Type: Alternate Earth, possibly divergent Earth
Core Continuum Designation: Earth-7940
Usual means of access: Time-travel, vibrational attunement
Dominant Life Form: Humans
Representatives: Black Panther, presumably Captain America, Colossus, Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Doctor Strange, Galactus, Ben Grimm, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Girl, Iron Man, Alicia Masters, Mister Fantastic, Mole Man, Red Skull, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Thor, Sub-Mariner, unnamed landlord of the Baxter Building, Vision, Wolverine
First Appearance: Marvel Two-In-One#50 (April, 1974)
History: (Marvel Two-In-One#100 (fb) - BTS) - Earth-Galactus Devoured apparently diverged from Earth-616 during the 1600's to 1700's, since the city of New Amsterdam was never renamed as New York. Also, Norrin Radd apparently never became the Silver Surfer. Despite this, history continued largely similar to that of Earth-616. Hitler's Third Reich emerged, and was defeated by the Allies. The Red Skull, as the Third Reich was defeated, was placed into a state of suspended animation. The Fantastic Four later formed and had adventures at least roughly similar to their earliest escapades.
(Marvel Two-In-One#100 (fb)) - The New Amsterdam Daily Bugle reported a nuclear explosion.
(Marvel Two-In-One#50) - Ben Grimm of Earth-616, realizing that he could not be cured in his current condition due to his body having gotten used to its new form, attempted to use time-travel to solve his problem; he hit on the idea of administering a cure to himself at a point when he had only been the Thing for a short period of time. With that in mind, he chose a point in time before the Fantastic Four moved into the Baxter Building (roughly after Fantastic Four I#2 but before Fantastic Four I#3).
Unknown to Grimm, he did not emerge in the past of his own universe, as time travel into the past of one's own universe is generally not possible; rather, he was shunted into the past of another, very similar, universe. He found himself in an empty Baxter Building, as Reed Richards was given a tour by an unnamed landlord. Grimm sneaked away from Richards, and ran into the streets. His monstrous appearance frightened a woman and her husband. Grimm attempted to calm the couple, but their screams caught the attention of someone else: Grimm's native temporal counterpart on this Earth.
This Ben Grimm had a smooth dinosaur-like appearance, not the rocky physique the Earth-616 Ben Grimm evolved into later. Thus, he did not recognize his Earth-616 counterpart for who he was. The Earth-616 Ben Grimm attempted to explain that he had time-traveled using Doctor Doom's time machine, but since the Ben Grimm of this world had yet to encounter the adult Doctor Doom (whose first appearance was in Fantastic Four I#5), he did not succeed. Finally, the stronger, older Earth-616 Ben Grimm defeated his counterpart, and administered the cure. The Earth-616 Ben Grimm returned to his home dimension, and his counterpart returned to human form.
The Earth-616 Reed Richards explained to the Earth-616 Grimm upon his arrival that he had not changed his own timeline, only gone to an alternate Earth.
(Marvel Two-In-One#100 (fb)) - The Earth-7940 Ben Grimm retired from the Fantastic Four and opened a bar. Spider-Man replaced him in the FF, and with them he faced Doctor Doom and the Mole Man.
Then one day, Galactus arrived. He killed the Fantastic Four, and then defeated or slew Iron Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, Wolverine, Sub-Mariner (see comments), the Black Panther, Cyclops, Scarlet Witch, Colossus, Thor, and the Vision. Galactus then absorbed the life-giving energy of Earth and left.
For the first few years after this, Ben Grimm and other surviving humans managed to do well in the difficult task of rebuilding civilization. They tried to establish houses, schools, hospitals, and small farms on vacant lots. Then refugees came in from Europe with bad news; the Red Skull had returned. The power of Galactus' energy converter had awakened him from his bunker. The Red Skull set about building the Fourth Reich with the Earth's remaining resources. He had synthetic men built to help him. The Red Skull set up a military base and concentration camp in the ruins of the World Trade Center.
(Marvel Two-In-One#100) - The Earth-616 Reed Richards called in his Earth's Ben Grimm to show him a tape of footage from Grimm's time-travel trip. He showed him that the recorder had caught an image of a newspaper called The New Amsterdam Daily Bugle. Intrigued to see the current state of this alternate Earth, after Reed left, Ben returned to Earth-Galactus Devoured twenty fours in the past. He found himself on the roof of the Baxter Building, with New Amsterdam a broken city. Ben was attacked by a mob that mistook him for one of the Red Skull's synthetic men. However, the native temporal counterpart of Ben Grimm recognized his Earth-616 counterpart and told them to stop.
Ben Grimm then showed his Earth-616 counterpart to the subway where the survivors had set up a base. He explained what had happened since his Earth-616 counterpart's last trip. However, the Red Skull's synthetic men then arrived and kidnapped the Thing. The Thing awoke to an interrogation at the hands of the Red Skull himself. The Earth-616 Ben Grimm realized that since the events that had precipitated the return of the Sub-Mariner had not taken place on this world, the events that led to the return of Captain America had also not happened (see comments). The Red Skull used the Gauntlet of Truth to probe the Earth-616 Thing's mind.
