Comics : Marvel Team-Up #34

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Totalistic Team-Ups

This review was first published on: Dec 2013.

Background...

This is part two of a two part story that re-introduces and updates the Looter. The Looter (for anyone who has not read Al’s review of Amazing Spider-Man #36 on this site) is Norton G. Fester and he got his powers from inhaling the fumes of a meteorite.

This issue’s guest star is Valkyrie, who is as close to a female Thor as you can get. This version (whose secret identity is Barbara Norriss) first appeared in Defenders #4. She carries a sword named Dragonfang and rides a winged horse name Aragorn.

In Detail...

"Beware The Death Crusade!"
Marvel Team-Up #34
Jun 1975 : SMURF 146.700 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man & Valkyrie (vs. Meteor Man)
Editor:  Len Wein
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Vince Colletta
Cover Art:  Gil Kane
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 Reprinted In: Essential Defenders #2
 Reprinted In: Essential Marvel Team-Up #2
Articles: The Looter

This issue starts with Spider-Man hanging out on a pier and minding his own business (this story occurs right after Amazing Spider-Man #146 where he fought the Scorpion) when the Meteor Man suddenly attacks! And, yes, he’s in a parachute again.

I’m glad to report that our hero’s Spider-Sense is coming in loud and clear this time around, even though it doesn’t help him much. Meteor Man knees him in the face, grabs him by the neck, then knees him to the face again. Spidey gets one measly kick in before another punch sends him tumbling into the drink!

Meanwhile, Nighthawk (last issue’s guest star) returns to the Defenders ranch and tells his teammate Valkyrie about his run in with Spider-Man. Valkyrie becomes upset when she finds out that Meteor Man is still on the loose. She says Nighthawk quit (exactly!) and then flies off on her winged horse to go and fix his goof.

Next comes another interlude about Jeremiah, the cult leader from last issue (featuring more scowling and goatees).

Yet another meanwhile passes and we spy Spider-Man swinging through New York City on the hunt for Meteor Man. He doesn’t have a Spider-Tracer to track down the villain, though. Instead he whips out a nifty handheld radio (wonder where he kept that on his costume?) and tunes into the police band. He picks up a call about a standoff with a super-powered individual taking place at an antique shop. Figuring this has to be MM, our hero soon arrives on the scene.

He makes his way inside the antique shop by climbing along the ceiling. His Spider-Sense is on the blitz again, however, because there’s so much furniture in the store he can’t tell which direction the danger is coming from (nice try, Conway, but that’s a pretty lame excuse)! Just then, Meteor Man makes his move and throws a grandfather clock at our hero.

Luckily, this is the exactly moment that Valkyrie busts into the shop. Her sword is drawn and she’s ready for action. She slashes at Meteor Man, but he easily jumps out of the way and she ends up chopping an antique wardrobe in half. Then MM whacks her on the back of her head. She gets real mad at that and gives him a wicked right hook. He recovers quickly, though, and springs out of the big front window.

The cops from before must have taken a donut break, because they are now nowhere to be seen. Spidey and Val check on the shop owner, who drops some exposition for them. It seems Meteor Man got away with an old figurine that was fashioned from a meteorite. The heroes hop on Val’s flying horse and give chase. Yes, that damn parachute is back again. In fact, he has such a head start that he appears as a speck against the clouds (I’d really like to know where does he gets his lift from)!

Anyway, they catch up to Meteor Man in no time and Spidey once again leaps after him. He doesn’t get much better results than last time, though. In fact, while Spider-Man is desperately clinging to MM’s foot, Valkyrie decides to end things by throwing her sword right at his balloon/parachute. It pops, and both MM and Spidey go tumbling. Val catches Spider-Man but MM goes down like a stone (irony, hah!). The impact leaves a sizable crater in the road. After they check to see that’s okay, Spider-Man gives some token lip service about how this time he’s going make sure MM gets the help he needs.

In General...

I actually like it when writers take an old one-off villain and try to give them a new spin, but some revamps work out better than others. I’m not buying this one. From the lame prison breakout to the totally useless renaming this character is just too silly to take seriously.

Overall Rating...

Valkyrie is a much better fit for this story than her teammate. She actually helped Spider-Man during his confrontations instead of just going along for the ride.

Footnote...

The Looter/Meteor Man next appears in Defenders #63 & 64, but after that he’s strictly a Spider-Man villain. He’s had a surprisingly long shelf-life, appearing in several spider-titles throughout the decades.