Monday, November 14, 2011

Slightly Redder Red: The Thing: The Northman Nightmare

I really like John Carpenter's The Thing, and I feel like The Thing can have a really great expanded universe beyond the movie. It's a monster that can be feared by people of any time, from the 1980s to the 1680s, and can strike fear into the hearts of moviegoers of all ages (or comic readers, in this case).

A comic adaption of The Thing, actually featured as a companion to the recent film prequel to the 1982 classic, got released by Dark Horse a little while ago. The comic is set in 1121 AD, around the times when Vikings settled in Newfoundland, and a lore surrounding a monster like the alien Thing beautifully slips into the time period. I had originally gone into this expecting to write another bad comic review like Star Wars: Legacy, considering that franchises of the 1980s have had a terrible tradition of going back in time (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being one glaring beacon of time travel failure), but leave it to Dark Horse Comics to deliver some excellent expanded universe.

The comic is great from first panel to last. The vikings are beautifully illustrated, and so is the bleak and snowy landscape of Newfoundland. The bleak and snowy landscape, albeit pretty, can be harsh, and right off the bat we have vikings dying, and vikings getting killed is always cool no matter what medium. The Thing itself is also wonderfully imagined by the illustrator, and looks amazing when it finally reveals itself as the monster it is. The suspense leading up to those final moments of the comic are really well done, and the violence is tastefully brutal.

Since this is one comic, unlike the beginning of a series like Legacy was, I won't go into the plot since it's kind of dependent on people not spoiling it. But it's free, so you should totally pick it up and read it, you won't be disappointed. It's a great addition to the Dark Horse library. 

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