Saturday, 9 April 2016

Marvel Two-In-One #30 - Marvel Comics

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE No. 30, August 1977
Arguably little more than a vehicle to firmly establish then-publisher Stan Lee’s copyright to the name Spider-Woman, following the character’s “Marvel Spotlight” debut in February 1977, this rather inconsistent Marv Wolfman narrative is made all the more inaccessible by the Editor’s disconcertingly bizarre attempt to imbue all of his English locals with a stereotypical ‘Limey’ dialect that causes armed robbers to repeatedly refer to one another as “mate” and “lad” as they go about their nefarious business, and has London’s truncheon-armed “blinkin’ Bobbies” commenting “It’s like the ruddy Blitz all over again!” whenever an explosion occurs. Indeed the irritation caused by the American author’s obsession for his characters’ persistent (and inaccurate) verbalisation of “‘ave, ‘old and ‘ey!” is only bested throughout the seventeen-page periodical’s dialogue by his insistence on having every Policeman and Queen’s Guard yelling “bloody” profanities whenever trouble occurs.

Blade’s co-creator also seems to have tried to cram Issue Thirty of “Marvel Two-In-One” with as many coincidental contrivances as possible. The biggest being Ben Grimm just “‘appenin’” to hear a “muffled explosion” whilst nonchalantly passing Westminster Abbey “on his way back to his London hotel” and then subsequently literally bumping into the two self-same thieves responsible for the blast inside the Tower of London. Indeed The Thing’s early observation that “everywhere I go, problems!” Problems!” is a major understatement considering the numerous unlucky happenstances which befall the “ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Benjamin J.” within this magazine; “Y’Got that, Creepy?”

Quibbles as to Wolfman’s manufactured plot development and annoying clichéd colloquialisms aside, the biggest disappointment of the “Battle Atop Big Ben!” has to be the Shazam Award-winner’s ineffective use of Jessica Drew. For although the HYDRA agent features rather prominently throughout the adventure, Spider-Woman’s subjugation to the worldwide subversive organisation’s “superior hypnosis techniques” provides the colourfully-costumed “dame” with scant opportunity to display any sort of personality and instead disappointingly restricts “Web-Head’s sister” to such banal statements as “Impossible” My spider venom-blast didn’t stun you? But it could kill a raging rhinoceros” and “H-He’s stronger than they told me. I can’t destroy him… not yet. Better retreat… Return for further instructions.”

Fortunately John Buscema’s well-detailed breakdowns still helps make this Bronze Age “battle over London for the life of Alicia Masters!” a rather entertaining experience, courtesy of the Port Jefferson-born artist’s animated illustrations of the comic’s “orange monster” battling the brightly garbed, gracefully gliding anti-heroine, and the machinations of characterful criminals Chauncy and Trevor.
Writer/Editor: Marv Wolfman, Pencils: John Buscema, and Inks: Pablo Marcos

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