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Thing #5

Posted: Saturday, April 1, 2006
By: Ray Tate



"Give Till It Hurts"

Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Andrea Divito, Laura Villari(c)
Publisher: Marvel

I've been hearing on the net some poor commentary regarding Andrea Divito's and Laura Villari's artwork for The Thing. This baffles me. For this issue, Ms. Divito and Ms. Villari in one scene show Ben Grimm moved to tears of comedy when a particularly stupid bunch of Maggia thugs attempt to show him what it means not to do business with their slick operators. Do you know how how hard it is to draw believable emotion from a rock? Yet, Divito and Villari do this.

Apart from a rainbow of emotion from Ben Grimm's orange, rocky puss, the ladies illustrate a persnickety old man that Slott introduces as a smart tie-in to the Thing's days at Yancy Street. They stop the reader cold with the unearthly beauty of Ben Grimm's former new girlfriend Carlotta Larosa, and they're as adept at displaying the natural movement of a bike rider as they are banging out the action scenes.

Writer Dan Slott gives Divito and Villari much with which to work. Besides the aforementioned scenes, he infuses The Thing with wit and occasional cuteness provided by Lockjaw. It wouldn't be a Yancy Street Story without the Yancy Street Gang, and Slott brings out their jokes without losing the pacing of the story.

These day in the life stories can often feel syncopated, but Slott makes each scene flow naturally from the other. He starts with Ben narrating the flashback of how he meets Carlotta as he introduces "Old Man Scheckerberg." The events in the flashback domino to the present, and here Ben gets a taste of humble pie.

Slott balances the Yancy Street scenes with amusing scenarios of Ben in the lap of luxury. Ben's quite happy and surprisingly a natural, but there's one thing missing, and a mistaken call brings her to the story. The ladies of course draw Alicia delightfully, and I'm starting to forget all the odd stuff that's been foisted upon the character.

The question becomes whether or not Slott can sustain Alicia's involvement naturally, and he does find a way that's simultaneously humorous, natural and important to the plot. Top the tale off with the reappearance of a loser of a villain as well as a surprise guest villain, and you've got a solidly written comic book cemented by masterful old school artwork.



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