Elsewhere, the human Ben Grimm and other survivors of the raid managed to defeat a group of the Red Skull's soldiers and donned their uniforms. They snuck into the remains of the World Trade Center. They observed a group of people, including Alicia Masters, being carted off for execution, but could do nothing. They reached the building where the Red Skull was interrogating the Thing, and engaged the Skull's men in battle. The Red Skull was distracted by the ruckus, giving the Thing the chance to escape. However, a group of the Skull's synthetic men then arrived, and the Thing had to devote his attention to stopping them.
The Thing destroyed all of the synthetic men, and the Red Skull decided to flee. The Skull killed a soldier who got in his way with the Dust of Death, then tried to use the Dust of Death on the Thing. The Thing used his super-breath to blow the dust back in the Red Skull's face, killing him. The Earth-616 Thing then returned home.
Comments: Created by John Byrne.
On Earth-616, in Fantastic Four I#3, the Thing got into an argument with the Human Torch which caused Johnny Storm, intensely bitter, to hide from his teammates in a flophouse in Fantastic Four I#4. While at that flophouse, Johnny Storm met a bearded stranger who turned out to be an amnesiac Namor the Sub-Mariner. From there Namor became a foe of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers; in a fateful encounter with a group of Inuits, Namor found these Inuits worshipping a frozen figure. Namor grabbed the frozen figure and threw it in the water-the frozen figure turned out to be Captain America after his battle with Dekker.
On Earth-7940, since Ben Grimm was cured of being the Thing at a point roughly analogous to before Fantastic Four I#3, the Human Torch apparently never went to the flophouse because of that argument with him. However, in a one-panel flashback to the heroes who attempted to stop Galactus, we see Namor joining the battle!
We can still presume that the Earth-7940 Captain America was never revived. Actually several stories have shown how disruptions to the Fantastic Four's early history would have eventually prevented or delayed Captain America's revival. Among these are:
As astutely pointed out by one Jim Kevins in the letters page of What If I#35, the absence of the Fantastic Four would not have disrupted the origins of other characters. ("Also, as I recall, Odin cast Thor into mortal form to temporarily teach him humility. Are we assume that just because Don Blake missed one plane to fly to Norway that Odin is going to forget all about him and not give him another chance to regain his heritage?", and he also pointed out that in Marvel Two-In-One Annual#2 Master Order and Lord Chaos claimed to have shaped Peter Parker's life so he would become Spider-Man in anticipation of his fighting Thanos.) Wolverine did not make his first published appearance till after the Fantastic Four, but as seen in Origin, he is at least 100 years old.
However, the presence of the Vision among the team that battled Galactus is a bit problematic.
It takes some major assumptions to allow for the creation of the Vision on this world. Actually, if one reads Jess Nevins' Pre-FF#1 site, maybe Doctor Druid, the Comet, or a host of others could have been substituted.
The Earth-7940 Ben Grimm mentions that he has never heard of the Silver Surfer, indicating that he did not exist in the Earth-7940 universe or that Norrin Radd never became the Silver Surfer. On Earth-616, the Silver Surfer's going against Galactus was instrumental in driving off Galactus.
In Transformers (Marvel UK)#224, 251-254, and 298-301 (that last the same as U.S. #67), the ruins of the World Trade Center were also shown in an alternate world where Unicron won the events of Transformers: the Movie. Ironically, of course, as of 2001, there is no World Trade Center in real-life anymore.
Marvel Two-In-One#50 popularized the idea that time-travel actually involved alternate Earths. Avengers Annual#2 (1968) was apparently the only previous story to state that time-travel did not generally change history, but rather involved alternate Earths. Marvel Two-In-One#100 has Reed Richards theorize that one is shunted to a pre-existing alternate Earth, already slightly different before the time-frame in which one arrives, as a sort of temporal safety valve. This avoids the problem of explaining where the huge amounts of energy needed to create another universe would come from.
Marvel Age#120 shows the editorial guidelines on this in the Mark's Remarks column, available online here.
I guess Earth-7940 could roughly count as a divergent Earth, although the initial divergence, that of New York never being renamed New Amsterdam, could not really have caused the second divergence, that of Norrin Radd never becoming the Silver Surfer. (More logically, one would have expected the Herbert Asbury book Gangs of New York to be called Gangs of New Amsterdam.) I guess for a divergent Earth, the initial change does not have to be the cause of the other changes that occur in that Earth's history. I guess New York being called New Amsterdam and history, including the Age of the Marvels, largely remaining similar to that of Earth-616 is not too hard to accept; Hel, over in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Earth got invaded by Martians in 1901, and the Age of the Marvels still happened!
Profile by Per Degaton
Clarifications: Not to be confused with:
The Ben Grimm of Earth-7940 had a life similar to that of his Earth-616 counterpart, until he was cured of being the Thing. (Marvel Two-In-One#50, Marvel Two-In-One#100 (fb), Marvel Two-In-One #100)
The Red Skull of Earth-7940 had a life similar to his Earth-616 counterpart, and had a weapon called the Gauntlet of Truth. (Marvel Two-In-One #100)
The Red Skull's synthetic men, also called Synthoids by him, had superhuman strength. (Marvel Two-In-One #100)
Marvel Two-In-One#50 (April, 1974) - John Byrne (writer/pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Roger Stern (editor)
Marvel Two-In-One#100 (June, 1983) - John Byrne (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Frank Giacoia & Kevin Dzuban (inks), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Last Updated: 05/03/04
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