New Reviews of Old Comics
What was the deal with all of the team-up titles back in the late 70s and early 80s? We had Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man, World’s Finest with Batman and Superman, DC Comics Presents (what a witty title that was), and I’m sure there were others I can’t remember. Putting The Thing in his own team-up title seems a little far-fetched. Don’t get me wrong, I like The Thing and all, but just don’t consider him to be in the same tier as Spider-Man, Superman and Batman. These are characters who are drawing attention to multiple titles all on their own just because their name is on the cover. The Thing had his own title once and how long did that last? Thirty-something issues? I rest my case.
This issue of Marvel-Two-In-One (yet another clever title) has the ever lovin’ blue eyed Thing teaming up with Iceman. The cover has the Ringmaster drawing attention to the death of three super heroes! Does anyone really believe anything that dramatic is going to happen in Marvel-Two-In-One #76 (or ANY issue of Marvel-Two-In-One for that matter)? Didn’t think so. “The Big Top Bandits” was written by Tom DeFalco and David Michelinie with art by Jerry Bingham and Chic Stone. It has The Thing going to the circus with his longtime girlfriend Alicia and Giant Man. No, not the Hank Pym Giant Man, a black guy named William Foster who I never heard of before this issue. Apparently he was a short-term character because they mentioned several times this issue alone that he was dying of radiation poisoning. Anyway, the three of them are at a circus on Long Island to take in the show, play some games and eat some junk food. Since this is a Marvel comic and a day of R & R for a super hero isn’t allowed the Circus of Crime is also there. Despite having his ass handed to him by Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Hulk in the past the Ringmaster believes THIS TIME he has developed a better scheme to rob and dominate the world. Coincidentally Iceman is also taking his girlfriend (who is not blind, but doesn’t know he’s a super hero) to the circus. Ringmaster’s plan to exert his mind control on the world starts on page 10 and falls to pieces within the next 20 pages. A human cannonball, fire-breather and clown on a unicycle are just no match for The Thing, Iceman and Giant Man. The final panel has The Thing, Alicia and Giant Man walking off into the sunset. Isn’t that sweet?
So here’s my problem with the team-up titles; they seem very contrived even by comic book standards. Considering New York City is the super hero capital of the world (at least in this time period it still was), I guess it stands to reason these guys are going to bump into each other just walking around and living a normal life. But these two guys happen to be at the same circus the same time a minor criminal decides this is his launching pad for world domination? I do like Iceman, so seeing him was a plus. The story was just all right (despite being written by TWO people), and the art was inconsistent; sometimes it was good, other times The Thing looked like a block body with a similarly shaded circle for a head. It wasn’t the worst comic I’ve ever read, but it’s not even in the top 90% of best-comics-I-ever-read either; it’s just there. I think this title lives or dies by who was writing and drawing the issue, not by who the guest star happens to be.