The Thing: The Northman Nightmare 3 (October 2011)

Uh oh, Reynolds had to show something on the last page–an ominous reveal of future Viking Thing incidents I think–and he couldn’t do it. I’m getting to hate those moments in comics, where writers do something totally natural for film and then the artist can’t get the point across. Otherwise, Reynolds’s art continues to be fantastic. The really gross Thing moments are great here, making me wish it was a real comic and not just some online thing. Niles’s script is mostly action and it works. Until that confusing last page anyway. What’s most interesting, having only read the comics … Continue reading The Thing: The Northman Nightmare 3 (October 2011)

The Thing: The Northman Nightmare 2 (September 2011)

Niles is beginning to impress me on Northman. He moves into the famous Thing standard… a lot of suspicious people standing around inspecting one another. His dialogue’s somewhat better too. There’s one passage where he’s completely obvious at trying to lay the groundwork for a reveal and it’s stunning he’s so brazenly predictable. But still, I liked this installment. It’s the Vikings in this village trying to figure things out. The resolution to the previous issue’s cliffhanger is so quiet, I had to go back and look to see there was indeed a cliffhanger. The installment is three scenes. One … Continue reading The Thing: The Northman Nightmare 2 (September 2011)

The Thing: The Northman Nightmare 1 (September 2011)

As an online exclusive, Dark Horse is publishing these Northman Nightmare “issues” (for free). It’s a prequel to the new Thing movie, which is a prequel to the old Thing movie (the 1982 one, not the original). Dark Horse previously published sequels to the 1982 film. It’d be more interesting if they’d done a sequel to the movie prequel, but whatever. Since Vikings are all the rage now (or semi-rage, thanks to Thor), this unlikely prequel takes place in the twelfth century or something and features Vikings versus the Thing. Patric Reynolds does a fine job. He draws Vikings, he … Continue reading The Thing: The Northman Nightmare 1 (September 2011)

Dark Horse Comics 16 (December 1993)

I feel like I need to send Dan Jolley a thank you letter for making this issue of Dark Horse Comics tolerable. Well, for his Aliens story anyway. It’s got an unexpected conclusion. There’s not a lot of story—it’s a chase sequence and a resolution—but Jolley plays with expectations a little. Nadeau and Pallot do fine on art. Naifeh and inker Alex Nino, however, are even worse this issue than last on their Thing story. Not the mention Martin’s conclusion is mildly inexplicable. It’s too bad Dark Horse didn’t keep their creators on the Thing comics consistent. Martin really doesn’t … Continue reading Dark Horse Comics 16 (December 1993)

Dark Horse Comics 15 (November 1993)

Well, when Naifeh’s art falls off, The Thing gets a lot less interesting. Martin falls into the same tropes the pervious series did (even though Martin ignores them)—repeating the plot points in the Thing movie, only in a new setting. But Naifeh’s the disappointment here. It doesn’t even look like his work. Barr and Rader finish up The Mark. Barr seems to let Rader just take over and create this homage to a film noir, only in color. It reminds a lot of M. The installment ends on a soft cliffhanger, preparing for a limited series, and it’s unnecessarily confusing. … Continue reading Dark Horse Comics 15 (November 1993)

Dark Horse Comics 14 (October 1993)

I realized, a few pages in to Mike W. Barr and Brad Rader’s Mark story, Rader’s a good artist. He’s at the beginning of his career, but he’s good. He does these Eisner-homage close-ups. Nice stuff. But The Mark looked bad at the start—because the character’s design is ludicrous. It takes place in a pseudo-Nazi Germany or something. The writing’s generally okay, but the comics’s all about those close-ups. Dorkin and Thompson finish their Predator story next and, wow, does Thompson get lazy. Dorkin’s script is dumb—his high humor is a dying guy making dumb jokes about being Ford-tough, but … Continue reading Dark Horse Comics 14 (October 1993)

Dark Horse Comics 13 (September 1993)

So is Dark Horse Comics where Dark Horse stuck all their licensed properties once Presents’s sales dropped? The creative teams are mildly interesting. Jim Woodring writing Aliens—nothing happens, it’s an all action story—with Kilian Plunkett on the art? It looks good anyway. Ted Naifeh pencilling a Thing story? It’s more distinct because Edward Martin III’s script sort of ignores all the other Dark Horse Thing comics. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but Martin’s a little less creative than one would like. Then it’s an Evan Dorkin Predator story. It’s kind of funny—a Predator crashes a paint ball competition. But … Continue reading Dark Horse Comics 13 (September 1993)

The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 4 (March 1994)

I’m sadly unimpressed with de Vries’s finish to Eternal Vows. It’s all supposed to be this great love story about this sailor and his squeeze in this little town. I thought de Vries was actually going to kill MacReady or something. I swear I read these Thing comics back when I was a kid and they were a lot more sensical. Gulacy does a fine job with everything. Davis continues to be a good inker for him. It’s too bad there wasn’t much to do. The monstrous aspects of the Thing are sort of tame in the comic book form. … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 4 (March 1994)

The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 3 (February 1994)

