Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Afternoon Edition • "Hope you survive the experience!"

Your Top Marvel Heroes part 81

Written by Chris Mitchell on Friday, May 21 2010 and posted in Features
The Fantastic Two? {nomultithumb}

7. The Thing (613 points - 23 first place slots)

thething.jpg"The heart, the soul and the will of the Marvel Universe."

"Bashful Benjy, the ever-lovin' blue-eyed idol of millions. He's not just my favorite Marvel hero, he's my favorite character period, and he's never wavered from that spot since I started reading comics as a kid."

"Ben Grimm is great pilot, loyal friend, sarcastic observer, gruff uncle, and tragic character. He was the first character in the Marvel Universe who's powers were more curse than blessing but did he let it get him down? You're damn right he did but Ben's greatest power was never his strength it was his giant heart. No character in Marvel has the heart, guts, stubbornness and never say die attitude The Thing has. Power mad dictators, inter-dimensional despots, invading aliens, rampaging brutes, and a bunch of street punks can't keep Ben down. And lord help the fool who hurts his family. You better kill the man too or else you are in for a world of pain. Ask Vic Doom about that one. Ben may be a monster but he was always a hero. If you disagree that he is one of Marvel's greatest characters I have two words for you:

Clobberin' Time!"

"Ben Grimm is one of the quintessential Marvel superheroes: he gained immense power at a great personal cost. He's forever stuck in a monstrous form, but instead of following in the Hulk's tortured footsteps, Ben has embraced his life in the Fantastic Four by becoming the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing. And that's why we know about his sweet Aunt Petunia and his hi-jinx with the Yancy Street Gang."

"I love the character so much I named my first-born after him. Where Reed is Marvel's brain, Cap its inspiration, Spidey its conscience, Hulk and Thor its two strong arms, and Stark its ego, Ben to me shall always be its heart and soul. There is no hero more tragic than Bashful Benjy, yet none more heroic either. The former "hero" who lost everything, only to truly become a hero through his perseverance and determination in spite of his loss. The bedrock that holds Marvel's first family together, the guy who everybody loves (his poker games are legendary), the ever-lovin' blue-eyed idol o' millions shows just what a real hero is every time he wakes up and faces a new morning, and his fight to protect both those he loves and those he's never met continues to inspire."

"Representing the Marvel Jew, and just generally one of the most fun characters."

"SWEET AUNT PETUNIA! Benjy Grimm is a fave of mine. He IS HEROIC SACRIFICE. He lives as a monster to be a hero. It's an amazing tale of perseverance and strength of character, bust summed up by the Marvelously Named Kirby Krackle:

"When the time comes to end the fun,
I'm the one that gets the business done,
ain't no one in the world that can get in my way
Oh no!

I've found a place among my friends,
and I'll be there up until the end
the first family to make me forget I was so grim
That's why I finally feel like one of the guys..."

Take a look at his first place slots. He got more first place votes then 100+ people got on the list, which is kinda funny. I enjoy this character, I love his attitude and look. He is not your typical "muscle" character. Kirby and Lee broke the mold when they made him. Though, naming your kid "The Thing" is a little extreme. I betcha he is going to be pushed in lockers when he grows up. Oh, unless he named him Ben. That would make more sense, but then again I seen how some of you voted so.....


Benjamin Jacob Grimm was born on Yancy Street in New York City to a poor family. His older brother Daniel was a part of the Yancy Street Gang, a group of young trouble makers from the area. Eventually, Ben was ‘beaten in' and became a member himself, becoming street hardened early in life.

But tragedy would befall Ben's family. His parents both died and his brother also lost his life in a gang fight. This left Ben to the custody of his father's brother, Daniel, and took him from New York to Arizona. After Daniel's wife's death, he remarried a much younger woman named Petunia (who Ben would reference often).

Away from his past troubles, Ben did well in high school, becoming a talented athlete. An excellent football player, Ben was able to get a scholarship to Empire State University. There he would meet Reed Richards and they became close friends.

After college, Ben joined the US Air Force and became a fantastic pilot, often testing experimental aircraft and even flying top secret missions for the US government. His piloting skills eventually landed him a spot at NASA.

Ben was later contacted by his old friend Reed who wanted him to pilot his experimental rocket into space (as they joked about in school together). Ben was reluctant to pilot the ship as he was unsure that it would be safe for them. Ben was persuaded to do so anyway and they took off with Susan Storm, who helped fund the project, and her younger brother Johnny.

