A Pull My Thing Review- The Thing #1 Marvel’s current Thing comic is in desperate danger of being canceled unless stores start ordering more ASAP. The only way that’s gonna happen is if folks add it to a pull-list ASAP. So the writer and artist have put together a big contest to promote it. http://www.newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=64296 I don’t care about the contest, but I do care about the book. WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Because “The Thing” is exactly the sort of comic people lament that no one writes anymore: No endless decompression, no post-modernism, no depression, no ignoring continuity *or* being mired in it, no too cool for that whole superhero thing jerks we’re going for gritty realism. Nope, not here. A GOOD, FUN, WELL WRITTEN MARVEL SUPERHERO story with a likeable, heroic lead, an understanding of the Marvel Universe, guest stars and colorful classic-style villains new and old bright and well illustrated in a likewise classic style. IF YOU LOVE SUPERHERO comic books chances are THIS IS THE TYPE OF BOOK THAT MADE YOU LOVE THEM. And that’s a rarity that should be supported nowadays. To help give folks a taste of what the book’s like I thought I’d do a detailed review of Issue #1: Start with a quick one page recap of who the Thing is, narrated by Aunt Petunia’s own favorite nephew. The recap quickly and effortlessly covers who Ben Grim was, how he became the Thing, and raises the question that’s at the heart of the new series. “No single adult male spends ALL his time with his family, so what does The Thing do when he’s not out with the FF?” Page 2 answers the question by throwing us right into a slam-up fight in down-town Manhattan between Ben, Goliath, and the best new concept for a classic-style Marvel villain this side of Kurt Busiek’s original Thunderbolts run (which this book actually reminds me a lot of btw): Cauldron: The Scalding Man! Try as he might, the Scalding Man’s corrosive contents are no match for the Thing’s rocky hide and he ends the fight with a classic “IT’s Cloberin’ TIME!” that sets the onlookers and even Goliath cheering. In the aftermath of the fight we’re reminded that Ben’s recently come into enough cash to make Tony Stark pause as the media descends and bystanders suddenly develop whiplash. Cauldron (speaking through a dented face): “Me, too! I got Whipwaff, too!” He’s a really fun villain. Even Goliath turns out to have called Ben to ask about making an investment in his latest gadget. Add an off hand comment about Alicia, Ben’s old flame, and the idol o’ millions leaves feeling about as down as he was up a few pages earlier. Speaking of Alicia we cut to her reading about Ben’s new wealth and the bimbette actress he’s currently seeing. Despite clear disappointment in him she seems very happy with her current man: Mr. North. Just kinda wrong that she should be happy with someone else. They shoulda worked out, despite all the stories that have got in the way. (Exactly the thinking that caused Goliath to accidentally hurt Ben’s feelings) I’m sure this will be dealt with in more depth though as the series goes on. From there we get a quick peak of some classic Marvel characters opinions on Ben’s new status quo. Ironically Peter Parker talking to MJ thinks Ben’s too much of an everyman to be dating an actress/model and having a butler, as Jarvis serves them tea. Wonder Man and Ms. Marvel discuss how Ben’s superhero poker nights are less fun now that money has no meaning for him. And (after saving Johnny from a classic Bone-headed move of stealing Ben’s hoverbike ) Reed talks about having a failsafe in place, if and when Ben’s new situation implodes on him. Getting back to our hero, Ben’s trying to be happy at his luxurious new home with his mostly naked current fling. We quickly learn that she’s not the nicest woman around as she’s currently on the phone taunting a Paris Hilton clone about not being invited to the party she’s throwing with Ben. Paris freaks and heads off to an Abandoned Amusement Park, which you know can mean only one thing: Super Villain Hideout. And sure enough, a few death-traps later and she’s hired a glowing white suited hologram to make the party she’s been snubbed by a “killer”. Ben warily arrives at the party to find in surprise that he’s the current flavor of the month among the wealthy. Everyone’s thrilled to see him and there’s even a collection of Alicia’s statues of him in all his forms (Original Lumpy, Classic Rocky, Helmeted, and Pineapple neat to see them all remembered) on display. Though we see one of the statues has more than just rock inside, as its eyes open. Inside, guest Tony Stark notices and confronts the alter ego of the some-time super villain Constrictor (although it seems Slott’s remembering an old Marvel Comics Presents where he was more positively portrayed. This is pretty cool in my book since I’ve always been a bit of a Constrictor fan). Stark’s being a bit of a jerk (although understandably so) about the villain thing, when Kyle Richmond (the Defender called Nighthawk, we’ll soon find out if we didn’t already know) comes to Constrictor’s rescue and tells Tony to give the guy a second chance. Definitely a high superhero count at this party, that’s just asking for a super villain attack. And sure enough… Outside Ben starts to give a speech and just then the statue comes to life and lets loose with a sonic attack that takes out everyone but Ben, who fights back and knocks it’s block off only to have the chest pop open and an evil looking astro-boy type blast him unconscious as well. When Ben comes to he finds himself, the guests, Constrictor and Nighthawk (both now in costume and confused about it) on a beautiful tropic island beach. That’d almost be great, except we see on the next page Arcade and his astro-boy standing in front of what seems to be a C’thulu themed Disneyland rising from the jungle and announcing they’re all invited to Arcade’s Murderland: The Deadliest Place On Earth! Overall, like I said, a really great first issue, with TONS of content, characterization, plot, and fun (take *that* decompressed comics). I mean more happens here than in any three issues of some books I could name, and it doesn’t feel rushed at all, it feels full of comic book goodness. The art is kinda a cross between Paul Ryan and Mark Bagley and perfectly suited to this sort of story. My Grade: A solid “A” Hopefully this review has motivated at least a few of you to give the book a try. But if you want great Marvel action in the CLASSIC Marvel style to survive on the shelf, then PLEASE, add “The Thing” to your pull-list at your local store today and help keep it alive. If you don’t it, likely wont be around for you to get in on the trades.