Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Things Have Changed

Another of those tucked-away stories that I was exploring earlier is this diversion from Fantastic Four #118, where the Thing (with the help of Lockjaw, the teleporting dog of the Inhumans) escapes from an explosion caused by Diablo and finds himself standing in the middle of one big mystery:

And if he thought the surroundings were mysterious, Ben becomes even more confounded when he gets a look at the faces of the locals who attack him at every turn:

Finally, Ben is brought to the mastermind behind these settings, which understandably raises the bar on the mystery he's facing:

Ben hears the shared history of his counterpart, which, as he indicated, contains differences as well as similarities. For instance, the flight into space which resulted in his transformation to the Thing was made by only Reed and Ben, with Johnny and Sue still on Earth. And the effect of the cosmic rays which bombarded their craft was different, as well, though Ben merely assumes that they made his counterpart a genius on the level of Reed Richards. So Ben tries to console this other version of himself, from the point of view of one who had to grow out of his own bitterness toward Reed. But he doesn't have the whole story, which becomes clear with the arrival of Mr. Fantastic and his wife, Sue:

Lockjaw and Ben make it back to their own world, and Ben keeps mum about what he's seen there--though I'm sure it was food for thought. The story of the Reed Richards of that other world is picked up again, though, a little over three years later--in a four-part story that threatens the existence of three worlds. Also, if you're curious about what happened to the Johnny Storm of this alternate Earth, our Thing had a confrontation with him, as well, which ended just as sadly.


Doug said...

Big John and Joe Sinnott -- doesn't get much better than that, does it?


Comicsfan said...

Hiya, Doug. Given Buscema's comments in the past on the subject, I have the impression that he wasn't all that pleased with Sinnott's finishes on his work--but like yourself, I couldn't have been happier with the match. (Though I should point out that Jim Mooney inked this particular Thing story.)

Kid said...

Always liked this story since I first read it (in black & white with gray tones) in a 1977 British weekly called 'The Complete Fantastic Four'. A few years later I acquired the original U.S. issue and I regard it as a classic. Funnily enough 'though, I'd forgotten it was written by Archie Goodwin when I was strolling around part of Glasgow (after a good meal) with him and his wife remarking on the similarity of American and Glasgow Architecture, sometime back in the early '90s (I think). I wish I'd told him just how much I'd enjoyed this particular tale.

Comicsfan said...

Goodwin turned in some fine scripts, on those occasions when he indulged in writing. He seemed to prefer donning his editing hat more than his writing cap--I'm hard-pressed to recall any extended stay on a title ("extended" as in, say, on the order of a Roger Stern run); but whenever he'd "stop by" a title and pick up the scripting reins, I was always impressed by how naturally his writing suited the character(s) from day one.

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