lead the powerless Fantastic Four into their headquarters. There Reed discovered that his power booster was fully recharged and used it to restore their powers, and Ben easily defeated Doom, although he was none to happy to become the Thing again[100].

Ben then left the group and was captured by the Frightful Four and exposed to their ID Machine, making him evil. Johnny and the rest of the team went after Ben, but found themselves captured[101]. The FF broke free but Johnny was captured by the Frightful Four and also exposed to the ID Machine. Unknown to the foes at the time, Sue had sabotaged the machine during the fight, and Johnny was only pretending to be loyal to the Wizard[102]. Eventually, the Frightful Four saw through this ruse and took Johnny prisoner. Their subsequent clash with the Fantastic Four led to their defeat as they managed to cure Ben in time to turn the tide of battle, although Medusa managed to escape[103]. Finally it was Reed and Sue's big day and with the wedding well under way, Dr. Doom plotted to spoil the festivities with an attack. Using his "Emotion Charger" device he brainwashed an army of super-villains to attack the wedding. Ben saw the most action when he witnessed Nick Fury and his agents of SHIELD take down the Puppet Master, helped the X-Men fight off an attack by the Mole Man and his Moloids, then defended Sue and Alicia from Red Ghost and his Super-Apes with the help of Reed, Johnny and Dr. Strange. Soon Ben got into a massive fight with an army of super-powered villains along with all the super-heroes who were attending the wedding. The battle was quickly ended when Reed obtained a Time Displacer device from the Watcher and used it to banish all the attackers. The wedding then resumed without further interruption and Reed and Sue became husband and wife[104]. Later the Mad Thinker went on a rampage through Manhattan with his Awesome Android again soon after. This led to yet another clash with the Fantastic Four. The Thinker was defeated this time thanks to the assistance of Marvel Girl of the X-Men, who was under evaluation by the Invisible Girl for Professor X at the time. After the Thinker was apprehended, the Fantastic Four and X-Men dismantled his secret headquarters hidden in a rock quarry outside of New York. [105]

Year Two

Self-Image Issues

Following the wedding, Medusa approached the Fantastic Four foe assistance in evading capture by a being named Gorgan, a member of her race of Inhumans. While the others fought Gorgan, Johnny took Medusa to Dead Man's Lake near State University. Their presence there revived the Dragon Man who also attacked. In the three way battle, Dragon Man absconded with Sue, leaving Johnny and the others to be buried alive fighting Gorgon, who escaped with Medusa[106]. Pulling themselves out of the rubble, they were quickly reunited with Sue who managed to tame the Dragon Man. While Ben and the others were busy planning, Johnny ended up in a slum part of town slated for demolition. There he witnessed the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life but when she attempted to approach her she pushed him away with elemental powers and fled. Unable to get his mind off of this girl, Johnny searched the area for her until he found her again. When she fled a second time, Johnny showed off his powers a well. As it turned out, Crystal was a member of the Inhumans as well. Mistaking Johnny for one of her people, she brought him to the secret location where she was hiding out with her leader Black Bolt, Karnak, Tritan, her sister Medusa, Gorgon and her teleporting dog Lockjaw. Recognized by Gorgon and Medusa, the Inhumans tried to stop Johnny before someone called the Seeker found them. Johnny in turn summoned his teammates who came to his aid[107][78]. During the course of the battle, the Inhumans decided to flee before they were captured. Seeing Crystal in the midst of teleporting away with the other. Ben then accompanied his teammates back to headquarters where they learned that the Seeker captured Dragon Man, whom the Seeker mistook for an Inhuman. Going after Dragon Man the group later learned that the Seeker sought to capture the rogue Inhuman royal family to bring them back to his ruler the insane Maximus, in the ensuing battle the Dragon Man managed to escape. [108]. Ben and Johnny went after Dragon Man whose rampage was causing untold damage. Ben ended up rescuing Alicia from danger when the monster neared her apartment. The Four followed the Seeker back to the Great Refuge, home of the Inhumans. They had arrived just as Black Bolt had retaken the throne from Maximus. However Maximus was not ready to admit defeat, seeking to conquer the Earth for his fellow Inhumans, Maximus activated his Atmo-Gun in the hopes of wiping out the human race[109][110]. However Inhumans and humans proved to be much similar and the weapon had only a mild effect. Furious, Maximus then attempted to seal off the Great Refuge in a impenetrable "Negative Zone" barrier. Johnny refused to leave Crystal and was forced out by Ben. Trapped outside the Great Refuge, Johnny vowed to find a way back to Crystal no matter what. [111][110]

