Warning: SPOILERS for Fantastic Four #13
Every Fantastic Four fan knows that The Thing's rock-like body is strong enough to resist almost any attack. But have you ever wondered what he would look like... if that stone was removed? Hopefully not. But either way, Marvel has revealed just what exists under The Thing's orange stone skin. And once you see it, it can never be unseen.
When the question is raised, there's a good chance that plenty of comic fans may realize they've never stopped to consider the answer. The 2010 Fantastic Four movie may be to blame for the confusion which follows, since that film suggests that Ben Grimm's entire body, from his skin down to his internal organs, has been transformed into stone as a result of their cosmic accident. Of course, that explanation doesn't really make sense--which is why Marvel Comics has often remained vague on what The Thing looks like beneath (let alone inside) his stony exterior. But when The Thing takes on Hulk in a fight to the death, the green giant knocks his stones loose, literally. There's no way for comic book fans to prepare for this revelation, so with one last warning that there is no going back... let's just get it over with.
What We THOUGHT Was Under Thing's Stone
First things first, since there are sure to be some Marvel Comics historians who will quickly claim that this isn't technically the first time that The Thing has lost his rocky outer layer in a fight. And on one level, that is true. It first happened when Ben Grimm and Wolverine got into a spat over the treatment of a lady, and The Thing stepped in to restrain Logan. Known for his temper, Wolverine reacted without thinking--screaming at Ben and slashing out across his face. It was over in a split second, but that was all it took for Wolverine's adamantium claws to cut through Ben's orange exterior like butter, shearing off the top layer of stone in almost the exact same spot as his latest injury.
The scene took place back in the pages of Fantastic Four #374 (1993), and the injury plagued Ben Grimm for years. Disgusted by his facial deformity, The Thing went as far as wearing a custom metal helmet to both disguise and protect his face while on missions, deeming his damaged face to be both too embarrassing and too vulnerable to leave unprotected without its layer of stone armor. But it was a different time in the art of comic books, meaning the level of detail or accurate physiology beneath Ben's injury was completely different. Disgusting as he may have claimed it to be at the time, the wounded section of Ben's face basically looked like his stone layer--just softer, and more pink than orange. But things have changed quite a bit since those days...
What's REALLY Under The Thing's Stone...
It's not all bad news for the Fantastic Four's rocky mascot, since his surprise grudge match with the Hulk in Fantastic Four #13 ultimately proves that The Thing is stronger than Hulk (or at least he can be, if pushed to his limits with his own life and that of his new bride on the line). The fact that Ben Grimm ends their rematch with a single punch might even help readers forget just how much of their blissful ignorance it truly cost them along the way. Caught completely off guard by the villain-puppeteered Hulk, The Thing spends the first several rounds of their fight being pummeled by Hulk's punches like a jackhammer drilling through so much concrete. directly to the body and face.
First come the cracks--but those can easily heal. Then come the stone chips blasted away at impact, doing their best to absorb the energy from Hulk's fists. But finally, a right hook directly to the face knocks enough stone cleanly off of Ben Grimm that he almost considers surrendering. But it's then that the love of his life and newlywed wife cradles him in her arms, and gives him just the speech he needs to end the hour victorious. Unfortunately, that heartfelt scene is also the moment comic readers get a close-up look at the last thing anyone wants to see: the pink Thing. Don't say we didn't warn you. (Editor's note: reactions of delight, horror, or disgust can be sent to artist Sean Izaakse directly.)
Once his orange stone skin is knocked completely away from the rest of his body, readers get a clear look at the soft flesh of The Thing beneath. In all honesty, looking more like a wet, pink, swollen Ninja Turtle than a Marvel superhero. And in that moment, The Thing might just have become the one Marvel hero fans WON'T want to see in another super-powered fistfight. Whether horrifying or hilarious, this revelation is nonetheless historic. But in a world where comic books come and go to be lost and forgotten every week, delivering anything this memorable is an achievement in itself. If fans wish to see the stone-removing fight and its decisive finish for themselves, they can pick up their own copy today. Check out the official solicitation details and plot synopsis for the issue below:
- FANTASTIC FOUR #13
- Written by: Dan Slott
- Art by: Sean Izaakse
- Cover by: Esad Ribic
- Ben and Alicia are off on their dream honeymoon in a remote tropical paradise...until someone decides to crash it. Or should we say SMASH IT?! Get ready for the biggest HULK VS. THING FIGHT OF THE CENTURY! The clock is ticking down. The moment is almost at hand. That do-or-die instant where Ben Grimm will either find the will to win – or be annihilated by the fighting-mad Immortal Hulk!
Fantastic Four #13 is available now at your local comic book shop, or online from Marvel Comics. Flowers and condolences can be sent to the Hulk directly.