Marvel Two-in-One #91: In the Shadow of the Sphinx!

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciller: Ron Wilson
Inker: Jon D'Agostino
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: George Roussos
Editor: Mark Gruenwald

The Guest Star:

The Villain:
      the Sphinx

Guest Shots:
      Dr. Strange; Mr. Fantastic

The Set Up:
      A group of archaeologists in Egypt have found "the greatest archaeological find of the century!" Unfortunately, the man who has been buried in those sands for 200 years is also awake, and things don't look good for the scientists.
     Back in New York. Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, receives a disturbing visit from Dr. Strange, who tells him that something odd and mystical is going on, and Ben will have to go to Egypt. Ben declines to go, but is unsettled, and eventually goes to talk to Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, the brains of the Fantastic Four. Reed is a little preoccupied, as he's studying a satellite photo of a new pyramid that has mysteriously appeared in Egypt. A resigned Ben turns, preps the Fantastic Four's Pogo Plane, and heads for Egypt and the Pyramids.
     At the site of the new pyramid, Ben is approached by one of the scientists, who wishes to talk to him covertly. As the two start to talk, they are attacked by a bunch of natives, and the Thing easily drives them off. When he turns back to the scientist, he finds that the man is gone, and so Ben runs after the natives he'd just beaten up and tells them he wishes to surrender. The puzzled natives take him to their master, who immediately blasts Ben unconscious. Ben awakens deep within the pyramids, held by chains he can't break, a prisoner of the Sphinx...

Clobberin' Time?:
      Page 9, panel 1. The Thing is attacked by servents of the Sphinx. "Save yer breath, bright-eyes! I don't speak yer language! -- It's Clobberin' Time!"
     Page 24, panel 4. Ben makes a flying tackle. "This is it, Sphinx! It's Clobberin' Time!"

Petunia's Patch:
      No Petunia in this issue.

Things of Interest:
      No guest star this issue. Not even a vague attempt at pretending there is one, as has happened on several occasions. Just good old Ben on his own.
     Well, Ben does read things other than horror, it looks like. He's reading a gangland mafia book in this issue.
     I rather like this issue in that Ben wins by using his brain instead of his brawn. We also learn that the Ka stone "has plans" for Ben, but so far we've yet to see what those are.
     The Sphinx was an ongoing villain in the Nova series, immensely powerful and with the interesting motivation that he was just trying to learn how he could die. In a classic storyline in Fantastic Four 206-213 (or so), he faces off against Galactus and holds his own before being defeated and forced into an infinite loop of living his life over and over. This issue is his first appearance after that, and he appears next in The Thing 34 (in which he apparently dies), has an appearance in several Spider-Man annuals, and then becomes a major foe of the New Warriors (which only makes sense since he first started as a Nova villain). The Sphinx has been through a variety of hard-to-explain incarnations, including several resurrections, an alternate universe Lady Sphinx, and a merger of several of those incarnations.
     Utterly irrelevant, but as I sit writing this, the Chuck Norris-like image of Barry Bostwick staring at me from the back cover (Megaforce: "Deeds Not Words") is highly annoying.
     I kind of enjoy someone's contention (repeated here on another site)as to who they think Marvel is trying to mislead that you that guest star is. I'm not sure I agree, but it is a clever observation!