Characters Appearing: Betty Ross, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Pluto, Stranger, Thing
Marvel Two-In-One annual #5
Issue(s): Marvel Two-In-One annual #5
The Fantastic Four are hit with a strange ray that spares only the Thing.
It's gamma radiation, so the Thing goes looking for Bruce Banner. Meanwhile, the Hulk returns to the place of his birth, where the gamma bomb first turned him into a monster.
Betty and her father are already there. They get hit by cosmic rays, so Banner contacts the Baxter Building. It's almost as if someone were trying to coordinate a Thing/Hulk team-up!
That someone is
First the Thing and the Hulk fight him...
...but he zaps them and explains the situation.
The problem involves Pluto...
...who has built a device that's creating a Nether Hole
Like the Hulk, i don't really understand the details...
...but with a device that Kirbyesque, it's gotta be dangerous.
Actually, Kupperberg's Hulk is pretty funny throughout this story. He's not interested in the explanations. He just wants to know when he can hit something.
And when the plot requires that he stop fighting Pluto, that just means he hits the Thing instead.
Pluto's device is destroyed, of course, and the Stranger restores the Hulk and Thing's friends. It's a simple plot, but it allowed for some great fights.
And i really enjoyed the art. The inking is very heavy, but it actually adds a lot of depth. Sometimes the faces looked a little odd to me; all of the Hulk's faces look... i guess sightly off model, but at the same time not bad, and here's Reed and Sue.
And here's a scan that encapsulates the good and the bad all at once: a great Thing, a slightly off Hulk, and an oddly prancing Pluto.
Overall, a fun annual.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this before FF #228. It's said that General Ross is "well again" placing this after he came out of his semi-catatonic state in Hulk #252-253. At the end of this issue, the Hulk deliberately avoids talking to Betty and General Ross, which he says is because Ross will call soldiers, but i think it's also because he's still mad at Betty from the end of Hulk #253. I actually prefer to place this after Hulk #254 (The MCP places it before) due to the fact that in #254 the Hulk is still raging over Rick and Betty's treatment of him from the end of #253. Plus this gives Betty and General Ross time to get to Gamma Base before the Hulk.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Why didn't the Stranger ask the FF for their help rather than put three of them in a coma to force the co-operation of just one of them? They would have agreed and he would have gotten the Thing plus three other super-humans, including a scientific genius.
Why did the Stranger use the Hulk and not someone more reliable and intelligent, like Thor and/or Hercules, who had both fought Pluto before?
Was the Stranger really playing possum when Pluto dangled him over the fire-pit? Perhaps if his cape wasn't so securely fixed to his tunic we'd have found out. As a near ominipotent entity with vast psionic powers, why didn't he just mind-control the Thing and Hulk to stop fighting each other and attack Pluto's machine?
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 28, 2017 6:32 PM
1. The FF wouldn't have helped the Stranger willingly. Reed would certainly know about his history.
2. There's a long history of the Hulk being manipulated to serve evil beings due to his child-like brain. I'm sure the Stranger figured that out.
3. From the wiki entry on the Stranger -
I'm not sure where we ever see that he has mind-control abilities.
Posted by: clyde | December 28, 2017 7:18 PM
Reed Richards and the rest of the FF would also know that the Stranger saved Earth from the Over-Mind so would be willing to listen to him.
The Stranger has mind-controlled the Hulk before, back in Tales to Astonish, when he wanted to use him to destroy Earth because he thought humans were a menace. Although he and other near-omnipotent cosmic entities seem to have an aversion to using the mind-control powers they should, by inference, possess.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 28, 2017 7:37 PM
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