Marvel Two-in-One #12: The Stalker in the Sands!

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciller: Ron Wilson
Inker: Vinnie Colleta
Letterer: Karen Mantlo
Colorist: Janice Cohen
Editor: Len Wein

The Guest Star:
      Iron Man

The Villain:
      Prester John

Guest Shots:
      Human Torch (in flashback)

The Set Up:
      Ben is out in the Israel desert, where he's test-piloting something called "Pattycake" for Tony Stark. The launch goes awry, however, and instead of being lauched into the air Pattycake (with Ben inside) is propelled deep into the earth. Ben crawls out of the wreckage, and unexpectedly finds himself in a cavern. Seeing a light at one end, he heads for it...
     Meanwhile, Tony Stark has suited up as Iron Man, and has figured out what must have happened. Heading into the silo, he find the ruined ship, but no Ben. Looking around, he finds Prester John, and Ben kneeling as if in supplication before him. PJ holds a magic stone out in front of Iron Man and Iron Man finds himself forced to kneel before Prester John, and has to listen through the story of PJ's earlier appearance and history. Prester John then strides off to conquer the world, leaving Iron Man and The Thing immobilized behind him...

Clobberin' Time?:
      Double-page spread Clobberin' Time! On pages 22-23, as numbered in the original, Ben and Iron Man combine for an all-out attack, with Iron Man urging Ben to not hurt Prester John, and to just get the stone empowering him. Ben replies: "Take a look at his kisser, shellhead! He ain't given up that rock without a fight! An' if that's how it is -- Clobberin' Time!"
     Hmm - double "typos" on that double-page spread. Yeah, it really does say "given" instead of "givin'", and they really did omit an "It's" for "It's Clobberin' Time!"

Petunia's Patch:
      Yet again- no Petunia!

Things of Interest:
     This issue includes Marvel Value Stamp#45: Mantis (again!).
     By virtue of having previously had guest billing in Marvel Feature 12, Iron Man gains the prestigious privelege of being the first hero to make a second title appearance with Ben in these pages.
     This embarassingly awful comic marks the first appearance as penciller in these pages of Ron Wilson, who will go on to draw more issues of MTIO than anyone else by far. Don't be disturbed by this issue- he's really generally great!
     Not entirely sure how I could have missed it in that huge double page spread, but when I first reviewed this page I missed the Clobberin' Time noted above. Thanks to Mark Pearson for pointing it out.