For someone who really likes explaining things, de Vries doesn’t go into how MacReady has become an international Thing hunter. But while his presence is narratively ludicrous, de Vries uses the character well. Oh, there’s some lame dialogue, but the issue’s sort of good. de Vries cuts back a little on how the Thing operates and behaves, but only on the telling part. He still shows this one Thing spread its control over a town. The problem is with the infected having autonomy. It doesn’t fit with the movie, or even the previous comic books. Instead, it’s Body Snatchers with … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 3 (February 1994)

The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 2 (January 1994)

Turns out de Vries has the reverse problem of John Arcudi on The Thing. de Vries is better with MacReady around. MacReady shows up—in a private helicopter, in sunglasses and maybe with a laser gun. Gulacy loves sunglasses. They make no sense in the context and it’s not particularly good art, but it’s an amusing misfire. All the exposition about the Thing’s society and purpose is somewhat interesting. de Vries decides each creature makes a little society for itself, never letting a piece get more important than it. It’s probably laying groundwork for a Thing to team up with MacReady … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 2 (January 1994)

The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 1 (December 1993)

Eternal Vows is the Thing comic I had expected from Dark Horse. Not a direct sequel to the movie, but some lame story set in the “same universe.” David de Vries sets this one in Australia (presumably because it’s close to the Antarctic location of the movie, but he doesn’t explain) and it’s a murder mystery in a small fishing town. Or dock town. Something. It’s Paul Gulacy on pencils and Dan Davis does a fine enough job inking him. This art is Gulacy-lite, a little earlier than I’m used to seeing it, but it’s still competent enough Gulacy. What … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 1 (December 1993)

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 4 (December 1992)

Here’s one thing about comic book sequels to movies. Look, I know you can do things in a comic book you can’t do in a movie, but respect the level of reality in the source. You shouldn’t all of a sudden have a giant monster just because Somerville can draw it badly. In other words, Climate of Fear kind of limps to its finish. Arcudi gets in a good final moment, something not as good as the Thing movie, but a tonal homage. And most of the issue isn’t bad. Arcudi’s pacing is great. He takes his time establishing and … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 4 (December 1992)

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 3 (November 1992)

Arcudi gets to the cliffhanger I imagine readers had been waiting for since the end of the movie. I won’t spoil—which is not to recommend the series, I really can’t with Somerville’s artwork. He ruins the cliffhanger. It looks like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon, not a horror comic. But Arcudi tries some different things this issue—he’s got third person narration, location tags, and some close third person examining the female doctor. It’s not exactly insightful—she’s got the hots for MacReady (there’s a hilarious line about her not knowing MacReady’s first name—it wasn’t in the movie either). But … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 3 (November 1992)

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 2 (September 1992)

It’s shocking how much better Climate of Fear reads when it’s not about MacReady and Childs (from the movie). Arcudi continues—for the majority of the issue—his version of The Thing, only in a warm climate with a female scientist as the protagonist. It’s mostly a talking heads book, with the tensions rising among the people as they get more and more scared. Somerville is still a bad artist, so the book must succeed because of Arcudi’s scripting. He twists the tension tighter and tighter and the explosion, cinematic and bloody, works great. Even his immediate follow-up is good. But then … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 2 (September 1992)

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 1 (July 1992)

It didn’t occur to me until I read the letters page… but here you’ve got a comic book with grotesque graphic violence and still the %@!!$ for curse words. Kind of funny. Anyway, Arcudi doesn’t do bad with a Thing series. He moves the action to some remote Argentinean peninsula and provides a whole new cast of morons who ignore MacReady (Kurt Russell from the movie) and his warnings. Politely speaking, it’s an unlikely sequel… but not one without its merits. Arcudi gets how to pace the thriller aspect and the action aspect. His MacReady is a joker card, able … Continue reading The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 1 (July 1992)

The Thing from Another World 2 (January 1992)

I think Pfarrer really likes The Thing, the movie I mean. It wasn’t as clear the first issue, but this one, it really feels like Pfarrer is trying to make a sequel to something he likes. Maybe because he brings back the Keith David character, Childs. Sadly, Pfarrer doesn’t seem to get how to write a movie adaptation. He writes these lines you can’t imagine the actors saying and, when it’s a sequel to a movie—with the characters who are only in that movie—there’s an expectation. When Childs’s dialogue is full of “dudes,” you know, because he’s black, it’s ludicrous. … Continue reading The Thing from Another World 2 (January 1992)

The Thing from Another World 1 (December 1991)

Do how does Dark Horse handle a sequel to a film unable to have a sequel? Lamely. Chuck Pfarrer’s writing is weak all around. Some of it isn’t his fault. Making Kurt Russell’s character talk to himself more than Peter Parker is a necessity. What if a reader hasn’t seen the movie? Too bad it’s poorly written dialogue. The plot is also problematic. Macready gets away and heads immediately back to the site of the film to destroy it. I thought the movie ended with it being destroyed but apparently not. Men with guns–they have some lame backstory (Pfarrer’s not … Continue reading The Thing from Another World 1 (December 1991)