Marvel Two-In-One #29-32
Issue(s): Marvel Two-In-One #29, Marvel Two-In-One #30, Marvel Two-In-One #31, Marvel Two-In-One #32
Afterward, they hunt down Hydra, who is responsible for the kidnapping.
But Hydra manages to get away with a serum that will help them create an army of Spider-Women. They've got the real Spider-Woman held captive in a tube.
They've got her brainwashed, and they send her out to kill the Thing and kidnap Alicia. She fails to kill the Thing (she's subconsciously holding back)...
...but she does grab Alicia.
Then things get crazy. Spider-Woman shakes her hypnosis, but Hydra tests its serum on Alicia, and she mutates into a giant spider. The cover of issue #31, instead of announcing the Thing's team-up partner for the issue, says "The Thing alone against the Mystery Menace", by which they mean Spider-Alicia.
The Thing and Spider-Woman fight Spider-Alicia. The Invisible Girl shows up to help out.
Eventually of course they're able to restore her with the help of the scientist that was kidnapped....
...but it's almost two full issues of Alicia Masters as a giant spider.
This arc with Spider-Woman is her first appearance since her origin in Marvel Spotlight. She doesn't come across as all that interesting in this story. Since her origin is such a tangled mess, i'll recount what's given here. Her memories have been dulled by Hydra's hypnotism, so she just remembers the High Evolutionary as "a man", and nothing else.
Nick Fury doesn't have much to add.
Also in this arc, there's a subplot about some criminals who stole some British treasury plates during World War II and buried them under Big Ben. They go through a ton of trouble to retrieve the plates, only to get zapped by a mystical light when they open the box.
Issue #30 has some nice art by John Buscema, especially the down-time scenes like the Thing and Alicia sitting on the steps by a fountain in Central London.
The rest of the issue, by Ron Wilson, are also fine (a little rough, maybe) but i prefer Buscema.
Interesting complaints on the letters page for issue #32:
1) Writers don't keep hero's power levels consistent. In one issue, Spider-Man is able to "stagger" the Hulk but in another he has trouble with the Kingpin, for example. The editors say they agree and that Archie and Stan will try to set consistent levels. These sorts of complaints would eventually lead to the Marvel Handbooks.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the Considerations section for Fantastic Four #176; this takes place during that issue. Shang-Chi refers to Nayland Smith as his 'former' employer. The MCP places this after Master of Kung Fu #51; Shang-Chi has fill-in stories in MOKF #52 and #55 (and #53 was a reprint) that i have in a slightly different order than the MCP, but the important thing is that this takes place after Shang-Chi quits MI-6 and before the next "real" MOKF story begins in #54.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showAlicia Masters, Deathlok (alt. Luther Manning), Invisible Woman, Nick Fury, Shang-Chi, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Thing
There's an unintentionally silly panel in #31 when the Thing, upon learning Alicia has been kidnapped, literally chomps on a metal bar.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 17, 2011 12:19 AM
This title was indeed used to wrap up plots for cancelled titles, but much more than MTU. When MTU did do that, it tended to happen during Chris Claremont's tenure, giving the stories much more quality than the MTIO wrap-ups.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 28, 2011 12:51 AM
the thing vs shang-chi: the fight no one demanded.
in that one panel, shang seems to wrap his feet around Ben and then kick his feet together. just shows how important it was to have a knowledgable artist on these kung fu books.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | October 2, 2011 3:42 PM
In a late 1978 interview, Marv Wolfman described the Spider-Woman MTIO issues as "poor" and "hideous".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 1, 2012 10:03 PM
"I-I wish Reed were here to help me, to guide me." Susan Storm Richards, everyone! Between this, Jessica Drew getting brainwashed and Alicia getting monsterized, the ladies sure are lucky they have big strong men to help out, aren't they? Oy.
(Okay, so Sue does win the day. But still.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 3, 2013 12:37 PM
FOOM#16(12/76) announced Captain Britain as the co-star for #29. I'm guessing Chris Claremont called first dibs on the Captain and Marv shoehorned in Shang-Chi as nobody else was in England then.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 31, 2013 7:23 PM
On the cover to #31, the Thing has 5 toes on one foot and 4 on the other. The cover isn't exactly cluttered with detail, so I can't imagine how that got through.
If that isn't bad enough, on the last page, the Thing has 4 toes on one foot and 3 on the other.
Despite the fact that the book was selling well and that the Thing was one of the more popular characters, the number of cheesy production errors seem to indicate that in between Steve Gerber and Gruenwald/Macchio, nobody except Ron Wilson wanted to do more than minimum effort on it.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 27, 2016 1:04 PM
"The thing vs shang-chi: the fight no one demanded"
*She*-Thing vs Shang-Chi, on the other hand... now that, IMHO, would be hilariously worth seeing!
Posted by: Oliver_C | March 25, 2016 2:36 PM
In issue 30, Ben says "Oboy. Them Bobbies - - all dead. Somethin' tells bashful Benjy this ain't just the I.R.A. workin' overtime."
I like the way Wilson draws the Thing.
Posted by: Dave77 | April 19, 2016 9:53 PM
Shang-Chi and the Thing being the same shade of orange: reprehensible. Then Alicia Masters as a giant spider monster for two issues in a row, double reprehensible. But Sue's hesitance, lack of self-confidence, and self-help pop psychology dialog? *gag*
Posted by: Holt | March 3, 2018 8:36 PM
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