Marvel Two-in-One #74
Published and © by Marvel, April 1981
Title: “A Christmas Peril!”
Synopsis: Puppet Master crashes the Fantastic Four’s Christmas party in a plot to return to Europe and harvest more radioactive clay.
Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Penciler: Frank Springer
Inker: Chic Stone
Review: This done-in-one Two-in-One from writer Mark Gruenwald is a fairly typical holiday outing: a little Christmas cheer, an inconsequential team-up and the requisite saving of the day in time for merriment. In an era of increasing sophistication, though, this story lacks gravitas and feels like a relic from an earlier, simpler time. The journeyman art from Frank Springer and Chic Stone is average at best, and does little to lift this ho-hum affair above humbug. At least this one spares us an overly sappy ending, with the Thing and Puppet Master agreeing that the seasonal good will shall quickly pass.
Second opinion: “The script is better than the art … The story’s uncomplex, and quite fun – in a seasonal way, of course.” – Martin Lock, BEM #32, February 1981
Cool factor: Hmm … sticking with ho-hum and humbug here.
Notable: Guest appearance by Modred the Mystic. … Christmas-party cameos by several other Marvel characters, including the Fantastic Four, Aquarian, Quasar and more.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 20p British variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “W-wooden soldiers the size of trees! What could they want?” – The Puppet Master
Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Dec. 14, 2012.