Comics : Marvel Team-Up #52

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

This review was first published on: 2006.

In Detail...

"Danger: Demon On A Rampage!"
Marvel Team-Up #52
Dec 1976 : SMURF 163.700 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man & Captain America (vs. Batroc)
Editor:  Gerry Conway
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Mike Esposito
Cover Art:  Ed Hannigan
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 Reprinted In: Essential Marvel Team-Up #3
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Jameson, J. Jonah, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Robertson, Joe "Robbie"

Shortly after finishing off an adventure against the Tarantula in Spectacular Spider-Man #1, Spidey's swinging across town when a demon materializes. Just what Spidey needs during a tough day: "A junior- league remake of King Kong!"

Spidey gets a hit in on the green meanie who swats him aside like, well...a spider. The demon's strength is impressive: "Wow...I've been hit by experts...the Thing...the Hulk...even Thor...but that guy beats them all!"

Rather than press his advantage against his wounded foe, the demon runs away. Confusing Spider-Man even more is what happens next: more figures materializing, including the Falcon and Captain America. Cap has to subdue a crazed Falcon and then leaves without answering any of Spidey's questions. And even he has forgotten about the monster that came to Earth first.

Meanwhile, Batroc the Leaper is enjoying the fruits of his "eel-gotten" gains and takes out some frustration on a nervous butler. Hearing a noise below his penthouse apartment, he sees our demon wandering purposelessly. Giving the poor butler another push, Batroc confronts the monster, offering friendship.

Spidey heads to the Daily Bugle and changes into Peter Parker in time to run into "Robbie" Robertson. Explaining that he had to pick up his broken camera, Peter tries to say hello to Jolly Jonah, who seemingly purposely ignores him.

Downtown, a SHIELD hovercraft lands carrying a shipment of "trans-uranium." It's a perfect opportunit for Batroc and his green buddy and the other-worlder hurls a car through the hovercraft. The festivities are interrupted by Captain America who was at SHIELD when the alarm regarding the attack was sounded. After an ineffectual kick, Batroc sics the demon on the Star-Spangled Avenger. Cap realizes where the demon came from as he prepares for the onslaught.

As Batroc watches in glee he's attacked from behind by Spider-Man, who happened to watch the proceedings on TV. Ending up back-to-back, our heroes duck in time to allow their antagonists to crash into each other. Batroc is dazed and quickly subdued, but the demon begins to glow menacingly and runs off again. Cap thinks it's potentially dangerous and the two go off to follow the trail.

The demon hasn't gone far...he's attacking the Staten Island Ferry! Everyone takes off as the demon pushes the ferry from shore. Cap and Spidey follow as the Avenger warns that the radiation leaking from the monster could make "New York unfit for human existence!" "News flash, Cap," answers the Wall- Crawler. "Manhattan is unfit right now."

Spidey's beginning to have doubts about the villainy of the demon...perhaps he's just a wandering and scared being. But he follows Cap's plan and attacks the creature while Cap heads down to the engine room. While Spidey's keeping the demon busy, a smiling Captain America gets the ferry ready to explode. Caught in a bearhug, Spidey has to use all his strength to escape and jump with Cap into the water. A few seconds later the ferry explodes, taking the demon with it. Though he should be happy that the crisis is averted, Cap is still worried about the Falcon's condition.

The next morning, Mary Jane accompanies Peter to the hospital to pick up Aunt May from one of her latest stays. However MJ is not talking to him, still upset over a recent rift. Meanwhile, Captain America wanders aimlessly near the hospital, lost in his own thoughts. Spider-Man, not knowing about these problems, envies the shield-slinger.

In General...

Well, this issue has some interesting elements but is mostly disappointing. The characterization of Captain America seems a bit off. He's moody, incommunicative and ready to kill without exploring other options. I did like that fact that Spider-Man questions the morality of the attack on the demon.

Also interesting was the fact that this issue really does seem like a relatively important one for both characters: Peter's camera repair and Aunt May's release from the hospital along with Captain America's return from the other dimension make the issue seem like a relevant one for both characters rather than your usual fill-in.

I'd find it hard to believe that the green demon - who resembles the Abomination - can really be as strong as others in that ilk...Hulk, Thor and the Thing?

And Batroc? It seems that the buffoonish master of savate is really shoe- horned in here just to give the heroes another character to fight. From his Francized mauling of the English language to his complete ineffectiveness as a villain, Batroc is one of the worst Marvel character creations. Does anyone really think that Batroc has the ability to convince anyone of anything, much less a demon? And he must have been reading SHIELD Weekly News to find out where the trans-uranium is being held. Really, is anything they do a secret?

As an aside, this reviewer rides the Staten Island Ferry almost every day. That demon's got nothing on some of the people you find there!

Overall Rating...

The demon is more interesting than Batroc and Cap's just not Cap. An extra web for good Spidey moments.

Footnote...

As mentioned above, our hero swung right out of Spectacular Spider-Man #1 and right into this story. From here he has a date with the Kingpin in Amazing Spider-Man #163.

Captain America's story was continued from Captain America #203. He next appears in Avengers #150.

The Hostess ad this issue features "Thor and the False Immortal." Other interesting ads include Mead Marvel school supplies, Spidey and the Hulk Halloween costumes, Juicemobile sneakers and the World Encyclopedia of Comics.