Marvel Two-In-One annual #7

Title: “And They Shall Call Him… Champion!”

Writer: Tom DeFalco

Penciller: Ron Wilson

Inker: Camp, Esposito, Giacola, Green, Gil, and Stone

Colors: George Roussos

Editor: Jim Salicrup

The Thing is posing for Alicia as she does a small statue of him. Thing asks how long he has to stand like this, and that he can’t take it anymore. Alicia tells him to stop being such a crybaby. Alicia says that Thing knows that she always does a clay model before she begins any statue. She compares Thing’s leg muscle to the clay model. She fixes the model to feel more like Thing’s leg. Alicia tells Thing that he can relax the pose, but for him not to get down off the podium because she might need him. Thing says that good-looking guys like him are always in demand. Alicia says that Thing knows that he secretly enjoys posing for her. Alicia says that it is too bad that she can’t convince the super-villains to come pose for her because it is so hard for her to sculpt someone she has never touched before. Alicia says that she has to do it the way a police sketch artist does his job. Thing says that he does have a pilot’s eye for detail. Thing recognizes Alicia’s other clay model as Ultron. Thing notices a light that suddenly flares and knocks him off the podium. Alicia asks what is happening, but before Thing can answer a purple man appears and introduces himself as Proja, the promoter supreme. Proja says that he has come to make Thing a once in a lifetime offer. Thing tells Alicia to stay back. Proja says that Thing’s reputation stretches far beyond this backward little galaxy. Proja says that he offers him a chance to extend his fame even further. Proja says that he represents the greatest fighter in all of the known universes and that they want to arrange a match. Proja taps Thing’s legs and says that Thing is in good shape. Alicia says that she doesn’t get any of this. Thing says that he is going to get some answers. Thing says that he doesn’t believe that he came all this way to arrange a match. Proja says that no expense or inconvenience is too great when it concerns his master’s pleasure. Proja says that he had heard that Thing had a competitive spirit, and can’t believe that he isn’t interested in the Championship of the Galaxy. Thing says that he used to be a jock, but that now he does his fighting for real. He turns Proja down. Proja says that maybe they can arrange something at a later date. Thing and Proja shake hands both disappear from Alicia’s place.

In Chicago, Donald Blake goes up onto his rooftop and turns into Thor. Thor is flying around and senses a power from beyond this world. Proja appears before Thor and says that he has a once in an eon offer for Thor. In Washington DC, Doc Samson is counseling a patient about his fear of aliens when Proja appears out of thin air. The man goes running from the office screaming. Proja makes offers to Samson, Hulk, Colossus, Namor, Sasquatch, and Wonder Man. In New York City, Vision and Scarlet Witch are in the Plaza Hotel. Vision starts to talk to Wanda about something, but he is interrupted by Proja appearing. Vision tells Wanda to be ready to fight. Proja says that he means them no harm. He says that he has come there to make an offer to Vision. Proja suddenly notices that Vision is a synthozoid and says that the rules say that his master can only fight within his prescribed life-class. Proja says that the offer is withdrawn, and Proja disappears a second before Wanda’s hex reaches him.

All those that were abducted appear together in a superhuman training room. All of them want to smack Proja for taking them. Samson thinks to himself that he can’t believe the Hulk has Bruce Banner’s brain. Sasquatch looks at Thor and says that he almost believes that Thor is a god. They start looking around at the equipment. Sasquatch and Thing find a punching bag. Sasquatch says that this bag wouldn’t register any punches that weren’t at least capable of sinking a battleship. Samson says that he thinks that he their host is obsessed with physical combat. Namor says that while the rest of them are all prattling like old women that he is going to battle his way to freedom. Namor smashes through the wall and finds that the room is a self-contained sphere within a starless void. Thor says that they are held outside the fabric of reality. Thor says that even his hammer can’t open a gateway back. Hulk wants to know where their jailer is. Sasquatch tells Hulk to calm down, and that it looks like he is appearing. Champion appears and says that he is the living spirit of competition. He says that he has honored them all by selecting them as representatives of their planet. Champion says that he can offer no greater gift or glory than a contest of strength and skill. Champion says that he has been scouring all of the known galaxies for noble adversaries. Champion says that he is intoxicated by the sheer thrill of combat. Champion says that they must strive to reach beyond themselves and beyond their limitations. To battle on when the cause is lost. Champion says that his pleasure is always all too brief, and that no opponent has ever lasted past the second round. Champion says that perhaps one of them might provide him with better sport. Thor says that they are not pawns to be used at his dark whim. Hulk says that this is no time for talk. Hulk says, “Let’s take him!” Everyone charges forth and starts grabbing Champion. Champion says, “Fools! I am an Elder of the Universe! I wield the ultimate force of the cosmos… the Power Primordial! Champion blasts all of his attackers back with the power of incalculable fury. Thing says that they understand that Champion is no pushover, but that nobody pushes them around. Champion tells them to save their bravado for the ring. Champion says that they have no choice but to fight him. Champion tells them to consider what his power would do to their homeworld. The heroes realize that they have to go along with this. Champion provides his nine opponents with trainers.