However, this quest was quickly put on the back burner when the Watcher attempted to obscure the Earth from the Silver Surfer, herald of the planet eating Galactus. Johnny and Ben tried to clash with the Surfer, but were too late to stop him from summoning his master to Earth[111][112]. Further attacks directed at Galactus also were met with failure. The Watcher then approached Johnny giving him the power to travel great distances via space-time distortion. Johnny was then led to Galactus' Worldship to obtain the one weapon that could stop Galactus. Meanwhile, Ben continued to fight with his other teammates against Galactus, clashing with his cyborg enforcer the Punisher[113]. Johnny returned to Earth just as the Silver Surfer joined the Fantastic Four in trying to stop his master. Johnny then turned over the Ultimate Nullifier to Reed who then used it to bluff Galactus into surrendering. Galactus agreed to not consume the Earth, and left but not before exiling the Surfer to Earth. When Ben found out that the Surfer had learned compassion for human life from Alicia, and watching her come to the Surfer's defence when he threatened the alien, Ben assumed the worst and left[114]. Ben was lured into the home of disgruntled scientist Ricardo Jones who sought to eliminate Reed Richards whom he assumed was a fame and glory seeker. Knocking Ben out, Jones used his Duplication Apparatus to transfer Ben's powers into him, transforming Jones into a near duplicate of the Thing while Ben was restored to human form. Jones then went to eliminate Reed Richards by posing as his best friend. When Ben woke up hours later he rushed to the Baxter Building to warn Reed but was dismissed as an impostor and thrown out of the building. Ben decided to cut his losses and went to visit Alicia, hoping that his now human form would eliminate any barriers he saw in their relationships. However moments before he could knock on Alicia's apartment door, Ricardo Jones sacrificed his life saving Reed from the Negative Zone. Jones' death caused Ben to revert back to his mutated form. Ben then fled Alicia's hallway and returned to his teammates[115]. Ben accompanied the Fantastic Four who were invited to the reclusive nation of Wakanda by the Black Panther. Accompanying them was Johnny's college roommate Wyatt Wingfoot. When arriving in Wakanda, the five were attacked by the Black Panther in a hunt to test their abilities. The Fantastic Four ultimately won, winning the friendship of the Panther[116]. Ben helped the Black Panther defend his nations supply of rare Vibranium metal from Ulysses Klaw who was responsible for murdering the Black Panther's father. While Johnny and the others fought against Klaw's solid sound constructs, the Black Panther fought Klaw to the seeming death[117].

After a baseball game and receiving gifts from the Black Panther, Reed, Sue and Ben returned to New York while Johnny and Wyatt went off to find a way to free Crystal and the Inhumans from the Great Refuge[118][112]. Back in New York, Ben went to visit Alicia, finding her vacationing at a cottage. Also at this time the Silver Surfer had come to visit Alicia learn more about humanity. Assuming that the Surfer was trying to make time with his woman, the Thing got into a fight with the Silver Surfer. Reed and Sue eventually intervened, convincing Ben that the Surfer posed no threat to his relationship[119]. Soon Ben and the others were reunited with Johnny and Wyatt who were teleported back to New York by Lockjaw on their quest to free the Inhumans. During this time, the Mad Thinker and his sentient computer Quasimodo recovered the body of the original android Human Torch, a hero from the 1940s and revived him. The Thinker then sent the original Human Torch after his successor. Reed and the others came to Johnny's aid and convinced the android Torch to join them in stopping the Thinker. However in the final battle, Quasimodo seemingly slew the android and the Mad Thinker successfully escaped. Wyatt and Johnny then left to resume their quest, leaving Reed and Sue to inter the original Torch's body in the Thinker's lab[120].

