Issue by Issue – Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1

Writer – Roy Thomas
Aritst – Sal Buscema
Inker – Sam Grainger, John Tartaglione, George Roussos
Colours – Phil Rachelson
Letters – John Costanza

Continuing off from Fantastic Four Annual #11, readers are soon brought up to speed on those events by a fairly lengthy recap taking place as a conversation between the Thing and the Watcher, though it is a bit one-sided. It concerns a Vibranium rod, half of which is missing, though just where it is happens to be the question of the moment, one which the Thing eventually deduces and it will see him travelling back in time to 1942 where he feels more than a little out of place. It is not long before he encounters not only some Nazis, but the heroes of the time – The Liberty Legion. So it is that Miss America, the Blue Diamond, Jack Frost, the Thin Man, Patriot, Red Raven and Whizzer find themselves teaming up with Benjamin Grimm to put a stop to the evil Skyshark, Master Man, U-Man and more. Considering that it is the Second World War, there is no shortage of villains and by the end of the book; Roy Thomas introduces a flying swastika plane, armed to the teeth and as deadly as anything that the heroes have faced before. When this final menace is introduced, it is as corny and as ridiculous as anything seen in a comic before or since, but it is one of those fantastic tropes that always seems to feature in stories of the Second World War, the Nazis and their super-science and whatever crazy invention they can come up with next. What is quite funny about these situations is the fact that they are always usually defeated in the end, but one does have to wonder why the Americans or the British were unable to do the same and if it were real life, would the Germans have been able to win the war with these fantastical creations. While the Thing might be a little out of his element, if there is one thing that he knows how to do well, it is beating up the bad guys and he does so here, fitting in perfectly with the heroes of the time. Thomas always seems to be at his best when writing about the heroes who fought during the Big One, infusing his stories with a lot of fun and excitement. Similarly, Sal Buscema ends up doing the same and joins Thomas on this venture and brings it all to life, tackling the large cast of characters quite expertly, making it all that much more enjoyable. Of course, the story is not finished as of yet, continuing on into the next issue of the regular series and leaving off on a cliff-hanger which sees the Thing facing off against that crazy flying swastika.

4 out of 5

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