Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Thing #4 - Marvel Comics

THE THING No. 4, April 2006
Every now and then writers seem to think it would be a good idea to produce a storyline based upon the everyday exploits of super-heroes; a kind of ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposé on the ordinary lives of extraordinary people if you will. Issue Four of “The Thing” is one such attempt by Dan Slott, but rather than show us a simple ‘day in the life of Ben Grimm’, the American comic book writer also throws in some of the daily doings of his Fantastic Four team-mates as well as the Inhuman teleporter Lockjaw.

This inevitably results in the reader catching sight of a marital argument between Sue and Reed Richards and the sexual aspirations of Johnny Storm. Unfortunately this means there is nothing new here at all, and these ‘insightful everyday situations’ which gave so much character to Marvel’s foremost super-hero family during the time of Stan Lee and Jack “King” Kirby, have long since worn out their welcome. The treatment of the Human Torch’s character is particularly cringe-worthy, with Hothead displaying a staggering amount of immaturity as he spends the entire issue feverishly trying to reconstruct a female celebrity’s telephone number from a burnt piece of paper.

Fortunately the inclusion of Lockjaw, escort to the Royal Family of the Inhumans, does breathe some freshness into the proceedings. There’s some great scenes set within the City of Attilan depicting Karnak, Gorgon, Triton, Medusa and Black Bolt ‘at rest’, as well as some action towards the end of the book which demonstrates just how formidable an opponent the alien bulldog-like being actually is.

Even so, the sheer banality of this comic book’s main storyline would cause this issue to become a particularly unmemorable edition if not for the superb artwork by Andrea Divito. The Italian comic book artist brings some stunning expressions to the face of the Inhuman with his “Hmph!” at an unhelpful Watcher being a particular ‘laugh-out-loud’ illustration. The beast’s sudden awakening of Triton, who moments before had been sound asleep within his water tank, is also drawn with great mirth.

As a result “Paws & Fast-Forward” is a fun readable experience with a slightly sickly sweet final message about money not necessarily buying happiness. And whilst there is perhaps one too many drawings of Lockjaw going “Hurr Hurh Huhh” whilst energetically humping Ben Grimm’s leg, there’s plenty of visual treats stored within the pages for the reader to enjoy.
Writer: Dan Slott, Penciler: Andrea Divito and Inker: Laura Villari

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