|MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE No. 42, August 1978|
Whilst the narrative to Issue Forty-Two of “Marvel Two-In-One” may not contain the most complicated of scenarios imaginable, comprising basically of a power-hungry scientist stealing the Cosmic Cube from the “New” Department of Energy’s Project Pegasus. It does still clearly demonstrate just how much writer Ralph Macchio loved comics. For whilst parts of the storyline are incomprehensible contrived nonsense, such as Victor Conrad somehow managing to infiltrate a “Top-Secret” facility or his magically ‘winking out’ “some thousand miles” back to the Everglades before his imminent capture, other parts, like The Thing’s action-packed fist-fight with Captain America and the touching, rather heart-rendering tenderness between “Unca Benjy” and the child-like powerhouse Wundarr, make “Entropy, Entropy” an enthralling read.
Much of this seventeen-page periodical’s appeal comes as a result of the New Yorker’s endearing characterisation of the orange-skinned “ex-test pilot”. Admittedly the American “Letterhack” begins this comic depicting the founding member of the Fantastic Four demonstrating his usual ‘punch first think later’ mentality by having the “Ever-Lovin’ Blue-eyed Thing” batter down a “six-inch titanium steel” door before trying to wallop “Wing-head” within an inch of his life. But just as soon as the misunderstanding is rectified and “Angel-ears” releases the Human mutate from “some kinda blasted force field”, Macchio takes great care in portraying Ben as an extremely compassionate, intelligent being, whose horror at the “high-handed” mistreatment of his one-time ward, is as upsetting to the reader as it is to “Wundarr’s guardian”; “C’mere kid. I know yer hurtin’ inside. Just lemme holdja a second - - It’ll go away.”
The former Executive Editor of “Marvel Comics” also manages to give “the ultimate answer to Nazi aggression” plenty of ‘screen time’ too, despite the arguable brevity of this comic. Indeed “the Super-Solider Supreme” is at his dynamic best within this book, both outfighting and outthinking an enraged Thing before tackling the sadistically evil saboteur Victorius and telling governmental workers to “stow it” when they attempt to hamper “Mister Grimm” from swiftly pursuing Wundarr’s assailant in a “silvery VTOL.”
Just as engaging as the storyline is this magazine’s illustrations, with artists Sal Buscema, Alfredo Alcala and Samuel Grainger all combining together to create some wonderfully animated panels; foremost of which has to be the double-splash of a heroic-looking “Flag-face", shield-arm outstretched, leaping towards an enraged Ben Grimm. In fact for such a sedentary story, with much of the publication’s plot simply involving the chair-bound “still quivering ever so slightly… man-child from the stars” being experimented upon, the artwork genuinely imbues Macchio’s writing with a real sense of action and tension.
|Writer: Ralph Macchio, and Artists: Sal Buscema, Alfredo Alcala and Samuel Grainger|