Ben Grimm. Yancy Streeter. Gridiron Hero. Pilot. Super hero.
While Thing hangs with his old friend, Goliath, someone calling himself Cauldron: The Scalding Man breaks into Goliath's lab and steals his dimensional wave inducer. Of course, Goliath and Thing give chase, but Goliath finds it hard to grab onto Cauldron's scalding hot surface. Thing steps up to the challenge only to get a major steam bath. Of course, all that does is tick Thing off, making it CLOBBERING TIME!
Of course, now that Ben is filthy rich due to some creative investing by Mr. Fantastic in his name (see concurrent issues of FANTASTIC FOUR for the skinny on that), it seems like everyone wants a piece. The media hounds him, bystanders look for payoffs (as does Cauldron in this case), and it turns out his pal Goliath was merely hanging out with him for an investment in the very item he helped bring back. Ben calls his car to get out of there to see his girl, whom Goliath mistakenly assumes means he's back with Alicia. That didn't sit too well with Ben.
Meanwhile in her lavish apartment, Alicia scans the gossip columns (in Braille, of course) and reads about Ben's new girlfriend, Carlotta LaRosa. Her musing over his stupidity is cut short by the arrival of her current beau, whom she greets with a kiss.
In another part of town (specifically Avengers Tower), Peter Parker (if you don't know who he is, why are you even at this site?) also makes his comments over the Thing's recent change in personality to match his new fortune. He comments about Thing hanging out with supermodels and actresses (with his own supermodel/actress wife sitting across from him at the table) and how hard it is to imagine an average guy like him living the lifestyle of being waited on by others (just as Jarvis comes around to offer him his choice of coffee or tea).
Flying by outside, Wonder Man asks Ms. Marvel if she plans to attend Thing's next poker game. Ms. Marvel doubts she'll go, feeling like the game has lost any of the fun that it once had with Thing's high bets and fancy settings.
At the Baxter Building, Johnny Storm (aka the Human Torch) has different thoughts concerning the Thing. More specifically, now that he's moved out, Johnny can ride the one vehicle he's never been allowed to: the Sky- Plane. Johnny tries it, but find it has a bit more power than he was prepared for. Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic...yes, you'll see these in the whole review) catches him and the plane and informs him how expensive it is to make things adjusted for Ben's dimensions. He also alludes to a little experiment he has in mind to rectify matters and help Ben come to term with his life of excess.
Speaking of which, over in Thing's lavish 4 story digs, he wakes up on his silk sheets and slips on his matching robe. A bottle of Dom Perrygone waits for him on the night stand, and Carlotta by his fireplace in sexy lingerie. He gives her a kiss and heads on his way, leaving Carlotta to finish ticking off rich spoiled slob Milan Ramada (a play on Paris Hilton, with a little Chihuahua to boot!) by saying she won't be invited to Ben's party in the Hamptons. So, like any jilted heiress, what does she do? Why, she heads to an abandoned amusement park in the Bronx to hire a hit man to run the party, of course.
At said party, Ben and Carlotta arrive and she introduces them to their host, Irma Roberts (or the Marvel U's version of Martha Stewart). Irma tells Ben she's the star of the party, and he relays he didn't know the upper crust was so into him. Apparently, owning an Alicia Masters original sculpture is a great status symbol, particularly her works involving the Thing himself. She reveals that the party, in fact, is an excuse to show off the latest Thing statue being added to her collection.
Inside, guest Tony Stark confronts Frank Schlichting (aka The Constrictor) for even showing his face given his devious lifestyle. But, Frank has Kyle Richmond come to his defense, throwing Stark's hidden years as Iron Man in his face, calling it fraud. That humbles Tony and Frank thanks Kyle. Kyle tells him everyone deserves a second chance, especially since he got his own as the adventurer Nighthawk (bet you thought we'd reveal that in parenthesis, huh?). Kyle and Frank head outside where Ben is being forced to give a speech next to the new statue.
Suddenly, the statue emits a high pitched sonic wail that renders all but Thing unconscious immediately. Thing fights the effects and tries to take out the statue, which reveals itself to be a robot. He lands a punch, but instead of taking it down, the head pops up like one of those old boxing toys. A little robot inside hits Thing with a blaster that finishes the job and takes him down.
Sometime later, they all awake on an island. Thing finds himself in his costume, as do Constrictor and Nighthawk. And their host? None other than Arcade, introducing them all to his all-new Murderland, the deadliest place on Earth!
Whatta revoltin' development.
A great first issue to a new series. Dan Slott is impeccable with not only characterizations, but continuity as well, and he really shows it in this issue. Not to mention, the perfect blend of comedy and seriousness in the story. And Arcade, while seemingly a lame villain, is definitely the perfect choice to showcase Slott's ability with humor, so you know the next few issues are gonna be an action-packed romp worth a few chuckles. And let's not forget the artwork, which is just stunning from cover to cover.
5 Webs. Great story, great art, just great.
One thing that cheeses me off is Marvel's lack of follow-through with any major changes done to a character. Arcade's appearance here is just a grim reminder to that fact. Way back in the mini-series WOLVERINE/GAMBIT: VICTIMS, Arcade was horribly scarred by his former associate, Miss Locke. A couple of years later, Arcade returns to comics in SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN vol. 1 looking as if that event never happened with no explanation at all.