Characters Appearing: Doc Samson, Rhino, Spider-Man
Marvel Team-Up #102
Issue(s): Marvel Team-Up #102
It's really not a good idea to focus attention on the fact that a character's civilian name is coincidentally related to his powers. But that's what we've got here. Samson's ex-girlfriend is Delia, but her nickname is Delilah and she's got a gun that removes Samson's gamma powers. At least it doesn't cut off his hair.
The story begins with a debate at Empire State University. The question is whether or not to use gamma radiation to help the mentally ill. Delia is "con" and she cites the Hulk. Samson is "pro" and he cites the fact that he can lift a heavy table.
Not a compelling debate. It's also not clear how, exactly, gamma radiation is expected to help.
Actually, i'm sorry. The story begins with Spider-Man pulling on a pair of pants in mid-swing.
Then it gets to the debate. During the debate, Samson's powers start going out of control, and Peter investigates as Spider-Man and finds some hired goons pointing the anti-gamma gun at him. Trying to keep Samson near him so he can continue to investigate the threat, Spider-Man returns as Peter and invites Samson to guest-lecture in his room. Samson agrees, but he's attacked in the room again. The only people who knew Samson was going to lecture there were Peter and Delia, and Samson, blind to Delia's anger at him, briefly suspects Peter.
This story is poorly put together. I'm not even getting into why Delia blames Samson for her crippled leg, or showing how Doc Samson's costume magically appears on him when his powers start going out of control in Peter's class, but i will show Samson lifting an entire building to shake the criminals out of it (and ever so daintily deposited so that they'll safely "land in that tree").
But it does feature the Rhino, who is helping out Delia on this mission. And i like the Rhino.
I also like that the Rhino ends up getting stuck in a wall by his horn.
One other thing to note is that Spider-Man is able to build a gamma energy tracer to locate Samson when he is taken by Delia. That seems pretty impressive, and a useful thing to be able to do for the future.
When it's all over, Samson says that since he crippled Delia, he'll spend the rest of his life trying to cure her. I guess that cure happened pretty quick, because we'll never see her again.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Amazing Spider-Man #212-213.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
World War Hulk revealed that AIM supplied the equipment that Samson used to give himself gamma powers, making their invading his mind to find out how it worked completely nonsensical.
Posted by: Michael | July 8, 2013 10:32 PM
So Michael's comment raises a question i'd love people's opinions on. Should the editor that approved the story that added AIM to Samson's origin have known about this issue and either nixed it or made the writer revise it accordingly? Forget the issue of whether adding AIM to Samson's origin was a good idea or not. The question is should someone at Marvel be versed enough and/or do the research to make sure these kinds of things don't happen.
My sense is that a contradiction like this could have slipped through in any era, but in earlier eras someone (certainly Roy Thomas or Mark Gruenwald) would find a way to slip in an explanation after the fact. Whereas now i think the response would be "No one cares about a Marvel Team-Up story from 1981". And that's not the answer i'd want to hear but maybe it's true.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 8, 2013 11:27 PM
After a certain point, it becomes extremely hard to keep track of the continuity of all characters. However, this shouldn't be a problem. What is a problem is the constant retroactive continuity that "reveals" other things happening in the past. That is lazy storytelling. Very seldom do these "reveals" make any sense. Some of them might make good stories - provided they take place in the present.
If you don't change the past, then you don't need to worry about making a continuity error.
Posted by: Chris | July 8, 2013 11:47 PM
Yes, an editor should prevent contradiction, and the idea that nobody cares about an MTU story from '81 is obviously untrue, since Marvel's readers are all 30- or 40-something obsessives. Marvel shouldn't even reference old stories if they think no one cares--print some new concepts, like Runaways, instead--but if the old stories are going to be referenced, get them right, because the only people who care about Doc Samson will catch the error and be unhappy about it. What's more, the more Marvel signals that past stories don't matter, the more readers get the message that present stories don't matter either.
That said, there's a case for things like Claremont's revision of X-Men or Miller's revision of Daredevil, where characters are changed, new backstory is added, and inconvenient backstory (Lucifer) is simply never mentioned. But those should be well thought-out revisions, avoid contradiction as far as possible, and only take place every 20 or so years.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 10, 2013 2:17 AM
IMO, there's no excuse that can justify adding history without knowing the full backstory of the character or characters you're trying to change. If you're going to handle a character, know the character, from his or her beginning until the present.
Posted by: clyde | February 22, 2015 10:38 AM
While I'd usually agree they should make sure mistakes like this don't happen, I actually do kind of think 'No one cares about a Marvel Team-Up story from 1981', in this instance. I mean, it's Doc Samson. And it's a story which never has any follow-up. And you still can read this issue as having happened pretty much the same, except you have to take it that AIM was actually getting an update on how Samson's body had changed or something.
"At least it doesn't cut off his hair."
Posted by: Dave77 | May 22, 2016 1:42 PM
I'm not sure where, but I recall reading somewhere that the Deliliah in this issue might be the same one who worked for the Rose during DeFalco's second AMAZING SPIDER-MAN run. Wherever she got her powers may have fixed her paralysis.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | August 19, 2016 1:02 PM
"What's more, the more Marvel signals that past stories don't matter, the more readers get the message that present stories don't matter either."
Gets to the hear of the matter, succinctly.
Posted by: George Lochinski | September 15, 2016 2:50 PM
Every story, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, should matter. As far as the characters are concerned, the story happened to them. Whether it's referenced again or not doesn't change the fact that it happened. Ignorance of the story or non-caring is no excuse, IMO.
Posted by: clyde | September 15, 2016 3:39 PM
Well said boys. Continuity matters. It is everything.
Posted by: Grom | September 16, 2016 12:55 AM
I'd say, based on Marvel's current move to kill or change every single major character to something else, they really just don't care about their own history.
Posted by: Vancelot | November 1, 2016 1:14 AM
Samson was helped by Modok's splinter of AIM, the ones who used to dress in baby blue; Delia is working for the main branch of AIM, and they are unaware, or only partially aware, of what Modok's group is doing. Easy-peasey.
Posted by: Andrew | January 15, 2017 3:38 PM
Though Doc doesn't get an involuntary haircut, that's still some not-so-subtle Biblical symbolism in the first scan, with Samson attached to the two pillars before bringing the temple down on the Philistines' heads. Sunday school lesson aside, Doc Samson, IMHO, came off in his appearances as too full of himself to be a character to like and root for. I'm sure some would pick up an issue with him in it just to see the Hulk, the Rhino or anyone hand him his ass.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 24, 2017 10:32 AM
Comments are now closed.
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