The Baxter Building was later attacked by Ulysses Klaw, who had survived his last battle by converting himself into a being of solid sound. He trapped Ben and Reed in the Negative Zone chamber and then terrorized Sue. However Reed ultimately defeated Klaw when the Black Panther sent him Vibranium knuckles which he used to beat Klaw into submission[121]. Reed, Sue and Ben were next called to State Prison where they found the Sandman trying to break the Wizard out of prison. While they thwarted the prison break, the Sandman managed to escape. They then returned to base where the Sandman ambushed them, and before they could stop him escaped with a bunch of equipment stolen from Reed's lab. Also at that time, unknown to them, Dr. Doom tricked the Silver Surfer into visiting his kingdom then used his scientific equipment to steal the Surfer's Power Cosmic for himself[122]. Dr. Doom then attacked the Fantastic Four, and even the return of the Human Torch did little to stand against the cosmic powered Dr. Doom. Ultimately Reed had to admit defeat, and Doom decided to spare their lives for a while longer[123]. After warning the world governments about Doom, Reed was granted permission from the United Nations to deal with Doom first. Recalling how the Surfer was exiled on Earth, Richards began working on a prototype of a Anti-Cosmic Flying Wing to defeat Doom[124]. Reed led the Fantastic Four into battle while the US army and Stark Industries worked on a larger version of the Flying Wing. Reed distracted Doom long enough for the Flying Wing to be completed. The device then lured Doom out of Earth's atmosphere and into the barrier that Galactus put in place to keep the Surfer on Earth. The resulting impact seemingly slew Doom and the Power Cosmic was reverted back to the Silver Surfer[125]. When returning home the FF were attacked by the Sandman once again, who used the devices stolen from Reed to construct a new high-tech costume. During the fight, Reed's portal to the Negative Zone was accidentally opened and while the Sandman managed to escape, Reed was sucked into it and was at the risk of death as he drifter uncontrollably into a nullification zone[126]. It was during this tragic turn of events that Crystal revealed that she and her people escaped the Great Refuge. Understanding the Fantastic Four's plight, Crystal obtain the aid of Tritan, who used his swimming prowess to rescue Reed from the Negative Zone. However they were followed back to Earth by an exiled criminal named Blastarr[127]. Blastarr came across the Sandman and the two teamed up to attack New York City. While most of the team were busy fighting the pair, Reed developed a helmet that would subdue Blastarr. Ben battled against the Sandman who managed to escape, meanwhile Blastarr faired worse when Reed succeeded in placing the helmet on his head, knocking him out[128]. Back at the Baxter Building, Ben and his team encountered future mercenary Deadpool and his sidekick Hydra Bob who had been travelling through history trying to get back to their own era roughly 8 years in Reed's future. Reed put in his scientific knowhow to try and help Deadpool and Bob return to their own time, a task made harder due to temporal flashes that erased their short term memory in order to maintain histories proper order. Ben and his teammates succeed in returning Deadpool to his own time with assistance of his a future incarnation of the Fantastic Four who was under the leadership of the Black Panther during that future time. Ben's memory of this encounter was erased thanks to the temporal flashes that preserved the timeline[129].

When Reed and Sue decided to take a vacation with Ben on a remote island where they were attacked by the Kree Sentry left on Earth millions of years ago, Johnny rushed to his teammates' aid and helped destroy the robot[130]. This earned the ire the Kree's leader the Supreme Intelligence who sent his agent Ronan the Accuser to punish the Fantastic Four. Ben was teleported away while on a date with Alicia, but he and his teammates succeeded in defeating Ronan who fled back to the Kree galaxy[131]. It was soon discovered that Alicia had went missing during their battle with Ronan and Reed went right to work to find clues to her whereabouts. This drove Ben nearly insane with grief as he painfully waited for Reed to try and learn what happened to her. Developing a heat image scanner, Reed was able to reconstruct a scene in Alicia's apartment where she was lured away by a Jerome Hamilton a scientist who worked for the secret Enclave organization[132]. Ben then assisted Reed in duplicating a bracelet that Hamilton wore to teleport Alicia to the Enclave's scientific laboratories called the Beehive. There they learned the scientists in the Enclave were attempting to create new life and kidnapped Alicia so she could sculpt their unseeable creation, known only as Him. With the Enclave seeking to destroy Him, the Fantastic Four defended the creature and Alicia until Him could emerge from his cocoon. When Him succeeded, Reed and the others returned home, and Him destroyed the Beehive[133].

