Marvel Two-in-One #85: "The Final Fate of Giant-Man!"

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciller: Ron Wilson
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: George Roussos
Editor: Jim Salicrup

The Guest Star:

The Villain:
      Atom-Smasher II

Guest Shots:
      Giant-Man; Mr. Fantastic; Celia Jackson; Herbert Bell; Talia Kruma; Dale West

The Set Up:
      Bill Foster is in a bed at the Baxter Building, having a nightmare about death. As he dreams, he basically relives his life, recapping his days in Los Angeles and his time at Project Pegasus. Waking up, he comes to the conclusion that if his death is inevitable, he'd rather go back to L.A. and put his affairs in roder than die in a hospital bed. Over Reed's objections, Ben flies Bill back to Los Angeles in the Pogo Plane.
     In San Francisco, Spider-woman is investigating a detective case she'd taken on and ends up fighting some thugs. In the battle, she's hit by a radiation blast, but the immunity factor in her blood cures her. As she recovers, she hears the bad guys say they're going to Los Angeles, so she soon packs up and heads there.
     In Los Angeles, Ben and Bill Foster are meeting up with Bill's old friends. As Ben embraces his old girlfriend Celia Jackson, Ben wanders away to give Bill a chance to be alone with his friends. Ben finds an unconscious security guard, and soon finds the costumed thugs who've broken in. They're easily taken care of, until Ben finds the man in charge of them- Atom-Smasher! Ben is quickly blasted unconscious.
     While Bill and his friends wake Ben, Spider-woman glides in. Bill hopes he can use the "fake" Atom-Smasher to help cure himself, so they all combine forces to track down Atom-Smasher, who meanwhile has finished creating "the ultimate doomsday weapon," something known as the Neutralode.

Clobberin' Time?:
      Well, maybe not, but he thinks about it on page 15, panel 2. When he finds a security guard unconcscious and goes to investigate... "This may not do Foster any good-- but a little clobberin' will sure perk me up!"
     Finally on page 22, panel 2. Ben rips out a huge hunk of machinery and heaves it. "You ain't seen nuthin' yet, 'cause... It's Clobberin' Time!"

Petunia's Patch:
      Page 16, panel 1. Ben finishes off the thugs. "As sparring partners, you guys are one big disappointment! My Aunt Petunia bakes blueberry muffins tougher than you!"

Things of Interest:
      As an aside (see Petunia's Patch just above)- Aunt Petunia's blueberry muffins also got a mention in MTIO 79! They must have really made an impression on Ben...
     Atom-Smasher I appeared in Black Goliath 1-3, where he was responsible for Giant-Man's radiation poison. He died in Back Goliath 3, and we saw his body disposed of in MTIO 54. The Atom-Smasher in this issue (Atom-Smasher II) is the original Atom-Smasher's brother, and this is his first and last appearance. I'm told (I don't own these issues) that neither is related in any way to Atom-Smasher III, who appears in Iron Man 287-288.
     Bill Foster, a.k.a. Giant-Man, a.k.a. Black Goliath, has one of those long but not deep Marvel universe histories. He started back in the pages of the Avengers (Volume 1, issue 32 was his first appearance) when he was a biochemist assisting Henry Pym. He had a number of minor appearances in the Avengers, became Black Goliath in a two-issue run of Power Man, got his own series (Black Goliath) which lasted a mere 5 issues, worked with the Champions for a bit, was part of the classic Defenders-for-a-day fiasco, and then worked at Project Pegasus. He hasn't done much after this- some Avengers appearances, and a run in Marvel Comics Presents. I'm still hopeful he'll someday get a real day in the sun.
     Spider-woman experiences a fairly major change in her superpowers at the end of this issue. The odd thing about this is that at this time she has her own series (Spider-woman, which would last 50 issues) going, and her powers change somewhere outside her own series! By the by, for those not that aware of Spider-woman- at the time of this issue she's running a detective agency in San Francisco under the name of Jessica Drew.
     It is noted here that Ben has previously met Spider-woman (back in issues 29-33), but he had his memories of that erased by Modred in issue 33. So, while Spider-woman remembers Ben, he does not recognize her.