Marvel Two-in-One #10: Is This the Day the World Ends?
Author: Chris Claremont
Artist: Bob Brown
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Klaus Janson
Editor: Len Wein
The Guest Star:
the Black Widow
The Sword of Judgement, led by Agamemnon
The Set Up:
The Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) is driving a fancy car at high speeds, trying to escape from the carful of costumed gunmen chasing after her. As she goes cross-country through Central Park, we come across Ben and Alicia Masters taking a peaceful walk. Peaceful, at least, until the car chase catches them. Ben throws Alicia out of the way, and is hit by the Widow's car in the process. A dazed Black Widow stumbles towards the nearly unconscious Thing, and the gunmen shoot 'Tasha and load both 'Tasha and Ben into their helicopter and depart.
Ben wakes on a medical table and immediately begins to trash the area, wanting to know where Alicia is. However, Agamemnon, the leader of the bad guys, arrives with a gun to the Black Widow's head, and so Ben surrenders. We quickly learn that Agamemnon leads the Sword of Judgement, a revolutionary group, and that they have the world's most powerful nuclear weapon, which they intend to detonate under the ocean creating a thousand foot high radioactive tidal wave. Ben and the Widow are then locked into a sealed room behind a force field, and left alone while the bad guys go to deploy their bomb...
Pg 16, panel 8. After being locked in a room with a force field, the Black Widow uses some secret agent gadgets to short circuit the force field. Natasha, as the gadget works: "All right, Ben. The time to move is... now!" The Thing, as he smashes through the wall and into the guards on the other side: "Gangway, creeps! It's Clobberin' Time!"
Still no Petunia! We want Petunia!
The Thing appears here between Fantastic Four issues #159 and #160. Alicia Masters is seen here between appearances in FF 158 and FF #160.
Black Widow appears here between Avengers #137 and Daredevil #124. Agamemnon, the Operation Poseidon base, and the Sword of Judgement all first appear here, and while Agamemnon and the base are never seen again to date, the Sword of Judgement next appears in Darkstar and the Winter Guard #2.
Things of Interest:
This is a fun James Bond-ish (or perhaps Avengers-ish, but in the sense of the British TV show, not the Marvel comic book) episode, even to the epilogue which has Ben and Natasha drinking champagne as they wait for S.H.I.E.L.D. to arrive after they've saved the day. With their vastly different power levels, a Black Widow - Thing team-up could have been a real disappointment- this one is a real charmer, though.
There's a great scene on page 16 where an unconcerned Black Widow removes her top to get at the gadgets she's secretly had strapped to her back, while an unwarned Ben covers his eyes in shock, his jaw having dropped about as low as it can go...
This is the final issue in Marvel Masterworks vol. 200: Marvel Two-in-One #1, which reprints Marvel Feature #11-12 and Marvel Two-in-One #1-10 in a gorgeous if expensive hardcover format.