Things to Come


Essential Marvel Two-in-One Volume 1, written by Roy Thomas, Bill Mantlo, Steve Gerber and others, illustrated by Ron Wilson, Sal Buscema, John Buscema and others (mid-1970’s; collected 2005): Team-up books had their heyday in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, before continuity and endless crossovers essentially doomed them to extinction (with the exception of a few recent revivals). The Thing, the orange, rocky skinned strongman of the Fantastic Four, was the most popular member of that superhero team, and his team-up book ran for nearly a decade until it morphed into The Thing in the early 1980’s.

Here, the Thing fights the Hulk, fights in World War Two, saves the timeline, stops a nuclear bomb from creating a giant tsunami, and generally fights evil in various guises. There are team-ups with now-forgotten Marvel horror comics heroes (Scarecrow and The Golem, anyone?), perennial second-tier heroes (Black Widow) and Marvel’s heaviest hitters (Thor, the Hulk, Dr. Strange). Had Marvel managed to reacquire the rights for the reprint volume, there would also be a cool team-up with Doc Savage. Alas, it’s not included here. But trust me, it was pretty cool.

Enjoyable and mostly light-hearted, this volume represents the superhero comics of a lost time, when standalone issues were the norm rather than the exception, and team-ups were still novel enough to warrant their own books. Recommended.

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