MARVEL TEAM-UP: EARLY STORIES

This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog will take a look at some of the very early stories in Marvel Team-Up.

mtu 1MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #1 (March 1972)

Title: Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas

Villain: Sandman

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, Spider-Man and his old friend the Human Torch find themselves caught up in a battle with their mutual enemy Sandman. At that time the villain was still wearing the special costume his fellow Frightful Four member the Wizard made for him, which gave him the power to mix other chemicals with his sand body, thus increasing his power. Misty Knight makes her (retconned) first appearance.

NOTE: I wrote a VERY lengthy review of this story for the Christmas season of 2016 HERE.

mtu 2MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #2 (May 1972)

Title: And Spidey Makes Four

Villains: The Frightful Four

Synopsis: The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) is still very depressed over the end of his romance with the member of the Inhumans called Crystal.

NOTE: Crystal had been the Torch’s love interest for years and had even replaced Invisible Woman in the Fantastic Four during Sue Storm-Richards’ first pregnancy. Crystal would later marry the Avenger Quicksilver at a ceremony attacked by Ultron HERE.

frightful fourThe escaped Sandman reunites with his teammates in the Frightful Four (as you could guess, the supervillain version of the Fantastic Four) – the Wizard and the Trapster. Originally, the Inhumans member Medusa had been their 4th member back when she was a misunderstood villain.

With Medusa having gone straight and quit, the team needs a 4th member (the woman Thundra would not join until December 1972) so Sandman, Wizard and Trapster capture and enthrall Spider-Man. The Human Torch is the only Fantastic Four member on hand at the Baxter Building, and the hypnotized Spider-Man gets Johnny to let him into the building and the villains force their way in with him.

The villains run amok in the Baxter Building, and the Wizard accidentally opens Reed Richards’ portal to the Negative Zone, allowing the Fantastic Four’s frequent foe Annihilus to attack.

Spider-Man breaks free from hypnotic control, then he and the Human Torch defeat Wizard, Trapster and Sandman before managing to send Annihilus back into the Negative Zone. 

mtu 4MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #4 (September 1972)

Title: And Then – The X-Men

Villain: Morbius, the Living Vampire

Synopsis: When Spider-Man is mistakenly implicated in the abduction of scientist Hans Jorgensen (no relation to Christine), one of Jorgensen’s colleagues, Professor Charles Xavier, rounds up some of his X-Men to investigate, since the team knows Spider-Man is not a criminal. The only X-Men on hand to help Professor X are Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel and Iceman. 

NOTE: This was when the X-Men were in an odd position. Their original comic book run had been canceled from poor sales and it was relegated to reprints (reruns). Polaris (Lorna Dane) and Havok (Cyclops’ brother) are pursuing their doctorates and are off doing field work.

          amaz adv 11The Beast refuses to help because at this time he was concealing from the other X-Men the fact that his experiments on himself at the Brand Corporation caused a secondary mutation into his furry form. Ironically, that has been the only body much of today’s audience associates with the Beast, but back then, Hank hated his furry new form and was trying to cure himself. It was the premise of his short-lived solo series in Amazing Adventures.

Back to the story, after the obligatory battle between Spider-Man and the four available X-Men, the mutant team learns that Morbius was the real kidnapper of Hans Jorgensen. Working together, Spider-Man and the X-Men free Hans and capture Morbius.

mtu 5MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #5 (November 1972)

Title: The Menace of the Monstroid

Villains: Puppet Master and the Monstroid

Synopsis: The Fantastic Four’s old foe the Puppet Master traces a crash-landed alien spaceship. Inside, he discovers an alien android that he dubs the Monstroid. The villain takes control of the android and uses it in a crime spree.

Elsewhere, Spider-Man has come across a fainting Vision while swinging around the city. The Vision explains to web-head that he’s been having these fainting spells all day and does not know why. The Vision has been feeling undeserving of the Scarlet Witch (this is before they got married) and does not want to discuss this issue with his fellow Avengers. 

