By Jim Beard
Underneath the granite exterior of the Thing beats the heart of an incurable romantic—who'd have thunk it?
One needs look no further than December 10's FANTASTIC FOUR #562, written by Mark Millar with art by Bryan Hitch, where in the midst of tragedy springs a monumental event in the otherwise rocky life of Ben Grimm. It's a moment that may forever heal the Thing's wounded heart and make a monster whole again.
Surprisingly, Grimm's actually found his fair share of l'amour
throughout the years. In between growing up, piloting, changing into a pile of stones and super heroing around the galaxies, the thing managed to rack up more than a few romantic conquests. In fact, despite some cosmic bad breaks, ol' Benjy's been quite the rocky Romeo.
The first female to flag down the would-be pilot in his college days answered to the name of Alynn Chambers
. Destined to inaugurate the breaking of Ben's heart, Alynn informed the big lug that Hollywood meant more to her than a
simple school crush. Years later, she'd renew their friendship after a devastating medical emergency left her badly scarred.
Lovely Linda McGill
stepped up to the passionate plate next and hit a home run with Mr. Grimm. The hotshot Air Force test pilot thought he'd wrapped the world around his pinky until that fateful sojourn into space with pal Reed Richards and the Storm siblings. Then, once Ben submerged and the Thing arose, Linda's immediate fear and subsequent cold feet threw a bucket of chilly water on the relationship.
Perhaps the very best thing to ever enter the life of the Thing appeared in the form of a beautiful, blind sculptress named Alicia Masters
. Eschewing any worriment over his unnatural countenance, Alicia loved the man-monster for himself and gave Ben Grimm more than a few reasons to face every new day. If one looked up "unconditional love" in the dictionary, one would've discovered a simple portrait of Ben and Alicia.
Through their long and loving acquaintance, Ben's wonderment over the inner strength of his girl gave way to an unconscious desire to do nothing that would ever weaken their knot. Unfortunately, this created a psychological block in Ben's mind which ultimately prevented him from a permanent cure for his monstrous condition. Alicia loved the Thing; therefore the Thing must always exist. When whisked away to the Beyonder's private playground in the sky, Grimm decided to stay on the remote planet and effectively curtailed the greatest love he may ever have known.
No mention of the Thing's time on the Beyonder's Battleworld would be complete without noting the engaging and energetic warrior woman Tarianna
, to whom Ben Grimm pledged his heart. Sadly, the female fighter manifested purely as thought-stuff from the Thing's subconscious—and as we all well know, that doesn't count.
Memories of Tarianna smacked Ben full force upside the head when he met and crushed over the sporting Sharon Ventura
, the spitting image of the imaginary warrior. Taking on the then-retired moniker of Ms. Marvel, Sharon's wrestling and super hero careers took a tumultuous turn when cosmic rays transformed her into a She-Thing. Oddly enough, this change only strengthened her romance with Ben but then everything cooled once Sharon hooked up with Dr. Doom. Go figure.
After that, the Thing's heart wondered as he wandered and though he made a few googly-eyes at Reed Richards' old girlfriend Alyssa Moy
and even ran up a few restaurant tabs with Kathleen O'Meara
of Damage Control fame, Ben became convinced his path was destined to be a lonely one.
The Fantastic Four represents family, and the one thing that Benjamin J. Grimm's always been able to fall back on. Reed and Sue Richard's example of a marriage that's
Ben & Debbie
survived a heady rollercoaster of trial and error must stand as symbol to Ben that the real "someone" must exist somewhere for him.
Enter elementary school teacher Debbie Green
. Cue FANTASTIC FOUR #562. We'll save you a seat on the aisle. Bring some tissues, True Believer—you'll never believe what happens next.
FANTASTIC FOUR #562 arrives just in time for the holidays on December 10. While you're waiting, you can read the first 100 issues of FANTASTIC FOUR on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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