|MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE No. 36, February 1978|
Disappointingly a rather water-logged Benjamin Grimm sums up the quality of this seventeen-page nonsensical narrative by Editor Marv Wolfman in the book’s opening panel by exclaiming “Wotta revoltin’ development this is!” For “A Stretch In Time” not only concludes the Thing’s two-part prehistoric adventure with “Skull the Slayer and his band of time-lost travellers” but also appears to show the two-time Jack Kirby Award-winner’s writing at its most unimaginative.
Indeed the Brooklyn-born writer appears to be so uninspired by his own storyline that having extensively depicted the super-heroes outrunning an especially carnivorous Tyrannosaurus Rex in order to try and reach “the plane that brought us here” in the previous issue, he abruptly has them both find “the charred ruins of the Lockheed Hercules lying in a jungle plain” and unbelievably return "to Ben Grimm’s experimental jet” with "the batteries and parts they need” within the space of a single text box. Considering the group were last seen wearily dragging themselves ashore having fallen down “a blamed waterfall” following an encounter with some ludicrously fanged sauropods, it is inconceivable that the rest of their exploration of this antediluvian world was "uneventful". At the very least they must surely have encountered more of the primordial fauna…
Instead, less than halfway through the comic, Wolfman miraculously has “the anxious five” fly their hastily repaired “super-sonic jet… up into the scarlet skies” and immediately travel back through the Bermuda Triangle to modern-day Miami. Such woeful lazy insipid writing by the co-creator of Blade is both incomprehensible and unforgivable. Doubly so when it means that the Shazam Award-winner then has to populate the rest of the magazine with a tired, poorly thought out battle sequence between the Jaguar Priest and a semi-powerless Reed Richards; as Jeff shouts “I don’t believe it…”
Fortunately such a bland apathetic adventure is at least given some life due to the remarkable pencilling of Ernie Chan. The Filipino-American artist’s illustrations, especially his dynamic portrayal of Mister Fantastic and the “lumpy orange gorilla” battling a flock of giant-sized pterosaurs above Cape Canaveral, are as wonderfully vigorous and vibrant as his blending of flying lizard with space-flight technology is historically inaccurate.
|Writer/Editor: Marv Wolfman, Artist: Ernie Chan and Colorist: Michele Wolfman|