Marvel Team-Up #9-11
Issue(s): Marvel Team-Up #9, Marvel Team-Up #10, Marvel Team-Up #11
Spider-Man is only involved because Harry kicked him out of the apartment for playing the TV too loud. Peter was ashamed to admit that it was actually his pants, not the television, that was loud.
Thor doesn't seem to have filed a report on Zarrko for the Avengers, or at least Iron Man hasn't read it, because both he and Spidey are very trusting and willing to do his bidding.
The two fight their way through Kang's goons...
...and a cyborg-hating robot...
...and find the Avengers and Kang.
Iron Man was damaged in the fight with the robot, so he and Spider-Man are easily taken out by Kang.
Then Zarrko, having noted that the presence of Spidey and IM has lowered the "time storm level" (?)...
...arrives to face Kang.
OK, try to follow this. Zarrko admits to Kang that he's not really prepared to fight him since the time period he comes from is one where society has given up on weapons. But he's got a plan to get some. He's dropped time bombs on Earth in the 20th century (somewhat conveniently at the exact time that Spider-Man and friends come from, but that actually makes sense since it's a period that Kang hasn't conquered yet) that will cause society to revert to earlier time periods. The one place he hasn't bombed is North America, which he thinks will be easy to conquer since it will be dealing with the confusion of the rest of the world. Then he'll use North America's weaponry to fight Kang.
I don't think Kang would be too threatened by 20th century weaponry, and i think Zarrko underestimates the ability of the United States to repel his attack (considering that just two super-heroes were able to do what his forces could not, and invade Kang's base), but that's the plan.
Hearing that, Iron Man tells Spider-Man to duck out and get help back in the present, so Spidey finds a time machine and heads home.
Then Kang and Zarrko are cut off by the arrival of someone else. Whoever it is, Kang is pretty upset by it.
Who could it be? Immortus? Dr. Doom? Nah, it's just [spoiler alert!] Spider-Man returning, as we'll see in the final issue.
Spidey arrives back in the present on Mr. Fantastic's time-machine, which is pretty interesting. I want to tie that into the fact that Kang is eventually revealed to be a descendant of the Richardses, but nothing solid comes to mind. Probably we can just call it 'time machine affinity'.
At least the Torch mocks Spidey for falling for Zarrko's pitch.
Things are a little weird in issue #10 when Spidey and the Torch split up to look for Zarrko's bombs. The rest of the Fantastic Four are "off looking for Agatha Harkness" but surely the FF has multiple flying vehicles. However, both the Human Torch and Spider-Man take commercial flights to the expected locations of the bombs. At least the Torch pays for his ticket; Spidey hides in a wheel well. The Torch destroys his bomb, and then shows up at Spidey's site to destroy his as well (especially weird since the Torch flew all the way to Japan whereas Spidey was in Venezuela. I guess we can thank temporal anomalies.
The Torch is much less fazed by all of the strange goings-on, and Spidey says "Easy for you to say, you don't know anything about science!", which i thought was pretty funny.
The two travel together to the third bomb's location (in Greece) and Spidey doesn't let the Torch destroy this one. The Torch says he recognizes the technology as being similar to the Inhumans', but he refuses to go to the Great Refuge because he's still sore about Crystal breaking up with him. Priorities! So he gives Spider-Man directions and goes home.
It's a shame that Medusa is currently with the FF because she and Spider-Man have a little bit of history. But there's only minimal fighting before the Inhumans accept that Spider-Man has a legitimate concern. Of course then they give Zarrko's bomb to Maximus so that he can reverse-engineer a way back to the period where the war with Kang is going on. Surprisingly this won't lead to Maximus starting his own crazy scheme. I guess that's why Black Bolt keeps the guy around.
While waiting for Maximus, Triton gives Spidey a tour of the Refuge, including a view of Omega ("our shame")...
...and the "Orb of Argon", which is responsible for the "negative zone" that protects the Inhumans from pollution.
The phrase "negative zone" was used, confusingly, in the Lee/Kirby era to describe the barrier that trapped the Inhumans in the refuge, but it's weird seeing that perpetuated here, and not even describing the same phenomenon.
