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Drawing Crazy Patterns – Failed Attempts by Mr. Fantastic of Curing the Thing

by  in Comic News Comment

In this feature, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today we look at a few times where Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards tried and failed at curing his best friend, Ben “The Thing” Grimm of his cosmic mutation.

Enjoy!

As you well know, Reed feels awfully guilty that his plan to steal his own rocketship and travel to the moon got his best friend, Ben Grimm, mutated into, well, a thing. So Reed often tried to cure his friend of his mutation.

The first time was in Fantastic Four #8 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers) (Reed is trying to hide what he’s working on in his lab, so naturally Ben presumes Reed is trying to screw him over…why, I dunno. Then the Puppet Master takes control of him and sends him after the rest of the FF…)…




Next time came just three issues later, in #11 (by Lee, Kirby and Ayers)…


Ben, though, is enraged at the treatment of Sue by the readers of the Fantastic Four, and he turns back into the Thing, Hulk-style…


#16 (by Lee, Kirby and Ayers) was the last major attempt for awhile…




Check the next page for the next attempt…

In Fantastic Four #68 (by Lee, Kirby and Joe Sinnott), Reed’s latest attempt is sabotaged by a camouflaged Mad Thinker, who impersonates the scientist Reed is working with on this latest cure so that not only does the cure not work, but the Thing ends up brainwashed into hating Reed at the end of it…





In Fantastic Four #105 (by Stan Lee and Johns Romita and Verpoorten), Reed is working on a cure for Thing while he is suddenly interrupted…



After having Johnny stall for an issue, Reed picks up again in Fantastic Four #107 (by Lee, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott), where Johnny is oddly dickish to him…





The side effects show up later on when the Thing begins to act more aggressive. Things come to a head when he picks a fight with the Hulk in Fantastic Four #112. Reed rushes to put together a cure but arrives too late, as the Thing appears to be dead. In Fantastic Four #113 (by Lee, Buscema and Sinnott), Johnny is once again really harsh on Reed…


but Reed turns those frowns upside down later on…




So, just for the record, I guess this really doesn’t count as a FAILED attempt, does it? Since it was BEN who decides to not follow the cure, right?

That’s it for Stan Lee’s take on this trope during his run (as his run finished soon afterwards). Go to the next page for a prominent example by John Byrne plus a recent “untold” attempt revealed during Marvel’s Original Sin crossover!

When John Byrne took over FF, he addressed the Thing cure idea head on in Fantastic Four #238, in a very intriguing fashion…







Very recently, James Robinson used the Original Sin tie-in in Fantastic Four #6-7 to have the Thing be exposed to a hidden truth from the past, that Johnny messed up with an attempt by Reed to cure Ben (art by Dean Haspiel and Nolan Woodard). First the problem…






And the next issue, after Reed fixes Ben (well, returns him to his “normal” Thing self), Johnny confesses to Reed and they agree to sweep it under the rug…




At the end of the issue, an angry Thing (after telling Johnny he never wants to speak to him again) seemingly kills the Puppet Master in a rage and goes to prison. I honestly don’t recall how he and Johnny settled this spat (the Thing is eventually released when it turns out he was framed). Anyone remember offhand?

If you have a suggestion for a future Drawing Crazy Patterns installment, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com