Marvel Team-Up #119
Issue(s): Marvel Team-Up #119
It starts with Spider-Man and Gargoyle, having just come home from a big Defenders adventure, simply hanging out together.
They then break up a mugging in Central Park, and Gargoyle, in standard Marvel monster secret identity mode, decides to walk the victim, and older woman named Sadie, home.
She's got bad eyesight but she's dimly aware of what Isaac looks like, and she says that she saw the Hulk once and thinks that Isaac is cuter. She invites him up for "glass tea".
Googling glass tea just shows me glass tea cups and glass tea pots, but glass tea sounds like something you bitterly feed your spouse over a series of years in the hopes that his stomach will eventually fall out. And they aren't drinking out of glass tea cups.
But in any event, after Sadie's daughter is calmed down, it comes out that Sadie is dying. So Gargyole gives them both a different perspective on life by taking them out for a flight.
He then stays with them as she passes away.
That line about the "last goodbye" with the picture of her husband's grave hit me pretty hard.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker shows up at the nursing home to visit Aunt May, but she's distraught because "Nathan's... gone". Peter immediately assumed "gone" means "dead" and Aunt May doesn't bat an eye correcting him, which tells you what it's like living in a nursing home.
In fact, the reason Nathan is "gone" is because a friend of his recently died of cancer. The friend was a former partner from Nathan's vaudeville days, so Nathan has taken a stroll to Times Square. Which at this point in time was a high crime zone, and that's why Aunt May is upset. Times Square is such a Disney-fied tourist zone that it's always hard to relate with the Times Square depicted in books like this and Luke Cage's series.
Peter tracks down Nathan as Spider-Man and quietly takes out a group of goons that are harassing him.
Nate never sees Spider-Man, and when Aunt May also shows up, he thinks that the kids are running off because of her.
Nathan says that Aunt May saved his life in more ways than one, with this incident making him realize he's not ready to die.
When it's all over, Spider-Man and Gargoyle get back together to quietly hang out some more.
Definitely a nice story. The Gargoyle side is really strong. The Spider-Man side has its problems. The kids harassing Nathan don't seem to have any motivation for doing so; maybe i'm too naive but i can't imagine a gang of kids harassing an old man in a wheelchair just for fun. It's like a Dirty Harry depiction of criminals. At least say they're on drugs or something. And Aunt May showing up is a bit much, too. But taken as a whole it's nice to see the two heroes of the issue dealing with non-Earth shattering threats and instead looking at questions of mortality. And not even Teaming-Up. Just hanging out together.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue begins with Spider-Man and the Defenders having "just returned" from Asgard and Spider-Man and Gargoyle appear here directly after Defenders #109. There are implications from that for Marvel Team-Up #117-118 which is why i've placed them after this story; see the Defenders entry for more details.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"Time Run Like a Freight Train" is the title to a song by folk-rock artist Eric Andersen. Also, fnord, having lost my own father to Alzheimer's a little more than a year ago, I too can relate to the feeling generated by the mother and only adult child grieving by the gravesite. A simple yet powerful image.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 7, 2017 9:15 PM
Oddly enough, I was working nights in a hotel near NYC and Eric Andersen was staying there. I love the character of Gargoyle and wish the Defenders hadn't have gotten the short end of the stick a few years from now.
Posted by: Wis | October 16, 2017 4:52 AM
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