The most important thing to know about this painting is that it isn't a painting. It's a doorway and behind this doorway is a demon trying to get out into our world. The scarecrow on the painting is actually a guardian keeping the demon in check.
And tonight is the night when the failsafes will fail. Fortunately, the Thing is on hand.
It all starts when this man gets possessed by whatever is behind the picture.
He is transformed into a fiery demon.
First casualty, the Thing's tuxedo.
Curiously, the tux is made from unstable molecules, same as Johnny Storm's uniform. It should not have burned off. It just shows that Ben is dealing with the supernatural here. I'm getting worried because the Thing is no good with supernatural threats. I remember his adventures in the ghost town called Lawless where the Thing was forced to take a backseat while others did the job. Is this going to be a repeat? Looks like it because the Thing's backup suddenly shows up.
Like familiar foes, the demon and the Scarecrow have at it.
Wait a minute, look at Ben. He's got this covered - literally.
Just when I thought the Thing had the victory.
What did I tell you? Supernatural. The Scarecrow takes over the fight.
Apparently, the town of Lawless is miles away and so should any notions suggesting that the Thing is no good against paranormal foes. Look at this.
And specially this.
The Thing beats the opposition but it is the Scarecrow that seals the doorway. I like this Scarecrow - he's got a good backstory. That "guardian" concept makes him out like one of Doctor Strange's cohorts - tasked with keeping our world safe from mystical attacks. An immediate problem with this Scarecrow is that DC already has one. Also, when Marvel's Scarecrow appears on the scene he is accompanied by eery laughter - much like the Creeper's laughter. Must be why the Scarecrow never really took off. I'm glad we have this story to remember him by.
Before we go, I'd like to run over something I've noticed about Ben Grimm in this story.
Alicia and Ben gets invited to an art gallery opening. Ben doesn't want to go but Alicia makes him. So here they are:
Everybody's dressed to the nines, and small talk is par for the course.
As you can see, Ben is gruff - borderline rude - Alicia is having to apologize for him more than once. To make it worse, Ben Grimm seems flustered enough to lose his coordination.
Him being the Thing, the hosts try to tell him about the seemingly supernatural Scarecrow. But Ben simply doesn't believe them to the point of walking away.
I don't buy this. Ben has had all sorts of adventures, from the supernatural to the cosmic. This should not only be believable for him but, well, normal. What is with this attitude? I think I know.
Going back to Ben's adventure with the Golem, before the fists started flying, there was an incident in a bus.
Here we are shown just how hard it is to be the Thing in a social setting. Ben the outcast. Ben the freak.
It explains everything.
Fast forward to this gathering, this glittering gallery party. And now we know that Ben isn't bothered by the Scarecrow story - until it explodes on his face, I would surmise, but before that it barely registers at all. Ben is saying the wrong things and behaving clumsily because, once again he is the freak on the bus, and the rock hard Thing isn't so dense that he can't help but dread being shunned by these normal looking, fashionably dressed people.
Who hasn't felt this way at one point or another? I know I have. That's one of the many reasons why I like the Thing, I feel like I'm him sometimes - now, if only I could get super-strength.