1979 · The 70s

November 1979: Marvel Team Up 90 – In which we learn Beast shouldn’t bet.

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Synopsis: Marvel Team Up 90 was written by  Steven Grant with art by Mike Vosburg and  Bob Layton and opens with Peter (Spider-Man) Parker attending a science demonstration with current girlfriend Cissy. Really Peter? Blonde girlfriends, scientific demonstrations, have you really learned so little. Also in attendance is Dr Henry (The Beast) McCoy who is interested in the science, but not as interested as the local ladies are in getting their hands on him. Cissy runs off to join this entourage, leaving the dejected Peter to look at some of the exhibits alone. Peter slinks away, not realising that above him are supervillains Killer Shrike and the Modular Man (Yeah it’s ok , I didn’t know either) looking for something called a microwave driven cellular condenser, which he hopes will restore his humanity after a lab accident left him in a intangible form, his only connection to the world is the modular skeleton that houses his body and his only ally being the Killer Shrike, who needs him to solve the mystery of his past.

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Peter wanders away, feeling his spider-sense tingle and Modular Man takes the condensor, when Spider-Man intervenes, Killer Shrike attacks him. Beast shows up there, stripping off to fight, his female entourage thrilled at the strip tease. To be honest, the two don’t do well, not being used to one another and facing a team, they are knocked out and Killer Shrike and Modular Man escape with their prize. Beast and Spider-Man recover enough to stand and then find out that the condenser doesn’t work without a large microwave energy source. They agree to meet up when Beast has found the pair and Spider-Man gets away after placing a tracer on Beast, while betting him that he’ll find him later. Peter escorts Cissy, who is happier with a scrap of Beast’s shirt than anything Peter has to say, home and she goes in after turning away from a goodbye kiss.  Before she goes in, she does mention that the local cable station is about to boost it’s signal and provide new channels and elsewhere the villains realise that’s where they need to be.

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Beast also meets at the cable station’s tower and is dismayed to find Spider-Man arriving. Killer Shrike diverts the microwave power to Modular Man and this cancels all the programming and causes MM to grow to gigantic proportions. Modular Man admits that this power and size increase were his plan all along and he used Shrike as a pawn, before knocking him off the roof. Spider-Man catches Shrike and uses the villain’s wrist blasters, which took him out earlier to simulate a lightning strike, sending the energy that Modular Man is made off through the satellite dish and through half the TV sets in New York and the robot body, divested of the mind running it, collapses like it’s strings have been cut. Beast notices that Killer Shrike has escaped, but after Modular Man dying by their hands, Spider-Man wants nothing more to do with that day.

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Notes: This was a one in done comic with Spider-Man and some random Marvel character, who was conveniently nearby. This was the mission statement of Marvel Team Up. This was a fun, breezy little story that was full of minimal characterisation, scientific stuff that makes no sense whatsoever and a very saturday morning cartoon ending. This wasn’t a work of art or some epic piece of comic history, but you know what? I liked it. Vosburg does a great job with a recognisable Peter Parker and Beast and his and Bob Layton’s story telling makes the tale flow from one part to another. Grant wrote a fun, if uneven story and made the Killer Shrike somewhat sympathetic and when he escapes, you’re alright with it.

Next Time: A taste of things to come with the FF.

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