Still not cleared for takeoff, Ben took off at the others request and they made their fateful trip into outer space. Unfortunately, Ben was right to assume the safety risks, and the ship was bombarded with cosmic rays. just as he had feared. The rays caused the ship to lose control and Ben's incredible piloting skills saved their lives in a miraculous crash landing that none should have survived.

Once safely on Earth, the others soon realized that they had gained super powers. But Ben got the unfortunate powers of the group, his skin becoming a hard, rocky orange crust. They all agreed to use their powers for the good of humanity. Ben chose the super name of the Thing after being referred to as such by Susan. Together they became the Fantastic Four.

Ben remained a reliable member of the team, but was constantly shunned and often dwelled on his monstrous appearance. usually trying to make jokes about it to keep his spirits high. Although he considered himself deformed, his skin gave Ben incredible strength and durability, making him the powerhouse of the team. Reed blamed Ben's appearance on himself and swore to cure Ben one way or the other. Ben would wear a trench coat and hat to cover himself up to avoid scaring anyone or people gawking at his appearance.

Ben developed a different point of view about his problem when he met the blind sculptress Alicia Masters. She loved Ben for Ben, not his appearance. This made Ben believe that she actually loved him for his rocky hide and made him cautious about reverting to his original self.

After the events of the Secret Wars far from Earth, Ben decides to remain on a planet known as Battleworld where he has the ability to control his transformation. Eventually, he returns to Earth, only to find that Alicia is now dating Johnny. Learning this put Ben into a well of self pity, having lost the only one he believed could love his ‘ugly mug.' Unable to bear this torture, Ben briefly joined the West Coast Avengers and was replaced on the FF by She-Hulk. Eventually it was revealed that it was not Alicia, but a Skrull impostor named Lyja. Ben then returned to the team.

While Reed and Sue took some time off from the team to have their son Franklin, Ben became the leader of the team. He invited Crystal of the Inhumans and Sharon Ventura to join the team in their absence. On a mission, Ben was again irradiated with cosmic rays, this time changing his appearance for the worse (which he though would be impossible). Luckily, this was not permanent.

When Onslaught became a threat to the entire planet, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers and many other heroes all joined together to stop him. After Onslaught was released from his physical encasement, he became a far more powerful enemy. In order to defeat him, all the non-mutants sacrificed themselves, including the Thing. Franklin Richards preserved their lives and sent them to a Counter Earth he had created, where they had no memories of their pasts. Upon return to their original reality, Ben learned that Alicia seemed to have a relationship with the Silver Surfer. Although he loved Alicia, he still needed some time to figure out who he was after the confusion of his return.

During the Super-Human Civil War, Ben briefly chooses the pro-registration side with Iron Man. This is before he witness a civilian death caused by villains trying to intensify the already calamitous situation. He tells both side of his disgust for them and their lack of heroism. Not wanting to participate on either side, Ben moves to France.

He returns to New York City, but not to choose sides. He protects the innocent from the super heroes and their battles against one another. At the end of the war, the team joins together to discuss their future, as there has been much tension between them, specifically Reed and Sue. They temporarily leave the team to rekindle their love on another honeymoon and are replaced with the Black Panther and Storm. After mending their marriage, they returned to the team. The Thing remains the ever-lovin' blue-eyed member of the team.

Well, until the Heroic Age where he quits and joins up with the New Avengers.

6. Human Torch (632 points - 12 first place slots)

humantorch.jpg"Johnny is not my favorite hero even on his own team, yet at the same time he's a guy I always enjoy reading. The hot-headed matchstick is at his best when playing off his rival "brothers", Ben or Spidey, or when showing his love and fierce dedication to his sister Sue, but whether on his own or as part of an ensemble, the Torch is always a great hero, and a great character to read about."

"Just a fun character."

"He's the heart of the Marvel U, in a sense that he enjoys being a hero. Relishes every aspect of the life. He's the public face of Marvel's first family."

"The ever loving hot-head."

Personally, he is my favorite FFer so I am glad he made it this far. Though, I never expected him to do so, which is a pleasant surprise to me. To be honest, this list was the one that surprised me out of all the lists I have made, and that is saying something. This Top 10 is just really really wow. Anywho, back to Johnny. I love this character, but he has one major flaw to him and its not really his fault. He can't get any personal growth, because each and every writer that takes him on reverts back to the cocky hot-head and ignores all the personal growth he had before the new writer joined. Which is a shame. Still, I do love those Spidey and Johnny team ups. Pure gold.

