Saturday, February 14, 2009

Comic Review: The Thing (Vol.2) #1-3: Fun 'n' Games

The Thing (Vol.2) #1-3
2006
The Thing Vol.2 #1: Fun 'n' GamesThe Thing Vol.2 #2: Fun 'n' GamesThe Thing Vol.2 #3: Fun 'n' Games
Fun ‘n’ Games
Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Andrea Divito
Published by Marvel Comics

Issue #1: Money Changes Everything
Issue #2: Abusement Park
Issue #3: Playing For Keeps


Having recently taken control of his portion of the Fantastic Four empire, Ben Grimm AKA the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing has become one of the wealthiest men in America, and he’s living it up Big Willie style with a lawyer on retainer, a chauffeured limousine on call, and Carlotta LaRosa, a scantily clad Hollywood starlet in his bed. The Thing and his new play thing attend the social even of the year, held at the homestead of the very rich white collar criminal Irma Roberts, but the party is sabotaged by a Rock’em Sock’em Robo-Thing. Ben is rendered unconscious, only to awaken the next morning on a desert island, along with fellow guests Tony Stark (out of costume), the Constrictor, and Nighthawk, plus a number of non-heroic socialites. Really, it’s just an invitation to yet another elite social event: the grand opening of Arcade’s Murderland, the Deadliest Place on Earth!

Yes, Arcade is back in all his ginger-haired, white polyester leisure suit, disco-dancing glory. This time he has been hired by Paris Hilton (I mean, Milan Ramada…you figure it out) to kill the party goers in revenge for…not being invited!

The rules are simple: You can not leave the island until the game is completed; The game is completed only when you are dead, or when you have reached home base on the other side of the island; and once one person enters home base, the others only have ten seconds to follow suit before they are terminated with extreme prejudice.

Which should prove to be a simple enough task for old Rocky Grimm, but not only does he have a crew of spoiled richies to protect, romantic problems rearing their ugly heads, and the inability to trust the criminal Constrictor, but he’s also got a whole lot of robots to fight…a whole lot of robots.

It’s a simple, fun little arc, and one that could have been much more enjoyable if not for Arcade’s diminutive robotic henchman Brynocki, whose annoying pop culture references and continuous shape shifting was something akin to a manga version of the Impossible Man. Every scene with him took this all-ages story and turned it into a kids-only story. (Brynocki, by the way, debuted way back in 1975’s Master of Kung Fu #34, and was probably as wretched then as he is today) The writing was decent, although perhaps relying a bit too much on character narration, and the art was passable as well—it seemed at times unable to find the balance between cartoony and realistic, which is probably a difficult feat considering the characters involved. There are no long-lasting implications to this storyline, save perhaps the fact that it turns out ex-girlfriend Alicia Masters still has feelings for Ben.

There were cameos aplenty, however, with Ms. Marvel, Peter Parker and Mary Jane, Jarvis, Human Torch, Mister Fantastic, and Daredevil all showing up at least briefly, not to mention the robotic duplicates of Wolverine, Captain America and Nova. The best scene in the entire storyline is when the Thing, backed by a legion of Thing robots representing different periods of his career (Blackbeard Thing, Mask-Wearing Thing, Spiky-Shoulder Thing), doing battle against an army of Hulk robots of the same ilk (Puny Banner Hulk, Joe Fixit Hulk, Professor Hulk, Hulk-Smash Hulk, etc.)

Definitely aimed for a younger audience, but if you’re a fan of the Thing (as I am), you will still find something to enjoy here.

It's Clobberin' Time!
--J/Metro

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