Marvel Two-In-One launched in 1974, teaming the Thing with a different hero each month. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: September 1975
Cover Price: 25¢
Writer: Roy Thomas with Bill Mantlo (script)
Artist: Bob Brown
WHO stars in this issue?
the Thing – Benjamin J. Grimm was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space exploration flight, alongside three friends. The cosmic rays gave each of them different powers, and they formed the Fantastic Four. Ben underwent the most physical change of the foursome: his skin mutated into orange rock and, as a result, he gained super-strength.
the Golem – a statue of living stone that was made in the sixteenth century. In recent years, it has been reanimated by the spirit of Professor Abraham Adamson. As long as it maintains contact with the Earth, its power and strength will be continuously renewed.
The Thing and Alicia Masters have decided to take a vacation to Disneyworld in Florida. On the way, they hear a special radio announcement – a tidal wall has been resurrected, separating San Pedro University from the rest of St. Petersburg, Florida. The Thing hops the train into that very same city where he overhears a report of a stone monster on the loose and wreaking havoc!
At the University, Jason Adamson (the nephew of Abraham Adamson) deduces that the Golem is back in action because he is threatened by the tidal barrier. He then assumes that the demon lord Kaballa has finally gained control of the Golem – his goal is to use the Golem to rule the Earth.
Meanwhile, in the heart of St. Petersburg, the Thing and the Golem have come face to rocky face! We’re treated to four consecutive pages of battle. An eerie battle – as the Golem maintains a creepy silence amid his destruction. During the fight, the word “Emeth” appears on the Golem’s forehead and images flash into the Thing’s mind. Despite being controlled by Kaballa, the spirit of Adamson within the Golem is reaching out to the Thing – letting him know that there are people at San Pedro University that can stop him.
But, how to reach the University? A tall task now that there is a large body of water separating it from the rest of the city. The quick-thinking Thing starts throwing the debris from the Golem’s rampage into the water – creating a bridge that eventually lets him get to the University. With the bridge completed, Jason, Rebecca (his sister), and Wayne (her fiancee) run towards the Golem. And, as they near the stony creature inhabited by their uncle’s spirit, his love for them enables him to overpower that of Kaballa. He has regained control of the Golem! Sensing his imminent defeat, Kaballa retreats – vowing to return for the Golem later. Now that his loved ones are no longer in danger, the Golem reverts back into an unmoving statue.
WHERE does the story take place?
This story takes place in St. Petersburg, Florida – home of the fictional San Pedro University.
WHEN does the villain next appear?
Kaballa, Overlord of Demon-Ruin, next appears in the Rampaging Hulk #6 (cover date: December 1977), wherein he sends one of his minions against Ulysses Bloodstone.
WHY is the Golem the guest-lead?
The Golem is surely the strangest choice of co-stars this book has had – but his appearance here is most probably linked to this issue’s writer: Roy Thomas. You see, taking inspiration from Jewish folklore, Roy Thomas introduced the Golem into the Marvel Universe in the Incredible Hulk #134. That was in 1970 – four years later, the Golem was given his very own feature in Strange Tales #174, 176 & 177 – I guess it didn’t sell well enough to warrant more than three books. Those issues weren’t written by Roy Thomas – although he was the editor on them. With his character back in the limelight, it seems Thomas wanted to have another go at it. But, since it was clear the Golem couldn’t hold his own solo feature – the next best thing would be to make him a co-lead.
HOW was it?
It’s kind of hard for a mute stone being controlled by a demon lord to maintain an interesting tale by himself – so it’s quite apparent why the Thing is needed for this story. And, while I’m sure I’d appreciate the story more if I had read the Strange Tales issues, the Golem just doesn’t do much for me here. The villain, Kaballa, is also a lame-o who’s only seen a few more times over the next forty years of Marvel continuity. The cover promises the “End of a Legend!” – except, I don’t know that there’s much truth to that. Clearly, the legend isn’t the Thing – he’s seen again next issue. Kaballa is hardly legendary and, besides, he does return (as noted above). So, I suppose “legend” refers to the Golem, especially considering its place in Jewish folklore. However, it’s really not an ending – more like a hiatus, for it will be reanimated as soon as those kids are in danger again. Ah well – may it never be said that Marvel covers aren’t hyperbolic. By the way, Golem fans can find him in issues of the Hood and Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos.
On the plus side, it seems Alicia Masters is becoming more of a supporting character – which she should be, as the girlfriend of the lead character. And, there’s a fun bit as the Thing reacts to news reports of a rampaging rock monster. But, I’m still left confused about one part… When we first see the Golem, it’s inert inside a University lab with Jason Adamson. The next thing we know, a tidal barrier is erected around the school and the formerly inert Golem is now somehow on the other side of the wall – while Jason is still in the University. How did this motionless statue get all the way on the other side of the wall of water?!
Note: This issue’s letters column features commentary on Marvel Two-In-One #9 (one of the letters is from writer, Robert Rodi).
Point of Curiousity – anyone else find it interesting that the Golem (Google: “[in Jewish legend] A clay figure brought to life by magic”) is battling Kaballa (Google: “The ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible, first transmitted orally and using esoteric methods”)?
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