Marvel Two-in-One 69

Marvel Two-in-One 69 was cover-dated November 1980 and was on sale August 1980, sharing the spinner racks with Flash #291, Ghost Rider #50, House of Mystery #286, Moon Knight #1,  New Teen Titans #1 and Thor #301.

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Homecoming was written by Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio, with pencils by Ron Wilson and opens with Ben ‘The Thing’ Grimm and Sue ‘Invisible Girl’ Richards talking in the Fantastic Four’s kitchen in the Baxter Building. Ben is making pancakes for Sue and her young son Franklin, who is sitting there playing with toys. Ben is griping about relationship problems with Alicia when Starhawk of the Guardians of the Galaxy teleports onto the kitchen table. Starhawk tells Ben that Vance Astro has vanished from Drydock, just after the repairs have been completed to allow the team to return to the 30th Century. This is a problem since Vance is over 1,000 years old, there is a younger version of himself in Saugerties New York called Vance Astrovik and if the two meet, there could be time related catastrophe.

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Turns out that is exactly what is happening. Vance Astro ambushes his younger self and then proceeds to warn him about the life he will live if he continues on this path to be an astronaut. As this is happening a large thick fog begins to blanket the New York area. The Fantastic Four investigate and after learning that this is no ordinary fog, Ben lands a portion of the Fantasti-car and checks out what’s happening at the fog’s centre.

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Vance Astro is distracted by the increased fog, giving young Vance a chance to escape. Vance Astro gives chase until Ben catches up with him. Vance says that he’s trying to stop the younger Vance from being an astronaut, thereby altering history. Ben tells him that that idea won’t work, since he’s tried it himself. Vance asks that Ben help him try again and Ben agrees. Having met himself before, Ben doesn’t see the temporal catastrophe as being as likely as Starhawk does.

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At the Astroviks’ home, Vance tries to find his younger self and only finds Charlie-27, Martinex and Yondu. After a brief tussle, Martinex freezes Vance’s life support suit, meaning he cannot move without risking tearing it and ending his own life. Ben tackles Charlie-27 and beats him and whilst Yondu keeps Ben at bay with one of his special Yaka arrows (called Yucca arrows here) the Guardians retreat, confident that the fog will now lift.

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But it doesn’t, the problem is that Vance Astro and Vance Astrovik have identical mutant brains and the fog is likely to be young Vance’s powers manifesting. The Guardians return to the Astroviks’ and try to trigger young Vance’s powers. That works and young Vance develops strong telekinetic powers.

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The Thing talks young Vance down and the crisis seems to pass. Just as the Guardians are about to leave, Vance Astrovik’s father walks over and berates Vance for ruining his son’s life. Vance Astro in a fit of pique, pulls off his mask to show Vance’s father that he’s his father too. He immediately puts it back on and leaves. The team returns to Drydock. When asked by Nikki whether or not it was worth it, Vance points out that in one reality, he didn’t become a Guardian and that was enough.

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Notes: This is one of those issues that is more important than good. This one act seperates the marvel universe, from the reality of the Guardians of the Galaxy. From this point, anything can happen. Vance Astrovik doesn’t become an astronaut, in fact he becomes a superhero. The Guardians of the Galaxy leave the 20th Century and return to their own time and only had one other cameo appearances between November 1980 and June 1990 and that was in Sensational She Hulk 6, from October 1989 written and drawn by John Byrne. It’s a one panel cameo of the Guardians getting directions and that was that.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy would return in June 1990, but that is for another day. The Guardians guest star days are over and the epic is about to begin.

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