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Tales of the Thing #1

Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2005
By: Ray Tate



"Destiny's Song"

Writer: Brandon Thomas apres Steve Gerber
Artists: Michael O'Hare(p), Wing Renacs of Udon, Mustaffa Moussa(i), Sotocolors' J. Brown(c)
Publisher: Marvel

Tired of Luke Cage and his booty sex? Horrified over the idea of Gwen Stacy's corpse engaging in sweaty aerobics with Norman Osborne's corpse? Dumbfounded by Wanda's insanity and the dissolution of the Avengers? Repulsed by the unnecessary rape of Sue Dibney? Maybe you just wish somebody would use the Purple Ray on Babs Gordon. If you are like me and wish comic books could go back to a simpler time where deconstruction was an alien term and the heroes acted like heroes to actually save lives and stop crimes perhaps you should try the Marvel Adventures books. Tales of the Thing is a good place to start.

Brandon Thomas, a columnist here at Silverbulletcomicbooks, has adapted a Steve Gerber story of which I never heard into a lightning quick adventure teaming Benjamin J. Grimm and Dr. Strange. Mr. Thomas does a superb job in characterizing a full cast that consists of the aforementioned partners in justice as well as Alicia Masters, Destiny and a young man who makes a bad mistake.

The Thing and Alicia split up a long time ago in the Byrne run of Fantastic Four. I think that Alicia turned out to be Skrull in love with Johnny Storm, or something. The break-up was mainly a contrivance to launch a more disgruntled Thing into his own short-lived comic book series. The only real good idea that came out of the Thing's solo flight was that She-Hulk being his FF replacement. The rest of it should have been either forgotten or reworked back to normal. Sadly, the break-up for no good reason has been retained.

One of the best aspects of Thomas' reworking is his reincorporating Alicia as the Thing's love interest. I always liked the Beauty and the Beast poetry of that relationship, and removing it from the books revoked something special about the Fantastic Four that was already in place during the original run. Respect the history. Mr. Thomas does so, and he also gives Alicia the opportunity and strength to be something other than a charming ornament on Ben's rocky arm.

Thomas' take on Ben Grimm is fun and to the model of Kirby and Lee. A sly comment on his history erupts in the form of Ben's fears. The fear relies on Ben's other ability as a top-notch pilot. Ben's dialogue and his easy relationship with Alicia is inviting to the reader, and his actions exhibit beyond brute strength smart strategy.

Mr. Thomas does equally well when characterizing Dr. Strange and Destiny. Both characters are benevolent magic users, yet they differ in voice and action. Thomas' Dr. Strange differs strongly from the manipulative, creepy version floating around most of the Marvel Universe titles. You get the sense that this Dr. Strange is fighting for humanity, and his requests instead of machinated overtures to Ben and Alicia make him a much more heroic and interesting character.

Michael O'Hare's artwork takes on a simplified cartoony look that more based on bendables toys from the Seventies than Timm-styled animated Series or the Marvel type of animation noticeable in Spiderman and his Amazing Friends. Mostly, it works and engages the eye as Thomas' story entertains the brain. Most impressive is the way he portrays Alicia.

Inking is decent though in the future needs better focus. Several times the shadows under the characters head fail to meet their jaw-lines. They just stop. The colors are vibrant, but the paper stock makes them at times seem too thick. None of these factors however are too distracting. One thing though did catch my attention. The snake sequence too much resembles the snake sequence in "Secret Origins" on Justice League.



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