Cover date: January 1974
Writer: Steve Gerber
Penciller: Gil Kane
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letter: Jean Izzo
Colorist: G Roussos
Editor: Roy Thomas
Continues from: Marvel Feature 11, Marvel Feature 12, Monsters Unleashed #3, Fear #13,
Following a trial run in Marvel Feature, this is the launch of the team up book starring Aunt Petunia’s favourite nephew, Benjamin Grimm aka The Thing.
In this issue Ben is mad at Man-Thing stealing his codename and plans to go to Florida to beat him up. This is far more straightforward than the usual misunderstandings and mistaken identities that usually lead to superheroes battling one another.
However, in a dazzling bit of coincidence, the “son” of the Molecule Man finds his way to Earth via the Nexus of Realities that Man-Thing guards. This is part of Gerber bringing back the character of the Molecule Man after a long absence, a story that is not finished here, but in the pages of Iron Man Annual #3. Here we get his apparent death in the dimension the Fantastic Four had trapped him in years prior.
After a collection of fights and reality alterations, the new Molecule Man dies due to the accelerated ageing he undergoes in Earth’s dimension. We end with Ben giving a kid the villain’s wand believing it inert, but the final panel definitely gives you the impression that more is to come.
Just not in the pages of this book.
Gerber and Kane blast through the pages, keeping the plot moving and taking all sorts of turns. We get the old trick of Ben getting turned back into his human form for a short while, but with the added tragedy of Man-Thing getting turned back to Ted Sallis too, which puts Ben’s plight in perspective.