I’m posting four thoughts about every Fantastic Four comic.
And, since that remit sadly doesn’t allow me to write about Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil beyond #260 and #261, today it’s…
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3
…from May 1974, a comic in which Matt Murdock goes to the theatre and Ben Grimm sort of becomes Superman’s dad.
So we know what Marvel Two-In-One is, yeah? It’s a team-up book. Like Marvel Team-Up except with Ben Grimm as the constant rather than Spidey. That’s how it’s worked for the past two issues. The past four issues, really, as this book starts as #11 and #12 of Marvel Fanfare.
Two-in-One #3 isn’t quite like that. It’s more like two comics…in one!
One of those comics is Daredevil #109 ½. This issue occurs between #109 and #110 of Daredevil and is fully part of the arc that Steve Gerber’s writing in that title, significantly advancing its plot and introducing new elements to it.
The other comic is about Ben having ended up with parental responsibility for Wundarr, a Superman analogue with the mind of a child. The Seventies Steves are shameless about just rattling their ongoing personal plotlines through whatever they happen to be writing and by this process Two-in-One has inherited Wundarr’s story from Adventure into Fear.
The structure of how the Fantastic Four comic and the Daredevil comic interact is quite fun…
We get a bit of the Wundarr storyline.
Daredevil gets briefly involved in that (see next thought) and then swings off to get back on with the ongoing plot of his own comic for five and a half busy, busy pages.
Things go badly for him in that story, because it’s a Daredevil story and he’s Matt Murdock.
He stops to have a think about what would make his life easier. “Wait! I met the answer not an hour ago!” he realises. Fantastic Four shit would make his life easier.
Daredevil swings back over into the other storyline TO STEAL THE FANTASTIC FOUR’S CAR.
Gerber is having far too much fun thinking up silly reasons for Two to become One. Here the cause of the initial meeting between Matt and Ben is that Matt’s blasted out of the sky by an energy burst he half-correctly believes to have come from one of Reed’s experiments. While attempting to survive the fall he loses his billy club on the roof of the Baxter Building.
So his agenda in seeking out the FF is twofold. For one thing he wants his billy club back. He’s remarkably wistful about this. “It’s up there…” he thinks, “Twisting slowly, slowly in the wind…”
SLOWLY, SLOWLY IN THE WIND! I think Matt is actually worried that his weapon is lonely.
His other goal is to give Reed a telling off.
“You know, I respect that man a lot – but this time he rates a piece of my mind!”
I love everything about that. I love the idea of other superheroes just noticing explosions from the Baxter Building and feeling that someone should have a word. I love that even if you’re Matt Murdock then there’s one person on the planet you’re allowed to lecture about behaving responsibly and that person is Reed Richards.
They smooth things over pretty quickly when they actually meet though.
Reed even just throws a random “old friend” into the middle of a sentence in that awkward way he does.
That’s one of my favourite things about Reed actually, how constantly and strangely he overuses the language of friendship. One of the best bits in Hickman’s New Avengers is where he calls Steve Rogers ‘Cap’ at a moment where it’s just incredibly socially inappropriate to do so.
Reed always wants to make the relationships he’s in explicit, to make all the friendly noises out loud that most people leave unspoken. If you and Reed are friends he will call you his friend in every conversation you ever have with him. Just to check in.
This comic has a metal jetcraft disguised as a blimp. Inside the jetcraft is a jungle. Inside that is a TEMPLE TO HATE!
That is the second most Seventies Steve thing in this comic.
The most Seventies Steve thing in this comic is the play that Matt goes to see.
It’s called “America Shall Endure” and is described as an ‘avant garde pro-patriotism play.’ I shall attempt to summarise it for you.
A black slave shouts at the statue of liberty, making some rather valid points about America’s limitations. Captain America runs on stage, calls him a commie and a traitor and promises to show him what America means. “It means treating minorities with respect… giving equal rights to rich and poor…setting an example of peace and harmony for the world!” Cap insists while viciously beating the protester to death.
Then Hitler comes on and properly shoots the actor playing Rogers with an actual proper gun. “Get hip, schweinhunds!” he advises the audience before turning the gun on himself.