Issue by Issue – Marvel Two-In-One #9

Writer – Chris Claremont, Steve Gerber
Artist – Herb Trimpe
Inker – Joe Giella
Colours – Janice Cohen
Letters – Charlotte Jetter

More than once has the Thing tangled with the Puppet Master, indeed the whole of the Fantastic Four have had many an opportunity, but it is Ben Grimm who holds a deeper hatred in his heart for the villain as he is the oppressive father of his girlfriend, Alicia Masters. In this issue as plotted and scripted by Chris Claremont and Steve Gerber, Ben with some friends which include Namorita, Annie Christopher and man-child Wundarr go out to see a puppet show and there is a nagging suspicion in the back of Ben’s mind that tells him the Puppet Master has returned. All of this soon ties into this issue’s guest star who just so happens to be the mighty Thor, who for some reason has attacked the Fantastic Four and pummelled them into unconsciousness. Both of these events, puppet show and attack are connected and by none other than Ben’s deepest fear – the return of the man he thought dead, the Puppet Master. So it is that Ben and Thor do battle, the latter’s mind having been taken over and it soon comes to light that the villain is in league with another, one Radion by name who has boosted the powers of Phillip Masters so that he might control his enemies. As with most times where heroes end up fighting, it is all down to a misunderstanding and such is the case here. Eventually when it is all figured out by one of the parties, they usually end up teaming together in order to defeat the real menace, which does indeed happen in this book. The artwork by Herb Trimpe is spot on and he makes things quite exciting once all the action starts to take place. Additionally, there are some humourous moments that both begin and finish the story, the first with some kids who mob the Thing while at the puppet show and finally with Wundarr who proclaims, ‘You hurt my Unca Benjy,’ while knocking out the Puppet Master. For the most part, while there is a bit of seriousness present, the overall atmosphere is one of being lighthearted and fun and it is a perfect combination making for a great read. At the end of the day, everyone is safe and sound and the villains defeated and for a superhero book, there could not be a better conclusion.

3.5 out of 5

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