Not long after their return from the Enclave, Sue collapsed and Reed's examinations found that Sue was pregnant with his child, much to everyone's delight. Soon after this announcement, Johnny and Ben were dispatched to Panther Island to assist the Inhuman Royal Family and the Black Panther in trying to stop the Psycho-Man a villain from the Microverse attempting to take control of Earth. Johnny assisted in destroying Psycho-Man's massive Emoto-Caster, but the Psycho-Man managed to escape[134]. With Ben once more depressed over his mutation, Reed enlisted the aid of famous chemist Dr. Santini to try and cure Ben. However unknown to them at the time, Santini was replaced by the Mad Thinker who altered the experiment so that it turned Ben evil instead of curing him[135]. While Reed and the others fought Ben, the Mad Thinker had free reign of all of Reed's experiments. Unwilling to destroy their teammate, the Fantastic Four were easily defeated by the Thing in the first bout[136]. When Reed deduced that the Mad Thinker was involved, the team in stormed the Thinker's secret lab, rescuing Sanitni and apprehending the Thinker. Returning to base, they were attacked by the Thing once again, but Reed managed to blast him with Menta-Wave Unit restoring Ben to normal just as the Mad Thinker's newest android arrived to finish them off[137]. Johnny, Ben and Reed battled the android, ultimately dumping it into the Negative Zone, however the experienced proved to Reed that he and his pregnant wife could not be safe at the Baxter Building and he resolved to leave the group[138].

While Reed and Sue headed off to California, Johnny, Ben and Crystal were left to determine the fate of the group, when they were suddenly approached by the Watcher. The Watcher warned that the Silver Surfer was going to menace the world in a misguided attempt to unify humanity. Johnny and Ben were joined by Reed who was teleported back to New York by the Watcher in stopping the Surfer, convincing the alien the folly of his plans. Reed and Sue decided to remain at the Baxter building[139]. Having survived his last encounter with the Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom tricked the Fantastic Four into thinking that the heroic Daredevil had been possessed by Doom himself, putting the team on alert[140]. Thinking that their headquarters was under attack the Fantastic Four attacked Daredevil. Daredevil then enlisted the aid of Spider-Man and the Asgardian thunder god Thor to try to convince the Fantastic Four that they had been duped. Ben fought Thor thinking he was a robot duplicate created by Doom until Sue stopped the fight and revealed the truth to all gathered[141]. Soon the Surfer sought out the Fantastic Four for help when Galactus was on his way to force the Surfer to be his herald once more. Ben and the others stood up against Galactus' Punisher cyborg, while the Silver Surfer -- unknown to them -- fled into the Microverse. Galactus soon called off his enforcer and demanded that the Fantastic Four find the Surfer or he would have no choice but to consume Earth[142]. The Fantastic Four initially refused and so Galactus created cosmic powered duplicates of Reed, Ben and Johnny to attack the heroes. They ultimately defeated these constructs, but had no choice but to find the Surfer. Reed deduced that the Surfer fled to the Microverse and they followed after him in Reed's newly constructed Reducta-Craft[143]. There they clashed with the Surfer and convinced him to help Galactus. The Surfer did help Galactus in finding the energy he needed in an uninhabited solar system but found himself exiled on Earth to be used by Galactus again in the future. Meanwhile, Ben and the others were attacked by the Psycho-Man[144], whom they defeated in battle and convinced to let them go to defend the Earth from Galactus, pointing out that if Galactus fed on Earth, the Microverse would be destroyed as well. However when they returned to Earth they were surprised to find that Galactus had been defeated in their absence[145].

