Marvel Two-in-One #42: "Entropy, Entropy..."
Writer: Ralph Macchio
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: A. Alcala & S. Grainger
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Nel Yomtov
Editor: Roger Stern
The Guest Star:
Wundarr, Thomas Lightner
The Set Up:
Ben comes bursting through the wall into Project Pegasus, leveling security personnel as he goes. Coming to attempt to stop him is "a figure that fires the hopes and dreams of freedom lovers everywhere"- Captain America. The two tussle for several pages, until Cap lures Ben into position so that he can zap him with a stasis ray. Cap talks Ben into calming down, and we learn that Wundarr, Ben's old ward (last seen in issue 9) has been taken to this government energy research installation as part of an ongoing research project. Ben is worried about Wundarr being misused, while Captain America happens to be there to investigate some security issues. Ben is taken to meet Wundarr, and is able to soothe the scared man-child.
Wundarr is being used in an experiment to unharness the energies of a quiescent Cosmic Cube. As Captain America reassures Ben that all the scientists here have Wundarr's best interests in mind, we see one of those scientists sneaking off to pull an 'override switch', sending energy coursing through Wundarr. As Ben rushes to Wundy's rescue, Cap goes after the mysterious figure. The guy floors Cap with one punch, and grabs the Cosmic Cube and teleports away while Ben is helping the injured Wundarr.
Far away in the Florida swamps, we see the figure materialize in front of the decay-worshipping Cult of Entropy, and reveal himself to be Victorius, their leader. Meanwhile, Wundarr has been turned over to the doctors, and Cap takes Ben to an experimental jet with the capacity to track the Cosmic Cube anywhere on earth. The two grab the plane, and head south for the Everglades...
Things of Interest:
This is part one of a two-part story that finishes next issue.
This is the first issue of MTIO written by Ralph Macchio. Working in tandem with Mark Gruenwald, Mr. Macchio will eventually write the 'classic' MTIO stories that most people remember MTIO for. This issue is kind of a preview of the kind of quality we'll later be seeing from the "Two-in-One Twins".
This story is also a set-up for the Project Pegasus storyline. This is the first appearance of the Project, and establishes the presence there of both Wundarr and Thomas Lightner. I really find myself wondering if the writer was already envisioning the PP story at this point, or if it was developed later out of this issue.
The characterization in this story is just about perfect. Ben and Cap play off each other extremely well, with a layer of respect, trust, and humor that really only works with two people who know each other well and trust each other implicitly. The scenes with Ben and Wundarr, though brief, are also very moving. The fact that someone looks up to Ben, who considers himself a monster, as a surrogate father has obviously impacted Ben greatly.
On a purely personal note, I consider this to be one of the best MTIO covers in the book's run.