Marvel Two-in-One #99: Ghost Stories for a Rainy Night

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciller: Bob Hall
Inker: Kevin Dzuban
Letterer: Rick Parker
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom DeFalco

The Guest Star:

The Villain:
      Firefall; Dire Wraiths

Guest Shots:

The Set Up:
      Ben's sitting at home reading a book of ghost stories when he hears a creepy hissing sound. He follows the sound through the darkened Baxter Building, and finally finds on the roof an unconscious Rom. Rom seems to be superheated, and is sizzling in the rain "like a pan full'a' burgers." Ben puts him on a "sensor-slab," which Rom somehow uses to heal himself.
     Rom tells Ben that a coven of Dire Wraith witches have animated the dead armor of Firefall, a past enemy (and past ally) of Rom's. The two fought, but Rom couldn't bring himself to use his full strength against the armor. Rom lost, but managed to get to the Baxter Building roof.
     Rom asks Ben to help out, and the two head back to Central Park, where the coven of Dire Wraiths was located. Apparently believing Rom dead, the witches have not left, and so the Thing and Rom head in. Firefall soon attacks, and Rom and Firefall go after each other, leaving Ben facing the group of alien witches all by himself...

Clobberin' Time?:
      Page 16, panel 1. Ben fights off the coven's illusions: "Heads up, bogies! it's Clobberin' Time!"
     How about the next issue blurb? Last page, last line... "Be here for the extra special, double-sized issue #100. It'll be Clobberin' Time!"

Petunia's Patch:
      No Petunia in this issue.

Things of Interest:
      Rom is part of the mighty Marvel licensing blitz of the 70s and 80s, and arguably the most successful action figure comic of the time. Rom, Spaceknight was a Parker Brothers action figure, and Marvel was licensed to make a comic book based on it. Similar comics were done with other action figures: Micronauts, Shogun Warriors, even G.I. Joe. In any case, Rom was placed firmly in the Marvel universe, fighting a war against the Dire Wraiths, who were an ages-old enemy of his race and who were covertly invading earth. Rom lasted 75 issues, finally eliminating all the Dire Wraiths and returning home. The tail end of the Dire Wraith war was a major event, and Dire Wraiths had appeared in a wide variety of Marvel books (including this issue) over the run of Rom. Rom has not appeared since, though a 2002 miniseries (Spaceknights) follows up on life on Rom's home planet of Galador a generation or so later.
     Firefall (in one incarnation or another) also appeared in Rom 2-6, 11, and 19, all prior to this issue. There is a later Firefall in the Spaceknights miniseries.
     We start this issue with Ben reading ghost stories again, one of his favorite forms of relaxation. There's also some nice character stuff when Ben is temporarily turned human late in this issue.