Back on Earth, Reed devised a means of restoring Ben back to his human form, however he cautioned that should Ben change back into the Thing the transformation would be permanent. Although initially happy to be back in human form, Ben began to doubt if Alicia ever loved him as anything but the Thing. Soon more doubt was heaped upon Ben after the group was attacked by the recently escaped Wizard, who nearly defeated the team with his new "Wonder Gloves", but was defeated, making Ben question his decision to renounce his powers, as he was a liability to his teammates who had just lost a great asset to the team[146]. Ben then went on a date to meet Alicia, bringing with him the Wizard's Wonder Gloves. Signals given off the gloves somehow activated the Mad Thinker's latest creation to so-calledAndroid Man who followed it to where Ben and Alicia had gone for dinner. Ben found himself no match for the Android Man, and had no choice but to use the Wonder Gloves to mutate himself back into the Thing and destroy the android before it could harm Alicia or any of the other patrons. Even though he was hailed as a hero, Ben was thoroughly depressed as it seemed that he was trapped as the Thing forever[147]. Ben returned to the Baxter building where he learned that Johnny got a letter asking for Johnny's help on the land owned by his people the Keewazi tribe. There Reed and his teammates learned that the Red Star Oil Company had constructed a massive robot based on the Keewazi god Tomazooma to try to force the Keewazi off their oil rich land. Helping Keewazi leader Silent Fox in driving away the Communist backed corporation[147]. Returning home, Reed revealed to Ben and Johnny that the cosmic rays that powered Sue were complicating her pregnancy threatening to kill both Sue and her unborn child during birth. Having discovered that a power source in the Negative Zone could save his wife Reed was determined to go alone, but Johnny and Ben refused to let do so and accompanied him. Travelling into the Negative Zone together they were captured by the brutal Darwinist known as Annihilus who captured the group. Learning that Annihilus' Cosmic Control Rod was the energy source Reed needed, the trio stole it and attempted to flee the Negative Zone, however caught between Annihilus and the Annihilation Zone, Reed compromised with the strange creature, syphoning the energy he needed and returning it to Annihilus in exchange for safe passage back to Earth. Rushing to the hospital, Reed succeeded in saving Sue's life, who gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Reed and Sue decided to make Ben the godfather to the newborn[148].

Godfather

With Sue unable to play an active role on the team to raise her newborn son, Crystal petitioned to join the team. Both Johnny and Reed were both apprehensive about the idea, but she proved herself during a rematch with the Wizard who attacked them with new and improved Wonder Gloves. Although the Wizard managed to escape, Crystal convinced both Reed and Johnny that she was the perfect replacement for Sue while she was away from the group[149]. Shortly thereafter, Ben and his teammates were invited to a wedding party being thrown at Avengers Mansion for Yellowjacket and the Wasp[150]. Needing royal approval from the Inhumans, Crystal insisted on returning to the Great Refuge, but upon summoning Lockjaw she was captured by the Alpha Primitives a slave class that carried out menial tasks for the Inhumans. Ben and the rest of the team travelled to the Hidden Land where they were captured and learned that Maximus had once again taken over the Inhuman throne and sought to take over the world with a Hypno-Gun[151]. Black Bolt managed to free himself and the Royal Family and they in turn freed the Fantastic Four. Working together, the two groups destroyed Maximus' Hypno-Gun, but Maximus and his minions managed to flee into space[152]. On their way back to America, Ben and the others were stopped by Nick Fury and his agents of SHIELD who requested the Fantastic Four's help investigating reports that Dr. Doom was supplying robots to a communist nation in Eastern Europe. Travelling there the group was easily captured and made prisoner in Dr. Doom's homeland of Latveria, unable to leave due to defences around the nation. Doom intended them to live there until the day they died[153]. With the people of Latveria revolting against Doom's rule, Dr. Doom had the Fantastic Four knocked out and brainwashed into thinking they had lost their powers before ordering all the dissidents, and his hated foes eliminated[154]. Overcoming their brainwashing in the attack by Doom's robots, Ben and the others succeeded in destroying the robots. Before taking the fight to Doom, the group was joined by Sue who had come searching for them[155]. Splitting up, Johnny, Reed and Ben fought with Doom's minion Gustav Hauptmann a Nazi war criminal. However when Hauptmann almost destroyed some of Doom's priceless artwork, the monarch grew tired of the match, slew Hauptmann and allowed the Fantastic Four to leave unscathed[156].

