Marvel Two-in-One #78: Monster Man!

Plotter: Tom DeFalco
Scripter: David Michelinie
Penciller: Ron Wilson
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: George Roussos
Editor: Jim Salicrup

The Guest Star:
      Wonder Man

The Villain:
      Xemnu the Titan

Guest Shots:
      Beast; Matt Murdock; Mr. Fantastic; Human Torch; Invisible Girl; Franklin Richards

The Set Up:
      Benjamin J. Grimm is watching TV at the Baxter Building with the rest of the Fantastic Four, specifically the new show "Monster Man." The hero of Monster Man is a big orange monster (with a smaller orange sidekick to boot!), and Ben is a little peeved at the obvious ripoff of himself, and even more peeved that the lead actor is his "old poker-playin' pal" Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man. Ben hops a sky cycle, and heads for L.A. to pay the set a visit.
     In L.A., the shows director seems to be using a mysteriorusly bizarre camera. Ben barges in, destroys a different camera, tells off Wondy, and departs. In his wake, we learn that the real creator behind the director's shows is the producer, Mr. Moses.
     Simon talks over his dilemma with the Beast, and decides to quit. Ben talks over his dilemma with Matt Murdock, and discovers he can't sue. When Simon goes in to quit, we discover that the producer is actually Xemnu the Titan, and he hypnotizes Simon into staying. A frustrated Ben discovers that the show has a hypnotic effect on those watching it (including himself), and he heads back to Hollywood to investigate. The controlled Wonder Man is soon duking it out with the Thing...

Clobberin' Time?:
     Page 19, panel 8. Ben bashes his way into the studio to confront the director. "Heads up, Silverberg! it's Clobberin' Time!"

Petunia's Patch:
      No Petunia.

Things of Interest:
      Xemnu the Titan is kind of a bizarre fixture in the Marvel Universe. Xemnu first appeared in Journey into Mystery #62 (in its pre-Thor Monster comics days), and was known then as Xemnu the Living Hulk. He appeared again in that comic a few issues later (66), and then faced the Defenders a few times thereafter, in Marvel Feature 3 and Defenders 12. His last appearance before this issue was in Hulk Annual 5. His next appearance after this issue was in She-Hulk 6-7, and again in She-Hulk 42-43. That pretty much sums up Xemnu to date...
     Ted Silverberg is a pretty generic Hollywood director type, and appears again in this series in MTIO 97.
     This issue ranges from nice characterization to just plain odd bits. "The Lethal Legumes from Planet Twilo?" "Battlestar Gazpacho?" And how about "The Survive and Win Show?" Still and all, I do still like the idea of Monster Man and Kid Monstro...
     We also get some nice Wonder Man - Beast interplay on page 9. The two always had a great friendship vibe going on over in the Avengers. We do get an "Oh my stars and garters" out of the Beast, even!
     When and if we get an Essential MTIO Volume 4 (as v1 was 2005, v2 was 2007, and v3 was 2009, 2011 seems reasonable), it'll begin with this issue and run all the way through #100, nicely encapsulating the whole series, likely save two "licensed character" issues, those being #21 and #99.