Spider-Man uses Peter Parker’s biochemistry genius and some borrowed high-tech scientific equipment to try to find the cause of the Vision’s blackouts. While running these tests on the android Avenger, the heroes discover that the Vision has two mind patterns running in his artificial brain. The pair of heroes have no idea why that would be so.

cap original human torch and sub-marinerNOTE: This mystery – like a mysterious discovery that Ant-Man made in the Vision’s brain during the Kree-Skrull War – was a vague hint at the eventual revelation that the Vision’s android body was really the remains of the original Human Torch, Marvel Comics’ Golden Age character who, despite his name, was really a robot who could flame on. In future issues of the Avengers it was learned that Ultron did not create the Vision, but had instead upgraded the “dead” Torch’s android body into the Vision. 

Our heroes learn that the Puppet Master’s remote control of the Monstroid keeps interfering with the Vision (like a tv remote opening the neighbor’s garage door), causing his fainting spells that day. Spider-Man and the Vision defeat the Monstroid and the Pupper Master.

The Monstroid would later fight Iron Fist

mtu 7MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #7 (March 1973)

Title: Two Worlds to Conquer

Villains: Rock Trolls

Synopsis: After saving a woman from muggers, Spider-Man encounters Thor and the two chit-chat for a while. Suddenly a strange mystic cloud appears in the sky and descends on the Earth. Thor uses his hammer Mjolnir to create a protective sphere around himself and Spider-Man.

When the cloud disperses, Thor and Spider-Man notice they are the only two beings on Earth who can still move. Everyone else is in some sort of stasis. The pair explore the rest of New York City and come across the Rock Troll Kryllk the Cruel, leading an army of other Rock Trolls.

Our heroes fight with the army of trolls, but when Spider-Man and Thor gain the upper hand, Kryllk uses a Dark Crystal to teleport himself and his army elsewhere. Thor explains to web-head that centuries ago, Kryllk had tried to conquer Asgard with his fellow Rock Trolls but he was defeated and banished.

chris thorAt Avengers Mansion, where all the heroes are as immobile as the rest of the world, Spider-Man and Thor use the team’s computers to trace the energy signature of the Dark Crystal wielded by Kryllk. They learn that it could be in two possible locations – Asgard itself or an asteroid in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.

At this time Thor was temporarily exiled from Asgard because of another periodic “Odin is being a prick” storyline, so he sends Spider-Man to Asgard to investigate while he flies to the Asteroid Belt to check on the other location.

Thor defeats Kryllk and the Rock Trolls he has in a fortress on an asteroid, preparing to invade both Earth AND Asgard. Spider-Man, meanwhile, fights Rock Trolls in Asgard, where everyone, including Odin, are in stasis just like everyone on Earth.

After our heroes win their respective battles, the Watcher Uatu brings them together and explains that the Dark Crystal which powered Kryllk’s plans, was stolen by the Rock Troll from the Watcher’s hidden Kree-built city on Earth’s moon.

With the Dark Crystal now retrieved from the defeated Kryllk, the Watcher thanks Thor and Spider-Man, releases Earth and Asgard from stasis using the crystal, and departs.

mtu 13MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #13 (September 1973)

Title: The Granite Sky

Villains: The Grey Gargoyle and A.I.M.

Synopsis: The villains of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) shoot down the orbiting prison of the Grey Gargoyle, where he was trapped since Captain America & the Falcon #142 (October 1971). This frees their ally, whose mutated, stone-hard body and massive super-strength enable him to survive the landing.

The Grey Gargoyle and A.I.M. launch a new plan. Meanwhile, Peter Parker has been wandering the streets, mourning Gwen Stacy’s recent death. At length, he decides to escape his problems in the danger of being Spider-Man and swings around the city.

mtu spl pageSpidey comes across Captain America fighting several A.I.M. soldiers with their high-tech weapons and helps Cap defeat them. They recover one of three telemetry devices that Captain America tells Spider-Man A.I.M. recently stole.

Because Cap is helping S.H.I.E.L.D. recover the stolen devices, S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel take the Captain, Spider-Man and the defeated A.I.M. soldiers to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Some agents want to arrest Spider-Man, who is wanted for questioning in the deaths of Captain John Stacy and Norman Osborn, but Nick Fury and Cap vouch for Spider-Man and the hero is made welcome.

