The Thing from Another World Omnibus is a collection of comics set after the events of John Carpenter’s 70s Sci-Fi horror, The Thing.
The Thing From Another World & Climate of Fear, written by Chuck Pfarrfer and John Arcudi, takes place where the film suggestively left off. MacReady awakens with the fear of unfinished business on Outpost 31. Mere moments away from saving the world from a glorious gorefest of infection, he is captured by a Navy SEAL team on the assumption of murder. Journeying across the Atlantic Ocean from Antarctica to Argentina, as a patient, prisoner and mad man, the infection accompanies MacReady like a shadow as it picks off groups one by one. The race is on to eradicate every last cell of the Thing before it reaches civilisation.
Eternal Vows, written by David de Vries, sees a mysterious and murderous presence contaminate a small harbour town in New Zealand which coincides with the arrival of a docked American ship. Sergeant Rowan is on the case but both the suspects and victims on the surface appear abnormal. The arrival of MacReady can mean only one Thing and Rowan has no idea of the horror this harbour will endure.
Last but not least is Questionable Research, written by Edward Martin III, tells the story of a US research team travelling to Antarctica to discover the remnants of an alien creature and analyse its potential danger aboard their vessel. As the reality of their situation sets in, tensions heat up among the crew and inevitably melts the Thing from its frozen captivity. With nowhere to go, suddenly the team are the ones in captivity.
The art style by John Higgins accompanies the depth and paranoia of the story. Those with Thalassophobia (fear of deep bodies of water) like myself, will be clenched to their core with some of the artwork in Antarctica. Just thinking about it makes my heart sink.
Furthermore, the decision to set the body of Climate of Fear in a woodland forest full of wildlife also lends itself to the paranoia, similar to that of Predator. Is that tree just particularly creepy looking or is it a replication of a tree? If it is a replication, how far does the infection spread in a forest?
Upon watching The Thing for the first time in preparation for this collection, the blue and black colour palette entranced me. Alternatively with the change of sceneries here, that colour palette is justifiably expanded upon but sadly doesn’t hold a flare to the shadowy blue and black hue of Antarctica.
Although versatile in its art style with various artists over time, the contrast is a little hard to perfect. Starting off very unique and graphically gory only to suddenly switch to a more standardised comic book style with less to marvel over and recoil away from. This could be to the benefit of the smaller scale stories but in hindsight, for me personally at least, I wish the art style remained consistent throughout.
The Thing From Another World & Climate of Fear is the Aliens of The Thing story; action packed with just enough tension and surprises to keep it engaging. On the other hand, the characters are merely lambs to the slaughter – or more fittingly, grunts to the fodder. With the exception of a few characters, they are here to get infected and burned with little to no emotional attachment for the reader and this is consistent throughout the entire Omnibus.
The Thing is given a surprising glimpse of primitive humanity and first-person narrative in Eternal Vows. An interesting take on something so gruesome and inhumane as well as the horrifying addition of a communal conscience within each infectee. All sharing disembodied memories and thoughts together, like an internal web surrounding the external harbour town and it’s buzzing gossip.
Questionable Research, while not featuring MacReady at all, is perhaps the most faithful in its fan-service. The research crew obtains various resources left behind at Outpost 31 including Blair’s notes and infection simulations as well as MacReady’s final mission log tape, quoted verbatim for super fans.
After watching The Thing for the first time, I declared it one of my definitive favourite horror films of all time for its originality. A whodunnit social deduction flick but in place of an arrest and happy ending, we instead are met with a xenophobia inducing sci-fi nightmare of gore and guts. None of the “in the name of science, I will stick my face in it!” monotony. The Thing From Another World Omnibus for the most part is simultaneously unique and repetitive with bold additions to the mythos caught up in replicated – though some could argue familiar, plot devices.
The gruesome nature of the creature can be hit or miss, sometimes exceedingly disgusting and frightening with inventive designs pertaining to the setting. Otherwise, the Thing comes off as subdued or overly comical.
If The Thing is your thing and you want to know what happened in the aftermath of the film, I’d say the Omnibus is a satisfactory sequel. It should be noted, a popular and ingenious fan theory is burned and buried under the frozen ash of Outpost 31, never to be.
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on The Thing From Another World Omnibus and your favourite movie monsters. Also we’re offering a support group for those traumatised by The Thing, to qualify all you have to do is partake in a group blood test. You can never be too careful!
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