Marvel Two-In-One

Marvel Two-in-One continued from the team-up stories starring the Thing in the final two issues of Marvel Feature and lasted for 100 issues from January 1974 through June 1983. Seven annuals were also published. Artist Ron Wilson began his long association with the title with issue #12 (November 1975) and worked on it throughout its run. With issue #17, the series had a crossover with Marvel Team-Up #47, which featured Spider-Man. The second Marvel Two-in-One Annual was a crossover with Avengers Annual #7 both of which were written and drawn by Jim Starlin. The “Project Pegasus” storyline in Marvel Two-in-One #53-58 saw the introduction of the name “Quasar” for the Wendell Vaughn character and the transformation of Wundarr into the Aquarian.

Many notable comics creators contributed to the series, including Steve Gerber, Frank MillerJack Kirby (who did pencils on several covers during its run), John Byrne, John BuscemaGeorge Pérez and Marv Wolfman.

Marvel Two-In-One ended after one hundred issues and was immediately replaced with a Thing solo series.

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What If… V3 (2005)

In February 2005, Marvel published a further six issues of What If. They were all in the “one-shot” format. The editor, Justin Gabrie, attributed the publication of Volume 3 to a suggestion from C. B. Cebulski. Uatu the Watcher narrates some issues and there is a cameo by Brian Michael Bendis as narrator (see “The narrator” above). In Volume 3, there is a “nod” to a Volume 1 story, What if Uncle Ben had lived? In a conversation between a comic shop customer and an attendant, the customer asks,”What if Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben?” Leading to another alternative plot. Marvel published a single parody edition called Wha… Huh?!? in August 2005.

Uncanny X-Men (1980’s)

The “Dark Phoenix Saga” in 1980 led to a change in the line-up of the team, with the death of Phoenix (Jean Grey), and Cyclops leaving the team to mourn for her. Comics writers and historians Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson observed that “‘The Dark Phoenix Saga’ is to Claremont and Byrne what ‘the Galactus Trilogy‘ is to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It is a landmark in Marvel history, showcasing its creators’ work at the height of their abilities.” The storyline also saw the introduction of recurring antagonists the Hellfire Club, and its Inner Circle consisting of Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Harry Leland, Donald Pierce, along with Mastermind, previously a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood. The new teenage mutant Kitty Pryde was introduced in #129 (Jan. 1980) and joined the X-Men in #139. The Dazzler, a disco-singing, roller-skating mutant, was introduced in #130 (Feb. 1980), but did not join the team, instead headlining her own solo title.

A new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, led by Mystique, was introduced in the “Days of Future Past” storyline (#141-#142, Jan–Feb 1981) in which a time-travelling Kitty Pryde tried to avert a dystopian future caused by the Brotherhood assassinating Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kelly. Byrne plotted the story wanting to depict the Sentinels as a genuine threat to the existence of the mutant race. He then left the series after #143, being replaced by a returning Cockrum, who in turn was succeeded by Paul Smith and John Romita Jr.

The Defenders – V1 (1970’s)

The Defenders had a rotating line-up from 1972 until 1986, with Dr. Strange and the Hulk being more or less constant members along with a number of other mainstays such as Valkyrie, NighthawkHellcatthe GargoyleBeast, the Son of Satan and Luke Cage, and a large number of temporary members. The publication was retitled near the end of the run as The New Defenders but featured none of the original members and only Valkyrie, the Beast and the Gargoyle of the former long-term members. The concept was modified in the 1993–95 series Secret Defenders, in which Dr. Strange assembled different teams for each individual mission. Later, the original team were reunited in a short-lived series by Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen. In the 2000s, Marvel published a new miniseries featuring the classic line-up. Writer Matt Fraction and artist Terry Dodson launched a new Defenders series in December 2011.

Amazing Spider-Man (Silver Age)

Due to strong sales on the character’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man was given his own ongoing series in March 1963. The initial years of the series, under Lee and Ditko, chronicled Spider-Man’s nascent career with his civilian life as hard-luck yet perpetually good-humored teenager Peter Parker. Peter balanced his career as Spider-Man with his job as a freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle under the bombastic editor-publisher J. Jonah Jameson to support himself and his frail Aunt May. At the same time, Peter dealt with public hostility towards Spider-Man and the antagonism of his classmates Flash Thompson and Liz Allan at Midtown High School, while embarking on a tentative, ill-fated romance with Jameson’s secretary, Betty Brant.

By focusing on Parker’s everyday problems, Lee and Ditko created a groundbreakingly flawed, self-doubting superhero, and the first major teenaged superhero to be a protagonist and not a sidekick. Ditko’s quirky art provided a stark contrast to the more cleanly dynamic stylings of Marvel’s most prominent artist, Jack Kirby, and combined with the humor and pathos of Lee’s writing to lay the foundation for what became an enduring mythos.

Amazing Spider-Man (2000’s)

 Amazing Spider-Man reverted completely to its original numbering for #500 (Dec. 2003). Mike Deodato, Jr. penciled the series from mid-2004 until 2006. That year Peter Parker revealed his Spider-Man identity on live television in the company-crossover storyline “Civil War“, in which the superhero community is split over whether to conform to the federal government’s new Superhuman Registration Act. This knowledge was erased from the world with the event of the four-part, crossover story arc, “One More Day“, written partially by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Joe Quesada, running through The Amazing Spider-Man #544-545 (Nov.-Dec. 2007), Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 (Nov. 2007) and The Sensational Spider-Man #41 (Dec. 2007), the final issues of those two titles. Here, the demon Mephisto makes a Faustian bargain with Parker and Mary Jane, offering to save Parker’s dying Aunt May if the couple will allow their marriage to have never existed, rewriting that portion of their pasts. This story arc marked the end of Straczynski’s tenure as writer.