Other agents have already recovered the second of the three stolen telemetry devices, so Nick sends Captain America and Spider-Man to recover the last one from the Grey Gargoyle and his A.I.M. allies. Our heroes defeat the A.I.M. soldiers, then clash with the supervillain leading them.

cap and spThe Grey Gargoyle and his allied scientists are about to launch a missile into orbit. That missile is armed with a device incorporating Element X (one of the many fictional elements from the Marvel Comics universe). Once it is in orbit, it will allow the Grey Gargoyle to turn entire cities or countries into stone if his and A.I.M.’s demands are not met.

NOTE: One of the Grey Gargoyle’s powers was the ability to transform people or objects into stone statues for an hour at the touch of one of his hands. This Element X-powered device will let him do it remotely and on a massive scale.

Our heroes clash with the supervillain. The Grey Gargoyle is unaware of the new Spider-Man level of strength that Captain America just gained recently over at his own comic book, so the good guys win and the Grey Gargoyle is sent into space again.

NOTE: The villain would eventually fall in with space pirates and then once again battle his original enemy Thor.

mtu 14MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #14 (October 1973)

Title: Mayhem is the Men-Fish (despite what the cover says)

Villains: Tiger-Shark and Dr. Dorcas

Synopsis: One night while on patrol along the waterfront, Spider-Man sees a man in a trench coat about to be mugged. He is amazed when the man easily overpowers his attackers and is revealed to be the Sub-Mariner. Spider-Man assumes that the Sub-Mariner (Prince Namor of Atlantis) is once again planning to attack the surface world, so he battles Sub-Mariner.

NOTE: Sea pollution and assorted other factors had put Prince Namor and his Atlantean kingdom in a state of periodic warfare with the surface nations. And by the way, Sub-Mariner came BEFORE DC’s character Aquaman. Namor debuted in 1939.

The fight between the two prompts a high-tech ship that was in port to immediately head off to sea. Sub-Mariner angrily tells Spider-Man that the ship holds two of his deadliest foes – Tiger-Shark, and the scientist who created him – Dr. Dorcas. He was hoping to take them by surprise, but the muggers and Spider-Man have ruined that possibility.

sub vs tsSpider-Man apologizes and offers to help Namor capture his two bitter enemies. The pair overtake the fleeing ship and do battle with Dr. Dorcas’ latest creations – human/ fish hybrids that he calls men-fish. He intends to use them to take over Atlantis and then the surface world.

Our heroes defeat the men-fish and then battle Tiger-Shark and Dr. Dorcas. In the destructive clash that follows, the ship starts to blow up. Spider-Man and Sub-Mariner escape, but it looks like the two villains died in the explosion.

NOTE: Naturally, they weren’t really dead and would return to plague Sub-Mariner many more times.

mtu 15MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #15 (November 1973)

Title: If an Eye Offend Thee …

Villain: The Orb

Synopsis: Peter Parker, still very down over the death of Gwen Stacy, goes to Madison Square Garden that night in search of a diversion from his self-destructive thoughts following his clash with the Kangaroo

The show that night is Johnny Blaze’s traveling motorcycle stunt show, which at this time he is running alongside his girlfriend Roxanne Simpson. Despite himself, Peter is taken in by the show, marveling at what he thinks is prosthetics/ special effects work to make Johnny’s head appear to be a flaming skull.

At length, a motorcycle gang invades Madison Square Garden, led by a supervillain calling himself the Orb, whose helmet looks like a huge eye. The Orb and his gang try to abduct Roxanne Simpson, but Ghost Rider, joined soon by Spider-Man, fights them.

Before too long, the Orb uses his helmet’s hypnotic powers to mesmerize the spectators into attacking Ghost Rider and Spider-Man, enabling him and his gang to ride off with Roxanne as their prisoner. As our heroes consult each other about what they should do next, the still-mesmerized audience at the Garden speak in one chanting voice, relaying the Orb’s demand for Roxanne’s release.

ghost rider ridingThat demand? That Johnny Blaze sign over all interest in his traveling motorcycle stunt show, a show that used to belong to Johnny’s mentor – Roxanne’s father. While waiting for the wee hours rendezvous in which Johnny will turn over the papers in exchange for Roxanne, the Orb does a Villain Rant to let Ms. Simpson know his origin and motives.

Long ago, he (Drake Shannon) was a business partner with Roxanne’s father in their then-struggling stunt show. The business at the time had accumulated nothing but debt, so Shannon and Simpson casually decided to race each other for sole ownership of the obscure stunt show.

