Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Thing #2 - Marvel Comics

THE THING No. 2, February 2006
Right from the very cover, a superb illustration by Andrea Divito of Ben Grimm shoulder-to-shoulder alongside the Constrictor and Nighthawk, you know this issue of “The Thing” is going to be another successful attempt by writer Dan Slott to emulate the highly popular formula of the Fantastic Four founding member’s “Marvel-Two-In-One” glory days. And like so many of those issues from the Seventies and early Eighties, “Fun’n’Games” is action-packed throughout as the American comic book writer has our beloved blue-eyed Benjamin besting minefields, runaway rollercoasters, rampaging Ferris wheels and terrifyingly cute large toy tanks before the book is even two-thirds finished.

Indeed Slott’s storyline provides Arcade, usually a somewhat derisory and ineffective X-Men adversary, some serious hardware with which to menace our heroes with and, although the super-villain is still played for laughs, the evil mastermind is actually portrayed as a genuinely deadly threat for a change; at least for the plethora of innocent party-goers the hitman has abducted along with the Thing.

There is also plenty for a rather large supporting cast to do in order to contribute to the plot’s progression and so rationalize their inclusion in this book. Even Ben Grimm’s current movie actress girlfriend, Carlotta Larosa, isn’t just present in order to be rescued, but proves her worth by distracting the super-villain in order to allow Tony Stark to escape unnoticed into the very workings of the 'Abusement Park'. Slott even manages to somehow cram in a lovely nod to one of the older gold and yellow versions of the Iron Man armour as well as restage a classic “Marvel Comics” slugfest – The Thing verses The Hulk. Admittedly one of the combatants is only a robot but it is still “…about as strong as the genuine article!”

All this adventure is simply superbly drawn by Italian artist Andrea Divito, with his depictions of The Thing, numerous facial expressions of the usually simply jolly-looking Arcade, and dynamic points-of-view panelling being particular highlights. Laura Villari on 'Colors' also does a first-rate job, not only bringing to life Ben Grimm’s rocky hide with some stunning mottled muted oranges and browns, but also on the various shades of dark blue applied to the costumes worn by Constrictor and Nighthawk. The lovely pinkish-red glow to all the ‘goings-on’ within Arcade’s control room are also very impressive.

This is a quality comic book, with the clear pencilling of the artist, combined with gorgeous colour work, readily capturing the dynamism of Dan Slott’s action-packed writing. The best thing about this issue though is that there is still a third part to this adventure yet to come…
Story: Dan Slott, Artist: Andrea DiVito, and Colors: Laura Villari

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