Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Thing #5 - Marvel Comics

THE THING No. 5, May 2008
As build ups towards a climatic confrontation go, “Give Til It Hurts…” is probably one of slowest comic book storylines ever as absolutely nothing happens of any notoriety until the issue’s very last page. Up until this cliff hanger ending with the Sandman Dan Slott’s dreary plot focuses on Benjamin Grimm’s debt to Yancy Street Pawn Shop owner Mister Sheckerberg and his own personal angst over the death of his older brother, Danny Grimm.

Admittedly there is a very worthwhile message behind this particular issue of “The Thing”; that money cannot be used to simply right all of a person’s past wrongs and that pride, alongside a person’s word and physical commitment to correct their mistakes, is far more important than prosperity and can’t simply be bought outright.

Unfortunately the American comic book writer’s script delivers this lesson in morality in such a heavy-handed 'schmaltzy' manner that it soon loses any conviction whatsoever. Instead all the reader gets to experience is what a complete loser, despite having “…a bazillion dollars in the bank”, Ben Grimm apparently is. Indeed literally everything he tries to attempt within this comic book, no matter how pure of heart his motivation is to do the right thing, the former test-pilot pathetically fails at. Whether that be giving the local pawn broker a hundred grand to pay back a long standing debt, offering money to pay for a woman’s hospital operation or simply sitting on a bench waiting for a bus. It all goes depressingly wrong for the founding member of the Fantastic Four.

Fortunately the excellent pencil work of artist Andrea Divito provides some light in this woefully disheartening yarn. His characterisation of The Thing proving a notable high point to the issue as the illustrator manages to convey all kinds of expressions to the ‘brick-like’ monster’s face. Such as annoyance at Mister Sheckerberg’s refusal to accept a cheque, surprise at being made to “clean the stoop” or fright when he inadvertently speaks to ex-lover Alicia Masters over the phone.

Sadly though even Divito’s great artwork is somewhat mired in darkness throughout the book, courtesy of colorist Laura Villari and her dismally gloomy choice of shadowy dark browns, deep blues and pitch black backgrounds.
Writer: Dan Slott, Penciler: Andrea Divito and Inker: Laura Villari

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