Monday, March 5, 2012
The Thing about the Apocalypse
For me, one of the best Marvel post-apocalyptic comics was the final issue of Marvel Two-in One. Issue 100 was a sequel to issue 50 where The Thing used Dr. Doom's time machine to travel back when he could be cured by a serum that Reed Richards had come up with. Then he gets back to the present and finds out that it created an alternate timeline so he didn't change anything in his reality. It was a solid story, but when it came to the final issue John Byrne took those ideas he had laid down and then took it to the extreme.
It turns out that there were already divergent aspects of that alternate reality. So Ben Grimm decides to use the time machine to revisit and finds that circumstances in the other world have taken a real turn for the worse. Because he cured the alternative universe Ben Grimm, it changed everything. When he arrives he is shocked to see stark planetary devastation..
Because The Thing was no longer a member of The Fantastic Four they did not stop Galactus from sucking all the life energy out of the Earth. Everyone else trying to stop him died and so the planet was screwed. So Ben arrives on a planet which is pretty much dried up and totally a post apocalyptic setting. Then John Byrne throws in some really crazy stuff that makes this post disaster setting so much more insane.
That is right...Nazis and the World Trade Center. It is so over the top and yet in comic book context it actually works. The plot involves The Red Skull turning post apocalyptic Americans into Neo-Nazis in an attempt to conquer the ruined planet. How outrageous is that? It was like John Byrne thought, "The series is over so I'm going out with a crazy bang!".
This is absolutely one of my favorite solo stories featuring The Thing. It is like a What If? story but is part of actual continuity.