Monday, April 17, 2017
Once again, we see Florida in the Marvel Universe is nothing but swamp, except for maybe one little spot of NASA. From 1981, Marvel Two-In-One #77, "Only the Swamp Survives!" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Chic Stone.
I'm midway through the last Two-In-One Essential volume, but I think this issue is from just prior. While Man-Thing gets the guest-star billing, it's also a Nick Fury story: Man-Thing had already appeared in MTIO #1 #43, while Fury had gotten cover billing on #26 and #51. Nick approaches Ben to test-pilot a new jet capable of hitting Mach 6, and Ben jumps at the chance to prove himself as something other than a monster. Somewhat predictably, the test flight doesn't go particularly well: something gives out, and it takes all of Ben's skill just to crash-land into the swamp without cracking up completely. Still, the crash is so bad even the Thing is messed up, with a broken arm and severe concussion. (When emergency systems fail, Ben has to punch his way out of a flaming wreck; would an ordinary human pilot have even survived taking off in that jet?)
Stumbling dazed through the swamp, Ben thinks back to "the first time (Fury) conned me," during World War II, and the subsequent flashback adventure with the Howling Commandos. Meanwhile, empathically feeding off of Ben's courage, Man-Thing tags along with Ben's swamp-slog, saving him from some poachers, but giving him the "fear burns at the Man-Thing's touch!" when an exhausted Ben collapses and fears he's let Alicia down. That jolts Ben enough to keep going until the Human Torch finds him. (Johnny doesn't appear to see the Man-Thing, since the mindless creature lurches off then. EDIT: There may be a reason for that: I'm not sure Reed's ever seen or been told about the Man-Thing. Even if he didn't know the particulars, he'd be driven to science the hell out of that.) In the hospital, Ben's leg appears to be broken as well, although he wasn't as hospitalized as he would be in MTIO #96!