"Fun 'n' Games": Playing for Keeps
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Andrea DeVito, Laura Villari(c)
When last we left Ben, he was still trapped on Arcades fantasy-murder-island and about to take on every incarnation of the Hulk in robot form. He also learned some of Carlotta's true feelings about him. Meanwhile, Tony Stark--the cool exec also known as Iron Man--had infiltrated the inner working of Arcade's loony bin and in the relative safety of Manhattan, Alicia Masters, former lover of the Ben Grimm, intended to call her lawyer to track down the maker of the fraudulent statues that Arcade used to capture his prey.
Not a single sour note in this one, and one scene just makes The Thing impossible to dislike. Dan Slott's functioning on full pistons. Everything about the plot is just a smart use of continuity. The outstanding scene to which I refer makes so much sense in hindsight that you'll be kicking yourself for not thinking Slott would use it.
The collusion between Nighthawk and Constrictor offers the reader wonderful surprise twists that come to a head in the conclusion. Slott also applies the continuity of Nighthawk beautifully captured in flashback by the art team of Andrea DeVito and Laura Villari who even gets the colors of Nighthawks previous uniform correctly.
More of the story title's promises can be found in the villain's arena. Arcade's relationship with Ms. Locke and Mr. Chamber is a real hoot, and again the art team expresses the pure comic book bliss and zaniness of the characters--especially at the end where Locke is simply hanging out waiting to be transported to the pokey.
Brynocki--and I just figured out why Arcade named him that--undergoes a major transformation that's unexpected but once again exemplary of Slott's brilliance and understanding of the characters. He even throws one off by the choice of Alicia Masters' lawyer, and her slapstick way of getting information. The scene shared by these two later pays off in a nice emotional cliffhanger that continues the threads created in the comic book series. The story however has a beginning, middle and end.
You may think this packed story neglects Ben Grimm, but Slott follows up on what Ben learned from Carlotta in the previous issue. He shows all facets of Ben's rocky countenance, and this gamut of emotion also becomes reflected in the artwork. There's not a single fault I can find within this issue of The Thing, and it belongs in every fan's shelves.
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