Marvel Two-in-One #40: Conjure Night!

Plotter: Roger Slifer
Scripter: Tom DeFalco
Penciller: Ron Wilson
Inker: Pablo Marcos
Letterer: Irv W. & Annette K.
Colorist: Phil Rachelson
Editor: Jim Shooter

The Guest Star:
      Black Panther

The Villain:
      a Zuvembie ("Nightspawn")

Guest Shots:
      Yellowjacket; Matt Murdock (a.k.a. Daredevil); J. Jonah Jameson, Robbie Robertson

The Set Up:
      A very fun start- after the events of last issue, as a 'thank you', Ben is making pizza for Yellowjacket, Matt Murdock, and Eugene, the kid who followed Ben into the Thinker's lair (Daredevil couldn't make it, I wonder why, and the Vision split). After Murdock teaches the kid a lesson on gambling by use of hyper-senses, YJ takes Ben and Eugene to the kids school by quinjet, where Ben sees the kid back into school. Teaching at the school (under the name Luke Charles) is T'Challa, the Black Panther, and Ben hangs around the school until class lets out, becoming the target of a few pranks along the way.
      The Panther is investigating a rash of disappearances in the black community, and to take Ben's mind off his problems, he asks Ben to help him investigate. We cut to the police, who are clueless in the investigation, save for an odd fetid smell, much like, quick cut to..., a graveyard, where a hand is clawing its way to the surface...

Clobberin' Time?:
      No Clobber.

Petunia's Patch:
      No Petunia.

Things of Interest:
      Ah, yes, the Zuvembie. Among those many things not allowed by the Comics Code Authority, for whatever reason, are the living dead creatures known as Zombies. So, meet the Zuvembie- a living dead creature who is _not_ a Zombie, is not related to Zombies, and has nothing to do with Zombies. Really. No, really. Trust us- do you think someone would really try to get around the CCA by so transparent a ruse as that? Oddly, this particular Zuvembie is actually a vampire as well (by the by, vampires are fine with the CCA)- as we soon learn, he's being controlled by someone else.
     The Zuvembie, unnamed here or in his earlier appearance, is given the name of "Nightspawn" in the Fantastic Four Encyclopedia, years later.
      This is part one of a two-part story, finishing up next issue in MTIO 41.
     All in all a very nice issue- though the school is maybe a little over the top, Ben has a lot of nice character bits, and I really like seeing the BP laughing together with Ben. The 'end' of the Zuvembie is nice too- not the way you usually expect your villains to go down. I also like Ben having to take the train across town- it's not the kind of problem super-heroes usually have.
     A gentleman named Dan Nash was kind enough to point out to me that this issue's letter page contains a letter from Greg Gallant, who, under the pen name "Seth," has written and/or drawn a variety of alternative comics, notably Palookaville.
     One note of overly picky implausibility- though with a little suspension of disbelief I can picture someone like Ben ripping out a row of seats and using them like a whip, I've never been in a theater where you could do it with a _column_ of seats, as the art shows! (Page 26, panel 6)

     And here's some original art for ya- Ben just knows how to behave in a classroom, doesn't he?
     The African king as elementary school teacher doesn't quite make sense, and T'Challa is never seen at this particular job again. Its not the writer's fault, by the by- the teaching had already been introduced elsewhere, but this in indeed the last of it.