NOTE: Post Updated March 2019
For the first time, we get a truly magnificent MTIO story.It starts with Thing arriving at Project Pegasus, where he’s agreed to be part of their security detail, and we watch him go through the detailed (4-page) process of bioscanning, fingerprinting, and decontamination.
Strange as it may seem, watching him go through this administrative process is actually pretty fun. At the end of it, he meets some guy wearing Crusader’s costume…Who is the new, not-a-bad-guy Quasar (not Marvel Boy). He’s also the head of security for Project Pegasus.
Then, there’s an interlude in which we are introduced to Thundra for the first time, as she struts the streets of New York. She comes upon a crime-in-progress, and easily dispatches several muggers. An onlooker, who is a black midget named Herimeyer J. Oglethorpe, then offers her a job as a pro wrestler. Throughout, we get interludes showing her becoming a wrestler.
This allows Marvel to introduce the Grapplers: Screaming Mimi, Titania, Poundcakes, and Letha.
Thundra ends up helping Thing (but of course she fights him first) and the rest of the heroes fight off a hostile effort by Roxxon Corporation to infiltrate and take over Project Pegasus, so Thundra ends up being a hero at the end.
Most of the story follows Ben as he goes through the Project base and we get to see the various villains and characters who are there, including Solarr and, of course, Wundarr. Oh, and Deathlok is skulking about, too.
This is interesting: The last page of issue #53 is the same as the first page of #54…
…Only with a different artist!
Deathlok shoots Thing and draws blood. Kinda cool, because that doesn’t usually happen…
Bill Foster works at the facility, and Thing suggests that he adopt the name Giant-Man because, hey, the first half of Black Goliath is kinda racist and the second half is kinda dumb. In the Giant-Man issue (#54), they fight a radioactive villain who has escaped from his cell, and much later we’re told that it’s during that fight that Foster got cancer.
…but it’s just Thing some civilian guards, so it doesn’t count as a Floating Poker Game entry. I’m’ still tagging it, though, as poker becomes a through-line for Thing as a character.
This is also the arc where Wundarr changes his name to Aquarian, and finally gets an adult mind. He’s basically been a Superman character with the brain of a seven year old up until now. Once he’s matured, the Pegasus people no longer have a reason to protect the world from him, and he’s allowed to leave. Which he does.
Creators: Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (cowriters), John Byrne (#53-54), George Perez (#55-58)