Comics : Thing (Vol. 2) #3

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This story is part of an Arc: "Fun 'N' Games"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Lost Classics

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

Mr. Fantastic has recently given The Thing his share of the profits from some very lucrative investments making him a very wealthy individual.

While attending an elite party with his current girlfriend, actress Carlotta LaRosa, he and the other attendees (including Iron Man, the reformed Nighthawk, and the Constrictor) are kidnapped. Their abduction involved the use of an Alicia Masters statue. When Alicia is contacted about their disappearance, she inspects the statue and quickly identifies it as a fake. She contacts her attorney.

The mastermind behind the heroes' abduction is Arcade, who puts all of them through the paces testing out his new and improved Murderworld. The goal is to be the first to reach the "immunity square" on the other side of the island. Once someone reaches the square, the island will stop attacking them. However this will also activate a bomb that will kill everyone outside of this square. Thing keeps the terrified crowd under control, leading them through Arcade's lethal maze.

When last we saw the Thing, he was being attacked by a group of highly advanced Hulk-bots.

In Detail...

"Playing For Keeps"
Thing (Vol. 2) #3
Mar 2006 : SM Reference
Summary: Spider-Man Reference on Daily Bugle sign in Murderworld, also statue by Alicia Masters
Arc: Part 3 of "Fun 'N' Games"
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Dan Slott
Artist:  Andrea DiVito
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Nighthawk and Constrictor assist Thing in fighting off the Hulk-bots. Tony Stark - who has made his way into the access tunnels - has managed to hack into Arcade's network. He appears on the jumbo-tron and verifies Arcade's claim of an "immunity square" on the island that will signal the end of this nightmare. He then provides some additional help to combat the Hulk-bots: Thing-bots. Ben and company continue their journey to the other side of the island.

Arcade is not happy about someone interfering with his fun and sends his robotic henchmen to kill Stark.

While Tony helps navigate them safely through Murderland over the loudspeaker, the group encounters Arcade's version of "Universal Studios" where the most famous monsters attack them. While Thing, Constrictor, and Nighthawk fight off their attackers, Arcade contacts Carlotta through a video screen hidden inside a fake rock and makes her an offer she can't refuse: pay me and you get off the island.

Back in New York, Matt Murdock (Alicia's lawyer, natch) visits an art dealer specializing in sculptures of heroes "inspired" by Master's originals (read: copies) agree to "go easy" on him provided he provide one buyer's information that has made a high number of purchases recently. The corrupt dealer divulges the location of Arcade's island in the South China Sea.

Speaking of which, Thing and company have survived their latest attack and moved on. They finally reach the immunity square. The only problem is that its five square feet in area; not enough to accommodate everyone. At this point, Carlotta plays her get-off-the-island card and activates the flying platform Arcade promised her. Before she can escape, the Constrictor grabs the platform with one of his steel cables and secures himself to a large rock with the other, preventing her escape.

Initially questioning his choice, Thing quickly realizes that Constrictor spotted the armed lasers ready to disintegrate her once she reached a certain height. Thing assists in bringing the platform back to the ground and piles everyone inside. He then lifts it and stands on the platform, signaling the completion of their "game". Thing demands that Arcade live up to his agreement and shut off the deathtraps.

Arcade tells them over the loudspeaker that he doesn't feel like losing today, and they should prepare to die. Before he can push the detonator, Stark arrives with one of his reprogrammed henchman and captures him.

Later on Tony informs Ben that the Fantastic Four have sent a rescue ship to return them to New York, courtesy of Alicia. Ben is humbled by her actions.

Back in New York, at the apartment shared by Alicia Masters and Arlo North (her current boyfriend), Daredevil arrives to give her an early birthday present and to check on the Ben situation. She states that she no longer has any feelings for Ben. Judging from her heartbeat, Matt can tell she's lying.

In General...

Dan Slott is one of the few individuals that can take potentially boring elements from various mediums and turn them into something highly enjoyable. Arcade can either be a formidable villain or a complete joke depending on the writer. Combine that with a *real* twist on Survivor and some nearly obscure characters (Constrictor and Nighthawk). Individually this sounds iffy. When put all together and mixed with Slott's off-the-wall humor, this works very well.

The best part of the issue is the sight gags, which have to be seen to be fully appreciated.

Overall Rating...

4 webs. This was a very enjoyable read. Slott's writing adds depth to these characters without slowing down the action. DiVito's artwork is phenomenal, complemented by Laura Villari's colors.