Reed and Sue then began seeking out a suitable home where they could raise their child. They went out of their way to purchase bizarre metallic home that just appeared one day, unaware that this was a trap laid out by the Mole Man to blind the entire team and defeat them in battle before turning his blinding device on the entire world[157]. Ben and the others were outmatched without their vision, until a stray shot seriously wounded Reed and destroyed the device making them blind. Furious, Johnny savagely went after the Mole Man and subdued him before he could activate a device that would blind the entire world[158]. After the battle was over, Ben decided to leave to go make a date with Alicia. However along the way he was tricked by the Skrullian Slave-Master who disguised himself as Reed and lured him into capture. Ben was then taken to the planet Kral IV[159]. There Ben was surprised to learn that the Skrulls became obsessed with the Prohibition Era of American history since they captured mobster Machine-Gun Martin decades earlier. The Skrulls of this world operated as gangs who settled turf wars by capturing slaves from various worlds and forcing them to fight to the death in an arena. Ben was then locked into a cell that controlled his actions with a hypnotic device. He also met the alien being that he would soon have to fight to the death, the mechanical being known as Torgo[160]. Ben was then forced to practice against other alien combatants, but revolted every step of the way only to be punished with various high tech devices. He also attempted to convince Torgo to stand up against their captors, leading to a fight before they were placed out into the arena for a final battle to the death[161]. During the final battle, Ben refused to bring himself to kill Torgo in combat and frequently destroyed their weapons, even at risk of injury himself. Torgo meanwhile was forced to fight on despite this due to the fact that the Skrulls threatened to use a magnetic displacer device to throw either of their world's into a nearby star if they refused to fight. However by this time, Reed and the others had tracked Ben and fought their way into the arena. Destroying the Skrull device and freeing Ben they inspired Torgo to lead a revolt against the Skrulls before leaving Kral IV for home[162].

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  49. Fantastic Four #13
  50. Fantastic Four #14
  51. Fantastic Four #15
  52. Thor: First Thunder #5
  53. Fantastic Four #16
  54. Fantastic Four #17
  55. Amazing Spider-Man #5
  56. Fantastic Four #18
  57. Strange Tales #112
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 58.3 Fantastic Four #19
  59. Rise of Apocalypse #3
  60. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #53
  61. West Coast Avengers Vol 2 #22
  62. Fantastic Four #20
  63. Fantastic Four #21
  64. Strange Tales #116
  65. Fantastic Four #22
  66. Fantastic Four #23
  67. Fantastic Four #24
  68. Fantastic Four #25
  69. Fantastic Four #26
  70. Fantastic Four #27
  71. Daredevil #2
  72. Fantastic Four #28
  73. Strange Tales #123
  74. Spider-Man Family Vol 2 #3
  75. Fantastic Four #29
  76. Fantastic Four #30
  77. Strange Tales #125
  78. 78.0 78.1 Fantastic Four: Fireworks #1
  79. Strange Tales #126
  80. Strange Tales Vol 3 #1
  81. Strange Tales #127
  82. Fantastic Four #31
  83. Untold Tales of Spider-Man Annual #1997
  84. Fantastic Four #33
  85. Strange Tales #128
  86. Fantastic Four #34
  87. Amazing Spider-Man #8
  88. Strange Tales #129
  89. Fantastic Four #35
  90. Strange Tales #130
  91. Fantastic Four #36
  92. Spider-Man Human Torch #1
  93. Strange Tales #131
  94. Fantastic Four #37
  95. Strange Tales #132
  96. Strange Tales #133
  97. Strange Tales #134
  98. Fantastic Four #38
  99. Fantastic Four #39
  100. Fantastic Four #40
  101. Fantastic Four #41
  102. Fantastic Four #42
  103. Fantastic Four #43
  104. Fantastic Four Annual #3
  105. X-Men First Class Vol 2 #1
  106. Fantastic Four #44
  107. Fantastic Four #45
  108. Fantastic Four #46
  109. Fantastic Four #47
  110. 110.0 110.1 Fantastic Four: Fireworks #2
  111. 111.0 111.1 Fantastic Four #48
  112. 112.0 112.1 Fantastic Four: Fireworks #3
  113. Fantastic Four #49
  114. Fantastic Four #50
  115. Fantastic Four #51
  116. Fantastic Four #52
  117. Fantastic Four #53
  118. Fantastic Four #54
  119. Fantastic Four #55
  120. Fantastic Four Annual #4
  121. Fantastic Four #56
  122. Fantastic Four #57
  123. Fantastic Four #58
  124. Fantastic Four #59
  125. Fantastic Four #60
  126. Fantastic Four #61
  127. Fantastic Four #62
  128. Fantastic Four #63
  129. Cable & Deadpool #46
  130. Fantastic Four #64
  131. Fantastic Four #65
  132. Fantastic Four #66
  133. Fantastic Four #67
  134. Fantastic Four Annual #5
  135. Fantastic Four #68
  136. Fantastic Four #69
  137. Fantastic Four #70
  138. Fantastic Four #71
  139. Fantastic Four #72
  140. Daredevil #38
  141. Fantastic Four #73
  142. Fantastic Four #74
  143. Fantastic Four #75
  144. Fantastic Four #76
  145. Fantastic Four #77
  146. Fantastic Four #78
  147. 147.0 147.1 Fantastic Four #80
  148. Fantastic Four Annual #6
  149. Fantastic Four #81
  150. Avengers #60
  151. Fantastic Four #82
  152. Fantastic Four #83
  153. Fantastic Four #84
  154. Fantastic Four #85
  155. Fantastic Four #86
  156. Fantastic Four #87
  157. Fantastic Four #88
  158. Fantastic Four #89
  159. Fantastic Four #90
  160. Fantastic Four #91
  161. Fantastic Four #92
  162. Fantastic Four #93