Shannon crashed, scarring his face horribly and prompting him to sign over his part of the stunt show to Roxanne’s father and disappear from public life. He had noted with anger as Simpson turned around the show’s fortunes, making it a huge hit at Evel Knievel/ X-Games levels.

Bitter over his ruined face and missing out on the stunt show’s massive success, Drake Shannon found himself approached by a mysterious group calling themselves They Who Wield Power (more on them below). They provided him with his hypnotic-powered eyeball helmet and raygun pistol.

orbAnd so, he became the Orb and put his revenge scheme in motion. At last, the time for the exchange with Johnny Blaze arrives. The Orb and his gang take Roxanne to the designated area, in abandoned subway tunnels.

Johnny shows up, with papers that supposedly relinquish his ownership of the stunt show. (It’s a comic book, just go with it.) The Orb, to nobody’s surprise, takes the papers but refuses to release Roxanne. Spider-Man, as planned beforehand with Johnny, comes out of hiding and rescues Roxanne from the Orb’s clutches.

Johnny becomes Ghost Rider, then he and Spider-Man mop the floor with the Orb’s motorcycle gang. The Orb himself rides off, with Ghost Rider chasing him. Ultimately, it looks like the villain dies in a head-on collision with an approaching subway train, since the chase had led them to still-active subway lines.

Ghost Rider recovers the papers from the Orb’s bag and burns them. He and Spider-Man part company, with the latter creeped out at his realization that Johnny Blaze does not use special effects and really is a fiery-skulled monster who can shoot Hellfire from his handsAnd yes, the Orb survived to face Ghost Rider over and over again.   

mtu 16MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #16 (December 1973)

Title: Beware the Basilisk, My Friend

Villain: The Basilisk

Synopsis: Rick Jones, the former sidekick of the Hulk and Captain America, is still pursuing his attempt to become a rock star. This is the time period when Rick and the Kree Captain Mar-Vell (interpreted by the media as “Captain Marvel”) were stuck sharing an odd hybrid existence in one body.

Captain Marvel conveniently detects the presence of a Kree relic called the Alpha Stone at a museum in New York City. Because of the dangers if that gem falls into the hands of an Earth supervillain, Mar-Vell nags Rick into clanging together the Nega-Bands that he wears on his wrists.

As ever, clanging them together causes him to swap atoms with the Kree captain, replacing him in exile in the Negative Zone while, as Captain Marvel, the alien hero can go into action. Meanwhile, Peter Parker has been tossing and turning all night so heads out to an all-night theater to check out an old, bad movie. (A man after my own heart!)

basiliskElsewhere, by a comic book coincidence, a thief named Basil Elks has broken into the museum to steal the gem that no Earth people suspect is the Kree Alpha Stone. During a fight with a security guard, Basil is transformed by the gem into a monstrous, super-powered villain.

Basil Elks calls himself the Basilisk, the ugly name he says that fellow criminals had called him. The Basilisk uses his new powers to total the security guard, blast his way out of the museum and go on a rampage.

Naturally, Peter Parker sees it happen on his way to the movie theater, so he becomes Spider-Man and, joined by the arriving Captain Marvel, the pair take on Basilisk. The villain nearly kills the pair and then escapes.

Spidey and the Kree Captain and Kree Tenille manage to track down the Basilisk before he can find the Omega Stone, the Alpha Stone’s sister gem. The Omega Stone, combined with the Alpha Stone’s energies, would make the Basilisk exponentially more powerful.

mar vell and omega stoneConveniently, the Omega Stone is also on Earth AND in New York City (what are the chances). The Basilisk’s new powers lead him to it but before he can take it, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man arrive and attack him.

At one point Mar-Vell grabs the Omega Stone, which, for unknown reasons, grows, entrapping the Kree Captain within it before disappearing. The Basilisk escapes and Spider-Man is at a loss for what to do next.   

mtu 17MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #17 (January 1974)

Title: Chaos at the Earth’s Core

Villains: Mole Man and Basilisk

Synopsis: Spider-Man decides that, since the Omega Stone is a Kree relic, he will seek help from the Fantastic Four, who had the very first clashes with the alien Kree race years back. Our hero arrives at the Baxter Building, where he trips the alarms.

