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Five Goofiest Moments in the First Five Issues of Marvel Team-Up

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we’re looking at the first five issues of Marvel Team-Up, featuring writing from Roy Thomas (#1) and Gerry Conway (#2-5) and artwork by Ross Andru (pencils, #1-3), Gil Kane (pencils, #4-5), Mike Esposito (inks, #1 and 5), Jim Mooney (inks #2), Frank Giacoia (inks #3 and part of #4), Steve Mitchell (inks most of #4) and John Romita (inks part of #4). The first three issues see Spidey teamed up with the Human Torch, while issue #4 sees him teamed up with the X-Men and #5 with the Vision.

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

It’s funny, I remember issue #1 had a lot of goofy bits in it (not even counting the bit about how Chris Claremont later said that the black woman rescued in the issue was Misty Knight), so I figured that this would be a safe bet, but I was surprised that issues #2-5 weren’t nearly as goofy.


All I can say about this bit from #2 is “they have pills for that now, Sandman”…

In #4, Professor Xavier clearly doesn’t know how to control himself around Jean Grey…

If Spidey isn’t sure that Harry is asleep, why enter his room in his costume?

Plus, why bring an unconscious synthezoid to your apartment period?

5. Oh, Johnny, why!?!

Even in 1971, that was a bizarre outfit…

4. Weird way to kill time…

In #1, Spidey swings by the Baxter Building and encounters…

I love that Johnny is just killing time by shooting fire rings out of the window.

3. You could have just left us tied up!

In #1, Spidey notes that the Sandman wanted he and Johnny to escape after the Sandman knocked them both unconscious (since it was Christmas Eve and all), but why put them into a death trap at all?!!?

It wasn’t like it was a cinch to get out of!

2. Paste IS the supreme weapon…

The other day, we learned that Paste Pot Pete felt that paste was the supreme weapon. But surprisingly, he is so confident that he even felt that he could take out Annihilus!

I just love the idea of Paste Pot Pete/the Trapster being all, “I got this one, fellas.” Annihilation could have been a much shorter event if Paste Pot Pete had just been involved!

1. Not thinking this out too well, are you, Pete?

In #3, Peter worries about Harry finding out that he is Spider-Man…

Meanwhile, he has his costume just hanging on a hanger in his closet!!!

“Ah…my closet, the safest place in the world to hide anything!”


That was good and all, but after the Legion of Superheroes and Strange Tales Human Torch ones, it just pales in comparison as far as sheer goofiness goes.

What I find weird is that Spider-Man thinks Sandman is “not his problem.” First off, because he only fought him “once,” which isn’t true. They fought at least 4 times I can remember offhand in the Lee/Ditko run, maybe more. Second, even if it was true that he did only fight him once, why would that excuse him from having to take care of him now? Isn’t the whole point of “great power, great responsibility” that he has a duty to stop evil wherever he can?

was the xmen issue the one where Cyclops uses his powers almost as heat vision and not as the usual laser battering ram? In a fight against Morbius, I think?

He uses his beams as a battering ram in the issue, at least at one point. I might have missed him using them as heat beams, as well.

When issue #4 was reprinted in Marvel Tales as part of a run where they reprinted nearly every Spidey/X-Character team-up, a text page claimed that the X-Men’s appearance was part of Roy Thomas’s idea for a relaunch with the characters as “mutants in plainclothes” who would travel around incognito as in this issue. Kind of anticipates some of the late 1990s/early 2000s trends, doesn’t it?

Also, Spider-Man had fought the Sandman exactly four times before this story, though the last of those battles involved the Human Torch as well. Those stories are in ASM v.1 #4, ASM Annual #1, ASM #18, and ASM #19. Following that story, Sandman didn’t appear in a Spidey solo book again until ASM v.1 #153!

Runner-up moments, perhaps?

— One of my favorite bits in #2 is that Johnny just takes out the Sandman with a fireball that fuses him into glass. Might have been a good idea to try that one last issue, eh Johnny? (This would be nitpicking continuity in most books, but a series like MTU is essentially built on the idea of continuity to begin with. And this was just an issue ago.)

— In #4, Morbius calls Jean Grey “the girl with the uncanny eyes.” Perhaps he was thinking of Cyclops?

— The entire plot of #5 revolves around the Puppet Master taking over a leftover robot from the Kree/Skrull War and accidentally causing the Vision to experience weird seizures because the alien robot just happens to have a similar operating system. In other words, an entirely mechanical alien robot from another galaxy uses the same O/S as a modified synthetic man-style android with quasi-biological parts built on Earth in the 1940s. And if you sue magic radioactive clay to take over one of them, the other one gets robo-epilepsy.

I noticed the same thing about MTU #5, Omar. I was like, wait, what? But I was looking at it more from the “untold origins” side of things, rather than the ridiculous: was there some kind of alien influence involved when the Human Torch was originally built?

How is it possible that Mark Gruenwald never wrote a 6-part Quasar storyline to explain this issue?

Nah, Morbius just thought Jean had pretty eyes.

Another goofy bit was that when the X-Men DO wear costume during that time, it was always the black/yellow school uniforms, not their individual costumes seen at the end of their original run!


If I had Torch’s powers I’d shoot fire rings for the hell of it all the time. All the time.

