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THIS ISSUE'S TOPIC CHOSEN BY ADAM STAR!
DBB 408
IT STARTS WHEN A SKRULL KIDNAPS BEN IN FF #90...
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Star TrekThe Skrull's destination: a planet somewhere in in the Skrull galaxy! Ben has been suddenly abducted and transported to an alien world -- a fate that once befell certain crew members of the USS Enterprise, in a STAR TREK episode first broadcast on January 5, 1968, titled "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (scene pictured right.)

This TREK episode, and another we'll get to in just a minute, inspired STAN LEE and JACK KIRBY to create "The Thing-- Enslaved!" a storyline that began in Fantastic Four #91, October 1969 (Original splash page art pictured below).
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BEN IS BROUGHT TO THE SKRULL GALAXY, PLANET KRAL ...
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THE THING IS MOCKED BY A GANG OF ROWDY KIDS...
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THE KIDS RESEMBLE CHARACTERS IN SIMON and KIRBY'S
"NEWSBOY LEGION" SERIES, FROM THE GOLDEN AGE!
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MEANWHILE, BEN MEETS HIS OPPONENT...
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In the Trek episode, Capt. Kirk was forced to we ar a "slave collar" (pictured left) which asphyxiated anyone who got out of line.

Kirk and several of his crew mates have been brought to the planet Triskelion to fight as gladiators to entertain disembodied entities called the "Providers."

In the FF story, Ben is fitted with a similiar collar (see above and below). But wait! Why are the Thing's captors dressed like gangsters?
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TheThingTREK WARS and GANG WARS

In the Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action," the inhabitants of Sigma Iotia II mimick 1930s Chicago gangsters, and the Enterprise crew must step in (with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy dressed like mobsters, shown right) to stop a gang war between rivals Jojo Krako and Bella OxMyx.

The show originally aired January 12, 1968, and its premise was reflected in the "Thing Enslaved" storyline. Jack Kirby, a product of the mob-infested 1930s, had long had a special fondness for gangsters, and the Star EdTrek premise was the perfect way to work some gangster characters and settings into the Fantastic Four comic book.TheThing

Playful Jack Kirby even included a character based on actor Edward G. Robinson (pictured left), who rose to fame playing a series of organized crime figures, most notably a mob kingpin named RICO in the memorable 1931 crime film Little Caesar.

Shown right is Kirby's takeoff on the actor, who in the FF-Skrull series is known by the satirical and slightly silly sobriquet of Napoleon G. Robberson. It's Clobberson Time! Below: An ad for Kirby's IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB, followed by Kirby's pencils for the magazine's never-published third issue!
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ORIGINAL FF COVER vs. MCG REPRINT EDITION

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For a reprint edition of this story, the original cover art by Jack Kirby (shown left) was recolored, and slightly retouched by John Romita and Frank Giacoia. Changes include new crowd members and small barred window on left, severe darkening of Togo's figure, and repositioning of Ben's face, which is now visible.The entire top area is also reworked, with a new "At The Mercy of TORGO!" blurb added.

LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!
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BUT BEN BOUNCES BACK, AND...
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HOLD ON BEN! The FF IS ON THE WAY... IN A WAY COOL CAR!
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WAIT! THE STORY ISN'T OVER YET!
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RETURN TO PLANET KRAL


An unexpected sequel to the original FF Skrull/ Gangster story appeared in Marvel Two-in-One #45 (November 1978, cover by Ron Wilson and Bob Layton shown left).

Many of the gangsters in the original FF story died in the uprising, but the gangster world's leader, Boss Barker, survived by impersonating a corpse. Barker got his revenge on Torgo by decapitating him and keeping his head as a trophy!

Barker then traveled to Earth to get revenge on the Thing. Captain Marvel got involved in a team- up called "The Andromeda Rub-Out!" by Peter Gillis (Script), Alan Kupperberg (breakdowns), and Mike Esposito (finished art). Here are some excerpts from the story:
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MOTHER OF GOD! IS THIS THE END OF TORGO?
NO! "THE BRAIN OF A LIVING ROBOT DOES NOT TRULY DIE!"
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NEXT
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