ESSENTIAL MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE VOL. 4 (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)
Note: Book actually released in 2012
Collects Marvel Two-In-One Nos. 78-98, 100 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual Nos. 6, 7 (cover dates August, 1981- June, 1983)
Writers: Tom DeFalco, David Michelinie, Doug Moench, David Kraft, Jan Strnad, and John Byrne
Artists: Pencilers- Ron Wilson with Alan Kupperberg; Inkers- Chic Stone, Gene Day, Jim Mooney, Jon D'Agostino, Ricardo Villamonte, Bob Camp, Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia, Dan Green, and Armando Gil
Sometimes I think that I am jaded and cynical and too hard on Marvel these days. Gosh, maybe my tastes have changed and I am “over” superhero comics. Then I'll read something like this book, which is material that I have mostly never read before, and it becomes apparent to me that I am not over superhero comic books, it's that many modern Marvel Comics simply suck balls.
This series is the yin to Marvel Team-Up's yang. The Thing teams up with random second stringers each month, and the series has a real supporting cast for a while. The general vibe of this series is offbeat. Pretty much anything goes. I really enjoyed how this weaved in and out of ongoing Fantastic Four plotlines. I also enjoyed how the Thing's temper kept getting him in trouble.
Tom DeFalco writes the bulk of the issues collected in this book, and he is something of a Marvel scholar. DeFalco studied at the altar of Silver Age Marvel and learned the lessons of Stan Lee well. He knows what makes these heroes tick and he knows how to expand on continuity without making it the focal point of the story. It sounds so simple to do but is actually quite difficult to pull off.
Most of the artwork is handled by the team of Penciler Ron Wilson and Inker Chic Stone. Wilson stuck around even after this series was cancelled and relaunched a few months later as The Thing. Both provide excellent, “true” Marvel house style art.
This is the fourth and final book in this line. Aside from the licensed issues being omitted*, we have the entire run collected. Vol. 1 of the Marvel Masterworks line was released a year or so ago. It would take at least 8 more volumes to collect this entire series in that format. Bring it!
*#99 is omitted from this collection due to the fact that it has ROM, Spaceknight in it. ROM tops many fans' lists of most-wanted collected edition. Until Hasbro or Parker Bros. or whoever holds the license wants to play ball it would appear that our only option is to collect the floppies.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- These chunky 500 page black and white phonebooks are the height of pre-2003 trade paperbacks, meaning that they are ever so slightly shorter than standard trade paperbacks. Most sane folks wouldn't notice such a thing, but those of us who frequent The OCD zone are not quite sane, are we?
DVD-style Extras included in this book: None.
Linework restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. There are a handful of dropped letters or very mild scrapes, but by and large this is pretty tight linework-wise.
Paper rating: 3 out of 5. Pulp paper. While it is cool because it is authentic feeling, it is also uncool because I know that it will do what pulp paper tends to do. Namely it will yellow or brown and feel “filmy” over time. I do love the smell or mouldering pulp paper, though.
Binding rating: 4vout of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick waxlike lamination.