Friday, June 28, 2013

1980: Marvel's Two Writing One Part VI: The Thing With Movin' In & Out...

By Jef Willemsen (

In the sixth chapter of Marvel's Two Writing One, Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenwald start to bring their early 80s collaboration on the Thing team up book to a close by giving the Guardians of the Galaxy a proper send off, reuniting Ben and Alicia while also setting up a future Avenger...

 " I wuz hopin' maybe you could help me figger out what ta do!"

Issue #69 opened with Ben still troubled by his break up with Alicia. And to think he himself ended the his relationship with the blind sculptress because he was worried for her safety, soon realising he was actually feeling more miserable without her. Unfortunately, when he went to her appartment to patch things up, he saw her leave with another man.

Demoralised, it took his FF teammate the Invisible Woman to convince Ben to give it another shot. But that's a story for # 70, because seconds after this nugget of wisdom ánd breakfast was served, Starhawk of the Guardians of the Galaxy beamed into the FF's kitchen looking for help...

"Were the two counterparts to meet, it would cause untold damage to the course of time
creating a catastrophe!"

How to explain the Guardians of the Galaxy? Well, first introduced in 1969, this team of 31 century space heroes fought menaces like the galaxy conquering Badoon. The team eventually travelled back to the 20th century in pursuit of their cybernetic archenemy Korvac. Together with the Avengers, they eventually tracked down and defeated him. That was back in 1978, you'd think they'd have left the next day... But by the time this story appeared it was almost 1981 and they were still here!

Fair's fair, they actually were about to return home... when one of their own went missing. Major Victory, better known as Vance Astro, went AWOL so he could have a little chat with Vance Astrovik, his younger self. Victory hoped to convince the teenager he shouldn't join NASA, otherwise history would repeat itself and he'd end up going mad in space for a 1000 years before the Guardians found him.

Sage career advice, but a meeting between the two was sure to rip apart the space time continuum, right? Well, surely, Victory wouldn't be so foolish to even look up his younger self. Let alone touch him...

"Hey, stop that mister... you're hurting me!"

... Or maybe not.

Yet, in spite of the Guardians' predictions, the universe didn't blow up. What actually happened was the sudden appearance of a massive, dense black fog that covered the area and brought out most of the New York based heroes, from the X-men to Spider-Man and the Avengers. Even the Fantastic Four joined Ben and the Guardians in their quest for clarity (literally).

In the end, the Guardians managed to find Major Victory and seperate him from young Vance Astro. But that didn't exactly solve the problem...

"I may be the catalyst, but I'm not the cause"

Long story short... Major Victory developed his powers over the millennium he spent in deep space isolation. Yet, somehow, his younger self triggered similar abilities during their meeting in Saugerties. Young Vance's uncontrolled telekinetic abilites caused the dark clouds and once he learned to control them, the threat was over.

The Guardians finally returned to the 31st century and Major Victory was pleased to know that while his own past wasn't changed, at least this younger version of himself would be spared the centuries long, maddening exile. And he was right, Vance Astrovik would grow up to become the New Warrior and Avenger known as Marvel Boy and Justice.

As promised, Marvel Two In One # 70 at last dealt with the break up between Ben and Alicia set in motion back in issue # 64. When Ben finally gathered enough courage to go up to Alicia's place again to plead his case, he was pleasantly surprised...

 "Baby, I want ya to move inta the Baxter Building."

Yeah, turns out Alicia wasn't out on a date with a potential suitor, she was just meeting her business manager. But Ben was too blind to see that, pun intended. Don't let the art fool ya, it only looks as if Ben's gone evil and is about to crush poor Alicia's skull... He's actually overjoyed and he wants to move in with her... at the Baxter Building. The one place all the FF's villains take turns trying to invade..

Sheesh Ben, if you broke up with the girl because you were afraid for her safety, why not move in with hér? But that bit of logic even seems lost on Reed who claims his latest security upgrades made the Baxter Building the safest place in the entire city. So, without furter ado...

"Welcome to the Fantastic Four!"

Safest place in the entire city my foot...

The rest of the issue deals with the big move and the villainy of Shellshot and Lariat, two half forgotten FF villains who got their super powered whip and gun from the Psycho Man. These low rent thugs figured a truck full of Alicia's sculptures would earn them big money on the black market. That's why they disguise themselves as employees of the moving company, load their truck and take off with the statues.

As soon as they drive off, Ben realises something is fishy and went after them. However, the two villains actually manage to almost knock out the Thing... If not for the timely intervention of the Yancy Street Gang. After all, no one is allowed to mock and humiliate Ben Grimm... except for them. A point they emphasize in the final panels of the issue when the recovered truck takes off for the Baxter Building...

"Looks like deep down they must'a realized what a great guy I am."

By the by, nothing ever came of Alicia moving into the Baxter Building. The Fantastic Four title never made any mention of Alicia's alleged presence. In fact, regular FF writer Doug Moench wrote several stories which had Alicia in her own place.

And they said continuity died in the mid 2000s...

Next, in the seventh and final chapter (promise!) it's the return of the Hydro-Men and the menace of Maelstrom in Marvel's Two Writing One: The Kirby Crackle Conclusion.  

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