Back in Alicia’s apartment, Susan is telling Alicia that they will find the Thing. Reed says that Torch is scouting the area, and that he is recovering some residue alien energy that might allow his to trace where Thing went. Alicia asks what if something bad happened to Ben and he can’t return. Reed says that Ben is no quitter, and that he won’t stop looking for a way back. Reed thinks how he can’t tell Alicia the truth that his equipment can’t measure energy this powerful. Reed says that Thing is being held by someone with a greater power-level than Galactus.

At the Xavier School, Kitty Pride tells Professor X that they can’t find Colossus anyway. Xavier says that he knows. Storms wonders if Magneto or someone might have taken him. Xavier says that he doesn’t think so. He says that he has scanned the area, and other powerful people are also missing. Kitty wonders who would take Colossus. Wolverine promises Kitty that nothing is going to happen to Peter. Nightcrawler and Cyclops wonders if this is a conspiracy, but Xavier says that he doesn’t think so.

Back on the training room, Hulk’s trainer tells him that he needs not only strength, but timing, speed, and coordination. He says that Hulk looks like a slugger instead of a dancer. He tells Hulk to do what he can with a ten-ton titanium steel bag. He says that Hulk might not even be able to move in. Bruce says that he can move anything he wants. Hulk smashes the bag into pieces. Bruce thinks to himself that he has to remain calm and stay in control. Hulk’s trainer says that he didn’t do bad. Thor’s trainer tells Thor to stash the hammer away as only physical strength and skill can be used in the ring. Thor says that nothing can separate him from his hammer. Thor destroys a pillar that surrounds him with Mjolnir. Thor’s trainer suggests some roadwork. Samson’s trainer explains to him that he is about to spar with a living computer. Samson asks if he is supposed to believe that. The machine asks if they are supposed to believe that he can withstand its attack. The trainer says to get to work. Two punchs from the machine later Samson is knocked unconscious. Samson’s trainer disqualifies him and sends him back to his office. Namor’s trainer tries to get him to workout, but Namor says that he is a prince and that he will not lower himself. Namor’s trainer says that he leaves him no choice. Namor is disqualified and teleported back to the water. Colossus’ trainer says that two people have already been disqualified, and that it doesn’t bode well for his planet. Colossus says that he doesn’t really get what is at stake, but that Thor says that they fight and so he will fight. Colossus works on the speedbag. Sasquatch is working a pushing machine and says that he used to be a be a linebacker and was into physical fitness. Sasquatch says that he is looking forward to the match. Wonder Man is riding an exercise bicycle. His trainer tells him to put his heart into it, but Simon thinks to himself that he left the Avengers because he didn’t want to be a fighter or a hero. Thing complains to his trainer as he spars with a machine that he has already “kayoed eight of these rustbuckets!” The trainer says that this one was designed by the Champion himself. Thing destroys it with one punch.

At the Daily Bugle, Proja teleports himself inside the building. He tells them all that he has news of the most thrilling boxing match that this world will ever witness. The story makes the cover of Time, Sports Illustrated, and the Daily Bugle. Everyone is talking about the fights.

At Madison Square Garden arrangements are quickly finalized. An impenetrable , totally unbreakable force field is erected around the ring. Closed circuit and cable rights are immediately syndicated across the world. Tickets sell out in minutes and scalpers are getting the price of a sports car for one ticket. States like Nevada and New Jersey create Off Ring Betting because eof public pressure.

At Avengers mansion, the Fantastic Four have teamed up with the Avengers just in case Earth is in some trouble. She-Hulk asks Iron Man why she wasn’t chosen. Iron Man suggests that maybe the alien is a male chauvinist.

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