Monday, October 5, 2015

MARVEL TEAM-UP #67

Stan Lee presents: SPIDEY and TIGRA!

”TIGRA, TIGRA, BURNING BRIGHT”
Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: Annette Kawecki | Colorist: Dave Hunt | Editor: Archie Goodwin

The Plot: Suffering from insomnia, Spider-Man swings over Manhattan. He is lured into a trap and captured by Kraven the Hunter, and awakens later in Kraven’s lair to find the villain has Tigra the were-woman in his thrall. Kraven sics Tigra on Spider-Man, but the web-slinger breaks the villain’s control over her.

Kraven retreats, revealing his lair to be an abandoned animal park, still fully populated by a number of beasts, which Kraven sets on a stampede toward the heroes. Tigra reaches Kraven but he beats her; however Spider-Man catches up and saves Tigra’s life. The wall-crawler is nearly run over by Kraven’s animals but survives, after which he knocks the Hunter out.

Continuity Notes: Spider-Man last battled Kraven in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2.

The webbed wonder recognizes Tigra from the Daily Bugle’s files. He was under the impression she was working with the Fantastic Four, but a footnote states she only associated with them for issues 177 – 183 of their magazine.

Tigra and Kraven previously crossed paths in MARVEL CHILLERS #4, written by Chris Claremont. Tigra explains to Spider-Man that, after the events of that issue, she learned Kraven had escaped custody and made it her mission to bring him in -- but he tricked and captured her, instead.


My Thoughts: One of the things I like about this run is that Claremont usually isn't just picking random guest-stars to team Spider-Man with. Beginning with issue 62 we get Ms. Marvel, on whose title Claremont was the regular writer at the time; then Iron Fist for issues 63 and 64, again a character Claremont had written regularly. Issues 65 and 66 featured Captain Britain, created a few years earlier by Claremont, and now we meet Tigra -- not a character normally associated with Claremont, but one he had previously written in an issue of MARVEL CHILLERS (and would go on to write again four or so years later in an UNCANNY X-MEN issue).

For the record, next issue will co-star Man-Thing, a character with whom Claremont has no real history yet, but who, strangely enough, he will go on to write in a 1981 solo series. Further, the subsequent pair of issues following the next will feature characters and situations from Claremont’s X-MEN run.


But, as for this issue: There’s not much I can say about it beyond the fact that it's a decent “done-in-one” -- the first we've seen from Claremont and Byrne on this title, in fact.

A lot of fans seem to think Kraven is, or was, a lame character and a second- or even third-stringer in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. I've never understood this attitude. Kraven is fast, strong, and incredibly cunning. He's a terrific match for the wall-crawler, and he has a very cool, imposing visual to boot. Even prior to his canonization in “Kraven’s Last Hunt”, I'd rank him as one of my top five or so favorite Spider-Man villains. (For the record, that list would most likely also include Hobgoblin, Mysterio, Doctor Octopus, and the Chameleon.)


And then there's Tigra: I've found it fascinating for some time that her costume is so skimpy. Mind you, I'm not complaining; it’s just interesting. She essentially runs around fighting crime in a string bikini. This was the seventies, remember; even Shanna the She-Devil was comparatively much more decent back then. Somehow, I assume because she's a “furry”, Tigra gets a pass on modesty. The Comics Code was probably okay with a heroine in a bikini if she was covered with fur and therefore not colored in normal flesh tones.


Other than the bikini, though, I've never had much of an opinion either way on Tigra, and this issue does little to change that. She's basically just a plot device standing between Spider-Man and Kraven for much of the action.

Oh, and she's a “Take two drinks” in the Claremont Drinking Game, being a heroine brainwashed by the villain here. I'll just trust that you'll imbibe before the next post goes up.

2 comments:

  1. The MARVEL CHILLERS connection, which I was unaware of until now, probably explains Tigra's random appearance in that X-Men story you mentioned. I always wondered about that.

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    1. Yeah, she really adds nothing to the X-MEN issue; she just hangs out with them and watches Deathbird stab Colossus, then vanishes at the next issue's start. Claremont may have just wanted to use her out of some fondness for the character.

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