The Thing #1: Money Changes Everything

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Andrea Di Vito
Inker: Andrea Di Vito
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Colorist: Laura Villari
Editor: Tom Brevoort

Guest Shots:
      Goliath (Bill Foster), Alicia Masters, Arlo North, Carlotta LaRosa, Tony Stark, Constrictor, Nighthawk
     Lots of cameos in this first issue: Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Edwin Jarvis, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers), Johnny Storm, Reed Richards, Milan Ramada, Irma Roberts, Bunny (Ben's chauffeur)

The Villains:
      Cauldron the Scalding Man, Arcade, Brynocki

The Set Up:
     Ben was visting good friend Bill Foster when Cauldron the Scalding Man interrupted, stealing Foster's new Dimensional Wave Inducer. Cauldron doesn't last long, and we're then treated to an update on Ben's new life as a rich man. When Ben's girlfriend, actress Carlotta LaRosa, snubs fellow it-girl Milan Ramada, Ramada hires a professional assassin, Arcade, to interrupt that evening's festivities. In attendance at the part, we find Tony Stark (Iron Man), Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond), and the Constrictor (Frank Schlichting), and Arcade soon makes his move...

Clobberin' Time?:
     Page 4, we get it right out of the way, when Ben takes down Cauldron, and the crowd rejoices in the background. "Did you hear that?! He said it!" I love Ben's interior monologue follow up- "That one? That was for the tourists. it really makes their day."

Petunia's Patch:
      No Petunia. Okay, downgrade my rating! :)

Things of Interest:
     Complete Thingophile that I am, what's the first thing that I notice? First page, first panel, they get Ben's football uniform number wrong. In the past he's been 7 or 77, here he's apparently 14. Maybe it's his high school uniform?
     Cauldron the Scalding Man looks great! Fun villain, fun personality- more Cauldron, please!
     Goliath (Bill Foster) was, of course, a major supporting character in MTIO. He had an early guest appearance, then was part of the Project: PEGASUS saga, then had a major storyline about his radiation poisoning. His appearance here is a clear and obvious tip of the hat to classic MTIO, while the new villains also tell us that Slott will be taking this book in its own direction. You have to love authors who know that continuity can be used to enhance a story without getting in the way of that story. Not having read any MTIO, you wouldn't miss it. Having read it, this is richer. Perfect.
     Love the east coast elite here. Milan Ramada- hmm, European city, hotel chain? Hot! And Irma Roberts would presumably be that famous white-collar criminal home-making maven. Plus a nice selection of Hollywood celebrities at the party...
     The statuary at the party is another nice touch- Alicia Masters versions of the major Thing looks. Again, nice touch that enhances the story if you know it, but doesn't take way from it if you don't.
     For those out of the loop, Ben acquired a good-sized fortune in Fantastic Four #527. While it was barely dealt with there after that issue, the writer here picks it up and runs with it as an avenue to Ben's development.
     Brynocki and Murderland (formerly Mordillo Island). Yeesh, continuity so obscure that I barely get it. Here's a link to Brynocki's full story. Again, though- if you don't know it, it doesn't hurt the story. Oh, yeah, and Arcade too- you can't beat Arcade for sheer beat-em-up mindless fun!