THING: THE SERPENT CROWN AFFAIR (Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Marvel Two-In-One #64-67 and Marvel Team-Up Annual #5 (cover dates June, 1980- Annual 1982)
Writers: Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, and Steven Grant
Artists: Pencilers- George Perez, Jerry Bingham, Ron Wilson, and Mark Gruenwald; Inkers- Gene Day and Jim Mooney
So good! Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio's run on Marvel Two-In-One is such an underrated classic. They really understand characterization, and by that I mean they dive into what makes The Thing tick. Many fans confuse characterization as endless pages of breakfast table conversation that do nothing but pad out a page count. It's not. Issues 64-67 are fantastic, and I hope that we get the entire series collected in Marvel Masterworks hardcovers. So far there is only one volume available.
The Serpent Crown is one of the '70s continuity-porn things with a twisty-twervy history. It takes several of those story recap pages in MTIO Annual #5 just to bring a new reader up to speed. I can imagine little Aloysius in Boise, ID buying this off of a spinner rack thinking that it is clear as mud. If you drop that aspect and just read it as a crown that possesses the wearer and tries to bring about the return of the serpent god Set then you will enjoy this more. Once you factor in alternate Earths and countless Serpent Crowns like you see in MTIO Annual #5 things get ridiculous pretty quick. This issue cost the book a full point.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- The late, lamented Marvel Premiere Classic line was a sort of junior Masterworks line, where material was presented in a high quality format but at a much lower MSRP than the Marvel Masterworks. The line reached well over 100 books but petered out because Marvel flooded the market with them.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Front and back dustjacket covers minus trade dress, which are fully rendered versions of #66 and Annual #5. (2 pages)
Linework and Color: The linework is tight and clean. Not Masterworks level but I am fine with it. The coloring is faithful to the original issues.
Paper stock: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, six stitches per signature; lays completely flat. Yes, lays, not lies. My Facebook watchdog group, Collected Editions Consumer Resource Center, was originally called DC Collected Editions Fans Who Want Sewn Binding And Books That Lay Flat. Along the way some smarmy idiot challenged my use lay saying it should be lie, all the while not being aware of the whole direct object thing. You know, you lie on a couch but you lay a book on a table. So to that grammatically challenged know-it-nothing, know that I am still laughing at you.
Cover notes: Dustjacket with spot varnishing. The hardback itself has faux leather casewrap with orange die stamping.