Maximus sends Spidey and the Inhuman Royal Family into the future, and after fighting some more of Kang's goons, we get back to this:
Then Black Bolt takes out Kang (i'm assuming everyone else had their eardrums blown out).
The Kang they were fighting turns out to have been a robot (but the real one gets a voice-over when he gloats about escaping, so i'm counting him as appearing here).
Zarrko is captured as well, but i'm not quite sure what happens to him. Then everyone is returned to the present.
A fun romp, if you can tolerate time travel stories. The middle part, with the Human Torch, is a bit slow since it's just him and Spidey flying around disabling bombs. But it's nice to see the Marvel Team-Up book finding a way to do continued stories while still rotating out the guest characters.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Per a footnote, this takes place before Amazing Spider-Man #119-120. Note that this affects the placement for the Hulk as well, even though he doesn't appear here, since the Hulk appears in those ASM issues while visiting Canada circa Hulk #163 of his series. The Human Torch appears here between Fantastic Four #133-134; the rest of the FF is said to be searching for Agatha Harkness. Note that Quicksilver appears with the other Avengers. The Marvel Index suggests that he went to the Avengers Mansion to parlay with the Scarlet Witch, which is unlikely, but there he is. It would have been nice to see him and the Inhumans acknowledge each other in some way.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Bolt, Black Panther, Captain America, Gorgon, Harry Osborn, Human Torch, Iron Man, Jarvis, Kang, Karnak, Maximus, Omega, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Thor, Triton, Vision, Zarrko the Tomorrow Man
"Kang and the Tomorrow Man fight a time travel war" sounds like an awesome idea, but it doesn't sound like these issues really did justice to the concept.
Posted by: Chris | March 25, 2013 11:52 PM
Chris, exactly what I thought, "Kang vs Zarrko in the Tomorrow war" sounds so cool (right up there with "War of the Super Villains"). It's not bad, just not as good as it should be. Spidey always feels out of place in cosmic stories, but they did have clever ways for each hero to trade off for the next (Iron man's armour short circuts but Spidey carries on.)
But I love the way they get rid of the Human Torch. "Well, the world is about to get destroyed but I'll be damned if I run into my ex-girlfriend."
I agree with fnord, the middle issue is laughable. They could have gone with another idea.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | March 26, 2013 3:36 PM
After taking recently taking a biology class I can't help but wonder if the "negative zone" is almost like an antibiotics zone of inhibition.
Posted by: Silverbird | November 24, 2014 6:00 PM
This is another one I still have, reprinted in the large Marvel Treasury Edition #27. But, looking at your scans, I realized some things have been changed. The confrontation between Peter and Harry isn't in it at all - Peter simply sees Iron Man on the television and then shows up at Avengers Mansion (I was really confused reading this as a kid, because it shows Avengers Mansion right on the street - it wouldn't be until a later issue where I realized it had been moved). Footnotes appear to have been changed as well - Zarko is listed as last appearing in Thor #245. The coloring on Kang is also different - the coloring on mine is the same as his coloring later on. The second splash page is dropped entirely, making it all flow like it's one story. Some of the other footnotes are dropped as well, which is interesting, because they would have had to alter the artwork there (I'm not really sure how footnotes are put in, in relation to finished art).
I always found it very fun, especially since this was the only place I had ever seen Johnny's other costume
As per Crystal - both in regards to Quicksilver and Johnny, it's interesting that Johnny refuses to go to the Great Refuge because of her, but she never actually appears in the issue anyway.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 23, 2015 2:06 PM
A "time storm" as an all-purpose excuse for a time-traveler not being able to do something he should obviously be able to do was previously established in Hulk 135.
Posted by: Andrew | October 28, 2016 4:22 PM
Erik, thanks for the information. I had that Treasury Edition a long time ago, and when I saw the appearance from Harry, I had no memory of it whatsoever.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 28, 2016 4:54 PM
Nice to see that Kang took the trouble to kidnap Jarvis along with the Avengers…I guess in case the stasis-tubes needed a good cleaning? Perhaps this is why Jarvis tries to attack Kang when Kang shows up to grab the Celestial Madonna in Avengers #129, down the road? Butler-Man isn't just trying to protect Wanda and Mantis, but he's after revenge? Hmm…
Posted by: Dan Spector | March 2, 2018 2:31 PM
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