Clobberin' Time #1 Review: A Smashing Good Time From One of Comics' Great Cartoonists

Clobberin' Time promises readers one thing: Steve Skroce drawing The Thing fight all sorts of strange stuff; Clobberin' Time #1 delivers upon that promise and exceeds it with a style that from the page layouts to the dialogue could only belong to Skroce. The debut issue for this team-up series featuring Benjamin J. Grimm, the idol of millions, focuses upon The Thing and Bruce Banner when they're unexpectedly pulled into an alternate universe as the sole protectors of small aliens against an endless horde of demons. The subsequent saga is told with exuberant action sequences and an idiosyncratic sense of humor that make for some of the most fun Marvel comics published in quite some time.

There's not much more to address about the story than what's found in the solicit as it's presented straight to allow the action and fun to flow unimpeded. Skroce's style of plotting pays homage to the best of Marvel Two-in-One with some framing and side gags bolstering a thrilling one-and-done adventure that showcases the big personalities and powers present. This influence can even be found in the captions and narration, which often play into the violence with gusto in the style of Stan Lee. There's no doubt that Clobberin' Time is a comic influenced by a love of Marvel Comics, especially when it's at its world-shaking best.

That appreciation flows into a (possibly meta-textual) antagonist set to tie the many future team-ups in this miniseries together. And it's present throughout the setting as cameos from the likes of Mister Fantastic and The Human Torch lean into the mundane fun to be had with these figures. Skroce is wise enough to poke fun at many Marvel elements, but never overstay the opportunity.

While Clobberin' Time bears many hallmarks of classic Marvel comics, it's storytelling and style are a genuinely modern wonder. Pages rarely feature more than five panels and Skroce constantly varies the layouts to keep reader's eyes moving and provide each individual moment plenty of space to breathe. Whether it's a close up featuring plenty of detailed machinery or the titanic duo of Hulk and Thing leaping forward, every inch of Clobberin' Time #1 demands the reader's full attention and earns the time spent gleaning each new step in this absurd adventure.

Colorist Bryan Valenza provides an ideal match for Skroce's pencils. Bright, bold colors define the cleanly detailed forms littering the page while contrasting backgrounds and shades ensure that the layout remains clear, allowing readers to be propelled forward. 

Valenza's work crescendoes alongside Skroce's in the inevitable spread of clobbering and smashing that any reader would anticipate. Even with so many umber-hued antagonists filling the space alongside a familiar orange and green, each individual element of this tremendous collage of violence is easily distinguished. As your eye moves across each new incredible display, it's impossible to resist a smile or laugh in response to the whole affair. Clobberin' Time #1 is a celebration of The Thing and the terrific adventures showcasing the delights of the comics medium he continues to enjoy; you're bound to enjoy it, too.

Published by Marvel Comics

On March 29, 2023

Written by Steve Skroce and Dean White

Art by Steve Skroce

Colors by Bryan Valenza

Letters by Joe Sabino

Cover by Steve Skroce and Dean White