RICARDO JONES

Real Name: Ricardo Jones

Identity/Class: Human mutate, technology user

Occupation: Scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Susan Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, the Thing/Ben Grimm), the Lion People

Enemies: Formerly the Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Susan Richards, Mister Fantastic/Reed Richards, the Thing/Ben Grimm)

Known Relatives: Armand (brother)

Aliases: Ben Grimm, the Thing

Base of Operations: "Anti-Earth," Negative Zone;
    formerly New York City, New York, USA

First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#50 (May, 1966)

Powers/Abilities: When in possession of the Thing's form, Ricardo Jones had the exact same powers as he. He could lift (press) 85 tons.

Jones was also a skilled scientist, able to create such devices as the Biokinetic Energy Absorber, which allowed him to steal the Thing's body energy to transform himself into a duplicate of the Thing. Besides this, Jones had devices to subliminally influence others.

After his resurrection on Anti-Earth, Ricardo's body was formed of negative energy and he required a suit of protective armor to maintain a physical presence. Later he obtained a garment made from Unstable Molecules and Vibranium which preserved his body outside of the armor.

Height: (Human) 5' 11"; (Thing) 6'0"
Weight: (Human) 190 lbs.; (Thing) 500 lbs.
Eyes: (Human) dark brown; (Thing) blue
Hair: Bald

History:
(Fantastic Four I#51 (fb) - BTS) - Ricardo Jones was a scientist mocked by his peers for his ideas. In time, the unappreciated Jones grew jealous of the more famous scientist Reed Richards. He swore he would destroy Richards, whom he saw as a glory-seeker. To that end, he created the Biokinetic Energy Absorber, which in theory could allow him to siphon energy from another living being.

(Fantastic Four I#50) - Ricardo perused newspaper headlines detailing the Fantastic Four's initial encounter with Galactus. Ricardo read of the apparent estrangement of Ben Grimm from the team and decided this presented a window of opportunity to destroy Reed Richards.

(Fantastic Four I#51 (fb) - BTS) - Ricardo planned to lure the Thing to him with a short-range subliminal influencer. It took months for this to come to fruition.

(Web of Spider-Man#69 (fb) - BTS) <chronology uncertain> Ricardo wrote his brother Armand a letter detailing his creation of a Biokinetic Energy Absorber. Armand was studying abroad at the time. Ricardo intimated his intention to test his device on Ben Grimm. This letter served as Ricardo's last missive to Armand.

 

(Fantastic Four I#51) - The Thing, under Ricardo's influence, wandered around the city in the rain. Eventually, he came as planned to the general vicinity of Ricardo's home. Ricardo invited the Thing in and offered him drugged coffee. After a chit-chat, Grimm dozed off.

Ricardo used his device to transform himself into a duplicate of the Thing while Ben Grimm reverted to normal human form. Ricardo then started practicing Grimm's speech idiosyncrasies and intonations. Ricardo as the bogus Thing showed up at the Baxter Building a few days later. However, the true Ben Grimm also came. He denounced Ricardo as a liar but Ricardo performed feats of superhuman strength that caused the Reed and Sue to accept him as their teammate. Grimm left.

Richards informed Ricardo that he was perfecting a means of faster-than-light travel to protect mankind from cosmic invaders. Richards showed Ricardo a "cube," a large machine designed to create a dimensional entrance to Sub-Space (actually the Negative Zone). Reed stated that he would enter Sub-Space via the "cube" as "Ben" held a super-tensile strength cable connected to him. If Reed met any threat during his trip, he would yank on the tether, communicating to "Ben" the need to reel him back.

Richards donned an oxygen mask. Sue told him not to go but he pressed on. Ricardo began to appreciate that Richards was risking his life for no personal glory and began to reassess his views about Richards. Reed undertook the journey and found himself eventually nearing the center of Sub-Space, the part of the Negative Zone that served as a natural portal to Earth. However, since the Negative Zone was composed of anti-matter, which explodes upon contact with matter, and the natural portal did not convert the traveler back to matter, Richards knew he would explode if he went through it. Dragged by the gravitational pull of the portal, Richards found himself on a piece of debris inexorably headed for destruction and pulled on the tether to alert the others to his danger. Ricardo hesitated, still unsure whether he wanted to slay Richards or not. Finally putting aside his petty jealousy, he started to pull the cable in. He waited too long though and it broke apart.

