The ever-loving blue-eyed Thing is getting another solo series this week and it comes with some extra excitement as author Walter Mosley is making his Marvel Comics debut. Joining him are the excellent Tom Reilly, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino, on a tale that’s set a bit in the past before Thing got married. Appropriately, The Thing will be going it alone in an adventure that’ll span across the cosmos to the alleys of New York’s Yancy Street. Rest assured, this first issue makes an impact.
This review will avoid spoilers save for what we see in the preview, which shows Thing is having a terrible day. Nobody is home at the Baxter building to eat Thing’s seafood medley, Thing royally screws things up with his fiancée Alicia, and he even commits some property damage. For a sensitive lug like Thing, it’s likely to send him into a deep depression and the desire to be on his lonesome.
Because of all that setup, one can start to see what Mosley and Reilly are up to. Thing isn’t the smartest hero, but he leads with his heart and usually finds a way. Considering the main threat he’s up against — and Mosley swings for the fences with the villain here — Thing has a long way to go from where he begins here. Much of this issue being setup is a slight detriment — it doesn’t really get going until the final page — but how we got here is important especially since this story takes place before Thing married Alicia.
The art by Reilly is insanely good, especially with how it manages to use movement. The opening scene reveals the villain moving impossibly fast and tearing through doors like they’re tissue paper. Reilly frames this character as if they require no energy or action at all to use their strength on others. One might say that’s the opposite of Thing, who is burly and loud.
Reilly is also incredibly good at capturing emotion, which isn’t the easiest thing to do with Thing. Emotions run high in the issue, as you can see when Alicia loses it with Ben who can’t see his own emotions are messing things up. Other characters pop in with a variety of attitudes and the animated style helps bring them to life.
Thing’s look is also on point and feels a bit like Kirby’s era of the character. The stones that make up his body have a bit of depth to them, and yet his silhouette is clean. There’s an incredible double-page spread that features quite a few characters, too. Bellaire’s colors impress upon Reilly’s art a vibrancy that gives the book a bright and cartoonish feel that suits the high emotions as well.
Letters by Joe Sabino are also very good. There’s a playfulness in a “crash” or “wham” that adds to the way the art and story play up to the Kirby era of the Fantastic Four. In one scene, there’s a clever “Bam!” used when Thing punches a wall. In the very next panel when Thing is thrown from the wall we see the same “Bam!” but it’s reversed as if the letters themselves are shoving him back.
Save for the story taking place at an inexact time, and it being mostly setup for Thing’s adventure, this is an excellent story. The creative team introduces a villain who earns his right to be feared, Thing’s personality is true to the character, and the visual style is vibrant and interesting. The Thing gets to the heart of the blue-eyed hero and offers an adventure well worth exploring.
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