It's been a minute or two since The Thing has received the spotlight in a solo series. Luckily for fans of the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Ben Grimm, he's back in a six-issue limited series—and the first issue has perfectly set the tone for what's set to be a classic Grimm tale. As the issue is quick to point out, this particular story takes place at some point in the past, far from the current timeline used in Marvel Comics' canon.
While some may hesitate at the mention of a prequel, the time period allows writer Walter Mosley to tell a "peak-Thing" tale long before he's married, or anywhere close to being settled down. In fact, it's the era that allows artist Tom Reilly and colorist Jordie Bellaire to also go wild with their artwork, creating some period-style sequences reminiscent of pulp stories and mid-century advertisements.
With moody artwork that instantly teleports you where you need to go, Mosley's script is undeniably bleak. The Thing's life is falling apart, and he's more down on himself than ever. To cap it all off, Hercules thinks he might be cursed—something we find out is most certainly true by the end of this issue.
Readers get every traditional trope from The Thing's canon here. Ben's too hard on himself with every turn of the page. He wallows in his loneliness as his family goes their own ways, leaving him by his lonesome on vacation. Alicia momentarily leaves him because of a misunderstanding on the street that left him pepper-sprayed with innocent bystanders cowering afraid.
At face value, it's an incredibly depressing tale... but it's also about Ben Grimm, so there's hope.
The thing is, Ben Grimm is always best when he's left crawling out of a hole he made for himself. More often than not, Grimm's own thoughts are his worst enemy, and that's on full display in The Thing #1. Mosley tells a poignant tale of self-worth and the desire for companionship—a story that tugs at the heartstrings every step of the way. But again, it's Ben Grimm we're talkin' about here—even when facing the toughest of battles, there's still a hope and belief that all will be well. Call it naïveté or foolish expectations, but it's awfully hard to root against The Thing, and Mosley, Reilly, Bellaire and company know that better than anyone else.
Published by Marvel Comics
On November 10, 2021
Written by Walter Mosley
Art by Tom Reilly
Colors by Jordie Bellaire0comments
Letters by Joe Sabino
Cover by Tom Reilly and Jordie Bellaire