Ricardo reflexively jumped after the loose tether into the Negative Zone. Due to the Thing's body's power, he did not need any oxygen helmet. Landing on the same piece of debris that Richards stood on, Ricardo realized there remained only one way to save Richards. He grabbed Richards and with all of his might threw him back through the safe portal.

Ricardo settled back on the debris to await destruction. At the moment Ricardo seemingly died, Ben Grimm reverted back to his Thing form.

(Fantastic Four: Full Circle (fb) - BTS) - Ricardo struck the distortion area and was converted into negative energy. However, he continued to exist in this new form and discovered that the planet below the distortion area was a world not entirely unlike Earth, a so-called "Anti-Earth." The denizens of the planet preserved Ricardo by placing his nega-energy into a suit of containment armor. Ricardo then took up residence on Anti-Earth and came to appreciate his new existence and the new opportunities he found in his new home, banding with other refugees from other worlds who had wound up on Anti-Earth (such as one of the Lion People from Ligra). From their adventures, they discovered at least three Cosmic Control Rods similar to the one wielded by Annihilus. Meanwhile, Janus, another human who had been slain in the Negative Zone, designed a duplicate of Ricardo's human form and used it to invade the Earth. As Janus was now likewise made of negative energy and could not leave the Negative Zone, he sought to use Ricardo's positive-attuned corpse as a gateway to Earth.


(Fantastic Four: Full Circle) - Ricardo's corpse suddenly manifested inside the Baxter Building. As the Fantastic Four examined his remains, the Thing saw Ricardo's face and recognized him as the scientist who had briefly stolen his powers. Suddenly, a swarm of insectoid creatures from the Negative Zone emerged from a vortex inside Ricardo's mouth and attacked the Fantastic Four. When the creatures were finally destroyed, Reed looked closer at Ricardo's corpse and found it was merely a shell containing a dimensional gateway. Determined to learn what was behind the attack, the Fantastic Four went to the Negative Zone to investigate and fought Janus.


When the Fantastic Four came to the Anti-Earth, Ricardo joined a welcoming party which arrived to investigate their arrival. When Ricardo recognized Reed Richards, he told his allies not to harm them. Removing his helmet, he revealed his identity to the heroes. Mister Fantastic and the Thing explained how Ricardo's corpse had recently been used by Janus as a host of nega-life. Ricardo explained how his body had "died" when making contact with the distortion area of Anti-Earth and dubbed what Janus sent back a "golem." He thanked the Thing because through the experience of stealing his power, he had learned how foolish he was to be consumed with jealousy.



Moved by hearing Ricardo's story, Reed used the stretchy materials of his Vibranium-unstable molecules mesh uniform to give a portion of his costume to Ricardo. Using this fabric, Ricardo would finally be able to leave his containment armor. Ricardo was moved to tears by Reed's generosity and finally shared his full name with the Fantastic Four. To help the Fantastic Four depart Anti-Earth and return home, Ricardo shared one of his Cosmic Control Rods with them, dividing it into four bands (similar to the Nega Bands worn by Mar-Vell). They asked if Ricardo would like to return with them and although he admitted "Someday, maybe," for the time being, he was living a better life on Anti-Earth than he had known before. The Fantastic Four successfully returned to Earth as Ricardo bade them farewell.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott; further fleshed out and named by Gerry Conway, Alex Saviuk and Keith Williams.
Armand Jones created by Gerry Conway, Alex Saviuk and Keith Williams.

    Ricardo Jones' second appearance in Fantastic Four I#51 has been reprinted quite a few times, with many creators singling it out as a notable stand-alone issue. However, he remained unidentified in that issue and #50. It was not until decades later, in Web of Spider-Man#69-70 (October to November, 1990) that we finally discovered his name. Also, those issues introduced his brother Armand, who reconstructed the Biokinetic Energy Absorber. Armand died in #69 due to a misadventure with the Hulk, which ultimately led to Spider-Man gaining Hulk powers....you had to be there.

