Posted - November 21, 2015

Previous: Marvel Two-In-One 19, 20, & Annual 1: Tigra Liberty Legion


The Thing Marvel Two-In-One 21 to 23:
Doc Savage, Thor



Marvel Two-In-One 21 Marvel Two-In-One 22 Marvel Two-In-One 23

This comic makes a lot of 'to do' about Doc Savage.


Doc Savage

But who is he?

Doc Savage is a pulp fiction hero from the 30s and 40s. He's built up enough of a fanbase to survive the decades which have wrought him. In my mind's eye, I place him with other "old" heroes like the Shadow. One of his biggest fans, it turns out, is one Benjamin J. Grimm. Needless to say, in the world of Marvel, Doc Savage isn't a "fictional pulp hero" - he's a flesh and blood one, albeit one who existed a generation before the Thing.



Doc Savage strikes me as a Captain America without the super soldier serum. Instead of "popping a pill", so to speak, Doc Savage was trained from birth to be the acme of human perfection. That's pretty much all aspects, from the physical to the mental to the emotional, you name it, Doc Savage was raised to be the perfect man. Also known as the Man of Bronze because of the coloring of his skin (I have no idea why his skin is bronze - I'm assuming its an artificial effect and not simple tanning). Anyway, he literally goes about doing good. A bit of a boy scout, just like the Captain. His base of operations is the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. And he has a small group of trusted "henchmen".

For the first few pages, the story starts with an interesting panel layout represented by these two panels:


Dual time-period panel layout

The left side of the page tells of events in the 70s and the right side has events in the 40s. Both vertically parallel panels culminate with this shot.


Two stellar energy siphoners, one in the 70s, the other in the 40s

The device is not a telescope but an energy siphon. Able to absorb "stellar energy". Both devices have been made by a father and son team - the Lightners. To the right, the father created the design and makes the first prototype. To the left the son, recreates his fathers invention. Both men aim to imbue themselves with so-called stellar energy.

In 1970s New York the Thing, with Johnny Storm in tow, rushes to the sight of this experiment. The Fantasticar panel is eye-catching.


The Thing, the Torch, and a guest in the Fantasticar

With the pair is the current Lightner's sister. Back in the 40s, Doc Savage too is rushing to the place of "his Lightner" using a modified helicopter.

While the Thing's group and Doc Savage's crew are in transit, the Lightners activate their machine. There is a terrible explosion and this:


The Thing, Doc Savage and company falling after being shot out of the sky

This panel shows two key things. One, everybody has lost their respective flying vehicles and are falling from the sky. Two, Doc Savage and his crew have been snatched in time and have found themselves in 1970s New York. Ben should be so delighted (and he would be).

Here's another very interesting panel for us Thing fans.


The Thing falls from a height without a chute and is seen to by Doc Savage


Everybody from Doc Savage's side has a parachute. The Torch can fly and he saves Miss Lightner. Ben can't fly and has no chute and nobody is available to save him.

Things seem to come in twos today because, again, I like two things about the two panels above. First, I'm elated that the Thing is so tough that a fall from flying height is nothing to him. Second, Doc Savage really lives up to his billing as an "advanced" human being as evidenced by his automatic acceptance of Ben as a fellow human being despite Ben's appearance. Bravo, I'm a Doc Savage fan.

fantastic four comics

In the midst of all these "picking up and dusting off", a being known as Blacksun literally explodes into the scene.


Blacksun

Blacksun is an amalgam. A combination being composed of The elder and younger Lightner - joined together across time. This fused creature is the first such being to be featured in Marvel Two-In-One, the second being the space-faring Starhawk in the Thing's adventure with the High Evolutionary. The most famous one is DC's Firestorm.

So Blacksun is powered by stellar energy, which I assume is the energy of stars or the light of stars. Now I'm wondering why this creature is black. There was mention of waiting for the occurrence of a black hole near Earth. Since black holes are birthed from collapsed super giants, I suppose energy from a black hole could also be considered "stellar".

The black hole theory seems to be borne out by this:


Blacksun bends bullets around him

Blacksun is able to bend bullets around him. Black holes are supposed to have so much gravity that they're able to bend light.

Ben attempts his tried and true formula.


The Thing has a go at Blacksun

To no avail.

Now for Doc Savage.


Doc Savage takes a studied approach to attacking Blacksun

That went by so fast it was easy to miss. Doc Savage didn't only come in with physical might. He'a also analyzing the situation, pointing to the strange correlation between cloud cover and Black Sun's powers - ergo Doc Savage times his punch just so to get around Blacksun's defenses.

In the end, this foe proves to be too powerful. So, like Braggadoom a few stories back, Blacksun pretty much overloads on his own might and collapses on the ground. In the meantime, Doc Savage and his team "vanish" back to the 40s.

Now for the stranges (and clunkiest) twist in this story. Blacksun is lying on the ground and his condition is critical.


Blacksun succumbs to his own power

In comes the Human Torch with a baffling solution.


What are you doing Johnny Storm?

Let me get this straight. Citing 'cryogenics', Johnny increases the heat around Blacksun to prevent further deterioration? Wouldn't this effectively fry Blacksun to a crisp? Anyway, the story goes on the assumption that Johnny's little stunt does actually stabilize Lightner. We have no choice, let's ride along. But not without me giving my two cents. With 'cryogenics' as the key word, wouldn't it have been much better for the Torch to simply absorb all the heat from Blacksun's body effectively "freezing" him to a stable state? That, in my mind, would have made more sense.

