Characters Appearing: Chameleon, Hulk, J. Jonah Jameson, Ned Leeds, Spider-Man
Marvel Team-Up #27
Issue(s): Marvel Team-Up #27
That's actually not Spider-Man in the above picture. It's the Chameleon in an aborted attempt to break a friend of his out of jail. Peter Parker hears about the incident while studying, and heads to the prison to investigate. Peter is not working for the Daily Bugle at this time, but as luck would have it, J. Jonah Jameson and Ned Leeds are also at the prison to report on the attempted break-in, and their staff photographer is a no-show. So Peter and JJ call a temporary truce, allowing Peter to get in the prison to take pictures for the Bugle.
Meanwhile, as the Chameleon is trying to flee the scene, he crashes into the Hulk. Very possibly the worst thing you could rear-end.
Improvising, the Chameleon quickly changes into Rick Jones. This is before the days of his nanotech face masks or whatever, so it's really impressive (or unbelievable!) how quickly the Chameleon is able to put together that disguise.
But it works, and not only does it convince the Hulk not to smash him, it allows him to convince the Hulk to try where he failed and go rescue his friend from the prison.
When the Hulk smashes into the prison, Peter tells JJ he's going to go find a good place to get pictures, and then changes into his Spidey gear.
Having fought the Hulk at least three times prior to this, you'd think Spider-Man would know to handle him with kid gloves by now. He's learned that the Hulk is really a tortured, misunderstood monster (learning that cost him a place on the Avengers) and he also knows that he can't beat the Hulk in a straight fight. So you'd think he'd go in cautiously, with a "Hey, Hulk... what are you doing here? We're friends, remember? Can I help you?".
Alternatively, Spider-Man might be cautious about believing that this is really the Hulk at all. He's here because he heard that Spider-Man had previously attacked the prison, and he knows that isn't true. So wouldn't the possibility that the Hulk is also a fake be one of the first thoughts that crosses his mind?
But neither of these considerations occur to Spider-Man, and he just comes in kicking.
After ineffectually fighting the Hulk for a while...
...Spider-Man fails to stop the Chameleon from rescuing his friend (a "Joe Cord", and we don't find out why the Chameleon wants to free him). But Spider-Man follows the Hulk back to "Rick Jones" and reveals to the Hulk who he really is.
The clue was that the Chameleon never had time to switch out of his spider-pants.
I love that the Hulk immediately assumes that the Chameleon has done something with Rick Jones (who, as an earlier footnote told us, is actually off sharing space with Captain Marvel at this time). You really are rolling the dice when you try to manipulate the Hulk.
In fact, Spider-Man has to attack the Hulk again to stop him from killing the Chameleon, and then Joe Cord takes a bullet from the police meant for the Chameleon. Then the Hulk overhears on the police scanner that his friends in the Defenders are in trouble, so Spider-Man gives him directions on how to get to Broadway (no explanation for why Spider-Man himself doesn't go along for that ride, but i guess the fact that he's still wanted by the police, who are all over the scene, is a good explanation).
I'd like to see Spider-Man acting a little smarter towards the Hulk, but it's fun to see the two of them in a rare "team-up".
By the way, the cover of this issue is one of the worst pieces of Jim Starlin art that i've ever seen. Spider-Man's body is HUGE.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place during Defenders #17-19. The Hulk gets mad at the team and leaves during that arc, but the events here cause him to return to the Defenders in time for their final fight. Peter is still on the outs with the Daily Bugle at this time - it's a special case that he works with JJ here - so this should take place between Amazing Spider-Man #136 and #139. It works best after ASM #137 since Peter is still rude to JJ in that issue whereas you could see his temporary acceptance of work from him here as the first step towards the normalization of relations that happens in Amazing Spider-Man #139.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Man, who IS Joe Cord? How did he save Chameleon's life? How did Russian spy Chameleon know this guy? There's a story out there!
Posted by: MikeCheyne | January 26, 2015 5:38 PM
This issue is the main problem I have with the "Chameleon was a kid during the Russian Revolution" retcon. That guy Joe Cord supposedly saved the Chameleon's life when the Chameleon was a "kid"- and he looks like he's under 45.
Posted by: Michael | January 26, 2015 6:33 PM
Interesting that Nighthawk is called a criminal here; that was never reflected in the Defenders book.
Starlin has Spider-Man's head out of proportion to his body here--and judging by how he drew him in the Death of Captain Marvel GN, he had that problem for a long time.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 27, 2015 11:29 AM
One of the very first Spider-Man stories I ever read thanks to Marvel Treasury Edition #27 (which I still own). That cover, done by Mike Zeck is actually pretty damn awesome.
As a kid I loved this story - Spidey vs. The Hulk (and I still think it's pretty good). But as an adult I think it's a little odd for a Treasury, because it is so clearly a missing link in the Defenders story - and the footnote, which is complete in the Treasury, still mentions that Defenders #17 might still be on sale even though the Treasury was printed six years later). I'm glad for this site so I could see why Hulk left and the fight he's headed back to.
By the way, fnord, that Treasury Edition also has a very short Angel story that doesn't appear anywhere else and you don't seem to have it, but it's not worth getting the Edition just for that - it's quite short and I know your dislike of the larger books. I think I still own my Treasuries because I think I forgot them when I sold my collection because they didn't fit in the comic boxes.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 5, 2015 6:39 PM
This was one of the first super-hero comic books I bought. I remember this story quite fondly, and it had some very humorous moments. J.J. Jameson was, at one point, blabbering so much that Peter quietly asked Ned if he ever shuts up. Ned responded: "He did once, in 1958. It made the headlines.
There were also some very funny jabs at the Hulk's general stupidity. The narrator says that Spider-Man, while trying to teach the Hulk how to get to Broadway, has to repeat the directions FIVE TIMES before the Green Goliath actually gets it. Also, there is a hilarious piece of dialogue between the Hulk and the Chameleon disguised as Rick Jones.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 6, 2015 10:18 PM
Posted by: George Lochinski | June 11, 2016 9:31 PM
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