Friday, November 5, 2010

Project Pegasus: Klaw + the Cube = Trouble!

Marvel Two-In-One #57 (November 1979)
"When Walks Wundarr!"
Mark Gruenwald/Ralph Macchio-George Perez/Gene Day

Doug: If you thought George Perez was good last issue, just wait. There are panels in this story that are simply breath-taking. And to think that when this mag hit the newsstands, young George had only been getting paid by Marvel Comics for a scant four years. Marvel Two-In-One #57 is the penultimate chapter in the Project Pegasus arc, and mainly serves as a set-up to the grand finale -- which we'll have for you in one short week!

Doug: As we dive in, Quasar has assembled the PP security team to discuss just what the heck has been going on within the Project. The break-ins by Deathlok and Thundra, and the breakout of Nuklo. What's the common thread? Has anyone been seen at or near any of these circumstances? What could be the motive? But more importantly, the security at this energy research center has been compromised, and that is of utmost importance!

Karen: You mentioned the art at the top of this review, and I'll bring it up again. The splash page, showing the meeting room and huge monitors, is pure Perez gold. He would do a similar scene in Avengers vol.3. The man can draw command centers, situation rooms, you name it!

Doug: After a nice recap of the events discussed above, Ben volunteers to attempt to get information from Thundra. However, fish ain't bitin' and Ben leaves no better off. We then cut away to Wundarr's cell, where the alien manchild has awakened and leaves his quarters in a zombie-like state. As he moves down the corridor, his energy-dampening powers dim not only the lights, but the containment apparatuses at the front of the prison cells.
The super-villain Solarr takes full advantage, but in attempting to attack Wundarr, finds that his powers fade -- even his physical prowess.

Karen:I liked that all forms of energy, even kinetic energy, were dampened by Wundarr. Of course, he seems immune to his own power, which is lucky for him, or he might not be able to breathe or pump blood through his body!

Doug: Solarr decides he's not going to let the opportunity to escape pass him by, so he seeks an ally in his quest for freedom. Seeing the name "Electro" on a nearby cell, Solarr deactivates the security and enters, only to find that Electro's basically in a body cast! Now some might think this scene was superfluous, but I thought it was great! Most of us who grew up in the Bronze Age would say that what separated Marvel from DC in that era was the continuity between titles, and even the cross-company self-promotion.
So while Electro was incapable of assisting his fellow baddie here, we got a nice reference to his recent battle against the amazing Spider-Man. Good stuff -- a nice touch.

Karen: That was too funny -and actually quite realistic -why would Solarr bother with Electro? I agree with you, it was a nice touch, showing once again the inter-relatedness of the Marvel U.
Doug: While the good guys have figured out that Dr. Lightner seems to be the common thread, Solarr finds the cell of Klaw, the master of sound.
Breaking in and finding only the sonic prosthesis, Solarr throws it against the wall in anger. However, the clanging and jarring of the device is enough to let the genie out of the bottle, so to speak, as Klaw is reformed from the very claw he wears! Weak and somewhat incoherent, he agrees to assist Solarr in their breakout. In a brief interlude, we see Lightner up to no good, hoping to use the now-assembled Nth projector to transform himself into the Black Sun. However, something goes awry -- but we'll have to wait until next issue.

Karen: The scene with Electro served a purpose: it sets up this scene with Klaw. Here we see that there is some sense of comradeship between thieves, as Solarr seems genuinely disturbed that Klaw might be dead. Sure, they're both a couple of self-serving criminals who could turn on each other, but still, you sense a bit of humanity here as they try to escape together.

Doug: Solarr and Klaw have made their way to the track that surrounds the complex. Hijacking one of the kiddie-cars, they now ride toward freedom. Until Quasar confronts them. His intervention is short-lived, however, as Solarr blinds them. Stepping into the void, Ben and Giant-Man don't have much initial success, until Ben does a maneuver he saw on a Road Runner cartoon and whiplashes the tracks. Solarr and Klaw are disengaged and attacked by a recovering Quasar.
Back to Wundarr, the still-entranced youth has found what he was looking for: the safe-keeping place of the now-dormant Cosmic Cube! However, as Wundarr approaches, his energy-dampening powers seem to have the opposite effect, as the Cube now begins to return to activity!

Karen: Again with the art: I really like the way Perez draws Quasar when he's all powered up.
He's like a glowing human star -it's really effective.

Doug: We close the story with a nice little battle between our heroes and Klaw, with Klaw of course coming out on the short end. Bill Foster is for the most part useless (although he does knock Klaw out), as he's proven to be in this entire story. I'll tell you, I certainly thought there was more potential in the character than what was ever realized. But he just comes off as a step slow physically and mentally.

Karen: I love that Ben is able to use the experience he's gained form years of facing Klaw to figure out how to get through the villain's force field.
Once again, Perez outdoes himself with his depiction of the crackling energy surrounding the Thing and Klaw. Giant-Man does come across as a bit of a third wheel, although as I recall he'll get a better showing next issue.

Doug: While the good guys congratulate themselves on vanquishing Solarr and Klaw, it is the vibrations of their voices that re-energize the sound claw, and it's Klaw who ends with the upper hand.
Next issue -- to be concluded!


Edo Bosnar said...

Nothing to add to your praise of this issue; I just have to say that I really liked that little scene with Electro (in contrast to an irate fan who complained about in the letters page a few issues later), most of all because it referenced a really fun done-in-one issue of Amazing Spider-man that's still a personal favorite of mine...

Karen said...

Edo, the thing that really strikes me about reading these issues is just how fun they were. They had moments of drama and some seriousness with Ben and Wundarr, but overall, they were plain and simple good stories. I don't find too many stories like this in modern comics.


The Gentleman Rogue said...

The Klaw/Solarr partnership was first established on Avengers (Vol. 1) 126.

Being the king of continuity, Gru referenced this in this storyline, which I found a great touch.

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