Written by: Walter Mosley
Art by: Tom Reilly
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover art by: Tom Reilly
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: January 12, 2022
The Thing #3 catches up with Ben, Amaryllis, and Bobby after Brusque’s defeat in the bowels of New Manhattan. After a little blind date/first date sexy time, another police confrontation, and a knockdown drag-out brawl against the Champion of the Universe, Ben suspects something isn’t quite right.
Was It Good?
This issue is bonkers. I can’t tell if Mosley is a secret genius or he used an AI generator to write the script. Either way, the story follows a path (and that’s being generous) and technically things (no pun intended) are developing, but the linear flow is peppered with gnarly bits of nonsense and some of the weirdest dialog in recent memory.
After the gonzo battle for New Manhattan with the most “What the…?” ending imaginable, Thing, Amaryllis, and Bobby bust through the layers of concrete out into the middle of Central Park. There, a small army of SWAT Police is waiting for them.
There’s no indication how or why the SWAT team is there or how they knew Ben and his friends would break through the concrete in that exact spot. It’s simply a random event, which appears to be the theme for Mosley’s story – random things happening at random times to add drama or force the next action.
If it isn’t clear by now, this is not good writing. This is bad writing. Surprisingly, exceptionally bad writing.
Ben calls the Fantastic-car with a remote and leaps onboard, carrying Amaryllis and Bobby to make a getaway. Back at FF HQ, Bobby asks (and Ben agrees) to have a free run of the telescopic equipment lab. Why would Ben allow a young boy, who he only just met a few hours ago, to have free, unsupervised access to sections of the FF HQ? At this point, you just sorta give up trying to make sense of anything in this issue.
With just the two of them, Amaryllis and Ben engage in some consensual sexy time.
Yes, you have questions. I, too, have questions. Namely, how? With a human? How? With a human woman who he’s only just met? How? She initiates because she says she “likes it rough”. Why? How? At this point in the issue, I just close my eyes and try to think of calming scenery. We’re only up to page 5.
Later, Ben asks Bobby where Brusque was living in Brooklyn, and the trio goes to investigate Brusque’s apartment. Out of nowhere, Champion of the Universe appears in Brusque’s apartment. Thing assumes it’s an attack and he leaps into action, commencing a one-on-one brawl that lasts 8 pages. Yes, that’s right. Over a third of this issue is dedicated to a single brawl.
Champion is defeated, but not by Ben (I won’t spoil yet another “What the…?” on that point). They take Champion back to FF HQ where they strap him down with nullification restraints in something Ben says Reed calls the “Interrogation Chamber”(?!?).
Thing, Amaryllis, and Bobby (?!?) take turns questioning Champion with possibly the most horrendous exchange of dialog I’ve read in quite some time. What boy says “I merely seek to gain knowledge”? What famed fashion designer says “Stand, My Hero! Stand!”
Yes, yes, this is more of a critical MST3K roasting than a review, but it’s impossible to quantify this issue as anything but nonsense. The sequence of events is too contrived and random to be believed. Characters utter dialog ripped from a dollar bin romance novel. And, you learn things that either have no value, don’t make sense, or are just plain wacky.
It wouldn’t be fair to depart this fever dream without at least mentioning Tom Reilly’s art. Honestly, it’s great. The 8-page brawl is sufficiently savage. Reilly’s design for Ben is a pleasant mix of modern with old school, and the settings look great. Regardless of the story’s inherent insanity, you at least have something interesting to look at.
The Thing #3 forces readers to ask one question over and over again – Why? Why are things happening randomly? Why would the creators believe readers want to know about Ben Grimm’s sex life? Why are police showing up instantly to harass our hero when that never happens in real life or any part of the Marvel universe? Why is Reilly’s great art put in this book? Why does this series exist? Why?