MacReady awakens in the infirmary of a Japanese whaling
vessel in the Southern Ocean. But where is Childs?
As the story opens, Childs has managed to carry or drag the
exhausted MacReady to the ice near the coast. He leaves
MacReady for a Japanese whaling vessel to pick up. MacReady
wakes up later to find himself in the sickbay of the ship.
The doctor tells him that Childs has gone back to the
research station "to get the others". MacReady knows their
are no others and suspects Childs must be a Thing. He gets
irritated and tries to leave, so he is sedated by the
MacReady wakes up again later and manages to escape the ship
by stealing their helicopter. He heads straight for Outpost
31, but runs out of gas and crash-lands just on the
periphery of the outpost. He picks up the flame thrower again
and finds Nauls' frozen body and burns it. Then he finds the
frozen remains of the Blair-Thing in the ruins of the
generator room and blows it up. After that, he finds another
frozen Thing body and is about to burn it when he is
assailed by a Navy SEAL team.
The SEAL commander, Erskine, finds MacReady's story of the
shape-changing alien difficult to believe and takes him into
custody after MacReady tries to stop one of his men, Pybus, from
touching the frozen body. They all head for the landing zone
pick-up point and, as the Navy copter is about to land,
Pybus suddenly Things-out and begins shooting his teammates,
hitting the copter as well. The copter is brought down, as
well as all of the Navy SEALS except for Erskine before
MacReady blows up the Pybus-Thing with a thermite charge.
Erskine and MacReady find the communications destroyed and
the copter unusable. Two of the SEALs are still alive,
though badly wounded, and Erskine forces MacReady to help
him carry the injured men across the ice in the direction of
an Argentine research station 30 kilometers away. MacReady
would prefer he and they all die out on the ice to prevent
the Thing from getting to civilization and he allows Erskine
to lead them in the wrong direction. Suddenly a snowcat-type
vehicle approaches and some Argentines step out...along with
The writer, Chuck Pfarrer, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL who
trained for cold weather duty, so the military terms he uses
in the story tend to be real ones.
In the introduction to the story, the Thing is described as
being able to infect a victim merely by touching them. This
is not true to the depiction in the movie, where it takes
about an hour for takeover and requires more than a mere
touch, as witnessed by the scene of the attempted dog
takeover. The entire story in this two-issue mini-series
depends on this misrepresentation of the ease of infection.
This makes the story ring "not true" by my mind.
Page 1 mentions the Eternity Mountains. This is a 28-mile
long north-south mountain range in the middle of Antarctica.
Page 1 also appears to show an aurora australis (the
southern hemisphere version of aurora borealis, or northern
lights) in the sky.
On page 4 we learn the ship that picks up MacReady is named the Misaki Maru,
a Japanese whaling vessel out of Okuska. "Misaki" is a type
of Japanese pony and "maru" (meaning "circle") is the
traditional suffix given to non-warships in Japan. Oksuska
is a small port in Japan. However, I'm not sure why a
whaling vessel would be so close to the Antarctic coastline
that they would spot one or two people on the shore.
When MacReady attempts to escape his sick bed on the ship,
he puts his clothes on and his shirt appears to have the
sewn-on tag "K.L. MacReady Lt. USN". USN stands for U.S.
Navy, and MacReady was depicted as a civilian at the base in
The Thing (as were the
other personnel). The director's commentary of the film
reveals that John Carpenter and Kurt Russell came up with a
back-story for MacReady that he was a Vietnam vet, so
possibly the shirt is an old one
he still wears
from time he spent in the Navy. However, his initials are given as "R.J." in
the film, not "K.L."
As MacReady makes his escape from the ship's sickbay, he
spies a helicopter tethered on the rear deck and, as a
pilot, happily mutters, "Luck of the Irish." This is likely
a reference to his Irish heritage, as "MacReady" is an Irish
MacReady identifies the helicopter as a Hughes 500. This is
a family of helicopters designed by Hughes Helicopters, now
McDonnell Douglas. The copter depicted does look similar
to the actual Hughes 500 silhouette. He also says he hasn't
seen one since Pensacola; this may be another reference
to a Navy past, as Pensacola is the home of Naval Air
Station Pensacola, where many Naval Aviators receive their
Escaping the ship in the helicopter, MacReady guesses he was
picked up near Marguerite Bay. This is an actual bay on the
Antarctic Peninsula. Since Childs had to guide him there, it
would indicate that Outpost 31 is not far from the bay. The
original script of
however, indicates the outpost is about 1,000 miles from the
coast, an impossible trek on foot.
