Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Marvel Two-In-One #4 - Marvel Comics

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE No. 4, July 1974
Sporting an incredibly dynamic and pulse-pounding cover of The Thing and ‘Sentinel of Liberty’ battling a horde of futuristic Zoms by Gil Kane and Joe Sinnott, “Doomsday 3014!” is sadly not “the most titanic team-up ever… in this, the Marvel Age of comics!” But Steve Gerber’s eighteen-page long narrative isn’t an especially bad one either. It’s simply a storyline which comes in two parts and disappointingly the first half is a rather lack-lustre low-brow affair as a particularly grim-faced “Unca Ben-Jee” takes the child-like super-powered Wundarr for an ill-conceived stroll through “Central Park Zoo on a sunny day in New York.”

Admittedly this sojourn into the domestic life of Benjamin Grimm provides plenty of humour and surreal comic book moments, such as the long-haired refugee from Dakkam innocently trying to show an escaped Lion his pretty pink balloon, or The Thing’s rocky hide being harmlessly “gnawed on” by the self-same king of the jungle. However there is little sense of peril to any of these shenanigans and even Captain America is inauspiciously utilised to accomplish nothing more than deal with a handful of “Hoods--taking advantage of the confusion… Looting the deserted concession stands!”

Fortunately the Eagle Award-winner’s writing significantly picks up pace once the mysterious Tarin is inadvertently transported back to ‘our time’ thanks to Ben accidentally activating Dr.Doom’s Time Machine; “Captured after F.F. #5 – Guess Who!” Such clunky lazy story-telling is undeniably a somewhat unsatisfactory way for Gerber to introduce a personality who would go on to become ‘President of Earth’ in the Nineties “Guardians Of The Galaxy” series. Yet the human mutate’s innocuous ‘bump’ into Victor’s time-travelling device does at least set up the motivation behind why the founding member of the Fantastic Four would accompany the “frail girl in a flashy future-suit” back to her time and “lend them Guardians a hand!”

In fact the subsequent four pages of almost non-stop action are the highlight of the magazine, and genuinely live up to the high expectations set by Kane’s aforementioned cover illustration. Possibly the red-suited blank-eyed Zoms aren’t the most impressive of villainous minions ever created by “Marvel Comics Group” during the Bronze Age of Comics, especially with their delicate looking horned headbands. But the quite ludicrously named “Monster of Badoon” proves a suitably impressive adversary for the ‘ever lovin’ blue-eyed Thing’, even if the green-skinned three-fingered behemoth does look as bad as its name sounds.

In addition this comic contains some wonderfully characterful artwork by Silvio “Sal” Buscema, an artist who is clearly capable of bestowing upon Ben Grimm’s typically stony unreadable face all manner of emotions. Indeed the inkwell Award-winner’s drawings of The Thing sending the Zoms flying with a swipe of a broken lamp-post or the super-strong hero’s battle with a giant gorilla are as energetic and ‘full of life’ as you could want a penciller to sketch.
Writer: Steve Gerber, Artist: Sal Buscema and Inker: Frank Giacoia

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