Marvel Two in One #96

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Who doesn’t have a soft spot for Marvel’s hero made of rock? I’m talking of course about the Thing. Since 1961, Ben Grimm has been one of the cornerstones at the House of Ideas as a member of the Fantastic Four. Personally, in my younger years I was enthralled with him. Throw downs with the heaviest hitters were always a big draw. Any issue trading punches with the Hulk were an absolute event.

Marvel recognized his popularity and gave him a team up book in 1974. Thanks to the Two in One series, I get to wax nostalgic here on Two Staple Gold and it’s Clobbering Time… all the time.

Here’s the best part though, If your like me you may have lost track of the “Ever Lovin’ Blue Eyed” Thing over the years. No biggie. He’s like a friend that remained unchanged and will always be there for you. Revisiting his adventures is always a comforting experience. Or so I liked to believe.

Time to take our meds and see if this ish makes us sick or cures our blues. I present Marvel Two in One #96 “Visiting Hours” cover dated February 1983. Written by Tom DeFalco and penciled by Ron Wilson.

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lineHere’s a tough pill to swallow, the Thing got his ass whooped. Boxing with the Champion is generally a bad idea and he’s landed in the local Hospital. Reed Richards has decided that is the best place for him citing the Baxter Building’s lack of “medical facilities to asses the true extent of his injuries”. This is the first of many odd decisions to fit the narrative, considering Mr.Fantastic discovered the Negative Zone but can’t handle some boo boo’s. Even worse, Reed acknowledges Ben is a sitting duck if his enemies decided to strike. Most intelligent man on earth my ass, more like world’s biggest dick.

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“Well, you could have tried other options Nurse but Yancy Street is one way only.”

Like Richards, the Mad Thinker  is a prognosticator. The classic FF foe seems to believe he has Orange Hides obituary ready for print. He has no intention of doing it himself but who can blame him? I would never leave my lair with a lousy haircut like that. It’s cool though, as we are about to find out the rest of the Marvel Universe will pick up his slack.

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“Villainy 101: Get pissed and throw shit.”

Spider-Man is on his way to visit his pal Benjy when he encounters the first nefarious nasty to crawl out of the woodwork…MECHO-MARAUDER! Never heard of him? Then your life is short on finger blasts. The dude is a straight up joke and Spidey makes quick work of him. It’s worth noting this battle is the start of instances with sexual innuendo that litter this issue. I’m sure if I asked Tom DeFalco if my suspicions of sneaking in some naughty dialogue were on purpose, he would probably punch me in the face. I wouldn’t fault the guy though, who didn’t get a little randy watching Valerie Bertinelli on One Day at a Time back in the 80’s? Sexy sweaters Tom! Who can resist?

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“Didn’t Aunt May warn you about palm tapping? You could go blind Pete!”

I’m going to skip over a few guest appearances during my summary. There’s just way too many. One that can’t be ignored is the debut of Nurse Hasslebutt. Aptly named and tough as nails, she takes no gump. The Web Slinger and Mr.Fantastic are no match for her mouth while she kicks everyone out of the Thing’s room despite their pleas to stay. Hard to find characters in comics that command such consternation. I imagine her origin includes a bite from a radioactive Amanda Waller.

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“She’s gotta be Hydra…or hungry.”

Crash… Boom…Bang! Loud noises are another foil to this script. Everyone needs to make a grand entrance and how better to do that than smashing through a concrete wall. That’s all fine and dandy, problem is the Thing never notices. Actually, NONE of the Hospital staff notices. Time for a full scale evacuation maybe? Seriously, check out Mole Man here just rolling up in an underground death tank. Is this a Healthcare facility or a drug den where everyone is so doped up on morphine they pay no attention subterranean slime balls?

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“I’m not having my blood work done here, those needles are outrageous!”

Why let the men have all the fun? The Grapplers, a team of female wrestlers led by the miserably monikered Poundcakes, have a bone to pick with the Thing. Unlike some of the other interlopers, they can’t manage to break in thanks to Captain America standing watch. This battle is boring as all get out but I really just needed an excuse to include this panel in the article. “Dirty DeFalco” strikes again or should I seek professional help?

