How Was The Thing's 'Permanent' Scar Healed?

This is "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," a brand-new feature where I look at how bold, seemingly "permanent" changes were ultimately reversed. This is not a criticism, mind you, as obviously things are always going to eventually return to "normal." That's just how superhero comic books work. It's just fun to see how some of these rather major changes are reversed. This is differentiated from "Abandoned Love," which is when a new writer comes in and drops the plot of the previous writer. Here, we're talking about the writer who came up with the idea being the same one who resolved the change. This is also differentiated from "Death is Not the End," which is about how "dead" characters came back to life, since this is about stuff other than death.


For instance, our first example is how Thing recovered from his dramatic scar he received in the early 1990s.

As I'm sure you all know already, the concept behind the Thing is that he is inherently the outcast of the Fantastic Four because he is transformed into, well, you know, a THING! It's all spelled out in Fantastic Four #1...

However, a funny thing happened over the years. Despite nominally being a "monster," the Thing was, well, completely embraced by the average person in the Marvel Universe.

The whole world watched him essentially single-handedly save the planet from the Elder of the Universe known as the Champion...


He's pretty much the idol of millions.

Therefore, Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan decided to come up with a way to bring the Thing a little bit back to the state where he was considered to be a bit of a monster.

The story began with the Human Torch accidentally setting fire to the campus of Empire State University. He became a wanted man and he went on the run. Torch's old pal, Spider-Man, was afraid that someone would hurt the Torch bringing him in, so Spider-Man re-formed the new Fantastic Four (now as members of Doctor Strange's new team of superheroes known as the Secret Defenders, where Strange would have different heroes form teams for specific missions) and they went to find the Torch in Fantastic Four #374 (by Tom DeFalco, Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi).


However, the rest of the Fantastic Four found them first. Sue Richards had recently absorbed her evil doppelganger from the Infinity War crossover event and doing so allowed the evil twin to influence Sue and make her act a lot edgier than normal.

She attacked Wolverine a little harder than normal and he got into a bit of a rage and when the Thing stepped in to stop him, Wolverine sliced the Thing's face up...

Before the Thing could even get the cut treated, the Fantastic Four were teleported away to the moon by the Watcher to help fight off Doctor Doom. The Thing's former girlfriend, Sharon Ventura, went along for the ride and she and Thing were not seeing eye to eye since she betrayed the FF to Doom in exchange for Doom curing her of being the She-Thing. She is shocked to see Thing's scarred face...

It's essentially a big open wound, so the Thing needed some help to protect it, as it was leaving him vulnerable in battles...

He eventually started wearing a helmet (this was an in-joke/homage to the fact that initially Jack Kirby considered having the Thing wear a helmet as part of his costume all the way back in Fantastic Four #3)...

He wore the helmet for about a year and then the cut was healed enough that it was no longer an open wound. It was just a giant scar, so he stopped wearing the helmet. Here he is without the helmet 28 issues after the cut happened...

That's a pretty long time for a change like this to last, right?

A couple of issues later, even when the Thing was turned back to his Ben Grimm form temporarily, the scar remained!

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