B&B 2-in-1 Round 19: Spider-Man vs. Green Arrow

At 12 to 6 for the Batman, can the Thing ever hope to make a comeback? What if he cheated? Round 19 might tell.

In the orange corner... it's the Thing and Spider-Man, written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito, Marvel Two-in-One #17, This City... Afire! AND it's follow-up, Marvel Team-Up #47 (drawn by Ron Wilson and Dan Adkins), I Have to Fight the Basilisk!

In the black corner... we've got Batman and Green Arrow, returning for a second go, written by Bob Haney and drawn by Neal Adams, Brave and the Bold #85, The Senator's Been Shot!

Can the Thing's 1-2 punch get the better of Batman? Read on... DING DING DING!

The Stars
After avoiding being thrown in a volcano last issue, Ben Grimm decides to climb down one to investigate it. The big guy is just crazy fearless that way. Well... fearless... he loses his grip when he gets spooked by a bat (the irony is not lost on this contest's judges), but he gets out of it admirably.
From there, he discovers the villain of the piece is Scourge-fodder, the Basilisk, and he gets teleported back to New York and left for dead. When Spider-Man wakes him up, he does some more falling, but this time, a police cruiser breaks his fall. Ben's lucky in his bad luck, shall we say. So Benjy, are you finally gonna do something cool? How about explaining that your catch phrase is a compulsion?
Yeah, that'll do, but it only brings you up to +4 points.

Bruce Wayne, for his part, is at a crossroads. He's been offered to replace an injured senator, and he can't see how he can continue to be Batman if he does. I'm not sure what the problem is, since it's a temporary nomination and everything. Whatever. Bruce is confused enough to do the unthinkable:
Hey, turns out Edmund is a psychiatrist, so it's all privileged information, right? (But yes, it IS a public gym.) But when the guy gets kidnapped, Bruce must become Batman once more. Fun with bats: Not only are they good at scaring the Thing, but they can lead you out of a tunnel too!
The big question is: Would you follow the adventures of Bruce Wayne, Senator?
Yee-haw! Wasn't that exciting? And we didn't even need any real election. Truly, Haney was a visionary. Note that the DC Universe USA is so corrupt that an anti-crime bill hinged on a single vote. VISIONARY, I say! +5 bat-points

The Guests
Mantlo writes the Spider-Man from the 1990s cartoons, that guy who talks to himself constantly. No thought bubbles, no captions, no, an average of 3 speech bubbles A PANEL! Bla bla bla. But he does so much cool stuff in this story that I can pretty much forgive that. For example: How do you get to a volcano in the Hudson River? You boogie board it:
Those webs can do anything, can't they? How about waking the Thing? Sure!
Best bit is Spidey going under a truck:
Ok, a points off for trying to steal Daredevil's "man without fear" nickname, but he was racking up points so fast, he'd gone past 10 already! +9 points

Oliver Queen, for his part, is at a crossroads. He's trying to build a new Gotham island out of a landfill, and he doesn't know if he needs to be Green Arrow if he's doing so much good as a financier. Oliver is confused enough to do the unthinkable:
Hey, turns out Edmund is a psychiatrist, so it's all privileged information, right? But when the guy gets kidnapped, Oliver must become Green Arrow once more. Fun with Neal Adams art:
That is bloody gorgeous, that is. GA is actually killing himself a bear, a mountain lion and a wild boar in those panels. While one of them howls his name, no less. Green Arrow saves the day with an unbelievable trick shot, then, as Oliver Queen, invites the villain to a party at the US embassy where he CAN be legally arrested and punches his lights out. So he can do good (and be violent) in both personae. Status quo restored. Well... NEW status quo. This also marks the first appearance of GA's new look, without explanation, might I add. Check out Silver Age Comics' post on the subject, which includes the letters page "explanation". +7 bat-points

The Villains
The Basilisk is an incredibly tough character who pretty much has every eye beam power under the sun. His plan is to destroy the world by creating volcanoes everywhere he goes. After defeating the Thing, he teleports himself to New York, along with an active volcano. Ok, that's pretty insane. No less insane than the way he moves around though. Here's how he gets himself out of a knockback punch:
So he can only fly... backwards? Not quite, since he spends most of Part 2 flying on a slab of molten rock, Silver Surfer style. In the end, simultaneous punches from both our heroes send him back to his volcano, and both promptly disappear...(?). +6 points

The Brave and Bold villain is Mr. Minotaur, just a crooked businessman. At least he knows how to spend his money. Fighter jets, speed yachts and offshore islands full of secret caves filled with wild animals? +3 bat-points

Odds vs. Ends
From Marvel Two-in-One:
-Both parts of this story suffer from over-recapping. We recap the previous issue of Marvel 2-in-1 (1 page), the previous issue of Marvel Team-Up (2 pages, and details not at all revelant to this story), Basilisk's first appearance (3 pages), and the Marvel 2-in-1 we just read (1 page). When Basilisk tells his story, it seems like it takes an hour for Spider-Man to reach the top of the volcano! -2 points
-Sal Buscema's Mary Jane Watson: Creepy.
-1 point
-J. Jonah Jameson sees a volcano outside his window, can't get hold of Peter Parker, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that they've missed the story completely. "There'll be other stories," Robbie tells him. The Daily Bugle is still a NEWSPAPER, right? It's not CNN. It's not like the next edition wasn't going out only in the morning anyway. Or that people need to see the picture of a giant volcano they can easily see from their windows. I'm gonna have to call that page ridiculous padding. -1 point

From Brave and the Bold:
-So whatever happened to Edmund, psychiatrist to the superheroes? Surprisingly, he wasn't killed. No, instead he agrees to be mindwiped:
So is it a good idea to get that all on tape? If you want something done right, you bring in Zatanna. -1 bat-point

Farewells and Scoring
Spidey and the Thing are on too good terms to have an Unfriendly Farewell.
Well, you're generally happy when a deus ex machina cleans up for you. +0 points

However, the flashback sequence to the previous issue does reveal the Farewell between Ben and Ka-Zar! In the interest of fairness, here it is:
Oh, it seems friendly enough ("friend", "pal"), but the subtext is clear. "See ya sucker! It don't trouble Ka-Zar none no more!" (That's sort of Ka-Zar, King of the URBAN Jungle, but you get my drift.) +1 point

Batman and Green Arrow are expected to have a Friendly Farewell, but they don't! Nope, nothing. +0 bat-points

Spider-Man trumps Green Arrow 16 to 14! And all it took is two-teaming the opposition! That'll teach Batman to be so cocky as to accept that proposition! It's still 12 to 7 for the Dark Knight, so I guess he can throw Benjy a bone from time to time. But two in a row? Stay tuned!



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