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“Last time I answered to Poundcakes was back in Prison sweetheart”

What of Marvel’s malevolent dictator Dr.Doom? He’s aware of his  adversaries recent ailments courtesy of the Daily Bugle. That’s quite a haul, New York to Latveria, hope he tips the paper boy. Surely, he of all people would love to take advantage of this situation. Nah, he’d rather go flirt with an oil can or something.

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“Villainy 102: Stay pissed and continue to throw shit. Congrats, you graduated”

Back to those so called “Jackals”. Looks like they brought Secret Wars to the streets. There is one criminal who has a more sensible plan. The Sandman is one sneaky dude. Slithering through the shafts, he has found success where all others have failed and enters our preferred patients room. What’s he going to do? Smother him with a pillow, fill his cracks with granules of gloom until he snaps? Heck no! Sandy has shown up to pound some brews and smoke some stogies. You see, unlike the other barbarians at the gate, Sandman doesn’t have a grudge but rather gratitude towards the Thing for turning his life around.

 

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“You guys go ahead and duke it out, I’ll be dry humping a vent”

That’s how this comes to a close. Sandy and Ben enjoying some cigars while chaos reigns in the parking lot. I hate being the person to bring this up but If the bad guys really wanted to send Ben Grimm to the graveyard, they should have reached across company lines and hired the Joker to do the job. Experience matters.

 

“Somebody get Nurse Hasslebutt a Snickers!”

The Verdict? The Doctor is out. Overall, It’s ok. The humor is alright but far from Bwah Ha Ha funny. The art is decent enough for the time period. If your not a completist there really is no reason to seek this out. To be fair, if you can find it in a dollar bin, there are worse ways to spend a buck. Consider this baby Rated Meh.

 

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter. The last caption was the 250,000th time a Snickers gag was used on the internet. Balloons fell from my ceiling as I wrote it. Yay me.

 

 

*All images/video clips are rights of their respective owners. Links to external sites  are used solely for informational purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thor #391

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Confession time, I don’t like Thor. In comics or in the films, I’ve never been a fan. I’ll even go as far to say he’s one of my least favorite Marvel characters period. I picked up some random issues as a kid because it beat doing my homework while waiting for the bus but I just can’t get into a character that rocks a silver salad bowl on his head.

So, imagine my surprise as the first Thor Ragnarok trailer dropped and my jaw followed suit. It doesn’t hurt they are adapting bits of Planet Hulk in the flick but still, this is the first time the God of Thunder moved the needle for me. so to celebrate this shocking situation, I’ve decided to give Goldilocks a second chance. Join me as I recap Thor #391 “The Madness of Mongoose” cover dated May 1988.

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“Just don’t call him during dinner.”

I suppose it’s fitting that this book has Spidey as a guest star considering how I jazzed I am for ‘ol Jade Jaws in Ragnarok. But as the arrow on the cover says, “It had to happen” so who am I to argue with the blurb department. Coincidence can go screw.

Before we get fitted for tiger striped boots, it’s a Two Staple Gold tradition to give credit to the creative team that made steel beam battles big in ’88, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. These dudes are legends in the biz. I don’t want to sound like a snob, but if your not aware of these gents, minimize this screen and get over to Google for an education.

Our story opens with Spider-Man swinging over the streets of Manhattan in a snowstorm. Typical stuff except this time either he’s eager to get mounted by M.J. or he likes to wear bikinis. Hope Aunt May never discovers the latter.

thor3912.2“Your secret is safe with me Pete.”

Meanwhile, in a secluded hotel room our villain gives us the standard “spewing his evil intentions” routine. He’s in some serious need of dental work but I guess it fits with the whole feasting on living flesh thing. I get it, a Mongoose has fangs but dang, he must floss with jumper cables.

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“Hey buddy, can a Cellsmograph target a dentist?”

We finally get to the star of the book, Thor. He’s returned to Earth in his Siguard Jarlson guise. This look may only be second to Clark Kent in the shameful secret identity department. Seriously, he just threw some glasses on. Snappy as they may be, you would think he might have opted to go more incognito mosquito. He could just wear a cap that reads “I’m not Thor” to the same effect.

