Before the Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm and Logan

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Before the Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm and Logan
Cover to Before the Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm and Logan #1, "Mission to Nowhere", July 2000. Art by Kaare Andrews.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre
Publication date July-September 2000
Number of issues 3
Main character(s) Ben Grimm
Logan
Creative team
Writer(s) Larry Hama
Penciller(s) Kaare Andrews
Inker(s) Walden Wong
Colorist(s) Kevin Somers

Before the Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm and Logan is the first of three mini-series from Marvel Comics (the other two being Before the Fantastic Four: Reed Richards and Before the Fantastic Four: The Storms) showing adventures the core members of the Fantastic Four had in the days before they received their powers. This particular miniseries depicted a team-up between Logan (before he became Wolverine) and Ben Grimm (before he became The Thing). It ran for three issues in 2000.

While Wolverine does possess his mutant powers in the series (but not his claws or adamantium skeleton), Ben Grimm is as yet unpowered, and as a result the story takes place mostly in the genre of Cold War military adventure. The plot revolves around a mission of aerial surveillance of the Soviet Union assigned by Nick Fury to operative Logan and jet pilot Grimm.

In addition to Nick Fury, Tony Stark, Carol Danvers and Natasha Romanoff also make guest appearances.

Plot[edit]

While driving to Nellis Air Force Base, Logan is buzzed by a low-flying jet, and he loses control of the car. Upon arriving at the base, Wolverine attacks the cocky pilot, who turns out to be Ben Grimm, and MPs throw them both in the brig for fighting. Once incarcerated Wolverine realizes he already knows Grimm from having flown with him from Ottawa to Washington, D.C.

Nick Fury retrieves them both from the brig and assigns them what he describes as a "suicide mission": Grimm is to pilot a Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing into Vladivostok to surveil ultra-low frequency transmitters recently built there. He is also to deliver Logan and Carol Danvers for an additional "top secret" assignment. Tony Stark (who has not yet become Iron Man) briefs the men on the technical aspects of the mission.

The intrusion into Soviet airspace is discovered by Natasha Romanoff and the plane is fired upon, and severely damaged, by Soviet jet fighters. Grimm lands the plane near one of the transmitters. Logan salvages two machine guns from the plane before Carol Danvers arms a self-destruct device to blow it up with explosives. Logan and Grimm provide cover fire for Danvers to escape, but are themselves captured by the Soviets, and placed on a prison train bound for Lubyanka. Romanoff disables the self-destruct device and claims the Flying Wing for the USSR.

En route, Logan overhears talk that a rare metal valuable to the Soviets is being transported in a strongbox on the same train. Coincidentally enough, Logan's "top secret" orders were to steal this very metal. He and Grimm stage an escape and retrieve the strongbox, which they drag to the roof of the train, where they are rescued by Carol Danvers piloting a stolen Yakovlev observation plane. In a near-collision with the Flying Wing (now piloted by the Soviets), Danvers performs an evasive maneuver that causes Logan to fall and land on the Flying Wing itself. Logan is able to gain entry to the plane and disable its pilots, but realizes he is unable to pilot it. Ben Grimm then makes the jump from plane to plane to assist Logan. Danvers' stolen Yakovlev is damaged in a dogfight with Soviet fighters and she too jumps to the Flying Wing. Ben Grimm pilots the plane back to the United States.

At the very end of the series, Logan tells Grimm that their mission is not yet complete, which might suggest that writer Larry Hama intended for further miniseries featuring the two characters.