Posted - November 13, 2015

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The Thing Marvel Two-In-One 10 to 12:
Black Widow, Golem, Iron Man

Marvel Two-In-One 10 Marvel Two-In-One 11 Marvel Two-In-One 12

What is the Thing's greatest power? If you said 'super strength' that is incorrect. Near invulnerability? Nope. The Thing's greatest power is persistence. He simply WILL NOT give up.

How about the Black Widow, what's her greatest asset? I mean power. Yah, what's her greatest power? She's an amazing spy. That's right. What's that mean exactly? That means stealth plus smarts.

We're in for a treat in this next story because this next adventure will showcase these two heroes at their best.

It all starts on a perfect afternoon in New York's Central Park which quickly devolves into a car chase and shootout that has both Natasha and Ben conked out and captured and brought to this sea base.

The Sword of Judgment's sea base

They have been captured by a group called The Sword of Judgement. Apparently a very rich and tech-savvy group to have been able to build the base and this:

The Sword of Judgment's atomic bomb

Purportedly the world's most powerful atomic bomb. The group plans to place the bomb under the ocean like so:

Placement of an atomic bomb in the ocean to create a tsunami

They will then detonate the bomb and cause a cataclysmic tsunami that will theoretically destroy the world. The Sword of Judgment is a group extremely dissatisfied with the global status quo. In a bit of a hilarious turn, the group reveals no plans of how they will be able to escape the cataclysm they are set to unleash.

Thankfully, our two heroes rush into action as the bomb is placed under the ocean. There is no team-up here. Ben will focus on the bomb while Natasha will have to fight everybody else, keeping them off Ben while the Thing does job one. We'll take a look at both heroes in turn. But first both will have to escape the prison they've been placed in. As you can see here, it's not a straightforward task.

The Thing tries to break out of an electrified cell

Ben can't do it so Natasha does the only thing she can - she takes her clothes off. No kidding.

The Black Widow undresses

So Natasha has a neat little something under her clothes (not that). And it allows the Thing to bust them out.

The Thing busting out of a holding cell

Okay. Thing handles the bomb. Black Widow handles the goons. Ladies first . . .

The Black Widow is a spy. Stealth + smarts. First demonstration: evasion.

The Black Widow evades attackers

Setting traps.

The Black Widow activates a trap


The Black Widow busts some pipes to stop attackers

Page after page of Natasha going at it alone and handling everything thrown at her. If you were in doubt about the Black Widow before this story should make you a believer.

Now to Ben. The Thing is all about persistence. He comes upon the bomb as it is being lowered into the depths. The Thing grabs the cable to stop the descent.

The Things hand's are getting burned from holding a sliding cable

It is not an easy task even through the Thing's rock hard skin the friction is painful but he stays with it. Next, he must manually reel in the bomb with his prodigious strength, meter after arduous meter.

Nothing can erode willpower more than an difficult task that needs countless repetition. As the Black Widow runs interference the Thing fights his own battle.

The Thing struggles with pulling miles of cable attached to a bomb

Bulldog tenacity, that's what the Thing is about.

The legendary tenacity of the Thing

Ben eventually does it. The story culminates with a showdown with the leader of the Sword of Judgment. The Widow is forced to take the direct approach

The Black Widow takes on opposition in a direct manner

Although a formidable hand to hand combatant, the direct approach is not a particular strength of the Black Widow.

The Black Widow in a position of disadvantage

She's in dire need of some heavy artillery at this point. And here he comes now.

The Thing administers the coup de grace

I'm sure Ben felt really good dishing that out after all the cable pulling.

I hope you liked seeing the Thing's incredible persistence and strength pay off because the next story will show us that even the Fantastic Four's powerhouse has limits.

Witness: The Golem

The Golem on a rampage

This should give you a better idea of the Golem's size compared to the Thing.

Size disparity between the Golem and the Thing

Who the heck is the Golem you ask? Why, he's the latest Marvel comicbook sensation at the time. Prominently featured in, let's see - Strange Tales, three issues so far. Oh come, now, don't be so surprised. Much like successful corporations, Marvel was wont to expand itself by acquisitions - something now most often done by Dynamite. At the time, Marvel also signed up Robert E. Howard's Conan and Bram Stoker's Dracula. Both to great success. Why not the Golem? The Golem isn't actually a licensed fictional creation like Conan or Dracula - the Golem is more like Thor. A character from lore. The story has it that a there is a branch of Judaism called the Kabbala. In this branch, a form of mystical creation was practiced - the creation of the Golem. There is an actual story of a Czech town where a practitioner, having been wronged, did create a golem on the second floor of the house. The monster then went about avenging its master. And now we have this golem story being reworked by Marvel. If the vaunted House of Ideas could make a smashing success by reworking the Norse legends and creating Thor why not this? Sadly, it was not to be, as Marvel's Golem would be fated to fade into obscurity. But we have a number of stories, including this one in Marvel Two-In-One to remember it by. And what a memory it will be, for look at this:

The Thing punches the Golem

The Thing is unable to affect the Golem with his punches! Sacrilege! There's more:

The Thing hits the Golem with a pole

Hitting the Golem with other stuff, including this heavy pole, also ineffective.

As for the Golem, it 'literally' swats the Thing around.

The Thing is swatted about by the Golem

If you're expecting our boy Benjamin J. Grimm to somehow get some kind of comeback against this stony colossus prepare to be disappointed. That's pretty much the way of it: the Thing can't beat the Golem in a straight on fight.

What happens involves the actions of a certain demon lord called Kabbala.

The demon lord Kabbala

Another conscripted name - remember Kaballah was the the name of the esoteric branch of Judaism that practised the creation of golems. Anyway, this demon lord has cut off the link between the Golem and certain humans that keep him in check. It is for the Thing to restore this link. In order to do so the Thing has to fight some demons, and fortunately, this is somethng that the power of the Thing can be effective against.

The Thing fighting off demons on a bridge

During all the fracas, the Golem displays a burning word on its forehead.

Words on the forehead of a Golem

Once again, taken from the traditional story. "Emeth" means truth. All these historical detail. Marvel needed a creative writer to rework the Golem into the Marvel universe effectively. They needed a Stan Lee. At around this time (mid-seventies), I understand that Lee was already California-based and laying the very early groundwork - in animation and film - for what we now know as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Link restored, the Golem once again becomes an immovable stone statue.

The Golem turns back to a statue

A bit of a pyrrhic victory for all concerned really - the Golem must have destroyed half the town, including enough material for the Thing to pile up and create an impromptu land bridge.

From old European lore it's time to turn to some tech. As in, Tony Stark. Yup, it's Thing a "somebody who can walk away from a crash". In the Marvel Universe, "tough pilot" spells out as Benjamin J. Grimm, the Thing. And so here's old Benjy, ready for takeoff.

The Thing in the cockpit of Tony Stark's experimental plane

I'm so used to Tony Stark being a genius of applied mechanics that I'm not prepared for what happens next: The plane doesn't fly at all. It falls off its launch tower into a subterranean cavern.

Experimental aircraft wreck in a cavern. The Thing breaking out of the wreck.

Thankfully, Tony was right in choosing the uber-tough Thing as a pilot.

With the maiden flight less than a roaring success and with both plane and pilot initially thought to be missing, Tony naturally changes into his alter ego.

Iron Man Mark II armor

The Mark II during it's heyday. Looking really good.

Underneath the Earth, both the Thing and Iron Man encounter a Marvel power object that forces both of them to kneel.

The Thing and Iron Man forced to kneel

It is called the Power Stone and here, it is being wielded by one called Prester John.

Prester John with the Power Stone

Prester John. Another name from the history books. Back in the day when Europe had only just gotten out of the Dark Ages, the world loomed large and mysterious, travel was both risky and slow, so there were plenty of stories about far off places that no one had ever gone to and no one ever would. One such story was of Prester John. Believed by the Christian world of that time to be a lone Christian king somewhere in the steppes of Asia - territories of the Mongols. Prester John, farthest and fabled outpost of an expanding religion. That's the history books. The Marvel universe places this Prester John in the Middle East and a remnant of the fabled Kingdom of Avalon. He's as crazy as they come, and, with the Power Stone under his control, very dangerous.

Having mastered both the Thing and Iron Man he leaves them alone in the cavern paralyzed in their kneeling position. Fortunately the paralysis can be broken by a well-aimed repulsor ray and a hard knock from stony hands. And with that it's time to deal with Prester John.

Thing and Iron Man attacking Prester John

Iron Man is repelled!

Iron Man is repulsed by Prester John

And so is the Thing.

The Thing gets a trouncing from Prester John

The principle is simple: As long as you don't succeed, keep trying. And. . .

Iron Man distracts Prester John with his repulsor ray while the Thing grabs the Power Stone

Repulsor rays distract long enough for a superhuman grab at the power stone. And for a superhuman arm to throw the blasted power object into the sky. Just imagine how far the Thing can throw something.

The Thing throws the Power Stone into the sky

The object does not go very far though. In the manner of all strange arcana it blinks off to who knows where.

The Thing, Iron Man, and Prester John look on as the Power Stone blinks out

And that, dear friends, is our Marvel Two-In-One three-in-one.

Next: Marvel Two In-One 13 to 15: Luke Cage, Son of Satan, Morbius