Posted - September 21, 2016

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

The Thing Marvel Two-In-One 33 to 35:
Modred, Nighthawk, Skull the Slayer

Marvel Two-In-One 33 Marvel Two-In-One 34 Marvel Two-In-One 35

Ben and Alicia are still in London and as the comicbook opens they are locked in a kiss, which, again, begs the question: How do these two do it without Ben killing Alicia? Thundra, that's the right gal for Ben. Now here's an interesting panel from Alicia.

Alicia wants to go to Stonehenge

Uh huh, it seems that Alicia really likes rocks. I take it back. Ben is perfect for her.

I should've known that Stonhenge wasn't just standing in the middle of nowhere. It's a tourist attraction as you can see below.

Stonehenge the tourist spot

Alicia gives us a nice capsule introduction to what makes Stonhenge so special.

And just like that, we are introduced to this tale's antagonists: Elementals!

Giant Elementals confront the Thing

Oh look, they're gigantic.

A giant fire elemental attacking the Thing

These elementals are a curious choice. The Fantastic Four itself can be looked on as representative of the four elements. Thing for Earth. The Torch for Fire. The Invisible Woman for Air. And malleable Mr. Fantastic for Water. We get treated to the two embodiments of Earth having a go at each other.

An earth elemental fighting the thing

This earth elemental, unfortunately known as Mud Brother, is quite powerful. Aside from being a giant he can also control the rocks and earth around him, a sort of bargain basement Terrax the Tamer.

The Elementals reveal Merlin as there principal. Quite a twist since Merlin is usually portrayed as a good guy. Elementals and wizards are a fit but looking at most fantasy lore, elementals are usually the province of Shamans.

Once again we get a wonderful panel showing how tough Ben is. Here he is withstanding rock projectiles from Mud Brother.

The Thing's tough hide widstands the impact of rocky projectiles

After that, Spider-Woman uses her venom blasts against the earth elemental.

Spider-Woman uses her venom blast against an earth elemental

Wait wha-? What is Spider-Woman doing here? She quite literally jumped into the story, claiming to have followed Ben and Alicia from London for some unfathomable reason. It is noteworthy that from the start - looking at these twenty-foot tall elementals - Jessica is convinced that she and Ben will lose out to these monsters. Chalk it up to her being a rookie. The Thing, on the other hand, mentions to Alicia that these guys are creampuffs compared to what he's used to taking on. All our problems are only a matter of perspective - and experience.

The world is upside down alright. Merlin is a bad guy and Modred is a hero. In old English lore, Modred, son of Arthur and Morgan Le Fey was a paricide.

Modred the Mystic

Dressed in the best medieval fashion, except the shoes, which is on loan from the Quakers.

With Modred's arrival the elementals really cut loose. Here's the one called Aero creating a tornado atop Stonhenge.

Modred the Mystic is buffeted by tornado winds atop Stonehenge

Quite a sight. Modred is being blown around like a leaf.

This panel has me thinking.

The Thing carrying Alicia inside a cavern

Ah Mr. Grimm, for those of us living in the real world we'd rather tackle an army of elementals than face the prospect of not being able to pay the rent. At least with the elementals you'll simply be dead. You'll still be alive many a miserable day after not making rent. Ah, I see I've cheered everybody up.

Look at this crazy statement from Jessica.

Spider-Woman buffeted by doubts about what she is

This self-doubt is central to the early persona of Spider-Woman and is one of the things that will be resolved in this story.

After all is said and done, Modred takes the form of a deus ex machina that resolves things on several levels. First, Modred defeats the Elementals (sadly, Merlin never makes an apperance). Next, he uses his mystical powers to ascertain that Jessica Drew is human and notg an insect and restores her lost memories. Next, she makes Alicia forget her horrific experience in London.

The next story opens with a beautiful splash page of Nighthawk.

Nighthawk flying over London

Nighthawk reveals that he dons his costume to escape from being an heir of a vast fortune - which he suspects himself of being more than capable of losing through an act of incompetence. Wow, how plausible, I won't be surprised if there are actual heirs who feel like this.

The tale takes several threads and weaves them together. First there is Dr. Kort and Deathlok from past stories. Then the aforementioned Kyle Richmnond. And of course - Ben, who, by the way, is still in England. The British arm of Kyle Richmond's company has found, for want of better words, a 'thing in the ice' - something gigantic. They contact Doctor Kort to help them with this mystery. The Doctor, having turned over a revived Deathlok to Nick Fury, takes Ben in tow. Eventually the thing in the ice stands revealed.

An alien from the ice

In a unique turn, the monster (or what seems to be a monster) doesn't lash out physically. It emits smoke form its mouth that knocks everybody out.

An alien breathes smoke and knocks out everyone else

A jaunt through the English countryside reveals that this monster - as I suspected - isn't really a "monster".

An alien reveals its kind heart

Ha look at this.

The Thing and Nighthawk

Kyle Richmond nonchalantly reveals his identity to Ben Grimm.

So we have an vicious-looking alien who looks savage but is actually civilized and friendly (the smoke from it's mouth, it turns out, is a characteristic "greeting"). This "monster" is judged solely by it's looks and is being hunted by two men with rifles on one hand and by Thing and Nighhawk on the other hand. The two men are out to kill it while Ben and Kyle, no strangers to the weird set, are withholding judgement. With bated breath, let's see who finds the alien first. By the way, this creature came from Siberia in 1908. What happned during that time? Huge meteor impact - flattened the surrounding forest for miles. Turns out it wasn't a meteor after all but a ship.

Both groups find the "monster" at the same time. Thank God Ben is on hand to prevent any mishaps.

The Thing prevents a trigger happy shooter from harming a friendly alien

Great monster comment. Every racist should become the same race that they're harping on. Every bully should experience being bullied. If only, if only, it would be a better world. The monstrous and frightening Thing is hunting a monster, the empathy is automatic and the decisions are correct - backed up by ninety tons of lifting power; always handy.

It's heartbreaking really. A nearby house is engulfed by fire. Both Ben, Kyle and the "monster" go into full rescue mode. The best panel is a nighthawk rescue panel.

Nighthawk rescuing children from a burning house

It is Ben who ultimately douses the fire by using a huge church bell filled with water. Consider that the Thing had to lift a massive metal bell for some distance, scoop up a huge amount of water from a river and throw that water many feet into the air. This is an incredible feat of strength.

The Thing douses a house fire using a church bell full of water

But not before the "monster" is shot by some foolish people while rescuing children.

These two panels give us the tragic end of the tale

Nighthawk angrily denounces a murder

Ernie Chan does the art for the next story with his signature textured line art.

Once again the Thing gets tapped to fly an experimental plane but there's an additional risk to the flight: The Thing must use the plane to explore a recent incident of missing craft in the Bermuda Triangle. The Bermuda triangle is an area north of the Caribbean that has had an inordinate amount of missing ships and planes mixed in with a lot of weird occurrences and experiences. Lately though it has been fairly quiet - the aliens must have left already after they realized the insanity of collecting all the Earth junk.

Shortly after Ben arrives in the area, the story doesn't waste any time.

A flying pterodactyl attacks an experimental plane flown by the Thing

Two things to note: First, the unique art of Ernie Chan and, second, the experimental plane Ben is testing looks like an Avengers Quinjet.

Look at this! It's Jurassic Park before Jurassic Park

A world full of dinosaurs

Okay, so "Skull the Slayer" is the second name in the marquee for this issue and I know nothing about him. But I am helpfully informed in just one panel

A short introduction to Skull the Slayer

I love the sheer amount of information in just one panel and the art is good too.

Hmmm, Skull has super-strength.

An Aztec priest confronts Skull the Slayer about a belt of strength

I love it. That's a magic item right out of Dungeons and Dragons.

I'm not too crazy about Chan's Thing rendition but this panel is just beautiful.

The Thing fighting Aztec warriors

The Thing goes into action against the Aztecs that have Skull and his friends imprisoned. The Thing against regular humans. It goes on for a page but really, this is no contest.

The Aztec priest has a magic spear but it's very minor magic so no go.

The Thing brings down an Aztec pyramid from under an Aztec priest

And here I'd like to register my official protest regarding the Aztec priest being rendered as a white guy. C'mon.

The Thing rescues the prisoners but they find themselves under heavy assault. Once again another beautiful panel.

Aztec warriors attack the Thing, SKull and their allies

Skull the Slayer manages to slay (get it?) the giant Pterodactyl in a move I would like to call Crazy Maneuver No. 1.

Skull the Slayer slays a Pterodactyl

The Thing doesn't get called 'civilized' too often.

A doctor converses with the Thing

This is a beautiful jungle panel with one exception- the Thing is portrayed too small

The Thing and others in a jungle trek

I just realized that this is Marvel. There are dinosaurs all over the place and we're not in the Hidden Land. Wow. Anyway, what's a dinosaur tale without a duel with a T-Rex?

T-Rex attack

Quick you have to jump to a river from a tallish cliff. What style dive do you use?

Explorers diving from a cliff

I'm all for Ann's feet first style

It all ends with a cliffhanger and this amazing panel.

A river full of brontosauri

Allow me to end our Marvel Two-In-One three-in-one with a rant. Back in the seventies several Filipino artists started illustrating comics. Guys like Ernie Chan who's art you see in this issue. Around that time most of these artists eventually got relegated to inking jobs because, presumably, they were deemed not good enough to be pencillers. Look at this issue's art. I'm calling it what it is: Racism. Shame, shame shame. 'Nuff said.

Next: Marvel Two In-One 36 to 38: Mr. Fantastic, Matt Murdock, Daredevil