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Nostalgia November Day 08 — Marvel Team-Up #148

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.

MarvelTeam-Up148Marvel 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…

20 Comments

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

November 8, 2009 at 9:46 am

If only the Black Abbott were actually an evil member of the Friars’ Club….

This has always been one of my favorite Spiderman (and Thor) covers

I almost bought this once, just for the cover… but then I didn’t.

That is my story.

The cover is better than the comic… except for that first page where Tony dressed as Nomad gets beaten up. It’s like Kick-Ass in one page… you know, which is about as long as the concept works.

At least MTU had a distinct identity and purpose (Spiderman meets other super heroes) Web of was just more of the same.

Love MTU. Remember reading some of this in a UK reprint and it’s only recently I’ve read the rest of the issue.

Earliest comic covered so far in this series (c1985)

Everyone loves Marvel Team-Up. I suppose it should be surprising, then, that two 90s revivals, plus a “Marvel Age” version of the series a few years ago, lasted a little over half a year each, on average.

I suspect, though, that MTU is one of those things which worked better in its time, and just won’t quite work anymore for one reason or another. Sort of like old-time Annuals.

I freakin’ love that cover.

I suppose the current Marvel Superhero Adventures is sort of a team up book now that Marvel doesn’t do a separate Marvel Adventures FF, etc. anymore..

Let’s hope that Deadpool Team-up will last 150 issues,and not get cancelled at issue #750!

Has anyone ever brought back the Black Abbott? I remember this issue, mostly because it was the conculsion of a three issue arc that started with one of the very first comic books I ever read, MTU #146, which had Spider-Man and Nomad going up against the Abbott and the Taskmaster. Ah, well, at least old Tasky has had a lot done with him over the years. He’s an interesting villain. Wish I had photographic reflexes!

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

November 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Not only has no one brought back the Black Abbott, he was reported killed by the Scourge of the Underworld in Captain America v.1 #394.

But did Scourge really kill the Black Abbot, or just one of them?
In the interest of nitpicky accuracy, it should be pointed out that the hospitalised Abbot lost his arm TWO issues previously, in the Nomad story. However, he didn’t break free of the head Abbot’s control until the Torch story.
I always liked the three-part Black Abbot story, despite all the weaknesses. I thought a bad guy operating several bodies at once around the world had a lot of potential.

never cared for the black abbot for sounds like a bad comedian like the black racer. and never ever cared for marvel team up

The Black Abbot was not a bad comedian. It’s true that the Black Costello had all the funniest lines, but that’s only because he had the Black Abbot to play off of.

HEY-ohhhhhhh! :-) Nice one, Mary.

That is an awesome cover.

I have this comic. I loved MTU and bought every issue I could get my hands on. Though I must admit the quality of the stories was winding down by this point. For example, I never liked the use of Thor in this story- it could have been nearly any other hero and there would have been little difference. I have always liked my team-ups to be meaningful to the characters involved, even if only by battling a common foe. Oh, and the revelation that the Black Abbott was just one man using several other people’s bodies as extensions of himself, while original, didn’t live up to the expectations the stories were building up; I was hoping I was watching the start of a new Marvel master villain, but no, he felt pretty average in the end.

Yeah, I’ve read this (and every!) issue of Marvel team-up at least fo’five times, but damned if I could tell you the plot. This is probably the treading-water-est period in the title’s history. None of these issues are BAD or incompetently produced or anything, but the creative team doesn’t seem to be able to work up much enthusiasm for their jobs,

On the other hand: Great, great, great cover. One of my top three favorites of the whole run.

What I remember best about this story is the “sorry, Charlie” in-joke after a couple of the Abbott’s goons get taken down. That was cool back in the day. And the cover really helped sell me the book when it was two mere issues away from cancellation.

[...] #57 Nostalgia November Day 06 — TaleSpin #7 Nostalgia November Day 07 — Excalibur #75 Nostalgia November Day 08 — Marvel Team-Up #148 Nostalgia November Day 09 — What The–?! #16 The Reread Reviews — The Death of Superman The [...]

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