Thursday, February 12, 2009

Discount Bin Finds: Marvel Two-In-One #81

Found this one in the discount bins of Boderlands during their Big Annual Sale last month.  Who could resist a team-up between Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner and the Ever-Loving Blue-Eyed Thing?!

Our adventure starts with Namor doing one of the things he does best: brooding.  Our undersea scion arises from New York harbor and buys some human clothes to blend in, reminiscing about his post-war stint as a hobo living in the Bowery, which was the only time he ever felt truly accepted.  He sets out to find Sunshine Mary, the baglady who took care of him during his amnesia.  Meanwhile, Ben Grimm and Sue Storm are helping Alicia Masters move into her new apartment, after finding that being underfoot in the Baxter Building was too stressful.  Ben takes his own turn at brooding and heads down to the street just in time to see a bum being attacked by a robot!  The hero intervenes, only to end up being incapaciated by a gas.

Namor is not having much luck in finding Sunshine Mary, until he finds another bum who says he knows her location.  This turns into an ambush, as a mob jumps Namor, thinking he to be the one who has been abducting them off the streets as of late.  After the situation is explained, Namor leads the homeless in a quest to defeat whomever is preying on them, starting with the location of where the latest attack went down.

The Thing wakes up to find himself trapped in a glass tube, a prisoner of AIM and their big-brained boss MODOK!  The scientists of Advanced Idea Mechanics have created a powerful virus, creatively dubbed Virus X, and have been using the street people as test subjects.  MODOK gloats that if Virus X can take down the famed Thing, then it will be potent enough to hold the world ransom!  The virus begins to flood the tube, but Thing is able to break out... only to come face to face with even bigger robots!  He puts up a good fight, but is outmatched until Namor and the other bums arrive to even the odds.  Together, the Thing and the Sub-Mariner destroy all of AIM's machines, causing MODOK and his scientists to flee out of fear of exposure to Virus X.  Namor thanks the street folk, thinking them his compatriotes, but they turn on and reject him, saying that they are nothing like him.  The furious monarch storms off, just as Ben realizes that while AIM has been defeated, he was still exposed to the virus!

This one would definitely be up Rick's alley, with two classic Marvel characters fighting against a classic Marvel evil organization.  The fact that it directly references the infancy of the Silver Age is just gravy.  Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson handle both with care and as a result this is a very enjoyable little romp.  Namor is one of those characters where if he shows up in your title, it's a good bet that it's going to be a pretty sweet guest spot.  His musings about alienation and acceptance sound right in character for him, as does his typical response when his makeshift army turns on him.  Ben is similarly down in the dumps, but in typical Grimm fashion he berates himself for it anyway.  The plot is classic mad scientist stuff, but MTIO was always about characters more than plots.  

I generally enjoy Marvel Two-In-One and this issue is no different, with a quick moving story starring two long time fan-favorites.  Definitely worth reading if you can find it in a back issue bin somewhere.  

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