Saturday, July 31, 2010

September 1972

And the Morbius Saga in MTU finally comes to a close, with the help of the then-homeless X-Men. Over in B&B, the Metal Men check in with Batman – what would B&B be like without the Metal Men?

Marvel Team-Up #4 three and 1/2 whiskers

DATE: September, 1972

TITLE: “And Then – The X-Men!”

STARS: Spider-Man & The X-Men
VILLAIN: Morbius the Living Vampire

WRITER: Gerry Conway
EDITOR: Roy Thomas

INKER: Steve Mitchell

STORY: While a still-ill Peter Parker thrashes through nightmares in his sleep, Morbius the Living Vampire returns to State University to abduct Prof. Jorgenson. Unfortunately, Spider-Man’s found investigating the scene after the fact and is blamed for the kidnapping. In Westchester, Professor Charles Xavier sends his mutant students, the X-Men, to rescue his old colleague Prof. Jorgenson. The mutants track down Spider-Man and winning a battle with him take him back to Prof. X, who after searching the young hero’s mind realizes he’s not the kidnapper. Now with Morbius as their target the X-Men confront and beat the vampire, recover Prof. Jorgenson who in turn saves Spider-Man’s life from the toxins in his blood from a previous encounter with Morbius.

COMMENTS: The Human Torch team-ups come to an end this issue as the X-Men join Spider-Man for an adventure. The mutant heroes’ own stories hit a kind of hibernation as their title ceases to publish new adventures almost two years previously, and at this time in the middle of more than four years of reprints. During that time, the X-Men guest-star in various other Marvel series until their triumphant return in 1975’s GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1.

Sadly, there is no real team-up here between Spider-Man and Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman and the Angel. As is becoming par for the course with MTU, the two sides battle over a misunderstanding – Spider-Man losing due to his illness – and never get the chance to fight side-by-side. By story’s end there’s no real animosity between them over the earlier fight and Spider-Man makes a quick exit, claiming he’s “anti-social.”

For the first time in MTU one of Spider-Man’s supporting cast makes an appearance – namely Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s friend and roommate. This is most likely due to the fact that scripter Gerry Conway was at the time the newly-minted writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, also. Conway also makes heavy use of the events of ASM #102, wherein Spider-Man was cured of extra arms by a dose of serum made from Morbius’ blood – here the cause for the hero’s illness.

The “next issue” blurb trumpets “The Eye of the Basilisk!” though no such story appears in MTU #5. A villain called the Basilisk will appear in issue #16, more than a year later and written not by Conway but by fellow scribe Len Wein.

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #103 two and 1/2 whiskers

DATE: Sept-Oct, 1972

TITLE: “A Traitor Lurks Inside Earth!”

STARS: Batman and The Metal Men

WRITER: Bob Haney
EDITOR: Murray Boltinoff

ARTISTS: Bob Brown and Frank McLaughlin

STORY: Having killed his creator, the USA’s ultimate robot-computer John Doe blackmails the entire country from its lair deep beneath the desert. Batman recruits the Metal Men to infiltrate John Doe’s location but the robots are captured, forcing the Masked Manhunter to find his own way in. The super-computer will not be easily beaten, though, for once its own personality is destroyed its takes on that of its late creator.

COMMENTS: This issue marks the first time since B&B’s inception in 1955 that it failed to meet its bi-monthly schedule, due to Aparo’s personal emergency. The Metal Men had been “retired” for almost three years previously, after their series was put on hiatus in late 1969, but a year after their team-up here their book was re-activated. There are echoes in the story of B&B #74 and its “robot convention” and also of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and its runaway computer Hal – though John Doe sings “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, not “Daisy”.


Ed said...

I remember being dissapointed by the Bob Brown art,as well as by the Metal Men. Even then, I was so picky!
(And I think I knew if Cardy drew the interior, then Tina would be really gorgeous.)

Anonymous said...

Judge not a book by its cover.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .