Posted - November 26, 2015

Previous: Marvel Two-In-One 24 to 26: Goliath, Iron Fist, Nick Fury

The Thing Marvel Two-In-One 27 to 29:
Deathlok, Submariner, Shang-Chi

Marvel Two-In-One 27 Marvel Two-In-One 28 Marvel Two-In-One 29

When last we saw Nick Fury and Benjamin J. Grimm they were in a confrontation with the telepath Mentallo and the villainous innovator, the Fixer. The location: The Baxter Building. Home of the Fantastic Four and current location of Doctor Doom's fabled Temporal Platform - the same time machine which the Fixer used to summon Deathlok the Demolisher.

Deathlok the Demolisher

Marvel's Deathlok is the precursor to DC's Cyborg. Albeit a morbid version of the latter. Deathlok is actually a cyborg-zombie, the organic part having died before being revived and fused to the robotic part.

The Fixer's ability to "make anything from anything" is a ability that a writer can do all sorts of things with. Ever since the previous story and into this one the Fixer has been used like a "Puppet Master lite" - able to deploy gadgets that enslave others to the Fixer's will. The latest victim for the Fixer is the hapless Deathlok - here being spirited away by both the Fixer and Mentallo.

Deathlok, Mentallo and the Fixer escape from the Baxter Building

At this point, we get some trivia to complete our story. From the last story, Mentallo and the Fixer have been hounding the Thing - their goal: to use Ben to get access to the Baxter Building for some unknown reason. Unknown until now that is. Their goal was Deathlok all along - a futuristic and seemingly unstoppable "living weapon" that these two villains plan to sell to the highest bidder. Highest bidder candidates being the Maggia, Hydra, and all the other shadow organizations of the Marvel universe.

Another interesting bit is how these two found out about Deathlok and Doc Doom's Time Machine in the first place. Remember this little scene from the Thing's Spider-Man adventure ?

Spider-Man standing below Doctor Doom's Time Machine

It turns out that Mentallo was within "thought scanning" range at the time and managed to "hack" Peter Parker's brain for information. For more on what both Mentallo and the Fixer can do you might want to check out my last post.

Of course, if the Fixer and Mentallo are going to put Deathlok "on offer" at the astronomic price they're both thinking of, a demonstration is in order: The assassination of an American President during his inauguration. That will do it, alright, but it will be up to the FF and Nick Fury to put a stop to this insanity.

The story moves from New York to Washington with the environs of the White House as a backdrop. The best panel shows a beautiful White House hall with the FF and Nick Fury.

The Fantastic Four and Nick Fury in the White House

Considering that Nick is such a G-Man, he looks so right standing there in the White House.

Before long, the inaguaration is underway. Deathlok has been given very specific instructions for the assassination which he must follow to the letter. And there we have something that Deathlok - who is a hero - can work on, as you can see here:

Deathlok trying the direct approach to get himself stopped

Here, the mind-controlled Deathlok pretty much orders the Thing to take him down.

Deathlok tells the Thing to stop him

What is that? You say? The President has already been shot? Nah. Somebody's been shot, but it's not the present it's this guy.

The Impossible Man disguised as President Carter

Kill the Impossible Man? Impossible!

The story gives us an idea of just how tough Deathlok is. If you needed yourself to be stopped, and the Thing has already been pummeling you multiple times do you need to ask for more? Of course not, but evidently, that is not the case for Deathlok who needs Ben to try harder.

Deathlok lets the Thing hit him to prevent the assasination of the President

Deathlok is doing his part by not fighting back. Now that's tough.

Ultimately, the FF and Nick Fury wrap things up and both Mentallo and the Fixer are taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Deathlok remains a problem though, because the combined know-how of S.H.I.E.L.D., Tony Stark and Reed Richards can't take the mind control thingy off his cerebral cortex. Ben, together with Alicia, are sent out to London to contact Dr. Kort, an expert that could help Deathlok.

So off the pair go on Reed's new "Sling" plane and they're both playing sweet with each other.

Ben and Alicia being sweet with each other on the way to London

B-O-R-I-N-G except for one recurring question as I read these panels: How do you do the 'thing' with the Thing? This is the biggest argument for letting Ben Grimm have some kind of switch to change from human to superhuman. Our poor Ben. Even the Hulk changes back to a fuckable alter ego every once in a while.

So the plane is skimming low over the water and look who happens to drop by.

The Submariner says hello to the Thing and Alicia part the first
The Submariner says hello to the Thing and Alicia part the second

If you're getting tired of Namor's Imperious Rex/Black Adam haughty-as-hell song and dance this will be a welcome issue. Namor is nice this issue, he's even nicer than Ben. Maybe it has to do with his recent circumstances. Namor has just escaped from being the pawn of Doctor Doom. The air of freedom is apparently making him giddy.

The last time we saw Namor in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One he followed his cousin Namorita to New York tracking the super-powered yet child-like alien Wundarr whom he left under the care of Ben Grimm. Ben has since surrendered "nanny rights" to Namorita. This was before the Submariner ran afoul of Doc Doom.

Well, so far this comic might as well be written by Jane Austen. First we have the sweet talk then this "dropping by for tea" sequence but Marvel does not forget itself for very long as suddenly the Submariner gets attacked.

Namor gets attacked by a Piranha man

I'm a bit amused that Ben's knee jerk reaction is to keep flying to London because what happens to Namor is really none of his business. But Alicia gets the better of him.

