Marvel Two-in-One #43: The Day the World Winds Down

Writer: Ralph Macchio
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: "and friends"
Letterer: Bruce Patterson
Colorist: Phil Rachelson
Editor: Roger Stern

The Guest Star:

The Villain:
      Victorius; Jude, the Entropic Man; the Cult of Entropy

Guest Shots:
      Captain America

The Set Up:
      The Thing and Captain America are facing off against Victorius (armed with the Cosmic Cube), the Cult of Entropy, and Jude, the Entropic Man. Victorius tells them (and us) his origin, and relates how he came to hook up with the Cult of Entropy (ah, the power of half-price book bins). He relates how he created Jude the Entropic Man out of the remains of the Cult's old leader, and Jude's first 'murder', having entropized two tourists. Ben becomes more than a little irate at this telling and attacks Victorius who, using the Cube, lays Ben out cold. Cap sees the futility of the fight, and convinces Victorius to take him on man-to-man, no Cube, no Shield, one super-soldier against another. While they fight, the Man-Thing is drawn out of the swamps to the emotions being produced. Ben comes to just in time to see the Man-Thing collecting the Cube, and Jude the Entropic Man interrupting the fight to claim Captain America's life in the name of entropy...

Clobberin' Time?:
      No Clobberin' Time in this issue.

Petunia's Patch:
      No Petunia either.

Things of Interest:
      This is the conclusion of a two-part storyline that began last issue. Despite what you may read elsewhere on the web, this issue was not reprinted in 1992 in Adventures of the Thing #4, part of a four issue miniseries of MTIO reprints. The issue reprinted in that comic is MTIO #77.
     This issue features the artwork of a young up-and-coming artist by the name of John Byrne. I wonder what ever happened to him?
     Victorius had previously appeared in Astonishing Tales 18-20, battling Ka-zar. He's appropriate here as his powers come from the one-time recreation of the super soldier serum that had created Cap. The Astonishing Tales stories are fun mostly for the amazingly awful constume Victorius sports, and for the fact that the SHIELD agent tailing around after Ka-zar is Bobbi Morse, who eventually will become Mockingbird, marry Hawkeye, and die as an Avenger.
     The Cult of Entropy had previously appeared in Giant-Size Man-Thing #1, notable only for their leader (Yagzan)'s rather impressive resemblance to Richard Nixon.
     This issue is cover-dated September, 1978. At the end of the issue Victorius and the Entropic Man have been converted, by the Cosmic Cube, into an apparently amazingly powerful crystalline object that gets left in the swamp and never mentioned again! However, this storyline is touched upon again in Universe X #8, cover dated May, 2001, only twenty two and a half years later, and Jude eventually becomes a _major_ character in Paradise X...
     I'm a big fan of the way this story ends. Ben (not Cap!) manages to talk the bad guys into coming to realize they can't yet succeed in what they're trying to do. I also enjoy the way the resolution comes out of the interaction of Jude's entropic powers, the Cosmic Cube, and the Man-Thing's powers. The last page is a particularly nice (and poignant) touch.