|MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE No. 5, September 1974|
Despite Benjamin Grimm’s ‘team-up’ with the (original) Guardians of the Galaxy not actually taking place until two-thirds of the way through this Bronze Age comic’s narrative, Issue Five of “Marvel Two-In-One” is still absolutely packed full of wonderfully ‘over the top’ fist-fights and corny Seventies dialogue as The Thing, Captain America and “the woman he loves” Agent 13, face a seemingly endless supply of Steve Gerber’s wickedly unimaginatively named Zoms and “Earth’s new masters: The reptilian conquerors called the Brotherhood of Badoon”.
Indeed in many ways it is actually somewhat frustrating that Major Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Yondu and Martinex make an appearance in this story at all, as their ‘timely’ arrival upon an alien-infested world, also sadly ushers in a bizarrely abrupt climax to what was up until the superheroes’ brief attack against Lord Drang’s palace, a genuinely enjoyable read. Just why the Eagle Award-winner would try and encapsulate a citywide ‘revolution’ against the planet’s extraterrestrial masters within the space of just two pages is unclear. But having spent a considerable portion of the periodical depicting the “heroes of old Earth” clobberin’ the likes of Commander Ogg and his ray-rifle carrying lizardmen, it seems dissatisfyingly odd that the creator of “Howard the Duck” would then shoehorn in both the defeat of the metropolis’ green scaly “lordsire” and the departure of “three weary chrononauts” back “into the past” within the space of six small panels.
Mild disappointment at this book’s brevity aside however, Gerber’s writing proves to be remarkably entertaining, and even includes a somewhat inventive ‘recap’ for any new readers by having Captain America explain the events which lead up to “Seven Against The Empire!” via a memory probe’s vocal stimulator. The Missouri-born writer even manages to conjure up a remarkable rematch between “the orange-skinned one” and the “Monster of Badoon” by having Grimm triumphantly batter “ugly” senseless with the help of the “last survivor of Earth’s Jupiter colony.”
Sal Buscema’s artwork is equally as solid, and whilst the New Yorker predominantly relies upon the standard six-panelled sheet for the majority of his illustrations, that doesn’t stop him drawing some genuinely memorable moments, most notably that of Ben hurling a futuristic car into a horde of Zoms and Badoon, and the single splash of the planet’s resistance movement storming Drang’s fortified stronghold.
|Writer: Steve Gerber, Artist: Sal Buscema and Inker: Mike Esposito|