Anyway, Blacksun needs a doctor, so off they go to find Dr. Donald Blake.

Dr. Blake, a bit surprisingly, isn't off to somewhere hitting somebody with a hammer. He's in the hospital in the midst of a difficult surgery.


Dr. Donald Blake in surgery

At about that moment someone crashes into the hospital howling for Blake's blood.


Seth crashes into a hospital

Note that this powerful looking stranger is both armored and missing his right hand. He will reveal himself as Seth, Egyptian god of death.


Seth, the Egyptian God of Death

In the Marvel universe all mythological pantheons have been given a place. Distinct, and colorful, families of gods make the Marvel universe all the richer. For the most part, the pantheons cooperate with each other. They even meet in council as can be seen in some key issues of Thor's The Eternals Saga . Seth, on the other hand, has some past history with Thor - a conflict that has cost Seth his hand. Evidently, the god of death has deemed it time for him to avenge himself.

Donald Blake obliges him.


Thor

Seth proves to be a formidable opponent.


Seth gets the better of Thor

Seriously formidable considering that he is able to take down one who is probably Marvel's most powerful hero. I say "probably" because there is the title of Marvel's mightiest is contested by the Hulk.

Thor counters.


Thor counter attacks against Seth

At about this time, Benjamin J. Grimm and company arrive at the hospital. The Thing does a quick assesment of the situation and very quickly serves Seth a rock sandwich.


The Thing punches Seth

True to his title, Seth calls forth the dead to fight for him.


Seth raises a skeleton army

The Thing's comment is particularly interesting.


The Thing's Harryhausen remark

'Harryhausen' is exactly the name I was thinking off when I saw those skeleton warriors. If it doesn't ring a bell, you're in for a treat - check out the movie 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger' .

I'm not very worried though. I don't care how many they are, a bunch of bones cannot take down Thor and the Thing.


Thor and the Thing fighting a skeleton army

It becomes increasingly evident to Seth that his "skeleton crew" isn't going to work out so he transports his foes to this place.


Thor and the Thing in the Path of the Gods

Known as the Paths of the Gods. The golden bridge leads back to Heliopolis, realm of the Egyptian gods.

The most shocking panel in this entire story is this one.


Horus in chains in Heliopolis

I'm not complaining but it looks like the Comics Code Authority was once again caught sleeping on the job with this panel. This is horrifically brutal. The brother of Seth, Horus (whom Ben, in typical Thing fashion will repeatedly call 'Horace') is being tortured by slow roasting with Osiris and Isis, Horus' parents, forced to watch their son's torture. Hello?

This torture scene galvanizes the Thing and Thor into action but they're having a heck of a time.


Thor and the Thing attack Seth

Seth proves to be incredibly tough. To make matters worse, the god of death ups the ante.


The Devourer

Known as the Devourer, this creature is clearly the Egyptian equivalent of the more familiar Destroyer .

This new entrant is so powerful, Thor's initial attacks are ineffective.


Thor hammers the Devourer to no effect

The Thing meets with the same result, or rather, lack of result.


The Thing punches the Devourer's heel and gets hit by the Devourer's tail

From effortlessly wading into an army of skeletons, to this situation; our heroes have a problem.

The fight rages on for several pages. I find the battle cries very amusing.

Thor's battle cry:


Thor hits the Devourer with a mystic bolt from Mjolnir

Ben can't let the Thunder God hog all the battle cry fun:


The Thing throws a meteor at the Devourer

Hehehehe.

The Devourer is now fully out of control and the Egyptian gods begin to despair.


The Egyptian gods despair at the depradations of the Devourer

The end seems nigh as even Thor succumbs.


The Devourer throws Thor down to the ground

The dialog from the gods here is totally defeatist. They've given up - just waiting for the end. The only thing that stands between the Devourer and their destruction is the Thing.


The Thing stands alone against the Devourer

Ben will NOT give up. It is his finest quality. It has always been his finest quality. Far from being Marvel's strongest, still Ben will simply not stop until he finds a way. Realizing that the Devourer hates 'Horace' most of all, Ben implements a brilliant plan.


The Thing grabs Horus in order to distract the Devourer

He grabs Horus and dives off the Paths of the Gods. In so doing, he also lures the Devourer beyond the edge.


The Thing leads the Devourer off the edge part the first
The Thing leads the Devourer off the edge part the second

Ben has taken a risk, for outside the Path of the Gods is the vacuum of space - something that can kill the Thing if not Horus. The never-say-die attitude of the Thing aside, the brilliance of this plan is that the Thing has taken away the one thing that keeps the incredibly strong Devourer dangerous - leverage. With no hard ground to push on any creature that relies on brute strength is automatically rendered helpless.

All these gods and their haughty attitude. In this monent, the down-to-earth Thing proves himself better than any of them.

Thor has recovered enough to save his friend and future fellow Avenger.


The This is rescued by the timely arrival of Mjolnir part the first
The This is rescued by the timely arrival of Mjolnir part the second

And that is our Marvel Two-In-One three-in-one

Next: Marvel Two In-One 24 to 26: Goliath, Iron Fist, Nick Fury