Monday, February 16, 2009

Comic Review: Thing (Vol.2) #5-6: Give Till It Hurts/There Goes The Neighborhood

Thing (Vol.2) #5-#6
THE THING (Vol.2) #5: Give Till It HurtsTHE THING (Vol.2) #6: There Goes The Neighborhood
Give Till It Hurts/There Goes The Neighborhood

Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Kieron Dwyer
Published by Marvel Comics

With a newfound sense of responsibility, Ben keeps an old promise to Hiram “Shecky” Sheckersberg and goes to work at the old man’s Yancy Street pawnshop as payment for all the merchandise Ben stole from him while he was a youth. Inspired by Shecky’s dedication to the old neighborhood, Ben uses his vast fortune to hire avant garde architect Arlo North (who is, unbeknownst to Ben, Alica’s new lover) to build the Grimm Youth Center as some sort of alternative to street violence.

A good thought, but unfortunately Ben has to deal not only with the Yancy Street Gang, but also the Maggia (the Marvel Universe’s version of the Mafia), and their hired henchmen Sandman and the Trapster (although, he’ll always be Paste Pot Pete to me). It’s two against one, so your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man swings by to help out.

Finally, five issues into the series, and we’ve returned to the true spirit and tone of a Thing story. With the Fantastic Four, the Thing is the muscle, the brute, the all-action man, and the stories have to be fast and furious and full of mayhem. But when the Thing is solo, it’s no longer all about the action, and it shouldn’t be overtly saccharine or overly silly—there are plenty of other titles for that. It should be about the character: not the Thing, but the man beneath the Thing—Ben Grimm. And this two-issue arc, while not hitting it out of the park, at least connects with the ball. I enjoyed the brief flashback to Ben’s childhood with his brother Dan, which reflected scenes shown previously in the first issue of the first series.

My only qualm is with the switch to Dwyer as artist on #6. Switching artists in the middle of a story arc is bad business, and more than that, disorienting. Dwyer’s art looks too rough and unfinished, not impressive here at all. His work here definitely could have used improvements in the details.

But, hell…at least we got to see Sandman vomit in Ben’s face. Instant classic.

Where's my Great Aunt Petunia?

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