BHOC: MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #44

I was continuing to buy MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE every month due to my love for the Thing as a character, but there was no way of avoiding the feeling that the series was at something of a nadir. With the departure of writer/editor Marv Wolfman, a rotating team of creators had ben crafting stories that weren’t especially polished, nor of any real consequence. Partly, this was due to the series being incredibly late on the schedule, forcing new incoming editor Roger Stern to just throw bodies at it for a while until he could get things back under control. There was never a point during this time when I really considered not buying MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, but that’s really only because my attachment to the Fantastic Four was so strong.

Speaking of Marv Wolfman, he was back in the writer/editor chair for this one issue. This was a story that he’d commissioned as a potential fill-in during his time on the series, and which was finally called into use by the uncredited Stern. So it was very much a lightweight bottle story. The artwork was contributed by Bob Hall, a student of John Buscema’s who had begun to pick up assignments in this time period, with inks by Frank Giacoia, who was no doubt the reason it took so long to complete this fill-in job, as he was an excellent inker but brutal on deadlines.

The story’s a bit of a lightweight confection, which is framed by a present day sequence in which Ben Grimm has somehow been talked into spending a day visiting Camp Run-A-Mok and supervising its rowdy kids. In order to keep them in line when brute force won’t work, Ben instead decides to tell them about one of his recent adventures. His story opens with the Thing trying to chill at home but being annoyed as usual by the Human Torch. Heading out onto the streets, Ben finds himself picked up by Hercules, the Prince of Power, who says he needs the Thing’s help. I can’t recall the two having met before, but Hercules acts as though they have, and he gives a half-hearted answer for why he hasn’t sought out Thor or the Champions instead. The answer, of course, is that this is MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE.

Herc tells the Thing that upon his recent return to his home in Olympus, he found the place wrecked by giants. Hercules figures that his father Zeus must have been captured by the attackers, and he wants the Thing to help him mount an assault on their land. This all seems sketchy to me, but Ben heartily agrees–he doesn’t have much else going on this evening. The pair makes their way into the castle of the first giant, battling a gigantic winged serpent and the Crimson Tiger of the titans in order to gain access–which gives us a bit of action since matters have been relatively quiet up to this point.

Finally making it inside the castle, Her and the Thing are accosted by its owner, the bull-headed Y’Androgg. But despite the fact that their foe is a colossus compared to their size, through teamwork the Thing and Hercules manage to defeat him. Y’Androgg reveals that Zeus has been imprisoned in the Tower of the Sun, which is the pair’s next stop. As the Thing tells this story, the Run-A-Mok kids are by turns skeptical of what he’s saying but clearly invested in the story he’s telling, in the manner of Fred Savage in The Princess Bride (though this predates that film.)

The Tower of the Sun, true to its name, is a blazing inferno, but that doesn’t seem to bother Hercules or the Thing much. Entering the Tower, they find Zeus strapped to a pillar, and swiftly move to get him down. But the Tower is also the home of another gigantic creature, the goat-headed Manduu the Merciless. Zeus isn’t much help in this fight for all of his fabled power, but together the Thing and Hercules are able to bum’s rush Manduu into a bottomless fiery pit, writing an end to his menace. But Zeus tells the pair that there’s still one more foe that much be vanquished before this adventure can draw to a close.

That last critter is Krokarr the Cruel, a griffin-like beast who lives among water. In this instance, as pages are growing slim, Zeus simply freezes Krokarr solid, and that’s the end of the tale. The kids are suitably entertained and impressed, and they ask the Thing to return in the future and tell them more stories, and that’s where the issue ends. For me, a few more issues like this one and I suspect that I might have dropped MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE. Part of that was that the Olympian Gods bored me. Frankly, I wasn’t all that keen on the Asgardian Gods either, but at least Thor looked like a super hero. Herc and his brethren didn’t really appeal to me, and this sort of fantasy story wasn’t what I wanted out of my Fantastic Four content. So this one was a miss for me.

One thought on “BHOC: MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #44

  1. When I think of good Two In One, I think Gerber or Gru-Mac. I was pretty much throwaway fluff othrewise. A genuine like for Ben Grimm and the fact I bought everything is the only thing that kept me going. When it was replaced by the Thing serries I dropped it like a hot potato due to disliking the art and writing so much.

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