And if Outpost 31 was located anywhere near Marguerite Bay,
there are plenty of research stations it could have
attempted to contact in the film, so why did they keep trying McMurdo which
is practically on the other side of the continent? On the
other hand, it is a bit odd to think
of Outpost 31 being located so far inland as the movie
script suggests since there are no real world
outposts set anywhere near that distance on the western
portion of the continent except for Amundsen-Scott Station
at the South Pole itself.
Here is a map of research stations on the Antarctic
continent; notice that in the western Antarctic, the
stations are positioned near the coast. Even though Outpost
31 is a fictional station, it seems logical to assume it
would share most of the characteristics of real ones. So it
becomes a real toss-up which location on the continent to
accept as the location of Outpost 31.
On page 10, MacReady mentions Palmer Station. This is a real
world research station located on a small island not too far
Panel 4 of page 10 shows a portion of the sign posted
outside of Outpost 31, seen in the movie, referring to it as
United States National Science
Institute Station 4.
On page 11, MacReady discovers Nauls'
frozen body in a state of transformation as a Thing at the
ruins of Outpost 31.
On page 13, MacReady discovers the Blair-Thing's frozen
body, apparently not entirely incinerated in the explosion
at the end of
On page 14, a third frozen Thing body is found by MacReady.
Who was it? The body is not identified in the story. It
seems only Garry would be left (his fate was left unrevealed
after being dragged off by Blair-Thing near the end of
On page 16, a U.S. Navy SEAL team captures MacReady at
Outpost 31. Navy SEALs are an elite military group trained
for special missions and unique environments. SEAL stands for Sea, Air and Land.
On page 17, the SEAL team leader, Commander Erskine, tells
MacReady that SOUTHCOM lost communication with Outpost 31
three days ago. But in the
The Thing, the outpost
was out of communication for about 6 days (first due to the
weather and then due to Blair's sabotage). SOUTHCOM is
United States Southern Command, which provides U.S. military
planning and operations for the Caribbean and Central and
South America; possibly that range could be construed to
extend to Antarctica as well in an emergency.
also remarks that a C-130 out of McMurdo spotted Outpost 31
on fire. C-130 is a reference to a C-130 Hercules military
transport aircraft, designed in 1954 and still in use by the
U.S. military today.
The SEAL team refers to the burned bodies (apparently 5)
found at Outpost 31 as KIAs; this stands for Killed in
Action. Possibly we can excuse the presence of Nauls' and
Blair's and maybe Garry's bodies as still being somewhat
intact after the fire and explosions gutted the outpost, but
who are the other two bodies? The infected bodies were
deliberately incinerated completely by the non-infected
members of the outpost in
Possibly these two bodies could be Clark (shot by MacReady) and
Copper (killed by the Norris-Thing on the surgical table),
neither of whom seem to have been infected according to the
film (though "The Things"
states that Copper was infected, but not yet completely
assimilated, and Clark's body was later consumed by the
Blair-Thing for additional energy and biomass).
to check the Norwegian camp at Dronning Maud.
Dronning Maud Land is a large expanse of Antarctica claimed
by Norway. The problem is, it's thousands of miles away from
Marguerite Bay, so how could the men of Outpost 31 have
reached it, let alone the dog have made it to the U.S.
The Thing if Outpost 31 is close to Marguerite Bay as implied
in this story?
On page 19,
Commander Erskine says, "Let's get back to the L.Z." This
stands for "Landing Zone".
Also on page 19, one of the SEAL team members remarks, "Now
comes Miller Time." "Miller Time" is a catchphrase used in
advertising by the Miller Brewing Company for Miller Beer.
It refers to the time when your hard work is done and now
you can relax and have fun.
According to this story, the Thing's cells can infect a
person through clothing; it apparently infected Pybus
through his gloved hand. The transformation also seems to
occur very quickly afterward. Both suppositions seem to
conflict with how the Thing was depicted in the film.
After the infected Pybus shoots up the SEAL team and causes
the helicopter to crash,
Commander Erskine tells MacReady that sat comm is history.
"Sat comm" is a reference to satellite communication.
On page 26,
Commander Erskine says there is an Argentine research
station just 30 klicks from the landing zone. A klick is
military slang for "kilometer". Since the landing zone is
shown to be within easy walking distance of Outpost 31,
that means the Argentine station is only about 30 kilometers
from there as well! Again, the outpost could have called the
Argentines during the storm in
The Thing instead of
relying on trying to reach McMurdo.
On the last page of the issue, one of the passengers of the
snowcat says, "Que paso?" This is Spanish for "What is
wrong?", though it would usually be phrased "Que pasa?"
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