1983 · The 80s

December 1983 – Marvel Team Up 139 – Or how exactly does an eight foot tall blue robot sneak onto a roof?

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Synopsis: Marvel Team Up 139 was written by Cary Burkett with pencils by Brian Postman and inks by Mike Esposito and opens with Spider-Man swinging towards a press conference after being delayed by the subway. Ten feet above him is an 8ft blue android called a Dreadnought, robotic foot-soldier of the Maggia (the Marvel Universe version of the Mafia) waiting to strike.

 

Spidey changes to his Peter Parker identity to take pictures of Julie Winston, who has flown in from the West Coast to promote her Las Vegas revue show, now coming to New York. Peter is enjoying how low-hazard this job is, just as the Dreadnought breaks in and kidnaps Julie. Peter as Spider-Man appears and tries to battle the Dreadnought and doesn’t do too well, but does manage to put a tracer on the robot

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Elsewhere, S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law Division) Director Nicholas (Nick) Fury and Agent Timothy “Dum Dum” Duggan are driving to Nick’s home when they bump into former Howling Commando (Fury’s WWII squad) Dino Manelli, who after the second world war went back into showbiz and was singing in Vegas, when the venue he played at was taken over by Marcos Crusetti of the Maggia. Dino quit rather than work for organised crime and started to open his own hotel, when he met the aforementioned Julie Winston. The two eventually getting engaged. Hearing of the Dreadnought attack, he goes to Nick’s place to get his help. Nick points out that organised crime and kidnap cases are not  what S.H.I.E.L.D. does and politely tells Dino they can’t help. Dino leaves, then Fury gets into his work outfit and goes out to investigate it on his own, with Dum Dum staying behind as back-up.

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Independently Fury and Spider-Man make their way to the Dreadnought’s and Julie’s location and are both captured, in Spider-Man’s case the capture is helped by Julie herself, who has been in on the whole thing. Dino shows up, Crusetti arrives and does the whole villain explains his plan thing then double crosses Julie and decides to kill her too, since the original plan of ransoming Julie sort of depended on Dino never showing up to rescue her. Dino takes a bullet for Julie, giving enough of a break for Spider-Man to escape his bonds, free Fury and the two of them clean house and destroy the Dreadnought. The story then draws to a close, Peter gets photos of Crusetti’s arrest, Nick goes home and a betrayed Dino tells Julie that he still loves her.

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Notes: The problem with Marvel Team Up as a title was it’s being very isolated from the main Spider-Man series, leaving it lurching between excellent one and done stories and forgettable single issues with no real consequence or interest and this very much is the latter. Plotted and scripted like a 70’s/80’s action TV show, it gives no character to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and other than nods to current Amazing Spider-Man events, this is a very generic Spider-Man and add that to the less than threatening Dreadnought and we have a very lacklustre house-style Marvel comic which commits the cardinal sin for a comic like this, it’s just boring.

 

Next Time: “Slay your enemies and all you desire shall be your’s”

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