Spidey is snared by a security device but is freed by Mister Fantastic – Reed Richards, PhD, the leader of the Fantastic Four. Spider-Man explains why he is there, and Mr. Fantastic sadly informs web-head that the Fantastic Four have disbanded and he is the only one still living in the Baxter Building.

NOTE: When Reed’s mutant son Franklin, whom he had with the Invisible Woman, Sue Storm-Richards, exhibited dangerous psychic powers that endangered everyone on Earth, Reed put the boy into a coma until he could find a cure for him.

          ff 141That action caused Sue to leave Reed, following which her brother Johnny also quit the team, furious at Reed. The Thing wound up unable to forgive Reed, either, and he quit as well. Naturally, Reed and Sue eventually reconcile, and the team gets back together.

Mr. Fantastic shows Spider-Man a device he created years earlier after one of the Fantastic Four’s encounters with the Kree Empire. It allows our heroes to trace the Omega Stone to its current location – the Earth’s core.

Using leftover means of transportation from the defunct Fantastic Four, Reed and Spider-Man descend into the depths of the Earth.  Ultimately, they reach Subterranea, the underground realm ruled over by the Mole Man, a frequent foe of Reed’s team.

The Mole Man and his underground race the Moloids plan to use the enlarged Omega Stone – with Captain Marvel still trapped inside – to power the villain’s latest weapon. That device will let him devastate the entire surface of the world, paving the way for him and his Moloids to be the new dominant race on Earth.

mm cmWhile Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic are fighting the Mole Man and his armies, the Basilisk arrives, having followed Spidey and Reed from a distance. He tries to take the Omega Stone.

A multi-sided battle erupts and, needless to say, Spider-Man and Reed defeat the villains, Captain Marvel frees himself from the Omega Stone and our heroes escape while Basilisk and Mole Man seem to fall into the molten core of the Earth, killing them both.

NOTE: You guessed it! Neither of them were really dead and they showed up multiple times in the years ahead.

          bloodstone enduring Also, many years later, Marvel retconned things so that the Apha and Omega Stones were part of a cosmic set of gems along with the “moon rock” that turned John Jameson into the Man-Wolf, the Power Prism of Iron Man’s foe Dr. Spectrum, the alien diamond that gave Marvel’s Golden Age superhero Blue Diamond his powers, the moon rock that powered the supervillain Moonstone AND the Blood Gem, a fragment of which lodged in the chest of Ulysses Bloodstone.

           Those gems are all separate from the Infinity Gems/ Infinity Stones.

mtu 18MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #18 (February 1974)

Title: Where Bursts the Bomb

Villain: Blastaar

Synopsis: With the Fantastic Four disbanded, the Human Torch (Johnny Storm) and his Native American college friend Wyatt Wingfoot are bumming around the Catskills, with the Torch flying under his own power and Wyatt flying on a Skycycle borrowed from the Baxter Building hangar.

One day the pair of friends save two truck drivers and prevent a crashed fuel truck from causing a massive forest fire. In the aftermath of their heroics, Johnny sadly admits that going into action just doesn’t feel the same without the camaraderie of his former teammates in the FF.

Elsewhere, a mad scientist named Paxton Pentecost has been experimenting on the comatose body of Blastaar, an old foe of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

blastaarNOTE: Blastaar had been the tyrannical ruler of an alien world in the Negative Zone but was deposed and escaped the Zone to rampage on Earth. The Fantastic Four stopped him, but he was later accidentally freed from the Negative Zone again, this time by the X-Men. Blastaar was so seriously injured at the end of his clash with that team of mutants that he had been comatose ever since.

Paxton Pentecost at last succeeds in reviving Blastaar, and had implanted a device in the powerful alien’s brain that causes pain if he does not obey Pentecost’s orders. The mad scientist sends Blastaar to destroy a stolen creation of his called F.A.U.S.T. (Fully Automated Unit of Structural Technology). F.A.U.S.T. is a futuristic laboratory run by Artificial Intelligence.

