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The Thing: Project Pegasus (Marvel Premiere Classic) Hardcover – February 3, 2010
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The only downside to the story was the apparent destruction of the original Deathlok, a character I enjoyed back in his Astonishing Tales run when I was a kid. Every other character, from the Thing to Giant-Man to of course Wundarr, came out better for this story - characters actually grew and progressed without having to retcon all sorts of extraneus bullcrap into them, or just erase them and start over, as is the prevalence today.
This little book is highly recommended for fans of proper comic books. If you like the New 52 and the majority of the Marvel Now slop, you'll probably want to avoid this, as it won't be up to your limited sensibilities.
Know ye, o dudes & dudettes, that there once was a childlike extraterrestrial powerhouse named Wundarr, and that Ben Grimm was once Wundarr's guardian, back in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #2-4. Fast-forwarding some time later, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #42 opens with the Thing busting thru the titanium-walled stronghold of Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. (Potential Energy Group/Alternative Sources/United States), which is this vast, imposing underground facility dedicated to energy research. The scientists of Project Pegasus have captured the addled Wundarr and are using him in their experiments. Ben strenuously frowns on this, and it takes Captain America to calm him down.
The fallout to this is that Ben becomes part of Project Pegasus's security staff, not only to protect Wundarr but because he can't help but sense that shady shenanigans are afoot at the sprawling complex. Although, given, what place is ever truly safe that harbors the Cosmic Cube? Case in point, as when the would-be super-soldier Victorius attempts to steal it, a story thread which would eventually drag in the Man-Thing. Other super-villains would persist in breaking into Project Pegasus. Conversely, super-villains being held in Project Pegasus (and whose powers are somehow connected to energy) keep breaking out. Ben's got some work cut out for him.
Project: Pegasus down the years won't want for lack of attention as it would be attacked regularly by the likes of the Roxxon corporation, the Serpent Crown, and even Lava Men. The Thing himself would have a hellaciously eventful two-week stint at Project: Pegasus, fending off infiltrators such as the cyborg Deathlok (or a version of him, anyway) and the seven-foot-tall Thundra of Femizonia, both creatures from an alternate future. Thundra, by the way, segues from performing in the wrestling circuit to suddenly attacking Project: Pegasus, although there is a very hinky explanation for that. And I'd sort of forgotten that Thundra had a thing for Ben Grimm...
Ben isn't the only super-powered hero guarding Project: Pegasus. The Project Security Chief is Quasar, and Black Goliath is also on staff, and it just goes to show Ben's place in the superhero field that Quasar and Black Goliath both treat him with such respect. These guys have all they can handle as a mole in their facility is intent on effing things up to achieve his own nefarious purpose, and, of course, he's working in concert with the super-villains breaking in, and, of course, there's some super weapon involved. Accordingly, our heroes end up facing the likes of not only those already mentioned, but also escaped prisoners such as Nuklo the atomic mutant man-child, Klaw, and Solarr. It all comes to a head when Ben and friends and the entirety of Project: Pegasus are threatened by the serious menace of the Nth Man, the insatiable living space warp whose very being sucks in matter and energy.
This arc also chronicles Wundarr's metamorphosis into Aquarian and introduces Screaming Mimi of the Grapplers (she'd later become Songbird of the Thunderbolts). THE THING: PROJECT PEGASUS collects issues #42-43 & #53-58 of MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE. Ralph Macchio (who created Project: Pegasus) and Mark Gruenwald write a cohesive, action-packed yet plot-driven story. Sal Buscema, John Byrne, and George Perez turn in the pencil work, and if you want to see what kind of stuff Byrne and Perez had before they really made it big (this was around 1979), this'll do ya. Bonus stuff includes an introduction each by Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenwald (back in '88), a reprinting of Ron Frenz's wrap-around cover for THE THING: PROJECT PEGASUS 1988 trade paperback, a history of Project: Pegasus (including an overview map of the Project Pegasus complex, and a Quasar bio and profile.
This story arc introduces some new characters and some c-string characters.
Ben Grimm has always been under the dictation of Mr Fantastic. But as a solo character we get to see him as a mentor to Wendell Vaughn,"Quasar", who is newly wearing the cosmic wrist bands that were worn by the Crusader. Grimm also tutors the terminally ill Black Goliath, and opens a can of woop ass when a couple of other cosmic bad guys (Solarr,and The Klaw) try to make a break out from Pegasus.
Some of these characters never got much of a chance in the Marvel Universe and most were never heard from again (like the Wundarr to Aquarian transformation).
But it was great to see a very mature Ben Grimm showing the new kids how it's done!
Definitely a great arc in the The Thing Two-In-One specials.