"There'll be a time for finding me a cure. As for here and now Victor, it's Clobberin' Time!"Benjamin Jacob Grimm is a former test pilot and member of the superhero team known as the Fantastic Four. Born on Yancy Street in Manhattan New York, Grimm came from a broken household with a abusive alcoholic for a father and an uncaring stepmother. In order to protect his younger siblings, Ben and his older brother Daniel would often provoke his father when he was drunk, earning the beatings for himself and sparing his younger siblings the pain. Eventually his father would be arrested on unrelated charges, and Ben would live in a fairly normal home with his Great Aunt Petunia. Though he managed to come out of this broken situation in tact, his brother Daniel would join the infamous Yancy Street Gang, and lead a life of crime. A natural athlete, Ben was a member of his high school's football team, though bad grades due to a learning disorder threatened his academic eligibility. It was in this respect that he met the child prodigy Reed Richards, getting tutored by the young kid in college algebra, while simultaneously protecting him from the bullies at their school. In time, the two became friends, a friendship which remains to the present day.
After graduating high school, Ben enlisted in the United States Air Force and would eventually discover his natural abilities as a pilot. He would become a test pilot in the Air Force, testing cutting edge equipment before it was deployed on the battlefield. In this respect, Ben had met both Nick Fury and James Rhodes, although the meetings were brief and Ben couldn't recall them off hand later in life. He also kept in contact with Reed and, when Reed's mission to space was threatened by budget cuts several years later, he agreed to serve as the pilot and a member of the crew for the slimmed down mission.
Flying the mission from launch control in Florida, Ben was able to successfully pilot the ship into the area around the Van Allen Belts to conduct Reed's experiments. However, a passing phenomenon combined with an errant solar flare caused the ship to veer off course and come into contact with exotic cosmic particles. While the shields of the craft were able to withstand some of the bombardment, they were quickly overwhelmed, exposing all four of the crew members in the process. Ben managed to get more of a direct burst of the cosmic rays, trying to steer the ship out of the solar wind and successfully pilot it back to Earth. He eventually did so, crash landing near the Everglades before being picked up by the US Air Force and taken back to New York for a debriefing. Upon landing in New York, though, Ben and the rest of the team underwent a tremendous metamorphosis, with Ben transforming into a giant rock-like Thing. Overcome by his appearance and unable to transform back to his normal self (something Reed and the others could do at will), Ben did not participate in the rescue mission at the airport bank, causing him to not be noticed by the media that first saw Reed, Sue and Johnny. Eventually though, Ben overcame his initial shock and helped the three fight off Inhumans at a Wall Street bank, only to be looked upon as a "monster" by some in the crowd, causing Reed to promise his longtime friend of trying to find a way to change him back into a normal human being.
Ben and the rest of the team were soon confronted at the Baxter Building by Black Bolt and Maximus, two members of the Royal Family of Attilan. Maximus, speaking on behalf of his brother, told the group to stay out of the affairs of the Inhumans. When Ben took exception to this demand, he approached Black Bolt angrily and was promptly backhanded across the room without a second thought. Despite this warning, the Fantastic Four did intercede when Medusa, Gorgon and Crystal were attacking civilians in Central Park. However, during the battle, Ben's mind seemed to be taken over from out of nowhere, as the Thing turned on his fellow teammates and began attacking them. Black Bolt and Maximus soon turned up, retrieving their fellow Inhumans and leaving Ben and the rest of the Fantastic Four to account for the damage to the park. The team wasn't arrested, but they were temporarily quarantined in the Baxter Building by the NYPD. Shortly thereafter though, they were informed of the situation concerning Phillip Masters, an associate of Maximus' who was controlling the Inhumans and Ben. With the help of Crystal, the team broke out of the Baxter Building and confronted Maximus and the Puppet Master at their warehouse lair. Ben's mind was controlled again briefly, but through sheer willpower he managed to overcome the mind control, just as Black Bolt arrived again and, aware of Maximus' plans, defeated his brother. With the Inhumans departure, the Fantastic Four captured Masters and turned him over to authorities, officially signaling the begninning of their super hero tenure.
They would become high level celebrities after this, though in time Ben signed the Avengers Protocols along with the rest of the team, putting them directly under the pervue of SHIELD. Working with Agent Maria Hill, the team would continue to fight crime, including taking out the super villain the Mole Man. However, during this time Ben was heckled and jeered at by several onlookers (who themselves were spurred by the anti-super hero rhetoric of the Daily Bugle) due to his appearance. Reed reaffirms his promise to cure Ben, though Ben continues to have his own doubts. Shortly thereafter, though, Ben meets a young blind woman named Alicia Masters (no relation to Phillip Masters). Alicia takes a liking to Ben, despite his appearance, and the two seem to form an emotional connection. The group is then sent on a mission to clean up Sokovia following the Ultron incident there, and while there the four are invited into neighboring Latveria at the behest of the country's mysterious dictator, known only as Doom. Ordered by SHIELD to infiltrate and learn about Latveria, Ben invites Alicia as his "date" to keep their cover in tact.