Johnny Storm is the son of physician Franklin Storm and his wife Mary. He and his older sister Susan grew up in Glenville, New York. While still young, his mother was in a terrible car accident and she passed away, despite Franklin's attempts to repair her body. After this tragic event, Franklin fell into a downward spiral of drinking and gambling, eventually leading to his arrest for the murder of a loan shark, which he claimed was self-defense. Johnny and Sue were then sent to their Aunt's to live and Sue spend much time caring for her younger brother.

As a teen, Johnny and his sister met a scientist named Reed Richards and volunteered to go on an experimental rocket designed by Reed. The rocket would help humanity fly to the stars if everything worked as planned. But the ship was not properly shielded from cosmic radiation and plummeted back to the Earth's surface. They all survived the horrific crash but very soon found they had been changed. Sue, Reed and the pilot, Ben Grimm, gained super powers as a result. Johnny burst into flame and soon realized he could fly. On the spot they all agreed to use their powers for good and become the Fantastic Four.

Still young and rebellious, Johnny was ecstatic to have his new found powers. Labeled the hot head of the group, Johnny would often make brash decisions and disobey direct orders. Although his sister would try to calm him, Johnny often had issues with following Reed's orders. He would quit the team early on (and many more times) because of his temper.

While at a local bar trying to avoid the other members of the team, Johnny recognized a man who claimed to be an amnesiac. Trying to see if he was right, he dropped the man in the ocean and his assumptions were correct - it was Namor, the King of the Sea. Learning Atlantis was destroyed; Namor waged war against the surface. Johhny helped the other team members stop him and rejoined the team, finally having cooled off a bit.

Although he was in the Fantastic Four, Johnny still had time to have his own adventures, fighting villains such as the Wizard and Paste-Pot Pete, who would later go on to have grudges against both Johnny and the Fantastic Four. (These adventures were chronicled in Strange Tales). The Human Torch also started dating a fellow student named Dorrie Evans. During the time that the Torch was dating Dorrie, Peter Parker ironically met her one night, and impressed her with his quiet, studying manner as opposed to Johnny's hot headedness and eagerness. Deciding that it would be funny to see how she reacted around Spider-Man, Peter changed to Spider-Man, only to end up fighting the Beetle, another of the Human Torch's foes, who was planning to capture Dorrie for revenge on the Torch. Eventually the Torch arrived, and together he and Spider-Man defeated the Beetle and saved Dorrie, one of their earliest team-ups.

After an adventure with the Mole Man, the Sue Storm found a newspaper article which had a small section about her and Johnny's father. The two went to visit him in prison, but unknown to them, the Super-Skrull had kidnapped Franklin Storm and shape shifted to replace him. The Super-Skrull then went on a rampage as the Invincible Man, correctly guessing that the Torch and Invisible Woman wouldn't attack someone who they thought was their father, until Mr. Fantastic discovered the deception. The Super-Skrull agreed to return Johnny and Sue's father, but moments after they saw him, he yelled at them to escape, before a bomb which had been implanted in him exploded. Thankfully, no one was hurt except for Franklin, but he was gone from Johnny and Sue's life once more.

By now, Reed and Sue had agreed to marry, but shortly before they could, the Fantastic Four's counterpart, the Frightful Four (consisting mostly of old enemies of the Human Torch) attacked the group. As part of the Frightful Four's plans, they managed to trap the Fantastic Four on a deserted island with an atomic bomb. Although Sue was able to protect the group with a force field, the radiation still somehow affected them and took away the Fantastic Four's powers. The team was then attacked by Doctor Doom, who wanted revenge for having been tricked into thinking that he had defeated the team the last time they clashed. The team managed to regain their powers with a special gun of Reed's, but the Thing left the quartet after being forced to have his powers back. Following him the Thing, both he and the Human Torch were brainwashed by the Frightful Four into joining the group. After a lengthy fight between the Frightful Four and Fantastic Four, Johnny and the Thing were cured, but a member of the Frightful Four, Medusa, managed to escape.

Johnny would encounter Medusa shortly after Reed and Sue's wedding, when she was being chased by a mysterious man named Gorgon. Medusa revealed to the Torch that she and Gorgon were both from a mysterious race, who had superpowers. Before she could reveal any more, Gorgon managed to capture her. Johnny shortly ran into another member of the race, (which Reed dubbed the Inhumans), Crystal, whom he fell in love with at first sight. Johnny managed to convince Crystal and the rest of the Inhumans that humans were not their enemies, but shortly afterwards, Black Bolt (the King of the Inhumans) brother Maximus trapped all of the Inhumans inside a "negative energy" dome, which the Fantastic Four only just managed to escape. Following this, the Fantastic Four had their first encounter with Galactus and the Silver Surfer.

