Fantastic Four had a great run during the mid-1970s, when Roy Thomas wrote the series and was joined by artists like Rich Buckler and George Perez. During one of these stories, the Thing lost his powers and reverted back to Ben Grimm. Who replaced him in the FF?
You got it baby: Luke Cage, PowerMan! Hired at a really good hourly rate by Reed Richards to fill out the team’s roster. You’d think Ben Grimm would have been happy about getting a break and being able to schwing with his girlfriend, Alicia Masters. Oh no!
Ben’s feeling left out and jealous when the FF goes off to fight the Wrecker. It’s kind of ironic, in this 1975 story, Luke Cage fights the Wrecker for the second time (the first was in Defenders #17-19 in 1974). In New Avengers #7-8 he helps defeat the Wrecker once again, but steals his Asgardian forged crowbar, which he uses to escape the Dark Avengers in New Avengers #49.
Luke Cage only stays with the FF for three issues. By issue 170, Cage is under the thrall of the Puppet Master and fighting Ben Grimm, who is inside a robot suit that resembles his former rocky self.
There’s gotta be great What If or Exiles material in here somewhere. What If Cage stayed with the FF and Reed Richards was killed and Cage married Sue Storm? What If Cage stole Alicia Masters from Ben Grimm? What If Cage Became the Herald of Galactus? Sweet Christmas, it’s time to get off this planet! Nuff said.