In Doom's castle inside Latveria, the four quickly discover that Doom is in fact Victor von Doom, a former classmate of Reed Richards and Sue Storm who supposedly died in an accident over a decade earlier. Victor though appeared to be a cordial host, setting aside any differences he might have had with Reed and inviting the quartet to take a tour of his seemingly idyllic country. The team accepted his offer, staying the night. However overnight, Doom kidnapped Reed, Sue and Johnny, replacing them with Life Model Decoy's in the process. The following morning, the three decoys departed as a ploy, leaving Ben, Alicia, and SHIELD agent Maria Hill behind to take the tour of the country and allow Doom to carry out his plans. Doom takes Ben and company on the promised tour of Latveria, acting every bit the "benevolent ruler" that he viewed himself as. While Hill seemed taken aback by the suddeness of the other's departures and didn't trust Doom, Ben seemed to find a kindred spirit in the despot, especially when Victor offered to try and find a way to cure Ben of being the Thing, something that Reed couldn't do. After being "examined" by Victor (in reality Victor had examined Ben the night before in his sleep, but put up the whole thing for show here), Ben was shown to a machine that had been modified to withdraw the cosmic energy from his body that seemed to be keeping him from changing back to a normal human. Victor used the machine on Ben, transforming him back into a human, albeit slightly stronger than he had been before the accident.
During this time, though, Maria Hill had found the unconscious bodies of Ben's teammates, revealing Doom's duplicity and hand in their capture. Victor denied it all, and Ben, grateful to Victor for his help, sided with him in the process. This created more of a rift between the rest of the team and him, causing the other three to leave in disgust. Ben was chastized by Alicia shortly thereafter, leading him to seek out Reed and company to try and end things on a more civil note. Unfortunately it was at that time Doom revealed the full extent of his plans, wanting to use the cosmic energy taken from Ben transferred into his own body to gain even more power than what he already had. Fortunately the rest of the team were able to distract Doom long enough for Ben to expose himself to the cosmic energies once more, transforming back into the Thing. Together, the Fantastic Four held off Doctor Doom and forced him to launch himself into high Earth orbit, swearing revenge in the end.
Some time later, Ben and the rest of the team were blindsided by Reed's actions in the Final Hulk Protocol, involving sending Bruce Banner off world without his consent. When The Hulk returned to Earth with his Warbound, the Four were among the first to attempt to stop the Sakarran forces from attacking New York. Ben confronted the Hulk directly, fighting him to a temporary draw, but the Hulk's greater strength eventually won the day, leading to Ben's capture with the rest of the team. Eventually the group was set free by Nick Fury, taking on the rest of the Warbound and the Hulk again and eventually emerging victorious (thanks to help from She-Hulk and Iron Man.) Ben then aided the Fantastic Four in fighting the second Chitauri invasion and in assaulting Thanos' platform in Earth orbit in an attempt to prevent the Mad Titan from acquiring the six Infinity Stones. Unfortunately this effort ultimately failed, if only briefly, as Ben was killed in the assault on Thanos, only to be resurrected by Adam Warlock. He remains with the Fantastic Four to this day.
In the alternate timeline of Infinity War, Ben did not take part in the assault on the orbital platform and instead ran point on trying to mop up the remaining elements of the Chitauri that were lingering on Earth. He ultimately was the only surviving member of the Fantastic Four, the only one to live through the "snap" that killed half of all life on the planet. Distraught by this outcome, Ben fell back into a deep depression, only aided by visiting his younger brother in his old neighborhood of Yancy Street. This ultimately failed too, as Ben was driven to confront the Yancy Street Gang by the senseless death of a young kid, leading the hero to decimate the group of hooligans. Before he could dwell on that too far, he was recruited by Shuri and Tony Stark to take part in a mission of vengeance against Thanos (only that too was scrapped by the United States Government and the collapse of SHIELD.)
Ben then spent the intervening years in a safe house in upstate New York, living in quiet solitude with Alicia Masters (Masters however eventually left Ben, for unknown reasons.) He was dragged back into the hero's life by the Inhuman Gorgon, who sought Ben's help in trying to stop the Inhuman Maximus the Mad from launching a Terrigen Mist Bomb into Earth's atmosphere, which would ultimately have killed millions. Ben and Gorgon were partially successful, preventing the Mists from spreading fully (though several hundred did die around the world, and some latent Inhumans, such as Kamala Khan, gained powers from the Terrigen Mists). With Gorgon dead, Ben decided to come out of retirement and joined the fight in Wakanda against his former enemy, Doctor Doom.
A year later, Ben was a member of the New Avengers (having stopped the Mandarin's attempted takeover of the world) and helping them build a Quantum Tunneling Device. However, the coming of Galactus and the combined attack of Norman Osborn and Doctor Doom upon Wakanda forced him to fight the group one last time, ultimately dying right before the destruction of the planet at the hands of the World Devourer.
Powers & Abilities
- Superhuman Strength: Due to his transformation, Ben's strength has been magnified significantly. He is more than comparable to the strength of the Hulk, who is arguably the strongest person seen in the MCU to this point.
- Rock-Like Skin: Ben's strength and durability is further augmented by his rock-like physiology, which has encased his entire body. This makes him near impervious to concussive or physical damage, able to withstand great pressures and weight, and possibly even to survive in the vacuum of space for a limited time.
Ben's powers, unlike the other members of the Fantastic Four, are not consciously activated, which means he cannot transform back into a human form, perpetually stuck as a rock-like monster (or thing, hence his nom de guerre). This has caused Ben to have a severe lack of self-confidence and reduced self-worth compared to the rest of the team, as he has viewed himself as a freak or monster.
Ben Grimm appears in the following films within the Earth-11584 continuity. In all cases he is portrayed by actor Dean Norris.
- The Fantastic Four (2014)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Fantastic Four: Doomsday (2016)
- World War Hulk (2017)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Avengers: Infinity (2019)
- Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet (2019)