    ...or you could just read Armand's sub-profile, below, to get the skinny on the Spider-Hulk.
Also, it's interesting to note that while the readers eventually learned Armand and Ricardo's names, I don't think the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man or the Hulk ever did--Snood.
   
Actually, in Web of Spider-Man, Betty Brant did tell Parker who Armand Jones was--Per Degaton
    Whoops--Snood.

    Ricardo's chronology has a share of uncertainty, as one cannot pin down exactly when he wrote his letter to Armand. He stated that he had been working for months to attract the Thing to him and did not start trying this until after the events of Fantastic Four I#50 but with Marvel's sliding timescale, one would be hard-pressed to find months to spare as hundreds of issues get compacted to less than fifteen years. The Official Marvel Index to the Fantastic Four I#4 stated that two months took place between Fantastic Four I#50 and #51.

    Ricardo Jones (as Thing imposter) has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook.

    Fantastic Four: Full Circle was published by Abrams ComicArts in collaboration with Marvel Comics and seems to be part of the regular continuity.

Profile by Per Degaton (with updates by Prime Eternal).

CLARIFICATIONS:
Ricardo Jones has no known connection to:


Armand Jones

Armand Jones was Ricardo's brother. He received a letter from Ricardo while he was studying abroad. This epistle described Ricardo's intentions to test his Biokinetic Energy Absorber on the Thing. When Ricardo disappeared, Armand blamed the Fantastic Four.


 

 

 

Working at the Cyber-Biokinetic Institute of Greater New York (Incorporated), after several years (at least according to his thought balloons), Ricardo managed to re-create his brother's device. Then, one day, he learned of a sighting of the Hulk in the area of Connecticut. He managed to find Bruce Banner in an abandoned ice house using a Bio-Kinetic Energy Wave Receiver. He siphoned power from the sleeping Banner but inadvertently woke Banner up, who then turned into the Hulk. Spider-Man arrived during the subsequent chaos, during which Armand died and Spider-Man accidentally received a burst from the Bio-Kinetic Energy Absorber.


 

 

Parker recovered the Absorber and took the train back to New York. Still dazed from the events, Parker stashed it at Grand Central Station in a locker, unable to think of any other course of action. Later, under extreme stress and anger, Parker transformed into a Hulk-like being with the concomitant erudite diction ("Puny men don't learn very good!"). Realizing he had to use the device he had found earlier to undo the effects of the earlier charge, Parker returned to Grand Central Station. Unfortunately, a group of delinquent kids (one of whom came from Poughkeepsie) had burgled the locker he had put it in, taking it to pawn it for booze. He transformed into Hulk-like form again but caught up with the delinquents and demanded the device back. In his presence, the Absorber automatically drew back the biokinetic energy earlier taken from the Hulk, curing Parker.


--Web of Spider-Man I#69 (#69/#70 (fb),

images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#51, front cover (Ricardo as the Thing, main image)
Fantastic Four I#51, page 3, panel 3 (Ricardo Jones, headshot)
Fantastic Four I#51, page 4, panel 3 (Ricardo with Biokinetic Energy Absorber)
Fantastic Four: Full Circle, page 51, panel 1 (Ricardo's armor)
Fantastic Four: Full Circle, page 51, panel 4 (Ricardo's face)
Fantastic Four: Full Circle, page 9, panel 1 (Ricardo's corpse)
Web of Spider-Man I#69, page 4, panel 5 (Armand, headshot)
Web of Spider-Man I#69, page 3, panel 5 (Armand with Bio-Kinetic Energy Absorber)
Web of Spider-Man I#70, front cover (Peter Parker as Spider-Hulk)


Appearances:
Fantastic Four I#51 (June, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencisl), Joe Sinnott (inks)
Web of Spider-Man#69 (October, 1990) - Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Fantastic Four: Full Circle (2022) - Alex Ross (art, script), Tom Brevoort (editor for Marvel), Charles Kochman (editor for Abrams)


First posted: 02/19/2003
Last updated: 11/08/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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