Review: Marvel Two-in-One #74

Marvel Two-in-One #74 cover
Cover by Frank Springer

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.

Grade: C

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.

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