Thursday, April 27, 2006

Low Blows 04.27.06

“The Thing” #4
Marvel Comics
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Andrea Di Vito





“The Thing” #5
Marvel Comics
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Andrea Di Vito






I'm going to be a little harsh at first here, but please hear me out.

This book is in trouble, and I'll tell you exactly why: the editor approved a lackluster storyline featuring the "wacky" villainy of Arcade, bow-tied, freckled and tired as ever, as the first arc, and then allowed it to go on for three whole issues -- way too long for an introduction to a series that was most likely a hard sell to its potential readers in the first place.

And this is not to mention that an important cast addition, that of the Inhuman dog Lockjaw, was held off until the fourth issue. By then, I imagine many, if not most, people had already given up.

And it's a shame, because the last two issues have been dynamite. These are the stories that should have kicked off the series -- tales of Ben Grimm, the rock-skinned Thing, interacting with his Fantastic family and getting used to the idea of being the wealthiest superhero in the world. Dan Slott gets a lot of praise for being a writer who "puts the fun back into Marvel Comics," but I'm not so sure that's really his strong suit. Sure, the stories are enjoyable, but they're far from fluff, as the "fun" label implies. It's the rich characterization of the Thing (and supporting cast) that has become the strength of this book.

I just wish, for the sake of Marvel's continued publishing of "The Thing," that this had become apparent sooner. Just ask Jon -- I rarely even consider dropping a book, unless in the case of a radical creative team change, but I almost did this one until I was won over by issue four's heartfelt lesson dealt by Mr. Fantastic (and son Franklin) to his best friend Ben. Oh, and did I mention the huge, teleporting dog? Issue five continues the upward trend, as the "kazillionaire" Thing tries to give something back to his hometown at Yancy Street, which doesn't seem to want his help in the least. Great stuff.

The art by Andrea Di Vito has improved with each installment as well, really hitting a high point in these last few, but he has unfortunately been moved, mid-storyline, onto a higher-profile book. As I said before, it's a shame, really. Kieron Dwyer is taking over with issue six, and if its absence from July's solicitations is to be believed, the title looks to have already been cancelled as of issue eight.

That is, unless you give it another chance. Even if you were disappointed by the first few issues, "The Thing" is worth another look. I swear, that little bitch Arcade is nowhere to be found in these issues, only the very human Ben Grimm trying to come to grips with his sudden superhuman wealth. Check it out.

"The Thing" #4: 9 out of a possible 10.
"The Thing" #5: 8.5 out of a possible 10.

3 comments:

Jon Auciello said...

A fine point, michelgibson0257510001. I personally would have liked to see Mr. Grimm get his BA in two weeks as well.

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