Marvel Two-in-One #52: A Little Knight Music!

Writer: Steven Grant
Penciller: Jim Craig
Inker: P. Marcos
Letterer: Rick Parker
Colorist: Ben Sean
Editor: Roger Stern

The Guest Star:
      Moon Knight

The Villain:

Guest Shots:

The Set Up:
      Ben is coming out of an awards banquet when a man comes running up to him for help. A squad of machine gun toting costumed thugs races up, and they riddle the man, who dies in Ben's arms after telling him an address. An angered Ben starts taking out the thugs, and Moon Knight drops from the sky and joins the fight (he'd heard rumors in the underworld of the situation). The thugs don't last long, and Ben, irked by the appearance of 'yet another johnny-come-lately superhero', refuses to share the address. Moony leaves, and Ben heads for the street and a taxi.
     Moon Knight changes into his Jake Lockley, taxi-driver identity in time to be able to give Ben a lift to the address. Ben bursts through the door to find more costumed thugs, and before the fight can even start Moon Knight drops through the roof and joins in. Again, the two make short work of the thugs. The two start to talk afterwards, and a video screen soon lights up, revealing the mastermind of the whole affair, Crossfire. The place fills with gas, and the two quickly black out.
     They awake chained in a room, with machine guns trained on Moon Knight should Ben try to escape. While they are chained there, Crossfire tells them his master plan, which Ben can't do anything about without causing the death of the Moon Knight...

Clobberin' Time?:
      Page 11, panel 1. "A forklift? Yer attackin' me with as forklift? Now ya done it-- I'm insulted! I almost feel sorry for ya now, creeps-- 'cause ya went and made me mad! And that means-- It's Clobberin' Time!"

Petunia's Patch:
      Page 23, panel 6. "Pal, as my Aunt Petunia useta say... if they slam the doors in yer face-- go right on in through the wall!"

Things of Interest:
      On the Letters Page, we find a published letter from Kurt Busiek (back for his third MTIO appearance), future writer of Marvels, Thunderbolts, Astro City, and Avengers, among others. Among other things, Kurt raves about Jack of Hearts, commenting "The Jack of Hearts has got to get his own mag!" Apparently Kurt never changed his mind- when Mr. Busiek was writing the Avengers, among the new members he inducted was the Jack of Hearts!
     This is Crossfire's first appearance, and he goes on to be the big villain in the first Hawkeye limited series, but hasn't ever done much else. He has appeared in Captain America, Avengers Spotlight, and Nick Fury. Some fun history behind Crossfire is revealed in the letters page in issue 59, when we discover that this issue's writer, Steven Grant, modeled Crossfire on his real one-time college roommate William Cross. Is there any better form of immortality for a comic book fan?
     At several sites around the internet you can find nice snippets by Steven Grant about how he got his first Marvel assignment (this issue). Basically, the story seems to be that he was friends with Roger Stern, who was a newly appointed editor at Marvel. MTIO was waaay behind schedule at that time, and when Steven Grant phoned Roger Stern to ask if he'd mind if he stayed with Roger while visiting NYC, Stern asked when he'd be arriving. Grant told him Sunday, and Stern answered something along the lines of "great- can you have a Marvel Two-in-One plot ready by Monday?"
     Volume two of Essential Marvel Two-in-One (released on June 13th, 2007) begins with MTIO issue #26 and reprints, in black and white, every MTIO issue up to this one, as well as Annuals #2 and #3.