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“That’s more like it.”

Asgard’s favorite son is happy to mix with the locals but discovers the apartment he was renting had been demolished in his absence. Baby, It’s cold outside and where will he rest that glorious head of hair? Looks like our hero needs a jobby job.

Luckily for Odinson, he has a buddy eager to hire a 6’6″ Norse God to work construction. This issue is significant to hard core Thor followers as the introduction of Eric Masterson, who later becomes fan favorite Thunderstrike. That’s all fine and dandy but for my money, It’s the debut of Aloysius R. Jamesly. One happening cat who emotes like a champ. Unlike Masterson he was never given a hammer. Probably would have dropped it on his foot while soliloquizing.

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“Did loudmouth here bring the donuts?”

No sooner than Sig starts his new gig, the Mongoose pops out ready to rumble. The battle is on! Well, that is until Thor gets his ass promptly knocked off the roof. He’s without Mjolner. I thought he could summon that thing at will but maybe there was some jealousy at play. Replace me with a nail gun? Enjoy the flight…jerk.

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“Just whip that ponytail around like propeller big guy”

Fret not, Spidey wasn’t just zipping around the city in tight pajamas for nothing. Timing tends to be perfect in comics and is no exception here as Web Head swoops in to save Thor’s giblets. He still has ladies swimwear on the brain though, failing to recognize the large dude he just saved who looks EXACTLY like his buddy Thor is the genuine article. He also forgets that he has faced Mongoose before but he doesn’t have the benefit of editors notes like we do. Mulligan granted, thanks Ralf.

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“That bag has a dope hair cut”

Thor grabs his trusty mallet from his duffle bag that doubles as a bean bag chair and is back to form as a dashing deity. Both brave warriors join forces to kick some bad guy booty and all is going according to superhero 101 until the hammer gets laid down…on the 34th floor. Smooth move Blondie. Should’ve kept the glasses, they made you LOOK smarter at least.

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“The only thing that blows is your decision making”

I already noted our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has been flakey thus far. It gets much worse. First, he believes that wrapping your legs around a bad guy smothering him with your noodle nest is the best course of action. Next time you need a Mohel just check the yellow pages Parker.

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“Or just put some razor sharp chompers in your crotch”

Then, after Mongoose damages the foundation and flees the scene, Spider-Man would rather haul ass than help Thor hold the building up. I thought that was his forte. Instead we get, “Saving lives is for suckers! Been there done that…Uncle Who? I’m Skedaddle Man!”

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“I left the Refrigerator running, gotta bounce!”

The Wall Crawler sticks around, erecting girders to reinforce the collapsing structure. Pretty easy solution honestly. Everyone is saved, Thor rushes Eric Masterson to the local hospital and Spidey’s pissed he lost out on a day’s pay.

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“J.J.J. would’ve paid extra for those pics of you wussing out”

 

Down to the nitty gritty, I actually enjoyed this issue. Only took about 29 years for me to warm up to it. My inner child is frowning somewhere but it’s actually, dare I say, a fun read.

Should I give this run another chance? Absolutely. DeFalco and Frenz sure know how to put together a good old fashioned adventure. Am I even the slightest bit more interested in Thor? Not one iota. Sorry, it will take a whole lot more than this to get me skipping across the Rainbow bridge whistling dixie.

Sometimes you need a comic to escape your worries or reality for a while. Nothing too deep or thought provoking. It’s a much healthier alternative than cocaine and hookers. Or so I’ve heard. Give this one a shot.

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. To harass him on Twitter follow @lavahog

BONUS: Impress your friends with Aloysius R. Jamesly TRIVIA! Christopher Priest believes he was the inspiration behind the character: “After I left staff, there were issues of THOR that featured a guy named a Aloysuis P. Jamesly, who was blatantly and litigiously me. A mean-spirited Tuckerization that, even I have to admit, was really funny in an insider kind of way. Fans might not find Jamesly that funny, but it was a wicked rip at me, and largely deserved, so I didn’t make a big deal about it.”

Quote from Marvel Wikia

All Thor images are rights of Marvel Comics.