Marvel Two-in-One Annual #5: When a Stranger Calls!
Writer / Penciller: Alan Kupperberg
Inker: Pablo Marcos
Editor: Jim Salicrup
The Guest Star:
the Stranger; Mr. Fantastic; Invisible Girl; Human Torch
The Set Up:
The Fantastic Four are heading for a ceremony in New York when a beam from outer space strikes the Fantasti-car, knocking out the other three FFers. Ben hauls 'em all back to the Baxter Building, and finds out that all three are laced with gamma radiation. Ben knows there's only one person to go to for help, the world's foremost expert on gamma radiation... Bruce Banner.
Out in the desert, Hulk has returned to the place of his borth, and finds Betty Ross and her father, General Thunderbolt Ross, there. A beam from the sky zaps the three of them, reverting the Hulk to his Bruce Banner form, and knocking the other two out. Bruce Banner determines that they've been zapped with cosmic radiation, and knows there's only one person to go to for help, the world's foremost expert on cosmic radiation... Reed Richards.
Cut to outer space, where the Stranger stands in his cosmic complex, musing to himself that so little time remains. He's had to enlist the aid of two unknowing earthlings in his scheme in order to face the deadly challenge at hand, and now he has to go to earth to confirm their aid.
As Ben flies out to meet Dr. Banner, the Stranger beams in, accidentally crippling Ben's plane. Ben survives the crash, of course, but he's more than a mite peeved. The Stranger attempts to zap Ben (with a soothing ray) to calm him, and a fight develops, with the Hulk joining the Thing against the Stranger. The Stranger unrepentantly confesses to zapping the others, and says he can cure them just as easily. But first, he needs their help against an unbelievably powerful and evil menace. Ben manages to calm the Hulk, and the two agree to help. The Stranger teleports the three of them in the Netherworld, and tells them that their foe is... Pluto!
Pg 15, panel 3. The Stranger just confessed that it was he who zapped the Fantastic Four at the start of the issue. "You?! You did this?! Ya got this comin', ya crummy creep! 'Cause It's Clobberin' Time!"
Pg 18, panel 1. After the Stranger has convinced Ben to help him, he frees both Ben and the Hulk, at which point the Hulk goes after the Stranger again and Ben has to stop him. "Fer the luva my sweet ol' Aunt Petunia! Use yer brain, Hulk!"
Things of Interest:
There actually isn't a title in this issue so far as I can tell- the title on the splash page is the title of the first chapter, not the story title. The title that I applied above (When a Stranger Calls!) is taken from the cover.
The other classic Ben line: Page 27, panel 4, as Ben and the Hulk are being swarmed under by a huge number of little grey men: "Wotta revoltin' development this is!"
Ah, those dated references. Page 31, panel 3, as the Stranger tells Ben and the Hulk that he's about to transport them away: "Suits me! Just plunk yer magic twanger, and..."
The last issue / next issue links below for each Annual will take you not to the last / next Annual, but rather to the last / next issue chronologically, as determined by the Marvel Chronology Project.