Monday, October 19, 2015


Stan Lee presents: SPIDEY and THOR -- together!

Author: Chris Claremont | Penciler: John Byrne | Inker: Tony DeZuniga
Letterer: Annette Kawecki | Colorist: Phil Rache | Editor: Jim Shooter

The Plot: The Living Monolith rampages through Manhattan and hurls Spider-Man toward the street below, but Thor arrives to rescue the web-slinger. He deposits Spider-Man on a rooftop then takes off to battle the Monolith. The Monolith proves too powerful even for the Thunder God, so Spider-Man suggests freeing Havok to cut off the symbiotic connection between the two mutants. But the Monolith reveals that Havok’s pod is booby-trapped.

As the Monolith and Thor continue their clash in New York Harbor, Spider-Man locates the pod, subdues the Monolith’s men as they attempt to load it into a car to escape, and uses his spider-sense to defuse the trap. Havok is freed and the Monolith reverts to normal, but escapes in the aftermath of a storm created by Thor. Havok remembers that Lorna Dane fell into the sea when the couple was first attacked by the Living Pharaoh’s men, and Thor promises to get Havok back to Muir Island by nightfall.

Continuity Notes: Spider-Man recaps the previous issue’s events for Thor.

Thor compares the Monolith’s power to that of both the Asgardian Destroyer and the mad Titan, Thanos. A moment later, Spider-Man also recalls Thanos, with a footnote pointing to MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2. Thor later notes that he has met the Egyptian pantheon of gods, most recently in MARVEL-TWO-IN-ONE issues 22 and 23.

My Thoughts: People more observant than me have noted that, during their time with the X-Men, Claremont and Byrne revisited all the ground covered by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams in their brief but groundbreaking run years before. Most of this -- Sentinels, the Savage Land, Sauron, and Magneto -- is seen in the pages of X-MEN, naturally. But the very first Thomas/Adams storyline spotlighted Cyclops’s brother Havok and his relationship with the Living Pharaoh/Monolith, and it’s in the pages of their contemporaneous MARVEL TEAM-UP that Claremont and Byrne pay homage to that tale.

But as noted last time, this issue and the next almost read like a sort of “side-story” to the X-MEN issues of the era and, much like IRON FIST #15, they feel like an integral part of the Claremont/Byrne X-Men canon.* Not even the presence of Spider-Man and Thor, not exactly characters one typically associates with the mutant outlaws, can detract from this feeling more like an X-MEN story than anything else. Partly that’s due to the presence of a villain conceived in the pages of X-MEN, with a very specific connection to an X-character, and partly it’s the fact that the story is told by the men who had, almost inarguably, the most influential X-Men run of all time.

Further adding to this effect is the artwork; Byrne is in top form as usual, turning in some spectacular visuals as Thor duels the titanic Living Monolith, and the inks of Tony DeZuniga are a welcome improvement over Ricardo Villamonte’s effort last time. In fact DeZuniga’s inks are just scratchy enough, while still remaining attractive, that occasionally he really helps Byrne to look like his idol, Neal Adams -- the artist who designed the Living Monolith in the first place.

It should also be noted that this is the final consecutive issue of Claremont and Byrne together on MARVEL TEAM-UP. They gave us a year’s worth of stories in succession, but a note on this installment’s final page says that they’re taking some time off of TEAM-UP to bring X-MEN up to a monthly schedule. And while Claremont will return with issue 74 and remain, almost uninterrupted, through issue 89, Byrne will only join him for two more issues, which we’ll cover in the next few days: #75 and #79 (plus a backup story in issue 100).

* Were it up to me, IF 15 and MTU 69-70 would be included in any and all reprintings of the Claremont/Byrne X-MEN run, but Marvel apparently disagrees with this assessment.

No comments:

Post a Comment