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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
at popapostle-dot-com
"The Thing from Another World" Part 2
The Thing from Another World #2 (Dark Horse)
Script by Chuck Pfarrer
Art by John Higgins
Cover by John Higgins

 

 

The survivors (and the Thing) make their way to the Argentine camp in Antarctica.

 

Story Summary

 

The Argentine commander, Colonel Palomo, takes MacReady, Erskine, and the wounded SEAL to the Argentine research station, Campo del Sur. He insists on giving the newcomers blood tests, as demonstrated to them by Childs, to determine if any of them are Things. Childs takes the test first to prove he's still clean and then MacReady passes. The wounded SEAL then suddenly Things-out and manages to escape out into the freezing environment. The newcomers and some of the Argentines give chase in a snowcat into the night hours and finally manage to blow up the creature with a thermite charge.

 

Upon their return, Colonel Palomo allows Commander Erskine to use the radio room. Meanwhile, MacReady realizes that the wounded SEAL had Thinged-out on them before his blood had even been tested. The chase interrupted the tests such that Erskine was never tested. He tells Childs his concerns and they go to the radio room to investigate, only to find all the men in the room dead and the equipment smashed. They also find a copy of Erskine's outgoing message which suggests he is awaiting Navy extraction at nearby coordinates.

 

MacReady and Childs race out to the vehicle yard, to find most of them sabotaged as well. But they manage to find a snowmobile intact and head out into the night. They soon spot Erskine and gunfire is exchanged between them, injuring Erskine, who then begins to Thing-out. Suddenly, a U.S. Navy submarine crashes up through the ice. From inside, the hatch on the conning tower is opened, and Erskine makes his move, killing officers and other personnel as he clambers inside the vessel.

 

MacReady and Childs also clamber aboard just before the sub begins to dive with the hatch still open. Water flows in, electrical equipment is shorted out and, as the sub floods, it crashes onto a cliff ledge in the sea, crippled. The Thing has fled into the forward section of the ship, possibly intent on using the sub's escape trunk to reach the surface.

 

Only nine men remain alive after the flooding and they decide to make for the escape trunk in the forward torpedo room as well. They arrive there, but are ambushed by the Thing. In the chaos MacReady and Childs argue about whether they should escape in the capsule or just blow the hatch and drown, taking the Thing with them. Childs unilaterally decides to blow the hatch and he pulls the lever.

 

MacReady finds himself in the ocean depths and his body rises to the surface of the ocean alive, where he clambers up onto a chunk of floating ice and passes out.

 

CONTINUED IN THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD: CLIMATE OF FEAR #1

 

Didja Notice?

 

On page 3, MacReady refers to Lt. Commander Erskine and the SEAL team as "Superman and his friends". This is probably because the SEAL team came dropping out of the sky (on parachutes) when they captured him. Superman, of course, is a flying superhero character appearing in titles published by DC Comics.

 

The Argentine research station is called Campo del Sur. This is Spanish for South Camp. This is a fictional Antarctic camp created for the story.

 

MacReady seems surprised at the large size of Campo del Sur. If it is as close to U.S. Outpost 31 as claimed in "The Thing from Another World" Part 1 (30 kilometers), he should already know all about it.

 

From the view on the ridge, looking down on Camp del Sur on page 4, there even appears to be a chapel.

 

On page 5, panel 1, it appears there is at least one child and his parents at Campo del Sur.

 

On page 6, Childs passes the blood test, proving him human. This, of course, goes against the idea that he is actually a Thing as depicted in "The Things" (which was written almost 20 years later, however).

 

Also on page 6, the Argentine base commander, Colonel Palomo, refers to MacReady as Lieutenant, likely referring to his Navy shirt as seen in "The Thing from Another World" Part 1.

 

Somehow, as seen on page 8, another of the SEAL team members also became infected, though this seems impossible since no one besides Pybus even touched one of the Thing bodies (in "The Thing from Another World" Part 1). Later, on page 17, we learn that Commander Erskine is also infected without explanation.

 

On page 8, one of the Argentines says, "Madre de Dios!" as the injured SEAL team member reacts to his negative blood test. This is Spanish for "Mother of God!"

 

Apparently the hole in the ice Childs falls into on page 12 just happens to be the hole the Thing has chosen to hide in for the night; it comes up from below him to attack.

 

On page 16, Childs makes a reference to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph, of course, is one of Santa Claus' reindeer from a children's book by Robert L. May, first published in 1939.

 

Erskine's message on page 17, requesting extraction by the Navy, relates grid reference 23028403. Most of the time grid numbers of locations on the globe would be presented in degrees of latitude and longitude, so possibly this number represents 84.03 degrees S latitude and 23.02 degrees S longitude, which would place the point in the western portion of Antarctica. However, if these are the true coordinates of the extraction point, a ship could not reach it (as Childs points out), but neither could a submarine, despite MacReady's claim that it could. That far inland on the continent is solid land and ice, not merely a layer of ice over the ocean.

 

Also on page 17, MacReady tells Childs that D-4-N is a Navy unit designation for a warship. I've been unable to confirm if this is a standard designation used by the U.S. Navy, but seeing as how writer Chuck Pfarrer is a former Navy SEAL, it's probably accurate.

 

On pages 17-18, we see that Erskine has sabotaged the radio room and many of the vehicles at the Argentine base, just as Blair had done at Outpost 31 in The Thing.

 

On page 28, MacReady, Childs, and the surviving members of the submarine crew make their way to the escape trunk. The escape trunk is the naval term for a capsule designed to help submarine crew members escape from a downed sub.

 

On pages 30-31, MacReady is ejected from the sub when Childs blows the hatch to kill the Thing (and everyone aboard). But MacReady's body rises to the surface of the ocean alive, where he clambers up onto a chunk of floating ice and passes out. But how did the sub get to an open-water portion of the ocean? The sub had just cracked through a layer of ice to reach the surface and pick up Commander Erskine and was immediately sunk by the calamitous actions of the Erskine-Thing; so there should be no open water nearby! Besides that, wouldn't MacReady be severely effected by the bends (decompression sickness) by his rapid ascent from the depths of the ocean to the surface? Possibly the sub did not sink far before coming to rest on the cliff ledge, protecting MacReady from significant pressurization issues. 

 

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