Monday, 15 September 2014

The Thing #1 - Marvel Comics

THE THING No. 1, January 2006
As far as my favourite comic book characters go Benjamin Jacob Grimm is up there with Captain America, Conan the Barbarian and Howard the Duck. His hundred issue run with “Marvel Two-In-One”, spanning the Seventies and early Eighties, contains some of my favourite storylines as well as showcases many of the most popular heroes and villains “Marvel Comics Group” has ever created.

However its 1983 replacement title “The Thing”, which arguably depicted the first 'proper' solo adventures of Aunt Petunia’s darling nephew, proved far less of a commercial success despite initially being written by John Byrne and pencilled almost throughout its entirety by Ron Wilson. However the series’ cancellation after just three years still came as something of a surprise, especially as at the time Ben Grimm’s popularity seemed such that he appeared upon the threshold of joining the recently created spin-off super-team called “West Coast Avengers”.

Roll forward twenty years to 2006 and the former test pilot has become a millionaire following his entitlement to a share of the Fantastic Four fortune and been once again awarded his own title comic book series. Superbly drawn by Andrea Divito and coloured by Laura Villari, Issue One of “The Thing” is a visual feast for the eyes, with a stunning opening fist-fight against Cauldron, the scalding man, being followed by some simply sumptuously detailed panels depicting the murderous machinations of the super-villain Arcade. Writer 

Dan Slott also starts to deliver the goods right from the first page, clearly tapping into the success of “Marvel-Two-In-One” and learning from the mistakes of Ben Grimm’s previous unaccompanied adventures; that is The Thing needs to be a team-player. Whilst the former Yancy Streeter’s newfound wealth is a somewhat unusual and uncomfortable plot-twist, the American comic book author’s inclusion of old ally (Black) Goliath Bill Foster and his subsequent partnering up of Ben with the lesser known characters Nighthawk and Constrictor, really is reminiscent of those adventures from the Late Seventies.

Indeed Slott also manages to cram in an incredible number of familiar supporting cast members as well, with Alicia Masters, Reed Richards and Johnny Storm all having something to say, plus other Marvel luminaries like Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Jarvis the butler, Wonder Man and Ms. Marvel likewise making cameo appearances.
Story: Dan Slott, Artist: Andrea DiVito, and Colors: Laura Villari


  1. Had to laugh when I saw who was the subject of your latest post, at two o'clock this morning at work actually, (so you bend to peer pressure do you). anyway...

    Hooray!! The Thing is easily my favourite member of the Fantastic Four (after Herbie the robot that is "not!"). Did you know that Herbie was only included in the animated series because at the time the Human Torch was under licence as a possible movie subject that never happened ?

    I've only seen a couple these newer "Thing" comics though I have a couple of the old "Team ups", perhaps it's the old "rose tinted glasses" thing but I still prefer the 70's issues myself.

  2. Glad you like it. When I can I try and put the comic and title up early, so you can see what's coming next. I was aware of Herbie's creation. That entire period is covered in the excellent book "Marvel Comics - The Untold Story" by Sean Howe. Superb behind the scenes take on many Marvel favourites. This series really does seem to try and recapture the M-T-I-O days and I hope to cover the entire run over the next few weeks.