12 December 2007

The Thing: Idol Of Millions (Marvel, 2006)

This collects the entire eight-issue run of Dan Slott's The Thing in his third solo book (or is it fourth? There was another Thing comic back in the '80s and Marvel-Two-in-One was a Thing team-up book. So let's stick with three). It ran for eight issues not because it was a limited series but it was cancelled way too early due to low sales. What is it with mainstream comic fans? Don't they like funny stories in their funny books? It would be wrong to say that tongue in cheek stories have no place in a monthly superhero comic because that would not explain the success of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League International over at DC twenty years ago. It also does not explain the Marvel Adventures line with its old school take on the Marvel heroes. Sure, the M.A. books are targeted at the younger set of comic fans but I have a feeling that the over-thirty year old comic geek loves it as well. I just have to look in the mirror to confirm that fact. Besides, Dan Slott had a phenomenal success over at She-Hulk with the same brand of writing that he did here with The Thing. I honestly don't know why this book failed. Not enough leggy babes, perhaps?

The premise of The Thing: Idol of Millions came from JM Straczynski's idea of making Aunt Petunia's favourite nephew a multi gajillionaire. Finding himself with more money than he knows what to do with, the blue-eyed Thing tries to do good with his old neighbourhood, Yancy Street, by building a Youth Center. All this in between dating a movie star, getting kidnapped by Arcade, fighting the Trapster and Sandman and trying to win back the heart of Alicia Masters.

Dan Slott can write. That isn't exactly as easy as it sounds. All writers can put words in several characters' mouths at the same time but more often than not they all end up sounding the same. With Slott, each character has his/her own voice. That's talent right there.

This being a superhero solo book, of course there are notable guest stars within the pages. Spider-Man pitches in to fight against Trapster and the Sandman while Iron Man, Nighthawk and former bad guy, the Constrictor, all give Thing a hand in defeating Arcade's Murderland Island. But these guest appearances do not distract us from the star of the book and if you want to see action, don't worry, Thing goes clobberin' in every issue. Even when he's out taking care of the Richards' children there's still some costumed villain trying to ruin his day.

Art by Andrea Divito is perfect for the first five issues but for the remaining three issues, Kieron Dwyer takes over and his work is a bit of a letdown. Still, it doesn't take away much from Slott's strong writing overall and the very last issue is a hoot with Thing hosting an all-superhero poker night.

This is a book with great stories with great (Divito's) to so-so (Dwyer) art and is perfect for all ages. It is unfortunately out of print (well, Amazon doesn't have it in stock) but you may get lucky at a brick and mortar shop. That's where I found my copy.

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