Marvel Two-In-One #64-66
Issue(s): Marvel Two-In-One #64, Marvel Two-In-One #65, Marvel Two-In-One #66
It's surprising and nice to see any kind of developments in this comic as opposed to the Fantastic Four, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. As a public super-hero with no secret ID, it's a well known fact that he's dating Alicia. Bad guys aren't going to care if they're currently not seeing each other; it's not like the Thing would just ignore it if she were kidnapped.
Anyway, Stingray shows up with Dr. Henry Croft, one of the Amphibians from Hydro-Base.
Stingray has a hunch that whatever created the Amphibians is similar to the Terrigan Mist that the Inhumans use to evolve themselves. Mr. Fantastic does some studies and sends them to the Inhumans, who concur. Reed asks the Thing to accompany Stingray and Croft to the California coast, and Triton will take Croft the rest of the way.
The three get there early, so they decide to check out an oil rig that Stingray thinks is suspicious due to his knowledge of oceanography and the fact that there is no oil in the area.
They arrive at the oil rig via a rather unconventional method.
As they approach, it starts to fall apart, so they hold the derrick together and eventually get it repaired. The Roxxon crew attacks them anyway.
And then the new Serpent Squad show up: Sidewinder, Anaconda, Black Mamba, and Death Adder.
...Anaconda is super-strong and can stretch her arms for strangling...
...and Death Adder has poisonous claws.
They have cool designs by George Perez. In fact, these issues are well written and well drawn altogether, something i never thought i'd really say about a Macchio/Gruenwald effort (although liking George Perez art is no surprise).
Triton shows up to even the odds...
...but the Serpent Squad are pretty tough and they manage to recover the Serpent Crown (which is what the Roxxon oil rig was looking for) and get away. The Squad is working for Hugh Jones, head of Roxxon.
Agatha Harkness contacts the Thing mystically and tells him that she's sending her former student the Scarlet Witch to help out, because she's had some experience with the Crown.
By the way, in that Scarlet Witch panel? See those arrows? That happens a lot in comics. Honestly, if you have to draw arrows to show the reader how they're meant to follow along, maybe you should consider a different panel layout.
Triton takes Dr. Croft back to Attilan. Wanda leads the Thing and Stingray to Hugh Jones, only to find that he has both Serpent Crowns (this world's, and the one from the dimension that the Squadron Supreme come from). He summons forth specters of all who ever wore the crown.
I recognize the Sub-Mariner, Krang, the Viper, the Living Laser, and the president from the Squadron Supreme's dimension. Possibly one of the guys in robes is Paul Destine. Some of the others may be either from Tales of Atlantis back-ups or even Conan or
The Thing and Stingray take on the specters while the Scarlet Witch battles Hugh Jones mystically.
She gets the upper hand when the Thing distracts Jones. Winding up holding the Crown, the Thing is unable to resist putting it on his head, but finds that nothing happens.
He attributes it to his skin being too thick for the snake to get through, but the Scarlet Witch says it was actually Hugh Jones's consciousness, trapped in the Crown, not wanting to relinquish control.
In some subplots, Aquarian rescues... a deer...
...and Thundra and Hyperion hook up with Thundra's former wrestling manager, Herkimer Oglethorpe.
Again, it's a very good arc.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: When Harkness contacts the Scarlet Witch she is alone, and she doesn't bring any other Avengers with her, supporting the placement of this during the period where Wanda had left the team, between Avengers #191-197. For the FF characters, the MCP places this between FF #216-217.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (10): show
If you look closely at Death Adder, the character seemed to change gender between his 1st and 2nd appearances. Dialogue referring to him looks altered as well.
The Serpent Crown wearers:left throne--Thoth-Amon from Conan(he wore an earlier, different version of it under a different title), right throne--Paul Destine/Destiny; left to right:Viper, ?, Sub-Mariner, Lord Naga, Nelson Rockefeller, Living Laser, ?, Krang.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 10, 2011 8:35 PM
The woman between Viper and the Sub-Mariner is Dorma.
