The Thing Classic—Volume 2

thing classic volume 2 cover review
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 7/10

Thing is a good character

Story is too drawn out, no third volume

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Thing (Volume 1)/Fantastic Four (Volume 1)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: John Byrne/Mike Carlin/Bob Harras

Artist: Ron Wilson/John Byrne

# of Issues: 13

Release Date: 2012

thing #11 cover review ben grimm

The Thing (1) #11

Reprints The Thing (1) #11-22 and Fantastic Four (1) #274 (May 1984-April 1985).  The Secret Wars are over and now the Thing finds himself wandering the Beyonder’s planet of Battleworld with the ability to return to his human form.  When Thing discovers a woman named Tarianna, he and Tarianna begin a space adventure that explores the hows and whys of what is happening on the Beyonder’s planet.  Meanwhile, Ben is having troubles keeping his Thing form and someone seems to be watching him at every step…who or what is menacing Ben’s chances for happiness?

Written by John Byrne, Mike Carlin, and Bob Harras, The Thing Classic—Volume 2 is a Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four comic book spin-off title.  Following The Thing Classic—Volume 1, the collection features art by Ron Wilson and John Byrne.

Secret Wars and The Thing were titles when I was just starting to get into comic book collecting.  Thing was a favorite and though I don’t think The Thing ever lived up to the previous title Marvel Two-In-One, the series did have some odd and different stories.  The twelve part “Rocky Grimm:  Space Ranger” collected in this volume definitely was a new direction for the character.

Part of the series that is unattainable for readers now is that the basic storyline was a mystery.  Readers now know about the Beyonder and what happened during Secret Wars, but this was being published during Secret Wars (the series ran directly parallel to this publication).  You didn’t know how Ben ended up alone on a planet and why the odd things that were happening to him were occurring.  As he wanders alone (minus the Fantastic Four), you have him dealing with his humanity and a weird world that seems to warp to his whims.

thing #20 cover ben grimm

The Thing (1) #20

The story is flawed in a way that many comics from this time were flawed (or better depending how you look at it).  The comic wasn’t necessarily meant to be read as a collection and feels drawn out and slow-paced.  A lot of the twists seem a bit obvious as they slowly roll out, and Ben is often even slower to catch on.  It is very episodic but that doesn’t necessarily work since it is telling one big story.  A good contrast to this would be the more modern take Planet Hulk which in its own way had a similar story, but definitely had more flow between issues.

Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four was one of my favorites, and Thing was my favorite character on the Fantastic Four (before replaced by She-Hulk).  You can tell he has a fondness for the character and likes to write him, but comics were a bit different at this time and The Thing sometimes plods along on his adventure as Byrne tries to time it out with the end of Secret Wars.  By the end of the volume, all is revealed, but it doesn’t feel entirely satisfying.  Even less satisfying is Marvel’s decision to not print The Thing Classic—Volume 3 which could have wrapped up the series.  It is a shame that the Thing and his fans were treated that way.

Related Links:

The Thing Classic—Volume 1

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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