Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 1972

The Spidey-Torch love-fest continues in MTU while over in B&B Batman has to deal with his own gaggle of hip kids…and Aparo needs a little help from his friends.

MARVEL TEAM-UP #3 three whiskers

DATE: July, 1972

TITLE: “The Power to Purge!”

STARS: Spider-Man & The Human Torch
VILLAIN: Morbius the Living Vampire

WRITER: Gerry Conway
EDITOR: Stan Lee

INKER: Giacoia

STORY: Brothers Jacob and Jefferson Bolt part ways after a heated argument but instead of peace Jefferson discovers Morbius floating unconscious in the river. For his troubles Morbius feeds on his rescuer, turning him into a vampire. Morbius fiancée Martine asks the Fantastic Four for help and when she mentions a Professor Hans Jorgenson at State University in Queens it jogs Johnny Storm’s memories. Recalling that Spider-Man attends the same school, the Human Torch seeks out both the Professor and the web-slinger. Spider-Man, suffering from apparent extreme flu-like symptoms stumbles upon Morbius attacking a student on campus and attempts to stem the vampire’s actions. Soon, the Human Torch, Jacob and Jefferson Bolt, and a mob of angry and mislead students enter the fray – and Morbius escapes.

COMMENTS: In this, MTU’s first continued story, Spider-Man and the Human Torch team up for the third consecutive issue. Johnny is again portrayed as being willing to seek out Spidey, albeit grudgingly and this time for information on a possible foe. Their relationship becomes a bit more complex herein; they face off like prizefighters when first spotting one another yet fly into battle together, despite their almost complete lack of ability to work in tandem. In one striking sequence, the ill Spider-Man is pulled off of Morbius by Johnny before the young hero beats the vampire to a pulp. At the coda, Spidey compliments the Torch for a heart-felt comment on the plight of the story’s two brothers.

There is an odd statement by Johnny in the story of how Spider-Man told him about Morbius when the two heroes last met. As their previous recorded meeting was two months earlier in MTU #2, which holds no mention of the vampire and was also written by Gerry Conway, it’s a strange comment and one obviously meant to serve the plot.

Morbius and Martine make their debuts in 1971’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #101 and 102, respectively. A scientific vampire, as opposed to a supernatural one, Michael Morbius gains vampiric abilities and disabilities from a blood experiment rather than a curse. One of Marvel’s strangest characters, he is neither completely good nor evil but almost always all-together self-centered. His appearance here in the river corresponds with his seeming disappearance at the end of ASM #102.

Look also for a cameo of Archie Bunker, of TV’s “All in the Family.”

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #102 three whiskers

DATE: June-July, 1972

TITLE: “The Commune of Defiance”

STARS: Batman and The Teen Titans
VILLAIN: Sonny Trask and Angel Lee

WRITER: Bob Haney
EDITOR: Murray Boltinoff

ARTISTS: Jim Aparo, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano

STORY: The Barclayville neighborhood of Gotham’s a slum and its protectors, the Young Aquarians, are sick of the city turning its back on the area. After some civil disobedience, with help from Batman and the Titans, Gotham’s Mayor gives Barclayville 30 days to clean up its streets or its demolition time for the historic district. All goes well until the neighborhood’s crime lord gets out of prison and decides to teach the Aquarians a lesson on who’s the boss…

COMMENTS: A family emergency interrupted Aparo halfway through #102’s art chores, but B&B alum Adams and inker Giordano stepped in to finish the job with nary a bump. The story is another early 1970s lecture on “urban renewal” and “flower power”, complete with hip vigilantes the Young Aquarians: Jamie, Ben Ahmed, Needles, Mother Earth, and “Lawyer.” The Titans line-up this time around includes Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy, Wonder Girl, and the plain clothed Mal Duncan. Dig Needles aping Marvel’s Stan Lee with exclamations of “True Believer!”


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