Marvel Two-In-One No. 64 The Serpent Crown Affair Part One
What is the Serpent Crown?
The Serpent Crown is a Marvel power object that is linked to a multidimensional Serpent entity or Serpent God.
Like the Infinity Gauntlet, there is one Serpent Crown for each dimension or universe. In this story there are two Serpent Crowns - our own and another one brought to this dimension by the Avengers. One of the crowns has already corrupted the president of Marvel's pre-eminent oil company - Roxxon.
Typical of a power object, the Serpent Crown appears to be indestructible - surviving bashings from the Thing for example. Apart from that, the crown demonstrates a variety of powers such as telepathy, and the ability to manipulate the astral self as is being done here to Scarlet Witch:
The astral self is thrown to the "space between worlds".
Another baffling effect demonstrated is the Crown being able to temporarily revert the Thing into Ben Grimm.
On the more physical front, the Serpent Crown can also do this:
It can create dopplegangers of everybody that has ever worn the crown. These doubles are fully under the crown wearer's control. More than that, they possess the powers and abilities of the originals.
As mentioned, the head of Roxxon already has one Serpent Crown. Now he is on a quest to obtain the other one the location of which he has identified as the bottom of the ocean somewhere off the California coast. In order to guard the dredging activities the head of Roxxon has formed the Serpent Squad.
This is actually the second such group to bear the name. Let's go through this four individuals and what they can do.
Anaconda is the strongman, or rather, strong woman, of the group. Her arms have been genetically modified to act like her namesake - able to crush a foe with deadly force.
Black Mamba has a huge snake, and it is, of course, useful but her primary power stems from the classic myth of the hypnotic serpent. Black Mamba is a seductress able to seduce her foes into paralysis. She typically drops her foe's defenses so her teammates can come in and deal their deadly blows.
Speaking of deadly blows, few are deadlier than Death Adder's. His claws are poison. One touch and it's game over.
The leader of the team is the Sidewinder. Like the Vanisher, Sidewinder is able to teleport short distances.
Together with the Serpent Squad the head of Roxxon has also constructed this:
It looks like an oil rig but it isn't. This is a massive dredge built to mine the sea floor and recover the Serpent Crown.
The plan is solid, the team is formidable, but Murphy's Law applies. And so it happens that flying overhead in the Fantastic Four Pogo plane are these three:
To the left of the Thing is Walter Newell, also known as Stingray. He looks like this.
I've always loved this costume design. That said, Mr. Newell, isn't a superhero. He's a scientist specializing in the deep ocean. The Stingray "costume" is actually a specialized suit designed by him to aid in his research. Being knowledgeable in matters related to the sea, Walter Newell quickly notes the baffling presence of a Roxxon oil rig in an area of the ocean with no oil reserves. They head on down to investigate and thus do the head of Roxxon's plans begin to unravel.
First, there is a deep sea explosion (caused by the Serpent Squad) that threatens to tip the oil rig. This gives us an awesome shot of the power of the Thing being used to brace an entire oil rig.
At the same time, Stingray goes under the waves to ascertain the cause of the explosion not knowing that he is heading directly to the arms of Roxxon's undersea guards and the Serpent Squad. The guards are the first to assail Stingray giving us a demonstration of his electric blasts.
Obviously a defense feature necessary in the Ocean depths. Next we get a demonstration of augmented strength courtesy of the suit's exoskeleton.
For a "non-professional" Stingray is doing very well indeed but his streak ends when he encounters the Serpent Squad. Stingray is literally thrown out of the sea.
On the oil rig, the Thing is being attacked by a mob of Roxxon flunkies. Nothing for the Thing but still wonderful to look at.