Notations

  1. Thing #1 states that Ben was arrested and taken down to the police station where he was scolded by both of his parents, this contradicts Fantastic Four Vol 3 #56 which states that Ben was dropped off at home by the police and his father was not home as he was drinking at a bar.
  2. Fantastic Four #11 states that Ben fought in World War II. Further, Captain Savage #7 states that Ben fought and was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army and rescued by Captain Savage and the Leatherneck Raiders. However these references should be considered apocryphal due to the nature of Earth-616's Sliding Timescale
  3. During this recounting Ben had just been involved in a serious crash of an experimental space craft in the middle of the Florida Everglades and was suffering from a severe concussion. His recollection of events showed him fighting alongside the Howling Commandos against Nazi forces. While this might be a memory that is subject to the Sliding Timescale, it could have also been a hallucination brought on by his brain injury, or a glimpse into an alternate reality given that the Thing was in close proximity to the Nexus of All Realities.
  4. The intent of the space flight by the future Fantastic Four has always been subject to the Sliding Timescale in order to keep the concepts of current so as not to prematurely age the characters. In Fantastic Four #1 it states that they were trying to beat the Soviets in the space race, while Fantastic Four #2 states they were trying to reach Mars. Fantastic Four #236 updated accounts eliminating all Cold War and Space Race references and any notion that the Fantastic Four were the first Americans into space. In this new iteration it was stated that Reed was testing out a new "Star Drive" to get beyond the solar system. Fantastic Four #358 went a step further to state that the Star Drive was intending to get beyond the solar system by accessing hyperspace. Fantastic Four #543 states that Reed and his crew were trying to reach beyond the solar system. The distance they were attempting to travel and what sort of technology varies due to the Sliding Timescale. Likewise, further explanation as to why the Fantastic Four specifically were mutated when other manned space flights had no such effects. Fantastic Four #197 states that it was a combination of unusual sunspot activity as well as the Cosmic Rays passing through the Van Allen belt.
  5. This story was published in 1965, and the band featured in this issue were the Beatles. However due to Earth-616's Sliding Timescale this should be considered a topical reference, as such the band that they went to see is generalized. However it is possible that these "Beatles" were the Skrulls who posed as the Beatles however this has not been substantiated.