Alternative versions of the Thing
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|Alternate versions of the Thing|
|First appearance||Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
In Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602, Benjamin Grimm is the captain of the ship The Fantastick, before gaining his abilities from the Anomaly. His power is associated with the classical element of earth.[volume & issue needed]
In the sequel 1602: Fantastick Four Benjamin has found work as an actor with William Shakespeare's troupe, where he can hide his monstrous form behind false whiskers as Falstaff. He is soon forced to reveal himself, however, when Otto von Doom's vulture soldiers kidnap Shakespeare.[volume & issue needed]
Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse, Ben Grimm never became The Thing, but instead was a Human High Council Agent, fighting Apocalypse's forces, alongside Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Donald Blake (Thor), Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel), Gateway, Gwen Stacy, Tony Stark (Iron Man), Susan Storm (Invisible Woman), and Victor Von Doom (Doctor Doom). In his place, Bruce Banner becomes a Grey-Hulk-like monster called the Thing. in What If?: X-Men Age of Apocalypse #1 (2007), Ben is a member of the Defenders, the Age of Apocalypse version of the Avengers/Ultimates.[volume & issue needed]
Age of Ultron
In this universe, Ben and Reed Richards are the only occupants of the experimental spacecraft that exposes them to cosmic rays. Ben is called "Mr. Fantastic" and has stretching and flame powers instead.[volume & issue needed] This version first appeared in Fantastic Four #118 (Jan. 1972).
In this setting,[vague] the entire Solar System is being colonized by humanity, with humanity undergoing a Golden Age because of the use of technology developed by Reed Richards in an effort to create an utopia. The Thing is married to Alicia Masters, has three super-powered children, and resides on Mars with the In-humans. He is now capable of shifting between human form and 'Thing' form at will.[volume & issue needed]
In this alternative universe, Ben and Johnny share a more dangerous adversarial relationship, knowing each other even before the ill-fated spaceflight.[volume & issue needed]
House of M
In the House of M limited series, Ben is the pilot in Reed Richards' voyage to space, alongside Susan Storm and John Jameson. Like the others, Grimm is mutated, though he is the only survivor of the rocket's explosion. Ben is transformed into a rock-skinned creature with superhuman strength and a diminished intellect. He is taken in by Dr. Doom, who names him the It. The It becomes one of the Fearsome Four, though he is treated like an animal and often the victim of Doom's frustrations.[volume & issue needed]
In the alternative future timeline of the Marvel universe published under the MC2 imprint, Ben is still a member of the Fantastic Four, whose roster has expanded to make them the Fantastic 5. In this future, he is married to Sharon Ventura and has a set of twin children by her (Jacob and Alyce), though they are now divorced. He appears alongside the F5 whenever they appear in the Spider-Girl series and related miniseries.[volume & issue needed]
In Marvel Two-in-One #50 (April 1979), Reed Richards advises Ben that that the cure Reed has developed for his condition will not work. Ben time-travels to the past to give himself the cure at an earlier stage, where it might work. It does, but on return to the present, nothing has changed. Reed advises him that he succeeded only in creating an alternative universe. In Marvel Two-in-One #100 (June 1983), Reed examines records of that trip and determines that Ben did not create that reality after all, based on a newspaper that shows the name of the city as "New Amsterdam" instead of "New York". Ben returns to that reality, where Ben Grimm is a bartender and the leader of the remaining humans in a post-apocalyptic city.[volume & issue needed]
In Warren Ellis' 1995 Ruins miniseries, Ben refuses to fly Reed's ship the Astraea, feeling it inadequately engineered. Victor von Doom pilots it instead. This results in the horrific mutation and subsequent deaths of all on board. Grimm avoids becoming the Thing, but is left to live with the guilt of thinking he could have prevented the tragedy. Ben Grimm's decision to refuse Richard's offer seems to be the single moment that caused this reality to go horribly wrong, with ramifications leading to a corrupt government, concentration camps and the horrific fates of the would-be Marvels of this universe.[volume & issue needed]
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Ben is Reed's childhood friend: Ben would protect Reed from bullies and Reed would help Ben with his homework. When Ben is invited to watch Reed's teleportation experiment, he is caught in it with Reed and the others. The resulting event gives Ben a rocky hide and enormous strength. 
Later, Ben transforms again, potentially thanks to Reed, back to a more human form, as if the rocky exterior were a cocoon. In his new form, he typically appears human, but his skin may take on a purple glow accompanying moments of strength. Other abilities include the capacity to move through Susan's force fields and others hinted at but yet unclear. 
At the end of the Doomsday trilogy, Ben and Susan were engaged. 
On Counter Earth, counterparts of the Fantastic Four hijack and experimental spaceship in order to be the first humans in space. Man-Beast negates the effects of the cosmic radiation for all of them except Reed Richards who succumbs to the effects a decade later. Ben Grimm's counterpart is shown.[volume & issue needed]
In "What if Doctor Doom had Become the Thing?" (February 2005), Doom befriends Reed Richards during their college days, and Ben is left out. Dropping out of college, Ben joins the Army. Doom and Reed go ahead with their experimental rocket. When the cosmic rays turn Doom into a Thing-like creature, he attacks Reed, sending him into a gamma bomb test site, where Ben is stationed. Ben saves Reed from the bomb's radiation, but is transformed into a Hulk-like creature. Calling himself "Grimm", he fights and defeats Doom. After Reed calms him down, Ben joins him in forming the Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed]
In What If? vol. 2, #11 (March 1990), the origins of the Fantastic Four are retold in four stories, each showing how the heroes lives would have changed if all four had each gained the same powers as the individual members of the original Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed]
- Invisibility: The Fantastic Four gain Invisible Woman-style powers and battle Doctor Doom as SHIELD agents. Ben can projects invisible force fields.
- Stretching: Finding the Mr. Fantastic-like power absurd, Ben never uses it and ends up marrying Sue Storm.
- Monsters: The foursome all turn into monsters and go to live on Monster Island. Ben looks like his Earth 616 self.
- Torches: The flame-powered Fantastic Four disband after being unable to save a kid from a fire. Ben joins the Avengers, calling himself the Human Torch.
Marvel Zombies/Ultimate Fantastic Four
In this miniseries, the Thing, along with the other three Fantastic Four, is a cannibalistic zombie, because of an alien virus infection, that has spread to all heroes.[volume & issue needed]Reed Richards has gone out of his mind, and delibrately infected Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm. They turn into zombies and infect Reed himself, too. Zombie Reed contacts Ultimate Reed and his Ultimate team counterparts and is subsequently foiled. They are even foiled by Magneto, who had saved Ultimate Reed from the zombies. Thing and the others find Ultimate Doctor Doom's body swapped with Ultimate Reed. Ultimate Reed (in Ultimate Doom's body) kills all of the Fantastic Four. Thing is killed by Reed/Doom, when he rips off his arm, and beats him to death with it.
- Fantastic Four vol. 4 #5AU
- Ultimate Fantastic Four #3
- Ultimate Mystery #1
- Ultimate Doom #4
- Adam Warlock #6