Pentecost is determined that his former research partners NOT profit from their theft of his finest creation. As the supervillain flies off to destroy the artificially intelligent lab, an alarm goes off on Wyatt Wingfoot’s Skycycle.

hulk ht blThe Skycycle is still linked to Baxter Building systems and the device warns Johnny Storm and Wyatt that the Negative Zone entity Blastaar is showing signs of activity once again. The Human Torch flies off to find the alien supervillain, and attacks him as Blastaar is using his ray-blasts on F.A.U.S.T.

By a comic book coincidence, the Hulk is nearby and gets drawn into the fight. The Human Torch and Hulk defeat Blastaar and confine him in adamantium, then send him to the bottom of the ocean.

mtu 19MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #19 (March 1974)

Title: The Coming of Stegron the Dinosaur Man

Villain: Stegron (first appearance)

Synopsis: Peter Parker reads a classified ad in the Daily Bugle which he deciphers as a plea for Spider-Man’s help from his scientist friend Dr. Curt Connors. Peter dons his Spider-Man costume and swings over to Connors’ lab.

Curt explains to web-head that he and his assistant Dr. Vincent Stegron were working for S.H.I.E.L.D.  on a project involving dinosaur DNA from the Savage Land.

NOTE: The Savage Land is Marvel Comics’ fictional lost primitive jungle deep in the Antarctic continent. Dinosaurs, lost races and other life-forms live there, as does the Tarzanesque hero of the place, Ka-Zar (Lord Kevin Plunder). Geothermal forces keep the region at a rain forest climate. The Savage Land was discovered in X-Men #10 (March 1965).

stegronStegron stole all of his and Dr. Connors’ research along with Connors’ formula which transformed Curt into the supervillain called the Lizard long ago. The villain then fled to the Savage Land, obviously with some sinister purpose in mind.

Spider-Man calls in a favor from Nick Fury, whom he and Captain America helped against A.I.M. and the Grey Gargoyle several issues back. Fury assigns a S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft to transport Spider-Man to the Savage Land.

While clashing with dinosaurs, our hero encounters Ka-Zar and his saber-tooth tiger Zabu, both of whom he met during his previous visit to the Savage Land. Working together, Spider-Man and Ka-Zar learn that Vincent Stegron has combined the dinosaur DNA with Curt Connors’ Lizard formula to transform himself into Stegron the Dinosaur Man, a humanoid stegosaur.

zabu ka zar spidStegron has enslaved one of the prehistoric tribes of the Savage Land and orders them to attack Spider-Man, Ka-Zar and Zabu. Our heroes prevail, and then discover the full range of Stegron’s plans. He is loading dozens of dinosaurs on to an enormous aircraft called the Ark, which was provided by the above-mentioned They Who Wield Power

To ensure the survival of at least some of the many dinosaur species of the Savage Land, the place was named a United Nations Heritage Site. This was done because of the way the Savage Land was always in danger of destruction, both from indigenous menaces AND external forces which often raided the place either for dinosaurs or treasures or the land’s massive deposits of vibranium.

sm kz zNOTE: Vibranium was introduced to the Marvel Comics universe in Daredevil #13 (February 1966) during an adventure shared by DD and Ka-Zar. This was even before vibranium was mentioned as being present in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Vibranium’s original property was its ability to absorb and conduct energy of all kinds and it was NOT indestructible. The Marvel Comics Studios movies had to use vibranium as a substitute for adamantium, which they did not yet have the rights to.

           Items like adamantium could not be used because that fictional metal was considered to be part of the rights involved with the X-Men due to the popularity of Wolverine’s adamantium claws. Which is also odd because adamantium was introduced in the Avengers comic books during the 1960s when Ultron-6 stole some to make his body indestructible.

           Don’t bother trying to follow the convoluted saga of the formerly scattered Marvel Comics movie rights. Nearly everything is back under one umbrella now that Marvel was bought by Disney a few years back. 

sm webs craftGetting back to the story, the Ark is loaded with dinosaurs by Stegron. All of the dinosaurs on board are going to be used by Stegron to rampage through New York City. The villain sics unloaded dinos on our heroes.

Spider-Man and Ka-Zar fight their way to the Ark and Spidey stows away on the vessel just as it flies off toward North America. Ka-Zar sees it depart and hopes Spider-Man can deal with Stegron, who is piloting the Ark. 

mtu 20MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #20 (April 1974)

Title: Dinosaurs on Broadway

Villain: Stegron

Synopsis: Hours later, as the airborne Ark nears New York City, Stegron the Dinosaur Man puts it on auto-pilot for the approach and landing. He then takes to the deck to relish the sight of the ever-nearer land mass.