Also, shouldn’t it be “In #1, Spidey notes that the Sandman wanted HIM and Johnny to escape” and not “he and Johnny”? Can we get a ruling on this, Burgas?

You are correct, Sgt.

[…] Source: Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources […]

Jeremy, while I’m not certain about the exact chronology, it was established that Angel, Cyclops and Marvel Girl decided to go back to the yellow and blue/black uniforms in the period between series.

It was lampshaded by Professor Xavier somewhere in Captain America #174-#176 IIRC. Angel’s blue and white costume was taken back by Magneto (who gave it to him way back in the Roy Thomas/Neal Adams issues of X-men) and retconned into being some sort of mutant energy battery that Magneto could use to boost his power against the other X-Men (just prior to his fight against the Avengers, Black Widow and Daredevil). In order to do that, Magneto defeated Angel separately and put him into his second, original X-Men yellow-and-blue/black costume. Shortly after he was captured by the Secret Empire and eventually freed by Captain America, Falcon, Scott, Jean and Charles. By that point, seemingly out of sheer coincidence, Scott and Jean had decided to go back to the same style of costume.

I’m guessing that the return to the original school costumes might have had something to do with the X-Men title being devoted to reprints of the early years at that time. Maybe Marvel didn’t want young readers confused that the X-Men didn’t look the same in guest appearances as they did in their own comic.

It’s funny, I remember issue #1 had a lot of goofy bits in it (not even counting the bit about how Chris Claremont later said that the black woman rescued in the issue was Misty Knight), so I figured that this would be a safe bet, but I was surprised that issues #2-5 weren’t nearly as goofy.

Next time consult me on the team-up book related questions. :) What you want in Marvel Team-Up 28-32. Trust me on this.

Of course, if Peter told Harry when they moved in that he had a Spiderman costume for college costume and halloween parties, that he was gonna store in the closet, it wouldn’t seem that weird – at least until Harry noticed that it would occasionally change hangars overnight, or Peter had a spare hanging up too. It would allow him to hide it in plain sight – maybe even explain it if Harry caught him coming in.

OTOH, NOTHING would explain the passed out android on the couch, if Harry looked close enough to realize it wasn’t a costume. (“hey, Harry – leave my sleeping pal alone… someone slipped him a Mickey Finn at the party last night, and he tends to react violently if woken up and he doesn’t have time to recognize where he is – he broke a guy’s jaw once, like that.”)

I’d agree normally, Scott, that such a weird connection was a possible story hook. But the Vision’s origin is such a mess that I can’t quite sign off.

As it currently stands, he’s a chronal duplicate of the android Human Torch from the 1940s remodeled by the killer robot Ultron and given the brainwaves of then-dead but now sorta-alive Avenger Wonder Man and then destroyed and reactivated/rebuilt with the mind of a young version of 30th-century supervillain Kang, who just happens to look like and share codenames with the otherwise unrelated 1940s Vision, a being from another dimension whom Alex Ross recently decided was part of an order dedicated to preventing the abuse of the Cosmic Cube (and what a terrible job they’ve been doing, eh?).

Even when this story was published, some of that was already in the offing; Roy Thomas had dropped his first big hints that the Vision was the 40s Torch during the Kree-Skrull War, f’rinstance. Dragging the Kree and/or Skrulls into that is just asking for trouble.

“I just love the idea of Paste Pot Pete/the Trapster being all, “I got this one, fellas.” Annihilation could have been a much shorter event if Paste Pot Pete had just been involved!”

But it IS true! In a FF issue during the Jeph Loeb run, Trapster commanded a Negative Zone strike team that COMPLETELY BEAT Annihilus! And that was not long before Annihilation…

The Supere Weapon is indeed paste!

“In #3, Peter worries about Harry finding out that he is Spider-Man…

Meanwhile, he has his costume just hanging on a hanger in his closet!!!”

Not to mention that he’s standing in the middle of the apartment shouting “… is the WALL CRAWLING SPIDER-MAN!” at the top of his lungs! Might have been better better not to say that one out loud, Pete …

Gotta love how Jean is just chilling on the couch, in costume, using her TK to hold up a book that’s toofar away from to read unless the text is giant-sized.

As for the X-men appearing sometimes in the blue & gold costumes, sometimes in civilian clothes, and sometimes in their graduation costumes…bad behind the scenes work among the editors?

The Vision’s back-story wasn’t too bad until Byrne got a hold of him. Him being a re-programmed Human Torch by Ultron? By today’s standards, that’s a rather tame and easy to understand story. FYI, I hate the Younger Avengers version.

…also, in #1, Peter is basically yelling the fact that he’s Spider-Man. That isn’t a thought bubble.

Huh, that face looks sort of….familiar. PLEASE tell me the first panel of page 14 is Annihilus responding to that attack by saying “It’s a trap!”

David Spofforth

June 26, 2014 at 10:16 am

@Scott Harris

There was no alien involvement in the 1939 creation of the Human Torch (as far as we know, so far) but the 1990s “Citizen Kang” storyline in the Avengers related annuals did reveal that Horton used to work for a company in a small town called “Timely, Wisconsin” (love it!). That company was revealed as a front for Kang’s operations in the late 19th/early 20th century. So, by implication, the reason the Torch/Vision was such an advanced miracle of science is that some of Kang’s 41st century tech went into it.

Roy Thomas wrote it, of course!

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