Ewing's "Ultimates" Stand Guard Against Alien Empires & Cosmic Entities
Each day in November, I will read and review/discuss/whatever one comic taken from a box of some of my childhood comics. Today, it’s Marvel Team-Up #148.
The Nostalgia November archive can be found here.
Marvel Team-Up #148 by Cary Burkett and Greg LaRocque has Spider-Man team up with Thor to take on the recurring menace of the Black Abbott. I guess in the previous issue, Spider-Man and the Human Torch had defeated him and, now, he’s in the hospital having lost an arm. Spider-Man wants to interrogate him, but, when he does, someone attacks the hospital, trying to get the Black Abbott. Nearby, working his construction job as Sigurd Jarlson, Thor shows up to provide some help. Good thing he does, because he stops the attack and vouches for Spider-Man to the cops. They then learn that the Black Abbott is not the Black Abbott, but one of his disciples, mentally controlled until his injury last issue freed him from said control. He was a member of some order where they tried to train themselves to use the full potential of their brains (based on the fallacy that most people only used 5% of their brain at any one time, so tapping into the other 95% would make you superior — when, in reality, it would just mean that every single one of your muscles would be tensed, making you unable to move). One of the members of the order learned that he could control the others, so he took over and uses the other 12 as his pawns. You could tell it would happen, because everyone else had black robes, but this guy? Red robe. So obvious.
Anyway, the whole thing progresses to the Black Abbott and his people kidnapping Thor, trying to syphon his energy. Spider-Man goes after him and gets shown the way by a little kid that discovered the tunnels to the base on a beach at the beginning of the issue after getting his ass kicked for trying to be Nomad… Spider-Man sends the kid to get the Avengers and Fantastic Four, telling him secret knowledge to prove he’s legit — only the kid mixes up his facts and neither group believes him. But, Spider-Man and Thor do okay for themselves… except the Black Abbott escapes.
This is a fairly benign comic. A lot of unneeded exposition, a not-too-thrilling plot… but it’s not that bad either. I do like this Tony kid who sucks at everything. The first page really has him trying to stop other kids from vandalising property in a makeshift Nomad costume… so they beat him up. Then, he does help Spider-Man but can’t keep his facts straight, leaving Spider-Man and Thor without any backup. The kid does, like, one thing right by accidentally falling through some rusted metal while walking on the beach.
The art is better than the writing — barely. Most of it is very typical, mediocre, basic art, but the odd panel stands out. The look of fear in Tony’s eyes as the kids rip off his mask… Thor chucking his hammer at the bad guys… the evil look in a nurse’s eyes as she does unseen things to the supposed Black Abbott… okay, three panels that stand out.
Two issues later, Marvel Team-Up was cancelled in favour of The Web of Spider-Man and you can see why: it’s a very unremarkable comic series at this point. But, it’s also a fun, high action, high adventure sort of book. Though, let’s be honest, the cover scene does happen in the story, but it’s not nearly as cool there… if you can’t do Thor chucking him hammer while Spider-Man hangs on for dear life right…
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