For the first time, we get a truly magnificent MTIO story.
It starts with Thing arriving at a super-power study site called 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 (no-longer called Marvel Boy).
He’s also the current head of security for Project Pegasus, i.e., Thing’s new boss.
Together, they fight off an invasion by Deathlok. Deathlok warns them of a hostile effort by Roxxon Corporation to infiltrate and take over Project Pegasus.
This is interesting: The last page of issue #53 is the same as the first page of #54…
…Only with a different artist!
Before they become pals, 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.
That’s pretty neat.
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.
Throughout, another story is being told in slow stages…
Thundra 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 these issues, we get interludes showing her becoming a wrestler.
This allows Marvel to introduce the Grapplers: Screaming Mimi, Titania, Poundcakes, and Letha.
Eventually the stories tie together and Thundra helps Thing take down Roxxon.
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.
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. Lots of fun. Lots of cameos.
And Thing teaches the security team poker!
This saga one of the top 10 Mark Gruenwald stories of all time.
And since this is the first appearance of Project Pegasus, here’s a map published in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe in 1983.