Issue by Issue – Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7

Writer – Tom DeFalco
Artist – Ron Wilson
Inker – Bob Camp, Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia, Dan Green, Armando Gil, Chic Stone
Colours – George Roussos
Letters – Jim Novak

While it might seem like an ordinary day, it is anything but as Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson send Ben Grimm a little trouble in the form of an alien named Proja. Of course it happens when Ben is spending time with Alicia and when Proja makes him an offer, he refuses but as it turns out, he really does not have a say in the matter. Readers are then shown a number of heroes being made a similar proposal, an offer to take part in a fight against a creature called The Champion, a person who also happens to be an elder of the universe. Suffice it to say, Ben along with Namor, Thor, Colossus, Sasquatch, the Hulk and Doc Samson are kidnapped and forced to train for a boxing match against a foe they have no possibility of winning against. DeFalco and Wilson have the heroes start training for the big match and though it is a somewhat serious affair, it is also somewhat lighthearted in nature, DeFalco breaking the mood with little bits of comedy here and there. Eventually it is time to meet in the ring, each character coming face to face with The Champion, a being that has never lost and who has found the planets of those heroes he has defeated, wanting. Not every hero has to face The Champion as disqualifications come quickly for reasons that are somewhat silly, but in the end, are fair, or at least as fair as they can be as they face a being that is ultimately all-powerful. Out of them all, it is Sasquatch that fairs the best, at least until it comes to The Thing. For Ben, he does not know how to quit and when people are in danger, as they most likely will be if he does not win this fight, which is when he fights the hardest. The battle is intense as the two measure each other up and The Champion, for all of the matches and games he has had, is in for the fight of his life and it is one of the best he has ever had for he has never met a man like Ben in all of his travels. If there is one thing that DeFalco and this issue does more than any other in this series, it is painting Ben as the tenacious hero who never gives up, a man that always stands up for what is right. It has a Rocky Balboa feel about it and that is a good thing and while Ben comes out the other side of it a broken man, he is not beaten which in The Champion’s eyes, is an admirable thing. A truly fantastic issue from start to finish with Wilson’s pencils being as great as ever and DeFalco providing a very fun story.

4 out of 5

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