Warning: SPOILERS for Fantastic Four #12
As two of the strongest humans in Marvel's Universe, the time has come for the incredible Hulk to fight The Thing one last time. We say "last" because this time around, either Ben Grimm unleashes enough power to kill the raging Hulk... or it's going to be HIM facing an early death instead of his honeymoon.
It isn't every day that a superhero gets to marry the love of their life, and let's be honest: the odds were lower than usual for Ben Grimm a.k.a. the enormous Rocky 'Thing' of the Fantastic Four. But that's exactly what he got with his recent wedding to longtime love Alicia Masters. Still, all good things must come to an end. In this case, Ben and Alicia's honeymoon has suddenly become a bloody fight to the death between Marvel's two toughest heroes. And the clock is ticking for Ben...
Now most fans are going to have the same question upon reading of this latest development, so let's get right into explaining the real mystery here: why does Hulk want to murder Ben Grimm? After all, it's the same question in the forefront of Ben's mind, after his vacation is interrupted by the arrival of Hulk demanding a rematch of their previous fistfights for Marvel supremacy.
The answer isn't a complicated one, and was actually revealed in the previous issue of Fantastic Four, although readers didn't know it at the time. In the final pages, the notorious arch nemesis of the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, discovered a batch of radioactive clay while helping to rebuild his homeland. He claimed to know exactly what to use it for, but only a select number of comic readers could have connected the dots. He didn't plan on using the clay, but supplying it to the supervillain Puppet Master, whose original means of mind and body control relied on, you guessed it, radioactive clay puppets.
As Hulk tears straight for Ben and Alicia's beachside honeymoon, the master plan is set in motion, as readers are let in on the secret: the immortal Hulk is being controlled by Puppet Master a.k.a. Phillip Masters (a.k.a. Alicia's stepfather). The seasoned Marvel fans know just what horrors are possible when a supervillain turns Hulk into their pet, but for the time being, it seems that Puppet Master is playing the role of super villainous stepfather--and plans to use Hulk to kill The Thing. Even if there's no way for Ben (or anyone else) to tell that this is more complicated than a simple bout of insanity on the Hulk's part.
Since Ben can't actually make sense of this surprise attack, it's the Hulk who can easily be declared the winner of the opening rounds--turning the Hawaiian Islands into collateral damage as he puts the biggest hurt possible on his fellow superhuman clobbered. The Hulk has fought fights to the death in the past, and typically found ways to end the conflict peacefully. Unfortunately, THIS bout is actually poised to be a fight to the death.
While it would make perfect sense for superhero newlyweds to have to plan a honeymoon around the world ending, or aliens invading, that wasn't the reason for Ben and Alicia's delay. The explanation is just as outlandish, but in the best way possible: the timing of the vacation is based on Ben's annual "transmogrification" back into his human form. For the unfamiliar, Ben's transformation into The Thing isn't permanent, allowing him approximately two weeks a year returned to his normal, flesh and blood body. Ben and Alicia had specific plans in mind to take advantage of that break... but that was before Hulk crash landed in their resort.
Long story short? Ben has less than an hour before he becomes a weak, smash-able human. With a literal ticking clock counting down the minutes he has to end this fight strapped to his wrist. As for the Hulk, he's hopping into the Fantastic Four series from his own Immortal Hulk book, where he has discovered his own brand of immortality means he can, and often does get murdered... only to return to life once the sun sets. His own comic series has shown villains finding some truly horrifying ways to kill Hulk and prevent him from resurrecting. So here's hoping that Ben Grimm will be able to emerge victorious--and control himself from desecrating his friend's body once he does.
Making the entire fight worse is the fact that all of the resort's guests, including Alicia herself, are trapped beneath a rock slide caused by the Hulk just prior to the issue's last page. So with Hulk not only responsible for innocents being hurt, but standing between him and his wife in need of rescue, The Thing ends the issue by taking off his gloves (metaphorically speaking). He's aiming to put as bad a hurt on Hulk as possible, with every minute spent fighting just another closer to total disaster. Fingers crossed, Ben.
Readers who want to get a front row seat for this epic boxing match between Marvel's heaviest heroic hitters can read below for the official solicitation details for Fantastic Four #12. And since a fight this massive can't ever be contained in a single issue, check out the cover art for Fantastic Four #13 below as well.
- Fantastic Four (2018-) #12
- Written by Dan Slott Jeremy Whitley Art by Sean Izaakse Will Robson 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! PLUS: The saga of the Future Foundation by Jeremy Whitley and Wil Robson!
- Fantastic Four (2018-) #13
- August 14 2019
- Written by Dan Slott
- Art by Sean Izaakse
- Cover by Esad Ribic
- 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 #12 is available now at your local comic book shop and direct from Marvel Comics. The fight continues in Fantastic Four #13 when the issue arrives on August 14th, 2019.