ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘The Thing,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Thing #1 - But Why Tho

The Thing #1 is written by Walter Mosley, illustrated by Tom Reilly, colored by Jordie Bellaire, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It is published by Marvel Comics. Years ago, Ben Grimm—better known as the Thing—wound up arrested after a misunderstanding involving his fiance Alicia Masters. While in prison, he encounters fellow hero and Greek god Hercules who warns Ben that a malevolent presence has cursed him. This presence—which calls itself “Mot”—continues to plague Ben’s dreams, and even crafts a new foe for him to fight.

With 2021 marking the 60th anniversary of the Fantastic Four, Marvel’s released a variety of series revolving around the First Family including Fantastic Four: Life Story. This is the publisher’s latest installment and it’s one that I feel is well-deserved. The Thing is one of the Fantastic Four’s most popular members, and also happens to be one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe. Centering a miniseries on his past is a great way to celebrate the character’s 60-year history and delve into what fans love about him; Fantastic Four: Antithesis took a similar approach to great effect.

That task falls to Mosley, who is best known for his work as a crime novelist. In the vein of a detective novel, Mosley’s script starts planting the seeds of a mystery: who is Mot and why has he chosen Ben of all people to curse?  Mot’s machinations also lead to upheaval in Ben’s life, including the fracturing of his relationship with Alicia. And he can’t count on help from other members of the Fantastic Four as they’re off on separate missions. Mosley has a firm grip on Ben’s character. He wears his feelings on his rocky sleeve and isn’t afraid to express them.

Joining Mosley is Reilly, whose art style feels simple yet extremely expressive. Reilly draws Ben as a mountain of a man; despite his craggy orange exterior, his face looks more human than he’s usually drawn and most of the expressions are in his eyes. When he’s happy, they light up; when he’s not, they’re cast in shadows. In contrast, Mot himself is depicted as an utterly horrific being, clad from head to toe in a tattered black robe, the glimpses of his face reveal greying skin and a yellowing rictus of a smile. Even his word balloons are shaped to sound like the rattle of the dying. A two-page spread helps to spread the nightmare, as Mot forces Ben to witness a graveyard of the dead including multiple Marvel characters, from Spider-Man and Thor to even Galactus and a Celestial laying sprawled in a massive field.

Rounding out the creative team is Bellaire on colors, and she makes great use of color to set the mood, depending on the scene. When Ben and Hercules are locked in prison, the scene turns a gloomy blue. Ben’s nightmare sequence is a harrowing blood red. And Ben’s trademark orange stony skin is the perfect contrast to Mot’s tattered black robes. This is a very eye-catching book, and Bellaire is a large part of that.

The Thing #1 delves into a mystery from Ben Grimm’s past, with the creative team reminding the audience why he’s a beloved character. With the Fantastic Four set to gain even more prominence in the coming years with the upcoming “Reckoning War” event in their main title and a future installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I expect to see more of Ben Grimm in the future. And I look forward to the rest of this miniseries, as the ending promises even more trouble for the Fantastic Four’s bedrock.

The Thing #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on November 10, 2021.


The Thing #1
4.5

TL;DR

The Thing #1 delves into a mystery from Ben Grimm’s past, with the creative team reminding the audience why he’s a beloved character. With the Fantastic Four set to gain even more prominence in the coming years with the upcoming “Reckoning War” event in their main title and a future installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I expect to see more of Ben Grimm in the future. And I look forward to the rest of this miniseries, as the ending promises even more trouble for the Fantastic Four’s bedrock.