Walter Mosley and Tom Reilly brought us the vibrant start of The Thing solo series last month, and it’s back for more with this week. The series was visually stunning with colors by Jordie Bellaire that made the series feel iconic and entrenched in comics history. It was also the right amount of sad and foreboding, which is a key element of Thing, who is always a bit of a downer. In the second issue, Thing gets to lean into being a valiant superhero and actually come away with a win, but at what cost?
This issue opens with Thing getting his clock cleaned by Brusque, a new villain with a mysterious past and the goal of kidnapping singer Amaryllis. Don’t expect spoilers in this review aside from what is in the preview, although it’s worth saying this is a heroic sort of journey straight from fantasy. Amaryllis is like a damsel, and at the start of the issue, Thing is fighting to save her from Brusque’s clutches. This fight scene is well choreographed, utilizes space well on the page, and features an arc in itself. Thing must win, but he loses greatly.
Expect more fight scenes later in the book, which is a big strength to the series thanks to Reilly’s deft line. Thing’s body looks cool no matter the pose, and attention is paid to little moments, be it where a fist lands or how Thing moves his feet. The layout design in particular features great usage of 9-panel grids. There are also some interesting choices that beg for readers to read through the book again. One example is how panel borders aren’t used, or when Reilly has characters spill out from one panel, passed the gutter, and into another panel. The eye is drawn across the page well throughout the book.
Bellaire is very good at keeping the colors simple but vibrant. Any given page only has a handful of colors with hues coming in rarely. It makes characters stand out and really pop.
The character work with The Thing continues to be spot on. He’s a lovable lug who is a bit sad, but always down to save anyone who needs it. The introduction of a small boy gives Thing someone to worry about and talk to adding an interesting fatherly dynamic. As far as the story, the plotting keeps the book moving with a good amount of scene changes.
As far as what is going on, the book is still a bit bewildering. Thing’s vision from the first issue still stands tall in his mind and ours, but what it means and how it connects to the characters that are revealed and their location remains to be seen. Even the boy that joins Thing is a bit bewildering since he sort of comes out of nowhere and won’t explain himself. Given the fantasy tropes at work here, one might expect some magical twists in future issues, but as it stands there isn’t enough here to really know what to think. The cliffhanger certainly doesn’t help!
The Thing #2 is a good issue that’s visually exciting and action-packed. Fans of fantasy adventures will enjoy what Mosley is up to even if it’s a bit confusing as to what it all means at this point in the story.
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