To battle Galactus, Johnny was selected specifically by the Watcher to retrieve a great weapon he had in a safe place. Johnny was able to retrieve the weapon, known as the Ultimate Nullifier, and they threatened Galactus with it, which left the planet alone.

A double of himself and some of Earth's other heroes at the beginning of the Infinity War attacked Johnny, creating mixed emotions from having to battle his friends. Creating doppelgangers of Earth's heroes, the evil Magus planned to remake the universe in his image. Johnny joined all of Earth's heroes in battle with their evil counterparts before the final defeat of the Magus.

The Magus' opposite, the Goddess, started the next major event that would be known as the Infinity Crusade. Preying on the religious beliefs of others to manipulate them into joining her cause, Sue was coerced into allying with the Goddess. This cause Johnny to question his faith since he believed he and his sister were equally strong in their beliefs.

The next major threat was a being known as Onslaught, a psionic creature created out of the minds of Professor X and Magneto. It took all of Earth's heroes to combat this threat. In the end the all non-mutant heroes sacrificed themselves to defeat him and it seemed that the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and many other heroes were gone forever.

Franklin used his abilities to create a pocket universe for all the heroes to remain living on. On this Counter Earth, Johnny and the other Four lived out their lives anew, not knowing the events of the past. With the help of Roma, this Earth was brought back to Johnny's original dimension and all the heroes returned to life, although confused over the previous events.

After the death of Galactus, the evil embodiment of destruction known as Abraxas was unleashed on the universe. Abraxas planned to destroy all life in the multiverse. A plan was developed to find the Ultimate Nullifier since Johnny was the only one aware of it's location, although subconsciously. The other members of the team traveled to other universes to gain pieces of the Nullifiers location from alternate Johnny's. In the meantime, Johnny and an alternate reality Frankie Raye began the search for it. Once they found the Nullifier, Nova revealed she was really the Herald of Abraxas and took the Nullifier to give to her master. Franklin and Valeria were able to revive Galactus, who was able to easily defeat Abraxas.

Over time, the stability of the Fantastic Four began to diminish. Johnny began to start searching for a career as an actor. Johnny actually won a major role in a summer blockbuster but soon realized he wasn't up to the task. Johnny began working in television instead before finally becoming a New York City firefighter. He returned to be the Chief Financial Officer of the Fantastic Four and even averted disaster with his leadership abilities.

After another battle with the team's greatest foe Doctor Doom, Reed attempted to take over Latveria. This caused a major misunderstanding, turning the United States government and the team against him. With the resulting death of the Thing, the team split up once again. Johnny took to his old love, automobile repair. He was plagued by hallucinations that Ben was not dead, which in fact he was not and was returned to his normal state.

The team next had to deal with an alien scientist named Zius. He had developed a cloak to hide planets from the world devourer Galactus, but the Invisible Woman's powers threatened his plans. He demanded she sacrifice herself to save billions of lives. To protect Sue, Reed used a specially designed machine to switch her powers with Johnny. This fooled Zius and he left the planet. This did not fool Galactus who destroyed Zius and claimed Johnny (with Sue's invisibility powers) as his new herald.

Galactus bestowed a portion of his Power Cosmic to Johnny and forced him to see through the cloaks and find him planets to feed on. Johnny was not mentally altered by Galactus and hid many planets from him for as long as he could. As Galactus' patience dwindled the remainder of the team and Quasar came and rescued him.

During the Superhuman Civil War, Johnny is severely beaten in a night club by people outraged by the events in Stamford and super heroes in general. When he awoke, the team had split in many separate ways. Johnny joined Sue on Captain America's anti-registration Secret Avengers team. At the end of the war, the team reunited. Reed and Sue took a short leave for a honeymoon to rekindle, leaving the Black Panther and Storm in their place.

In the Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four miniseries, a Skrull infiltrates the Baxter Building, posing as Sue, and sends it into the Negative Zone, with Johnny, Ben, Franklin and Valeria inside. When Johnny confronts the Skrull, she reveals herself to be his old flame, Lyja. Lyja attacks Johnny, but after the two team up to ward off a Negative Zone creature, she is knocked out. She revives just in time to save Franklin and Valeria from more Negative Zone beasts, revealing to Johnny afterwards that the Skrulls had originally intended for her to plant a bomb in the Baxter Building, and she had talked them down. When the group finds a way back to Earth, Lyja declines to come with Johnny, stating that she needs some time alone to find out who she really is.

I really do not know what its up for FF in the Heroic Age, other then Thing being Character-napped into quitting and joining the New Avengers.

Oh, and the next TLC is...



You made the Top 4, buddy. Congrats.


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