Dreadstar (1980’s)

The series centered on the exploits of Vanth Dreadstar and his crew—powerful mystic Syzygy Darklock, the cybernetic telepath Willow, cat-like humanoid Oedi, and freebooter Skeevo. Vanth, newly arrived in the Empirical Galaxy after the events of Metamorphosis Odyssey, tries to live a pastoral existence on Oedi’s planet of peaceful cat-people, but his peace is disturbed by the arrival of Darklock, who wants him to get involved in the conflict between the two major forces in the galaxy, the Monarchy and the theocratical Instrumentality. Vanth refuses until the war comes to his planet, wiping out most of the population. Oedi survives and joins them; Willow and Skeevo join later, though the team is in place for the first issue.

Dreadstar takes the side of the Monarchy against the evil Lord High Papal of the Instrumentality, but his team end up becoming fugitives when the Monarchy falls, and go to great lengths to try to uncover a traitor in their midst. The transition to First Comics happened just when the traitor was about to be revealed, and the first issue published under First Comics, #27 contained this revelation.

What If…? – V1 (1977)

 

What If, sometimes rendered as What If…?, is published by Marvel Comics whose stories explore how the Marvel Universe might have unfolded if key moments in its history hadn’t occurred as they did in mainstream continuity. What If comics have been published in eleven series (volumes).

The stories of the inaugural series (1977–1984) feature the alien Uatu the Watcher as a narrator. From the moon, Uatu, a member of an immortal race of “Watchers”, observes both the Earth and alternate realities. Most What If stories begin with Uatu describing an event in the mainstream Marvel Universe, then introducing a point of divergence in that event and then describing the consequences of the divergence. Uatu was used similarly in the second series (1989–1998) until a point where, in the Fantastic Four comic book, Uatu was punished for destroying another Watcher. This made the use of Uatu improbable so the character was phased out to its last appearance in issue #76. Without a framing device, the stories themselves became the focus. However, in later series, some writers chose to introduce alternative narrators. For example, in Volume 3, in What If Karen Page Had Lived?, What If Jessica Jones Had Joined the Avengers? and in Daredevil (2005), Brian Michael Bendis, the writer himself, made a cameo as narrator. In the early 2006 series, a hacker, whose online alias is “The Watcher”, opens each of the six issues.

 

 

 

The Punisher V1 (1987)

The Punisher ongoing series premiered in 1987. Initially by writer Mike Baron and artist Klaus Janson, it eventually ran 104 issues (July 1987 – July 1995) and spun off two additional ongoing series — The Punisher War Journal (80 issues, November 1988 – July 1995) and The Punisher War Zone (41 issues, March 1992 – July 1995), as well as the black-and-white comics magazine The Punisher Magazine(16 issues, November 1989 – September 1990) and The Punisher Armory (10 issues, no cover dates, starting 1990), a fictional diary detailing “His thoughts! His feelings! His weapons!” (as stated on the cover of issue #1). The Punisher also appeared in numerous one-shots and miniseries, and made frequent guest appearances in other Marvel comics, ranging from superhero series to the Vietnam War-era comic The ‘Nam.

During this era, the Punisher was assisted by his then-partner, Microchip. Serving as a Q type figure, he would supply the Punisher with high-tech vehicles and equipment such as armored combat “battle vans” specially built and customized.

Over the next decade, the Punisher would be shown fighting virtually every known criminal organization including the Italian Mafia, the Russian Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Chinese Triads, Jamaican Yardies, the Irish Mob, biker gangs, street gangs, gunrunning militias, muggers, killers, rapists, psychopaths, violent racists, sadists, pedophiles, and corrupt city officials. He also assaults criminal business enterprises such as drugs, weapons smuggling,money laundering, and human trafficking.

 

 

Machine Man – Limited Series (1984)

In October 1984 – January 1985, the Machine Man title was resurrected, in a four-issue miniseries written by Tom DeFalco with art by Herb Trimpe (breakdowns only, issues #1-3) and Barry Windsor-Smith (finishes only, issues #1-3 & full art for issue #4), with Windsor-Smith also coloring the entire miniseries & co-plotting issue #4 with DeFalco. This series turned out to be one of the most popular of all the Machine Man titles, tying with previous continuity, but with the action set in the distant cyberpunk future of 2020, starting with Machine Man’s reassembly.

The miniseries was first reprinted as a 96 page trade paperback in 1988 (ISBN 0-07135-458-6), with brand new cover art by Barry Windsor-Smith.

The miniseries was republished again in 1994 as two double-size books, with the name Machine Man 2020. Characters from this alternate future have made appearances in other Marvel books, namely Arno Stark, the mercenary Iron Man 2020.

In 1990, Machine Man guest-starred in Iron Man Annual #11 (part of the “Terminus Factor” storyline). That story created strong hints that the 2020 Machine Man may turn out not to be the true X-51, but instead a duplicate created by Sunset Bain.