Spider-Man Team-Up #3

Background

Spider-Man sneaks into Four Freedoms Plaza to play a birthday prank on Johnny Storm. During the ensuing chaos, an inter-dimensional portal opens up that leaves the Mighty Thing stranded in another world!

Story 'The Wizards Fantastic'

  Spider-Man Team-Up #3
Summary: Spider-Man & Fantastic Four, Wizard of Perrinois
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: Bob McLeod
Inker: Bob McLeod
Articles: Ben Reilly

Ben plays forty-fourth story man, slinks his way through the vents, and leaves an asbestos-lined web bomb above Johnny's bed. But, Spidey didn't get out in time, and was caught by Ben Grimm. After being confronted by the entire team, along with the back-from-the-grave Reed Richards, security alarms go off. They find that a hole in time and space has mysteriously formed in Johnny's room. While they speculate, a strange tentacle grabs the Thing and pulls him in. When Reed extends his arms through the gate, he brings back a short, white-haired dwarf!

The dwarf is Shiwa, a powerful wizard from a land called Perrinois. Shiwa saw Storm's video game, and was entranced with the ships flying on the screen. Meanwhile, the Thing lands in a medieval setting, gets swords busted over his back, and scares the crap out of everyone. He uses a disguising device (something to do with cosmic rays - isn't science wonderful), to escape pursuers. Spidey, Reed, and Sue descend into the portal because Johnny can't use his powers , and the little wizard is too entranced in the video game to be of any help.

While Spider-Man and company enter the vortex, Thing assumes that the highest tower would be a good place to look for rescue. He fights the guards, and finally comes to another small, white-haired wizard. He is Rasheed Ven Garmchee, and happens to be Shiwa's wizard brother (go figure!). Rasheed turns into a huge, squat devil with horns and fangs, and Thing sends the mage flying out the side of the tower. The wizard then summons dragon-riding demons to thwart the intruder, just as the Richard's and Spidey come down from the sky. After subduing the Wizard, Spidey latches a web-line onto the video game, and pulls it into the Perrinois dimension. Shiwa immediately follows, and agrees to close the portal. Spider-Man squeezes through the closing gate, with a little help from his pal, Johnny.

After everyone is safe, They talk about Spider-Man's punishment. Johnny's birthday dinner is wonderful, cooked by Sue Richards, and served by your friendly-neighborhood waiter, Spider-Man!

General Comments

Pretty predictable and average, overall. A far sight better than the Surfer adventure (see the Team-Up #2 review for all the depressing details!), but still pretty contrived. Why does everything involving the Fantastic Four have to revolve around another dimension. I didn't like the stereotypical 'fantasy' dimension, or the little wizards either. The guy has all this power, but he can't even generate a little illusion like the video game.

I also don't like the way that the artist (Bob McLeod) rendered Benjamin Grimm. Especially his head, the way it looks like a chunky, orange beach ball. The writing (by Dan Jurgens) didn't have anything wrong with it (except for lack of concept), and was pretty straight-forward. In fact, it was really too-straightforward. A hole opens, somebody gets lost, you go after him, the hole closes. No twelve-parter here!

Overall Rating

Anything I had to say about this issues, I said above. I liked it, but it didn't really do anything for me. I'll have to give it three webs.

Footnote

Jonathan Couper says...

That's got to be pretty generous. Personally, this smelled. The plot was inane - I got the feeling that someone had dug up some of that bad acid from the 70's that the writers must have been on when they did the Spider-Man/Hercules Team-Up.

What annoyed me most was the complete disregard for Ben's character. Perhaps the idea with ben was to bring a slightly more fun, relaxed, Spider-Man - but I hadn't imagined that they would turn him into a brainless practical joker. Perhaps using asbestos webbing on Torch might have been a laugh in Amazing Annual #3 or something - but those days are long gone.

Peter and Ben have both learnt a lot about responsibility since then, and all that any of the recent Spider-Man Team-Ups have done is very clearly demonstrate to me that the writers have completely lost their grip on who, or what Spider-Man is, and what he stands for.

My advice, cease wasting your money on Spider-Man Team-Up. Buy chewing gum instead.