Alicia advises Ben to help Namor

So Ben decides to help out by putting the plane on automatic and diving after Namor. Then he reveals a very nice piece of Reed Richards' biotech.

The Thing uses Reed Richard's water breathing pill

Breathing pills! How wonderful! Look, we now have an amphibious tank to help the Submariner in his moment of need.

The Thing comes to the rescue of the Submariner

All's well that end's well then? Not quite. While our two heroes were underwater, Alicia has been abducted. More than that. our undersea adventurers have been set upon and captured.

The Thing and the Submariner are set upon and overwhelmed by the Piranha men

Who are these villains anyway?

Some time ago Namor fought someone called the Piranha, a being that could control entire shoals of the predatory fish he was named after. In a grisly turn, Namor was able to defeat him and in the aftermath, the Piranha was consumed by his own creatures. This resulted in the piranha shoal evolving into men-fish. And here they are now.

The Thing and the Submariner prisoners of the Piranha men

Behaving in a manner seen only in the basest landborn thugs or most authoririan landborn kings, these Piranha men hold gladiatorial matches between creatures they capture, whom they will later consume. A kind of "playing with their food" perversion.

Today on the menu: Benjamin J. Grimm and Prince Namor of Atlantis.

As they are asked to fight each other for the life of Alicia, we come upon a pair of surprising panels.

The Thing and the Submariner start fighting

I told you Namor was nicer than Grimm in this story. The Submariner is the sensible one, suggesting a coordinated plan. Ben is the lunkhead, buying into the Piranhas' ploy. You know what it is? It's that lovey-dovey bullshit that happened at the beginning of the story. Ben just heard Alicia was in danger then his brain checked out of his head.

We have several pages of these two Marvel powerhouses pummeling each other.

The Thing vs The Submariner

Under the water, Namor's strength is at it's peak making him a match for the Thing. It's a deadlock until Ben finally listens to reason. That is to say he listens to Namor. They start "play punching" with an inordinate amount of blows landing on the structure of the gladiatorial arena itself, weakening it, until . . .

The Thing takes down a wall and the Submariner rescues Alicia

I really like the two panels above. Ben and Namor assign roles to themselves to both defeat their foes and escape with Alicia. Ben gets the "strength role", like a modern day Samson he brings the entire structure crashing down on the Piranhas. The Submariner gets to play the "speed role", taking Alicia out of harm's way before the carnage begins. By the way, looking at Alicia, it's amusing that an upside down goldfish bowl takes care of the problem of withstanding the ocean pressure and breathing underwater.

And with that, Ben and Alicia can resume their interrupted journey to London.

The next story being in London, it is full of location panels. Alas, none of them are worthy of being shown. You can't just draw a famous landmark, you have to do the layout properly, pay attention to the details - lot's of wasted opportunities for location shots in this story.

It all starts very peacefully as Ben and Alicia play tourist.

The Thing and Alicia playing tourist in London

As you can see in the panel above, Ben is a celebrity whose arrival in the U.K. does not go unnoticed.

Ben and Alicia are here to see a Dr. Kort about Deathlok's condition, what they find is a house in shambles.

The Thing and Alicia come upon Dr. Kort's house in shambles

Alicia finds traces of blood on the floor and that sets her to screaming. Her cries has the Thing hurrying to her side but it also brings unexpected help.


He is Shang-Chi, the vaunted Master of Kung-Fu and he thinks Ben is a monster about to attack Alicia. This bears some explaining. How could Shang-Chi not recognize the world famous Thing, a member of the Fantastic Four? As we have seen, Ben was even in today's London newspapers. The answer is that Shang-Chi is a bit of a "hot house flower" - narrowly - and superbly - trained in the discipline of the martial arts to the exclusion of a lot of things, apparently including current events and world affairs. Ah, the price one pays for expertise.

So we are now mute witness to the travesty of a martial artist force to take on a cosmic-powered superhuman. As expected, Shang-Chi hits the Thing every which way to no avail. Then. . .

The Thing beats Shang-Chi to the ground and then Shang uses a judo move against Ben.

Ben has Shang-Chi on the ground but a little judo goes a long way to unbalancing the Thing.

Here, a furniture projectile is dodged with unerring swiftness.

The Thing throws a sofa at Shang-Chi while the Master of Kung-Fu dodges

Maybe it is Shang-Chi's power of observation, as he says, or maybe it is the realization that he cannot possibly win a fight with the Thing. In any case, Shang calls an end to it.

Shang-Chi calls an end to the fighting

From here on end it is an alliance and the pair confront the abductors of Dr. Kort:

Shang-Chi and the Thing confronted by Hydra


Basically, Shang-Chi and the Thing come up against a small army of costumed men with sidearms - not a problem for these two They defeat Hydra and hie off with the doctor to see to Deathlok's condition. They leave behind a Hydra base in shambles and a question: What did Hydra want with Dr. Kort in the first place? The answer is this.

Hydra's precious serum

What is that? A serum. An essential component to create what is intended to be the first in series of Hydra super soldiers. And who might this prototype Hydra soldier be you ask? Take a look:

The creation of Spider-Woman by Hydra

The last panel in the story and it's a mindblower: the introduction of Jessica Drew. Spider-Woman would start with some fanfare in her own series - not very successful really. She would hang around in the Marvel universe through the 80s and break out as a major Avenger in the 2000s. And here is where it all began!

And that is our Marvel Two-In-One three-in-one

Next: Marvel Two In-One 30 to 32: Spider-Woman, Alicia, Invisible Woman