Spider-Man decides that the time is right to come out of hiding and attack Stegron, hoping to prevent the Ark from reaching the mainland and afterward somehow making it to shore alive. He and Stegron do battle, with the villain’s super-strength and tough, spiked tail giving our hero as much as he can handle.

stegron on the deckMeanwhile, at Avengers Mansion, the Black Panther is the only team member on hand at the moment. An alarm beacon alerts T’Challa to an enormous unidentified air vessel approaching New York. The Black Panther boards a quin-jet and flies off to greet the craft and ask its intentions.

As luck would have it, right as the quin-jet arrives at the Ark, Spider-Man gets knocked off the deck by Stegron and plummets toward the Atlantic Ocean far below. The Panther puts the quin-jet on autopilot for a moment and acrobatically rescues Spider-Man, a maneuver shown on the cover. 

When Black Panther gets web-head inside and resumes piloting the quin-jet, Spider-Man explains to the Avenger what is going on. The pair quickly visit Curt Connors’ lab and tell him to work on an antidote to the formula which transformed Vincent Stegron into his current super-powered form.

steg riding dinosaurWhile he works on that, Spider-Man and the Panther face Stegron and his army of dinosaurs running amok throughout the city, including Central Park and Broadway. The situation goes on and on, with the two superheroes fighting it out with Stegron personally when they are able to isolate him amid the chaos of containing the rampaging dinosaurs. 

At one point, Dr. Curt Connors, flashing his temporary S.H.I.E.L.D. credentials, makes his way through the police barricades and approaches the fighting Stegron, Spider-Man and the Black Panther. Curt and Stegron exchange a few bitter words, leading up to Connors informing him there is no cure for the combined dinosaur DNA/ Lizard formula which transformed him. He will be Stegron permanently.

Furious, the deranged villain tries to escape until he can come to terms with his plight. He summons a pterodactyl to let him mount it, and he flies off, riding it through the sky. Spider-Man snares the airborne creature with his webbing and pulls himself up to face Stegron.

stegron drowningThe two fight it out as the spooked pterodactyl flies out to sea. Their battle results in our hero knocking Stegron off the pterodactyl. He falls into the Atlantic Ocean and, unable to swim with his massive, scaled bulk, he drowns.

Later, the Black Panther prepares to supervise transporting the dinosaurs back to the Savage Land after parting ways with Spider-Man and Dr. Connors.

NOTE: Stegron’s body went into suspended animation and he survived to fight another day.

mtu 23MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol 1 #23 (July 1974)

Title: The Night of the Frozen Inferno

Villain: Equinox

Synopsis: Torn up emotionally over the way the Inhuman named Crystal dumped him for Quicksilver, the Human Torch decides to lose himself in action by responding to a robbery at a jewelry store. After flying to the scene, the Torch spots frozen footprints leading away from the store, then he gets ambushed by a blast of ice.

Convinced that the robbery and the ambush were carried out by Iceman, the quick-tempered Johnny Storm attacks the mutant. When Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Angel vouch for the fact that Iceman has been with them all night, the Human Torch realizes he was wrong and apologizes.

equinoxJohnny and Iceman join forces to investigate the jewelry store robbery to find the real culprit. They catch a supervillain calling himself Equinox carrying out a similar robbery and he admits to being the one who attacked the Human Torch earlier that night.

Equinox does a Villain Rant in which he reveals how he gained his superpowers through a scientific accident from an experiment in thermodynamics. He has ice powers like Iceman and flame powers like the Human Torch.

Our heroes engage in a running battle with the villain throughout the city. At length, Equinox seems to explode when his part-fire and part-ice anatomy grows unstable. But if you guessed that he is not really dead and returns to commit more crimes in the future you’re right!              

11 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

11 responses to “MARVEL TEAM-UP: EARLY STORIES

  1. Smart, really. I like the Marvel movies with multiple good guys (that aren’t woke and preachy and stuff).

  2. Love this post. MTU 72 was my first ever comic as a kid

  3. I am not real great with English but I line up this really easy to understand.

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