|MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE No. 29, July 1977|
One of Marv Wolfman’s earliest issues as writer for “Marvel Two-In-One”, “Two Against Hydra” disappointingly demonstrates just how badly manufactured the two-time Jack Kirby Award-winner’s narratives could be during the Bronze Age of Comics. For whilst Benjamin Grimm and his girlfriend Alicia Masters vacation to London England isn't overly contrived, even if it includes them having to finish “Reed’s mission… [to] dig up Doctor Louis Kort…[and] get ‘im ta fix up Deathlok ‘fore corpse-face dies!” The Brooklyn-born author’s attempt to explain Shang Chi’s presence within this tome by co-incidentally just happening to be gloomily cogitating outside an address within which the blind sculptress screams as she unluckily slips “to the floor” and ‘felt something horrible there’ is positively preposterous.
Indeed the entire ludicrous situation was clearly penned simply to ‘force’ “Davy Carridine’s stand-in” to mistake “the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed idol o’millions” as a threatening monster and subsequently tackle The Thing in one of the most out-matched confrontations of the former MI-6 employee's career. Certainly it is increasingly incredulous to believe that the Master of Kung Fu somehow bests the super-strong rocky human mutate for a staggering fourteen panels until “Skinny” realises “you are not the enemy I thought you to be.”
Fortunately the second half of this seventeen-page periodical provides far more entertainment once the heroes discover the hidden entrance to Hydra’s experimental laboratory beneath “a small, almost disused restaurant catering the most uninspired Italian food one can imagine” located on the Victoria Embankment, and the two protagonists find themselves waist-deep in armed green-garbed goons; “You are our prisoners, fools. Prisoners of immortal Hydra!” In fact a good deal of Wolfman’s former poor scripting can quite easily be forgiven as he depicts Shang Chi at the height of his martial art powers, karate-chopping the “costumed ones… [with] no inner strength” all over the place and ensuring Doctor Kort’s retreat courtesy of “the sting of my nunchaka!”
Disconcertingly however artist Ron Wilson also seems to take the best part of this publication to warm to the son of Fu Manchu. There’s little doubt that the American illustrator can draw an incredibly expressive Thing, as his wonderful pencilling of a thoughtful-faced Grimm feeding the tame pigeons at Trafalgar Square ably demonstrates. But when it comes to the facial expressions of the wushu-styled warrior, his work for the most part appears flat, awkwardly angular and inauspiciously amateurish.
|Writer/Editor: Marv Wolfman, Pencils: Ron Wilson, and Inks: Sam Grainger|