Writer – Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio
Artist – George Perez
Inker – Gene Day
Colours – Ben Sean, Carl Gafford
Letters – John Costanza
In the first part of the latest storyline to hit the book, one called The Serpent Crown Affair; it begins with The Thing breaking up with Alicia, a mistake by any meaning of the word. For readers that have followed this title or the Fantastic Four, it wounds the heart, but Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenwald waste no time in getting to the meat of their tale and it finds two men arriving at the Baxter Building to meet Reed Richards. There, scientist Walter Newell, also known as the hero Stingray and another man called Henry Croft are there to seek a cure, the latter who has been transformed into a sort of amphibious man as seen in the previous issue of the Sub-Mariner’s own book. Reed can do nothing, but they notice the resemblance to Triton of the Inhumans and so Ben and Newell fly out to meet him. Passing the coast of San Diego, the two spy an oil rig that is suspicious in nature as there is no oil being drilled in the area and once there, the two men discover that something is indeed amiss. It is here that Gruenwald and Macchio up the pace of the book, increasing the excitement, but also the mystery for it seems that someone is looking to keep the secret of the rig just that and will do everything including blowing it up. The Thing and Stingray do their best to keep people from being harmed and yet, it is those same people that are looking to harm them, though as to why still remains to be answered. Making this book look as pretty as it does is penciller George Perez and inker Gene Day and the two do a marvellous job of it, each page a thing of beauty and packed with detail. The book, as one can only expect, ends on a cliff-hanger with none other than the new Serpent Society putting in an appearance, though just why they are there also begs the question as to why. What do they have to do with the oil rig and now that they have made themselves known, it does not bode well for the two heroes. Another question that needs answering involves Croft and if someone is looking to prevent The Thing and Stingray from discovering a cure for the man and the other passengers who were affected as the story certainly seems to be hinting that. A good first part to what looks like a promising storyline by a top-notch creative team, not to mention Thundra and Hyperion appearing too and it makes Marvel Two-In-One a continually fun read.
4 out of 5