Marvel Two-In-One #87
Issue(s): Marvel Two-In-One #87
...the Thing is zapped away to the Negative Zone. When the Human Torch wishes that they knew a way to contact the new Ant-Man to get some help going after the Thing, an ant (up on one of the top floors of the Baxter Building?) dutifully sends along the message...
...and soon Scott Lang arrives on the scene.
Lang was unaware that he could shrink into the Microverse, but he does so at Mr. Fantastic's direction (refusing to take along Reed or Johnny until he can confirm the safety of the process)...
...and he finds a Thing not at all interested in a rescue.
It does turn out that the Thing has been drugged by Pearla, the monarch of "this Microworld". Pearla is involved in a conflict with some lizard men from another planet (the same ones that appeared in her first appearance), and the conflict was going to be resolved with an arena battle, and the Thing has been "recruited" to be her champion. But Pearla has a treacherous scheme in mind.
It's a scheme that she doesn't seem to mind explaining to her prison guards and in a room full of courtiers, which probably explains why her kingdom keeps getting conquered. But it is interesting to see Pearla take on a more villainous role here. You could argue it's a more realistic realpolitik depiction of a leader defending her kingdom, but she's probably lucky that the Thing isn't with the FF the next time she'll need help.
The Thing is aware of Ant-Man from conversations with his poker buddies in the Avengers, but it takes time for Ant-Man to figure out what's going on and escape getting captured himself, so the Thing does wind up in the arena.
Ant-Man finds the local "ants" unusual but still receptive to his commands...
...and he's able to use them to reach the Thing, where he's able to bring him out of his drug-haze and convince him to help stop Pearla from escalating the war, and in fact force a truce.
After stopping Pearla's attack, the two Earth heroes leave while acknowledging that the battle will most likely start up again as soon as they leave. For what it's worth, in Pearla's next appearance in FF #284 (which otherwise ignores this issue), there's a quick line saying that "we had newly signed peace and trade treaties with our old enemies, and the future seemed assured", so Ben and Scott's cynicism may have been unwarranted.
This was a fun issue in the sense that it had a lot of callbacks to Silver Age era Ant-Man, including his first guest appearance in the FF, his ant information network, and the occasions where he'd travel to other dimensions and meet the local fauna. And the fact that Pearla, a very generic damsel-in-distress in her first appearance, is willing to drug the Thing, is an interesting development.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Since the Thing never appears in his original lumpy form in Marvel Two-In-One, all MTIO issues have to take place either before Fantastic Four #238 or after Fantastic Four #245. This is the first to take place after #245. Also has to take place after the FF's appearance in Micronauts #40.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This issue caused problems when Kurt Busiek referenced it in an Avengers Annual in the late '90's. In that Annual, Firestar somehow managed to contact Hank Pym through the ants but it wasn't clear how. Busiek explained that she did it by talking to them. A lot of readers thought the idea that the ants could understand English was stupid.
Posted by: Michael | July 20, 2013 8:23 PM
Zorak? No Brak, Moltar, or Space Ghost?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 20, 2013 8:29 PM
My question is - did Ben get some from the giantess on the couch next to him when Scott arrived?
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | April 10, 2015 2:01 AM
A little strange that Thing never appeared in his earlier form in MTIO. That must have been an odd several months for people reading both titles. But then again, as much I love his art and his work on FF, Byrne's never exactly been one for playing well with others, and maybe it was too much for him to communicate with the people on MTIO.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 4, 2015 8:24 PM
If the Thing in MTIO wasn't lumpy, it would be because the EIC and editors of the books that had no problem with it not Byrne.
These books are scheduled and plotted several months before they hit the shelves.
So the editor of MTIO had to know that Ben was going to be lumpy.
Posted by: a.lloyd | May 27, 2015 4:58 PM
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