Marvel Two-In-One #2: Manhunters From The Stars

Cover date: March 1974

Writer: Steve Gerber

Penciller: Gil Kane

Inker: Joe Sinnott

Letter: Artie Simek

Colorist: Glynis Wein

Editor: Roy Thomas

Continues from: Marvel Two-In-One #1, Sub-Mariner #68 & #69, Fear #17.

Remember how last issue’s tale of the Molecule Man continued in Iron Man Annual #3? Here we get some of that title-to-title storytelling going the other way. This issue picks up story elements from other comics being written by Steve Gerber at the time, namely Sub-Mariner and Adventure Into Fear.

The big one is the introduction to the book of Wundarr, the satirical take on Superman that Gerber had introduced in Fear #17. We get a recounting of his origin here for newcomers, how his father went mad, thinking his planet was doomed, and sent his infant son in a rocket to Earth. However he was not discovered for 22 years, and so he has the body of a man and the mind of a child (and thinks Man-Thing is his mother).

As the issue opens he falls out the sky and is saved from drowning by Namorita, Sub-Mariner’s far less weird than she ought to be, cousin/clone of his actual cousin. The reason he is falling is that while Wundarr has the leap tall buildings in a single bound part of Superman’s powers down, he hasn’t got the hang of landing yet.

Namor handles the appearance of this superpowered manchild with all the subtlety and understanding he is known for and Wundarr flees in terror from the shouty Atlantean.

Meanwhile, aliens from Wundarr’s homeworld seek him out, in order to slay him. They fear he will seek revenge for the death of his parents at the hands of the Dakkam Internal Security Force and so send a robot called MORTOID down to Earth to do their dirty work.

Over in New York, Ben Grimm is in a mood, a mood not improved on when Wundarr drops out the sky into New York traffic. The inevitable hero on hero fight ensues. Then Namor and Namorita show up and try to break up the fight.

Before they get a chance, the Mortoid arrives, Wundarr gets zapped, the Mortoid gets Imperium Rex’d, the Dakkamites flee and Benjamin Grimm gets left holding the baby. A baby in the body of a 22 year old man.

The ending reads just about as rushed as I wrote that last run on sentence, with the entire palming off of Wundarr on The Thing done in 3 panels, as Namor and Namorita rush back to whatever they were up to in the pages of Sub-Mariner.

Pacing issues aside, it’s a funny issue, with the narrator at one point stopping and asking the reader if they are keeping up with everything that’s being set up in the comic. And Namor’s still wearing that funky black leather 70s costume so that’s good too. A Gil Kane Namor is no Bill Everett Namor, but it is very much identifiable as a distinctly Gil Kane Namor. It’s the nose I think.

There’s also a ship’s captain character who is drawn so differently to everyone else, that I presume people in in 1974 would recognise who he’s supposed to be. I wasn’t even born then, so if he is a reference to something it has flown right over my head.