Posted by: Michael | September 10, 2011 9:21 PM
I like it that Stingray is like, "This is when I know I was born to be Stingray [i.e., when Ben Grim is riding on my back, shouting at things]."
Posted by: James | September 14, 2011 12:43 PM
the guenwald/macchio stories evolved so naturally, no ridiculous conicidences, just intellegent plotlines. the two writers really seemed to complement each other as these stories were better than their solo stuff.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 8, 2011 7:17 AM
Here's a footnote in advance for you, fnord. In Avengers 274, the Masters of Evil lure Hercules away from Avengers mansion by setting him up with a gal who tries to get him drunk. She reports back to Zemo and refers to herself as Tanya Sealy--a name that seemed awfully familiar when I re-read it just now. It's Black Mamba, plying her pre-super villain trade.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 13, 2012 12:43 AM
Thanks, Walter. Looks like the Marvel Chronology Project has her appearing in that issue as well.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 13, 2012 2:31 PM
John Romita Jr. was the originally announced artist for #66.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 10, 2013 3:21 PM
The Scarlet Witch has a good outing in a non-Avengers story.
Posted by: Steven Printz | August 5, 2013 12:46 PM
Those in the thrones are Thulsa Doom (a Kull villain that also faced Conan) and Paul Destine.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 9, 2013 9:14 PM
Posted by: PB210 | September 10, 2013 6:48 PM
Posted by: PB210 | September 10, 2013 6:54 PM
Gosh. Sorry for my mistake. Not Thulsa Doom. Thoth-Amon.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 10, 2013 8:35 PM
Was doing some research and I find it really neat that Gru just keeps coming back to the idea of snake villains, particularly here and ultimately with the Serpent Society, blending in the concepts that really seem like the Silver Age but feel captivating enough to work during his Cap run.
Which is a shame because I just found out about the Serpent Society in the Ultimate universe were just a bunch of scantilly clad women.
Posted by: Ataru320 | June 17, 2015 1:01 PM
The Serpent Society was one of those Gru ideas he really succeeded in making work - a little continuity porn in the origin, a lot of sense to the premise, a little soap opera in the team dynamics (a thing you don't see all the time, but can do a lot to make a bad guy group interesting) numbers and some variety of powers, so a lot of possibilities for challenging Cap in whatever combination of members w/o being ridiculously out of his league. Very nice work, and a pity they didn't catch on more outside Gru's work.
Posted by: BU | June 18, 2015 3:31 PM
BU, when you put it like that, they're basically the early Thunderbolts, now I want a Serpent/Bolts bonanza saga. Or just a Serpent Society ongoing...
Posted by: PeterA | June 19, 2015 12:57 AM
I'd be up for that -provided it lived up to its promise- in a heartbeat.
Gru didn't go heavy on the soap opera elements like an ongoing would need to, but do you realize that Stern did the same thing with his massive iteration of the Masters of Evil that took over the Avengers mansion? I think it was part of the charm of that arc, and certainly something that informed Busiek's take on the Thunderbolts derived from that version. -For that matter, the only thing that made Mike W. Barr's Masters of Disaster in Batman and the Outsiders memorable was the rather heavy soap opera team dynamic of otherwise forgettable tights-baddies. Lots of characterization for throwaways he only used twice.
fnord, would a preview button be feasible with this software? Might save me much embarrassment... Even a bigger composition box would help.
Posted by: BU | June 19, 2015 4:14 PM
The preview functionality was buggy so i disabled it. I'll put in on my queue to give it another try some time. But i figure i make plenty of typos, so you should all make me feel better by making your own.
You should be able to resize the entry window in most browsers by dragging the right bottom corner.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 19, 2015 5:19 PM
No luck with the dragging - I'm in IE.
I'm ALL about wanting to make you feel better, sir, enjoying the fruits of your labors as I so do, but at the cost of typpoes?
Posted by: BU | June 19, 2015 9:39 PM
This arc is known as the Serpent Crown Affair, after the 1968 heist movie, the Thomas Crown Affair.
Posted by: Andrew | January 14, 2017 10:21 PM
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