FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.
MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #45 (May 1976)
NOTE: Killraven meets the time-traveling Spider-Man in this story. Team-up titles, like Marvel Two-In-One and Marvel Team-Up or DC’s The Brave and the Bold were often considered non-canonical by comic book fans.
The purpose of such team-up books was largely promotional. A superstar of the respective publishing company – Spider-Man for Marvel Team-Up, the Thing for Marvel Two-In-One and Batman for The Brave and the Bold – would star in an often half-assed story. The high-profile character’s fame would, it was hoped, put more eyes on the less popular figure they were being teamed up with and increase that less popular figure’s sales.
Another purpose was to retain copyrights on characters in Marvel or DC’s vast, increasingly overpopulated shared universes. A long unused figure not popular enough to carry their own comic book could be used in a one-shot team-up story, thus satisfying copyright law without the expense of trying to use the superhero in another failed title of their own.
Given Killraven’s forever-struggling sales there’s little doubt this team-up story was done hoping Spider-Man’s fame would boost those sales.
Synopsis: August, 43 years in the future. The story is set in the war-torn No Man’s Land on the outskirts of New York City. This of course makes no sense since Killraven and his Freemen were at this point in America’s Deep South. (KR even refers to recent events so you can’t say this tale is set during the 3 years when Killraven and his rebel group were headquartered on Staten Island.)
Again, this reflects the “who cares about continuity” nature of many such team-up titles.
REVISION: That’s why I would have this story set in Troy, Alabama, with the Freemen still lost and wandering through the biologically mutated jungle which now covers much of the American southeast.
Back to the unrevised story: Spider-Man is using Reed Richards’ copy of Dr Doom’s time machine to leave 1600s Salem, where he and assorted guest-stars had just had an adventure.
Saddened that he could not save the victims of the Salem Witch Trials (well, duh), Spidey morosely tries to return to his own time, only to overshoot his mark and wind up in the New York of Killraven’s future. In that future, Earth is being ruled by its alien conquerors, Martians in the original story but Zetans in my revisions.
REVISION: My revision would omit Spider-Man completely and just stay within the closed world of the Killraven stories. I would start this issue having KR and his remaining Freemen – M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost and Carmilla’s “creation” (and father) Deathlok – still trying to come to grips with the loss of their comrade Hawk last time around.
Hawk was killed almost a month ago, but the sense of loss still cuts deep. Dialogue would tell us that in the weeks since then the Freemen wandered the jungle down to what used to be Troy, Alabama. Severe storms have forced them to hole up in the ruins for more than a week while waiting for more temperate weather.
Killraven would mention how the name Troy seems to mean something in the context of the odd memories he’s been experiencing of humanity’s collective past. NOTE: KR does not yet know it, but as part of his use of The Power (a pre-Star Wars version of The Force), he has access to all of Earth’s history before the alien invasion 18 years earlier.
Back to the unrevised story: Spider-Man encounters Killraven astride his pinkish-red serpent-stallion as he flees some Tripods piloted by human quislings who serve Earth’s alien conquerors. The pair fight side-by-side against the quislings and defeat most of them before ducking behind some ruins.
While taking this breather, KR and Spider-Man get to know each other and Spidey is horrified at the thought that future Earth will be almost wiped out and will be ruled by aliens who feed on human flesh. Some armored quisling troops draw close to our heroes and subject them to a mysterious gas-weapon which overwhelms them.
REVISION: I would have the severe storms finally subside and the Freemen decide to wait just another day or two for the flood waters to go down before they set out again. Before they can move out, the now-clear weather allows human quislings to land in an alien aircraft. The troops begin harvesting some of the mutated plant life in the area, discussing how it is used to make hallucinogenic gas by the alien overlords.
Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost and Deathlok attack the quislings, glad to have targets to vent some of their anger over Hawk’s death. A massive firefight results. KR uses his sword, photo-nuclear pistol and his explosive throwing-stars, M’Shulla his crossbow with bolts made of alien metal, Carmilla her radium pistols, Old Skull the two-handled, wishbone-shaped plasma-ray gun they once drew him with in an early issue and Deathlok with his laser-pistol.
The armored troops eventually counter-attack, with Killraven and Deathlok getting separated from the others as the battle goes on. With KR and Deathlok under siege by the surrounding troops they hunker down and open up to each other a little.
In my revisions Deathlok, when he was alive and human, was part of Earth’s armed forces which lost to the alien invaders so he has memories of the pre-war era. Spider-Man’s despair over the loss of Old Earth would instead be Deathlok morosely reflecting on everything humanity has lost. (My revised title for this story would be CULTURE SHOCK, not Future-Shock) Suddenly, lobbed grenades from the troops expose KR and DL to the hallucinogenic gas they were rounding up ingredients for.
Back to the unrevised story: The gas that Killraven and Spider-Man have been exposed to causes hallucinations. KR sees Volcana Ash, who coldly condemns him for the way Killraven’s devotion to his precious revolution makes him cut himself off from others, even the love she offered. Spider-Man thinks he is fighting the Green Goblin, who, when unmasked THIS time is really Mary Jane Watson.
After triumphing over these visions our heroes snap out of it and realize that while they were hallucinating they were lashing out at their real enemies- the armored troops – and defeated them. Spidey uses the time machine he arrived in to go back to his own era after encouraging Killraven to win back everything the aliens took from mankind. The End.
REVISION: KR’s hallucinogenic interaction with Volcana Ash would stay the same, since it would cause him to reflect on his devotion to the rebellion above all else. Deathlok’s hallucinations would involve his past, when he was alive and not an undead cyborg, happily married and with Carmilla just a child.
Killraven and Deathlok eventually wake up to find that while they were hallucinating, M’Shulla, Old Skull and Carmilla Frost defeated the rest of the troops. The aircraft was blown up during the battle so unfortunately it cannot be used by the Freemen to fly their way out of the jungle.
KR and DL would soak all this in and reflect on their new closeness and on what their respective hallucinations meant. +++
FOR THE NEXT PART CLICK HERE
I’LL EXAMINE THE NEXT ISSUE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY LOOK AT HOMBRE, SPAIN’S POST-APOCALYPTIC COMIC BOOK FROM THE 1980s, CLICK HERE
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