Posted - November 16, 2015
The Thing Marvel Two-In-One 16 to 18:
I noticed something curious about this tale. Ka-Zar is the self-styled lord of the Hidden Land and he's very territorial. When the Thing arrived, Ka-Zar was there, Zabu by his side. Gives me the impression that nothing happens without being noticed by him. So, logically, since Volcanus and his men came before Ben, I'm sure Ka-Zar might have noticed them too. But he never approached them. Whan the Thing showed up with Ka-Zar in front of those men it seemed that it was the first time these men encountered anything other than the beasts in the Hidden Land. Therefore, I conclude that the proud "Lord of the Hidden Land" practiced a healthy yet uncharacteristic timidity when Lord Volcanus and his men were concerned. When the Thing arrived Ka-Zar saw an ally of sufficient power, making it practical to confront Volcanus. It seems a loincloth and a knife can only take you so far - no matter if you have a sabretooth cat by your side. He does like to swagger, this Ka-Zar, but he knows when he's outclassed..
As for Ben, he does have a mission to accomplish so he begins a daring descent.
This is the part when Ben rightly wonders if this job wasn't best given to someone who can fly. Still, having the strength of the Thing does have its advantages. For example, Ben can make his own handholds.
At the end of his subterranean journey the Thing encounters the, quite frankly, unimpressive looking, source of all the geological activity - the Basilisk.
Like Ka-Zar, the Basilisk is also prone to preening. Fortunately, he's also prone to a headbutt.
A basilisk is a mythical creature that can turn anything to stone with its gaze. So this villain is well named.
There is a slight difference. This basilisk freezes his foes rather then petrifying them.
Fortunately Ben thaws fast.
A word about the panel below. That panel does not only show a violent collision between the Basilisk and the Thing it also shows them both teleporting to New York City.
Heaven forbid we stay out of New York too long, this is Marvel Comics after all.
We stop here for a bit because the Thing and the Basilisk are on a certain tangent headed to a specific location. They are fated to meet another one coming from a different tangent but for that we have to backtrack a bit to know where Spider-Man is coming from.
So now, Spider-Man.
Floating above Spidey is the official Marvel time travelling machine: Doctor Doom's Time Platform. I'm not kidding, ever since its appearance in Fantastic Four no. 4 this time machine has been in use in one story or another. The Thing even used it with Captain America to help the Guardians of the Galaxy in the future, we have that story here. Age of Ultron uses this machine. And now Spider-Man has also used it in the pages of Marvel Team-Up. I have that story here. Spider-Man went to the past in that story but there is mention of trips to the future and adventures with Deathlok and Killraven. DC also has an official time machine: the Flash's Temporal Treadmill.
So Peter Parker is back in New York and trying to catch up on his studies.
I notice that Peter hardly has anything by way of furniture. Time to talk to Luke Cage about how to set up a "hero for hire" gig Peter. Anyway, the Basilisk (and the Thing) announce their arrival via an earthquake. The big deal here is that New York doesn't have earthquakes. Underneath, the Big Apple is solid granite, that's why it's possible to build all those tall skyscrapers. In any case, something's up and Peter investigates and sees this.
Basilisk may not be a first tier villain but he's pretty powerful if he can do this. A closer look has Spider-man seeing this:
Okay, what's going on here? Why is the Thing knocked out? It turns out that the Basilisk - much like Nightcrawler - has the kind of teleportation powers that strain any would-be "passengers".
The Thing is out of it, so Spider-Man launches into action and . . .
We are informed that the rest of the story is to be found outside of the bounds of Marvel Two-In-One and in the pages of Marvel Team-Up.
And so we are left hanging. What better way to get over it than with a new tale? This one has supernatural flavor and is centered on this painting.
The most important thing to know about this painting is that it isn't a painting. It's a doorway and behind this doorway is a demon trying to get out into our world. The scarecrow on the painting is actually a guardian keeping the demon in check.
And tonight is the night when the failsafes will fail. Fortunately, the Thing is on hand.
It all starts when this man gets possessed by whatever is behind the picture.
He is transformed into a fiery demon.
First casualty, the Thing's tuxedo.
Curiously, the tux is made from unstable molecules, same as Johnny Storm's uniform. It should not have burned off. It just shows that Ben is dealing with the supernatural here. I'm getting worried because the Thing is no good with supernatural threats. I remember his adventures in the ghost town called Lawless where the Thing was forced to take a backseat while others did the job. Is this going to be a repeat? Looks like it because the Thing's backup suddenly shows up.
Like familiar foes, the demon and the Scarecrow have at it.
Wait a minute, look at Ben. He's got this covered - literally.
Just when I thought the Thing had the victory.
What did I tell you? Supernatural. The Scarecrow takes over the fight.
Apparently, the town of Lawless is miles away and so should any notions suggesting that the Thing is no good against paranormal foes. Look at this.
And specially this.
The Thing beats the opposition but it is the Scarecrow that seals the doorway. I like this Scarecrow - he's got a good backstory. That "guardian" concept makes him out like one of Doctor Strange's cohorts - tasked with keeping our world safe from mystical attacks. An immediate problem with this Scarecrow is that DC already has one . Also, when Marvel's Scarecrow appears on the scene he is accompanied by eery laughter - much like the Creeper's laughter. Must be why the Scarecrow never really took off. I'm glad we have this story to remember him by.
Before we go, I'd like to run over something I've noticed about Ben Grimm in this story.
Alicia and Ben gets invited to an art gallery opening. Ben doesn't want to go but Alicia makes him. So here they are:
Everybody's dressed to the nines, and small talk is par for the course.
As you can see, Ben is gruff - borderline rude - Alicia is having to apologize for him more than once. To make it worse, Ben Grimm seems flustered enough to lose his coordination.
Him being the Thing, the hosts try to tell him about the seemingly supernatural Scarecrow. But Ben simply doesn't believe them to the point of walking away.
I don't buy this. Ben has had all sorts of adventures, from the supernatural to the cosmic. This should not only be believable for him but, well, normal. What is with this attitude? I think I know.
Going back to Ben's adventure with the Golem, before the fists started flying, there was an incident in a bus.
Here we are shown just how hard it is to be the Thing in a social setting. Ben the outcast. Ben the freak.
It explains everything.
Fast forward to this social setting, this glittering gallery party. And now we know that Ben isn't bothered by the Scarecrow story - until it explodes on his face, I would surmise, but before that it barely registers at all. Ben is saying the wrong things and behaving clumsily because, once again he is the freak on the bus, and the rock hard Thing isn't so dense that he can't help but dread being shunned by these normal looking, fashionably dressed people.
Who hasn't felt this way at one point or another? I know I have. That's one of the many reasons why I like the Thing, I feel like I'm him sometimes - now, if only I could get super-strength.
And that, once again is our Marvel Two-In-One three-in-one. Thanks for joining me!