When last we saw Benjamin J. Grimm, the Submariner left him to be the "nanny" of one Wundarr, a super-strong and invulnerable alien man with the mind of a child. Ben tried to hand off Wundarr to Reed but we all know Mr. Fantastic - he's the classic absent-minded professor. What's a blue-eyed Thing to do? Take Wundarr to the zoo, of course. Well, the zoo trip did not come out as planned. The mayhem covers a few pages but the two panels below are representative.
To the left, Wundarr is in full toddler mode. What makes him really dangerous is he's as strong as the Thing. In fact the innocent Wundarr has used his prodigious strength to set the zoo animals loose, which explains the panel to the right. The Thing doing zoo cleanup duties. It's wonderful to see that huge animals like lions and gorillas are no problem for the Thing.
The cleanup is just about over when a familiar figure shows up.
I think it's very refreshing that the appearance of Captain America doesn't result in a Thing/Captain America slugfest . Instead we have this:
A nice, relaxing afternoon in the Baxter Building.
Oh, yes, before we leave the zoo, something important happens. Nita is also there.
Who is Nita you ask? She's Namorita, Namor's cousin, and a future member of the New Warriors. Anyway, Nita was very taken with Wundarr the first time she met him from before and she has offered to take care of Wundarr since she has a place nearby. Ben, of course, agrees readily, and just like that, the Thing is no longer a nanny.
Back to afternoon coffee in the Baxter Building with Captain America.
Right before everybody sits down for a nice conversation in the living room Reed was tinkering with one of the two most famous machines in the Marvel universe.
It's Doctor Doom's Time Platform. The other famous machine is the X-Men's Cerebro. Anyway, the time machine is a wondrous piece of equipment it just needs some modifications here and there. For example, it needs some kind of protection from being accidentally turned on.
Yup. That's Benjy inadvertently bumping into the machine and turning it on while everyone goes to the living room for some coffee. And that is why coffee is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Tarin from the year 3014.
In a beautiful piece of comicbook writing, everything is explained in two compact panels
Ah, pieces of Marvel history. The Badoons (who Ben will repeatedly keep referring to as the 'Baboons') are an advanced yet savage space-faring race like the more familiar Kree, Skrull and Shi'ar. Unlike the other star-faring races, the Badoon occupy the Milky Way galaxy with us - so of all the space empires they are the nearest to Earth. Also mentioned are the Guardians of the Galaxy - more of these guys later, we'll actually meet them.
In a very satisfying turn, Captain America suggests that Richards send him and anybody who wants to go to the future so they can help fight the Badoon. And just like that, we have our expeditionary force.
Roll call: Captain America, Sharon Carter, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Tarin, and of course, the star of the show. Look at this lineup. The upcoming adventure is something to relish for us Thing fans because Thing is most obviously the strong man of this group. No disrespect to Captain America's legendary prowess but Ben is clearly the heavy ammunition. Reminds me of that role playing game concept of the "tank". A "tank" is the toughest member of the adventuring team - a sort of wall the others can hide behind. That's what Ben is, he's the "tank" for this small team. One thing I would have wanted would be for Sharon to have gotten into her S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform before going into this mission - without it it would be too easy to dismiss her as just another civilian who's getting in the way, instead of a formidable Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
And now, New York in the year 3014. We get a two-page spread for that.
The future New York, and the rest of the planet, are ruled by mankind's overmasters, the Badoon. In the manner of all autocrats, a curfew has been declared and our foursome are in violation of it. It's interesting to look at the kind of opposition they encounter.
First, the Zoms.
The Zoms are symbolic of just how cruel the Badoons are. These aliens have lobotomized humans to create mindless slaves. Lobotomized mind you, their brains are taken off. More than that, the Badoons have eradicated the Zom's ability to feel pain. Mindless warriors that can feel no pain. And entire armies of these Zoms are sent against our intrepid adventurers. Very early on, they realize that it's good to have the Thing.
The next kind of opposition is a bit corny. It's called the Monster of Badoon.
It may be corny but the design is very good.
But more than that. Here's the monster being hit with a Sunday special.