In an unexpected twist of fate today, I paused The Thing to use the bathroom (too much information?). As I tend to do, I wanted something to read, so I started flipping through my to-read pile and was looking at the rather gruesome cover to The Thing From Another World #1. A few months back, I went to a small, but awesome hotel ballroom comic show and bought it and its counterpart on the cheap.
I didn’t even know what the book was. An adaptation of the movie John Carpenter based his version of The Thing on? That would make sense, right? Well, that’s not the case. These two issues actually form a follow-up to Carpenter’s movie, picking up a few beats after the end of the film.
And that’s kind of the problem. I mean, it’s cool to continue the story and I’m not one of those people who feels like source material is ruined by something that comes after the fact, but one of the coolest parts of Carpenter’s film is that “Why don’t we just wait here and see what happens” ending. What’s going to happen?! Well, this comic tells you and it’s not really as interesting as whatever the ending you envisioned in your head.
Don’t get me wrong, the story in these two issues isn’t bad by any means, but it’s not really necessary. MacReady wakes up and Childs has dragged him out into the ice. Then a boat comes and saves MacReady who almost immediately steals a helicopter and winds up crashing back near the outpost from the first movie. Here, a team of military people attack MacReady after seeing him torch all the corpses from the movie.
Of course, the thing has infiltrated the group and kills all but one of them. They then wind up back with Childs and yet another group of people. There’s a test like in the movie and then blammo, things get insane and the movie ends on a submarine!
As you might be able to assume from the description, writer Chuck Pfarrer packed an awful lot into two issues. What’s the point of putting MacReady on the boat if he’s just going to go right back to the station? Why waste all those panels and pages on something that’s not really important? Turns out Pfarrer is a screenwriter, so maybe he wasn’t thinking about the economy of the page. Who knows.
The book also suffers from some muddy artwork by John Higgins that gets especially difficult to follow towards the end when the action really ramps up. It’s not easy keeping track of all the characters or the action. Pretty much everything that happens on the submarine left me scratching my head.
I feel like this review came off more negative than I wanted it to. As a potential, possible continuation of one of the greatest movies of all time, it’s interesting. There’s some cool ideas in there and Pfarrer captured MacReady’s voice really well, it just felt rushed.