I mean what were they thinking? How are you ever supposed to take the character seriously when that's his name? I mean there's people on the team called Hyperion, NightHawk and Nuke - how badly did old Tom get jipped! Then they go and dress him in a cute little leprechaun costume:
I'm the leprechaun!
C'mon Marvel what are you doing? Give the little guy a chance.
Then along comes Mighty Mark Gruenwald and writes the freaking fantastic Squadron Supreme maxi-series*. Somehow he takes poor shit-upon Tom Thumb and turns him into a helluva character despite that name.
He didn't even have to bite anyone like a crocodile like the dude in a 'Boy Named Sue'.
In issue 2 there's a beautiful moment with Tom when his nuclear powered team-mate Nuke comes to him with a minor request:Seems Nuke's parents have contracted cancer due to over-exposure to his powers. He's desperate and turns to the one man who might have a shot at helping him.
Tom actually figures out a way too, he travels forward in time to an era when all disease has been wiped out to barter for a cure. Unfortunately this era is ruled by Squadron bad guy the Scarlet Centurion who agrees to give Tom the cure but only if he'll help poison Hyperion, leader of the Squadron and Tom's friend:Tom considers his options but decides:As you can imagine when he breaks the news to Nuke the kid is pretty pissed that Tom had the cure in his hand but let it go. You feel pretty bad for Nuke and at this point Tom's heroic decision doesn't seem quite so noble anymore.
In the last few panels we learn the true extent of Tom's heroism:That's beautiful. Gruenwald pulls of this poignant moment perfectly. The black border around the panel just adds an air of gravity to the artwork as well. The creative team couldn't have done it better.
It's an undeniable moment of comics greatness.
* I may harp on about the greatness of Mark Gruenwald's Squadron Supreme maxi-series again in future posts. You should go read it now so that you're prepared.