Marvel Team-Up #39-40
Issue(s): Marvel Team-Up #39, Marvel Team-Up #40
Also lurking on the roof is a mysterious someone looking for revenge on Spider-Man. Spidey's spider-sense is being very selective today, not triggering until the mystery villain actually fires the gun, making it too late to save Mosquito's pigeon.
Meanwhile, the Human Torch is attacked by the two surviving members of the Enforcers. It's not quite depicted this way, but i'm pretty sure the Torch loses because he's too busy trying not to laugh.
Later, on his pigeon avenging quest, Spider-Man stumbles upon a group of mobsters going into a warehouse. He follows and discovers that a new Big Man is auctioning off the Human Torch.
It seems odd to me that mobsters would want anything to do with the Torch. He doesn't really bother with street level crime very much, and doing anything to him would just risk bringing the rest of the Fantastic Four down on their heads, and who would want that?
In any event, Spider-Man has a sneaky way to rescue his friend.
Well, it's sneaky if the other mobsters are blind, which they apparently are.
They start to wrap things up. But mobsters are one thing, but the Sandman ("Hey everybody, i'm wearing my old costume! Just thought that was worth mentioning right now!") and a new Crime Master are something else.
Spider-Man and the Human Torch are captured.
This is really slumming it for the Sandman. I know he worked with the Enforcers before, and they need some help since the Ox is gone, but he's really moved up to fighting the Hulk and being in the Frightful Four and such. He shouldn't feel obligated to come back to these guys.
Since our main characters are being held prisoner, we're going to get some help in the forms of the Sons of the Tiger, in their first color appearance.
The team includes three guys: leader Lin Sun, Abe Brown, and Bob Diamond, and there's also Lotus Shinchuko who i guess doesn't get counted as a Son (i suppose because she doesn't have a piece of the tiger amulet and not just because she's a girl) even though she seems to be able to hold her own with the martial arts.
They show up to rescue the heroes...
but the bad guys escape. The Human Torch can't be bothered to stick around to help find them.
The bad guys then attack the Sons of the Tiger's dojo (since they practice Kung Fu, i should actually call it a kwoon, but you won't know what that is), but luckily Spidey resurfaces to help after going back to console Mosquito.
The new Big Man and Crime Master turn out to be the son and daughter of the originals. They've both decided to restore their parents legacy by seeking revenge on Spider-Man, but they've also gotten into a gang war with each other and in the end the daughter dies. The irony is supposed to be that they were in love with each other, but they each knew that they were the children of the two old criminals, so how they didn't put two and two together is beyond me.
In the lettercols, there's a serious debate about doing Marvel Team-Up issues retroactively set in the 1960s. That would have been a bad idea, in my opinion. It would have very likely stepped on the toes of some actual first meetings between various heroes; and i really like the idea that in the beginning characters mostly operated independently of each other except for the events that we obviously already know about.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Marvel Chronology Project places this between ASM #152-153. It also takes place before the Human Torch's date in Fantastic Four #164.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
Bill Mantlo had a habit of bringing back old Steve Ditko villains, and some of them did not age too well.
The Ox isn't here because he literally died twice in Daredevil.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 21, 2011 12:39 AM
"Spidey's spider-sense is being very selective today, not triggering until the mystery villain actually fires the gun, making it too late to save Mosquito's pigeon."
Posted by: Michael | February 12, 2015 8:29 PM
Ive said this before, but I feel his spider-sense should only work when he (or those near him) is being phsyically attacked. It shouldn't buzz in the mere presence of a villain. If it buzzes when a bad guy is around, that means his spider-sense is capable of reading minds and casting moral judgments upon people. Spider-sense should not make him psychic.
If his spidey-sense goes off in the presence of anyone "bad", then he's be constantly assulted by buzzing as he walks down the NY streets.
Posted by: kveto from prague | February 15, 2015 5:25 AM
Admitedly, the capabilities of spider-sense are not presented in anything resembling a consistent manner.
That said, the average depiction seems to involve something similar to a dog sniffing indicators of emotional state from people. But it goes a bit beyond that, if we are to understand that the spider-sense is also a factor in his uncanny ability to avoid gunfire (which the first Punisher appearance implies to be the case).
On the other hand, it is sometimes implied that the Spider-Sense is actually precognitive to some extent. In the second Spider-Man meets Superman story (the one published by Marvel and drawn by John Buscema) the spider-sense tells him which way to turn a lever in order to avoid an explosion.
Understandably, the stances where it is shown as clearly precognitive are few and far between. Spider-Man is not meant to be Madame Xanadu.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | February 15, 2015 5:39 AM
The weirdest example has to be Web of Spider-Man 62, where the Molten Man shows up to ask Liz for a loan so he can go straight, Peter assumes it's extortion and his Spider-Sense goes off. Why? If the Molten Man wasn't planning on harming anyone, then the Spider-Sense shouldn't go off no matter what Peter believed.
Posted by: Michael | February 15, 2015 9:07 AM
Excluding the Spider-Sense problem, the opening scene of #39 makes no sense. The rooftop silhouette mostly resembles the Crime-Master, except for a last panel that resembles the Big Man. When we actually do see the Big Man, he remarks on the shooting "that Spider-Man thinks tried to kill him", except that the silhouette's thought balloons made clear that he was indeed trying to kill him. This only makes sense if the Crime-Master was there first, then scrammed when Mosquito showed up, and then got instantly replaced by the Big Man. Then, Mantlo never explains how either of them vanish from the rooftop!
Weirdly, before Marvel's Enforcers came back here, DC gave us a similar trio in the last 1969 issue of Wonder Woman. In that issue though, they were all female and apparently lesbians.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 9, 2016 12:50 AM
Wonder Woman vs. the Lesbian Enforcer Trio? In the '70s, that would've made a good set-up for a porno film. Nowadays though it'd hardly get noticed.
Posted by: Holt | February 18, 2018 9:25 AM
"I'll pay any price for that hunk o' super hero."
I suspect that what the Torch is being auctioned for isn't revenge. "Whatever you do with him is your concern" indeed.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | February 28, 2018 5:15 PM
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