BHOC: MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #38

Bought this issue of MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE at my regular 7-11 on one of my weekly trips. I’m pretty certain that this is the first book I bought during tat three-month period where Marvel tried to get rid of the cover month–I’m not certain what the purpose of that exercise was. Anyway, as a newly-born Fantastic Four fan, TWO-IN-ONE had become required reading since it featured the Thing. This was the second of three parts, and I don’t really remember being annoyed that the guest-star was the same as last issue (though they had cheated a little bit and listed Daredevil as simply Matt Murdock on that cover.)

TWO-IN-ONE was also feeling more relevant as it had started reflecting the ongoing status quo in the main FANTASTIC FOUR series–which is to say, the FF had broken up once again, leaving the Thing on his own. Last month, we saw a mysterious mastermind manipulate events to get Bashful Benjy incarcerated. With that accomplished, let’s see what he’s up to.

Ben’s going a bit stir-crazy in lock-up, though he’s also harboring the typical amount of guilt from having gone berserk last issue. meanwhile, his lawyer Matt Murdock doesn’t have the evidence he needs in order to clear his client–so he becomes Daredevil to try to start shaking trees. And the first place he wants to start is with Alex Stone, who testified against Grimm at his hearing. DD’s own super-senses detected something odd with Stone’s heartbeat, something tat warrants a follow-up. So he tails Stone to a cop-shop where he has a quick dust-up with some disposable gangsters.

But Stone himself is another matter. When the sightless adventurer eventually smokes him out, Stone attacks him–and evidences strength far in excess of an ordinary human being. DD gives a good accounting of himself, but he’s eventually trounced by Stone, who sticks the Man Without Fear in a car and then drives it off a pier. But Daredevil is old hat at escaping from this sort of a predicament, and he’s able to kick out a window in the submerged vehicle and swim to safety.

Murdock makes his way back to the prison to tell Ben what Daredevil has found out about Stone, and this leads Grimm to take matters into his own hands and break out of jail. Murdock watches his escape and doesn’t interfere, rationalizing to himself that the Thing is innocent–like that’ll save his law license. Ben heads back to the chop shop and starts putting the squeeze on the one guy left over there for Stone’s location. Following the trail, he ends up in a super-scientific lab, and accosted by a bunch of killer robots.

But the Thing isn’t alone! In keeping with the apparent theme of the piece, Daredevil has followed him to this location, and he too gets attacked by a horde of robots. Individually, the two heroes contend with the opposition–and it must be stated that the powerful Thing fares better than his sightless ally. Ben tells Daredevil to vamoose and bring back help, but before that can happen. a voice rings out, revealing that Stone, the man the two heroes were trailing, was actually himself an android. Then, a powerful cage descends atop the Thing, trapping him.

This has all been the work of the Fantastic Four’s old foe the Mad Thinker. After is previous defeats, the Thinker has been looking for a way to account for the x-factor in his equations that always fouls him up, and he thinks he’s got it. According to his machines, Daredevil has the ability to forecast the missing x-factor that he needs. DD protests that he has no precognitive abilities, but the Thinker doesn’t believe him–and to coerce Daredevil into helping him, he begins to flood the chamber holding the Thing with a lethal gas. And that’s where this second chapter becomes To Be Continued!

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