"The Thing: The Northman Nightmare" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Steve Niles
Illustrated by Patric Reynolds
2011, 25 Pages
Comic Book released on October 5th, 2011
With a prequel of John Carpenter's The Thing having hit theaters this month, Dark Horse Comics whipped up a prologue to the film. The Thing: The Northman Nightmare tells the story of the Norsemen who first discovered the deadly shape-shifting creature in an abandoned village in Greenland. Of course, things don't go well and a lot of people die, but it wouldn't be a horror story without that, right?
The Northman Nightmare was released as a free online comic in three parts. The pacing is pretty solid, but it's over before you know it. Of course this is meant as a primer for the movie, but I wanted more from it.
What I really liked about the story though was how subtly it worked in the Thing. Author Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) starts things slowly as the Norsemen make their way into the village. You can tell that something is wrong but you can't quite put your finger on it. Then things get crazy as the creature attacks.
I didn't care for Patric Reynolds art much. His characters look like rough sketches that aren't quite finished. His depiction of the Thing, though, is downright terrifying. It reminds me of some of the creatures in the video game Dead Space with its long creepy limbs and gaping mouth filled with sharp teeth. That's where Reynolds really excels. There's one panel towards the end of the final issue that is sure to haunt my nightmares for days. It has one of the women from the village turning around. The top portion of her head is totally normal but the space below her nose has opened up into this massive three piece jaw with many pointy bits.
The book also gets bonus points for the sick cover by Menton3. It depicts a Viking whose body is opening up from the middle by the creature.
The Thing prequel is in theaters now. The Thing prequel prologue is available for free on the Dark Horse Digital site. It's certainly worth checking out if you plan to see the movie or even if you just want a little extra Thing in your life.