Issue by Issue – Marvel Two-In-One #74

Writer – Mark Gruenwald
Artist – Frank Springer
Inker – Chic Stone
Colours – George Roussos
Letters – Michael Higgins

It is Christmas time at the Baxter Building and as per usual, everyone has left all their shopping until the last minute. What makes this issue special right off the bat is that while it does not begin on any big, action-packed note, it does feature Reed Richards and family at their best. Everyone is happy, having fun and making small talk and being the family that Marvel readers have fallen in love with over the years and all of it perfectly scripted by Mark Gruenwald. But being the Fantastic Four and more to the point, The Thing’s own book, it cannot go as uneventful as all that and who comes knocking on their door but the Puppet Master, Alicia’s dad who is newly paroled with a scheme to enact when the right moment comes along. With his stores of radioactive clay not being as potent as it used to be, he needs more and so concocts a plan that soon finds him, Alicia and The Thing on a trip to Transia where he hopes to procure more of the substance. At that point, he can finally get his revenge upon Benjamin J. Grimm. Things of course, do not go as smoothly as all that though, especially when one factors in karma and Phillip Masters goes missing. Ben and Alicia finally track the man down, ending up at a house where a woman named Bova and her charge Modred live. Bova has not seen Alicia’s father, but that is not to say he is nowhere to be found and they decide to stay for the night and start fresh in the morning. While all seems innocent enough, Gruenwald planted the seeds for readers to figure out just what happened to Masters and the audience has to know that somehow Modred is going to figure into it, what with him being a sorcerer and all, the mind of a child notwithstanding. When it all comes to light, and after a little misunderstanding with Ben shrunk down to the size of an insect, things are soon put right and all is well. Come the end, the Puppet Master has gained that which he sought, though just when and where he means to use it remains to be seen and such as it is, it all makes for a happy Christmas for the three of them. This was a truly fun tale, a bit of unassuming fluff for those looking for a light-hearted tale with great artwork by Frank Springer and Gruenwald at the top of his game.

4 out of 5

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