Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rom vs. the Thing: Who Wins?

This is a story that happened before Rom went off on his European vacation.

For Ben Grimm, it occurs just before Marvel Two-in-One is turned into The Thing.

For me, it only happened when it was handed to me by my good friend Bauble.

Likely, this is the issue that will never be reprinted in the Essential series.

This is Marvel Two-in-One #99 by Bill Mantlo, Bob Hall and Kevin Dzuban: Rom versus the Thing.

So Rom lands the first blow, sacking Grimm in a surprise "falling from the sky, boiling hot" maneuver.
No, no, it's all a big Marvel-like mistake. In reality, Rom came to ask for the Fantastic Four's help after discovering a coven of Dire Wraiths raising the Firefall armor from the dead.
Zombie armor. But this is well before Marvel knew zombies were such a hot property. Speaking of hot:
The reanimated armor of Firefall heats Rom up to dangerous levels, and the Spaceknight only just manages to control his fall onto the Baxter Building. The Thing agrees to help and off they go to Central Park for more zombie action. Rom quickly realizes that Grimm isn't all that good at fighting flaming ghosts, despite his considerable Human Torch experience.
While the Thing was useless on defense, Rom is great on offense.
The Thing goes down into the bowels of Central Park (for what is a park without bowels), and finds the Wraiths. They use their magical powers to take control of him (which might be why Firefall took a dive like that, they are notoriously bad multi-taskers) which sets up the championship bout. DING DING DING!

First blow goes to the Thing, sending Rom reeling in what the Queensbury Rules call an undignified position.
But the fight is over before it can really begin when Rom applies his Neutralizer to his opponent, sapping the cosmic energy right out of his DNA and turning him once again into Ben Grimm (temporarily).
This breaks the spell and the bout comes to a rather abrupt end. Except - and this is my favorite part - the human, fleshy version of Ben Grimm is a DIRE WRAITH KILLING MACHINE!!!!
They have no chance.
And while Rom does lend considerable support with his Limbo Special Delivery Service...
...Ben Grimm's fists turn Dire Wraiths into DUST!!!
My friends, while we bask in the glory that is a Rom story by Bill Mantlo, let me give you, in the fine Bob Haneysque tradition of The Brave and the Bold, the two heroes' Friendly Farewell(TM).
Look, the fact that Rom never did call only solidifies his reputation as a stud.


rob! said...

GREAT cover!

Sky_of_Blue said...

Hey, wait -- how did Ben get all rocky again?

Alden said...

This is a cooler match-up than Sisko and Picard (which is saying something).