In this last issue of Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man as the headline character, our hero meets Blade, The Vampire Hunter. Together they try to prevent the vampires in a group known as "The Blood Circle" from finding out that a certain sun-walker formula allows vampires to surive in the sunlight. The duo battle a 204 year old vampire named Henry Sage who has taken the sun-walker formula and now wants to tell his fellow vampires of its success in allowing the undead to walk around during the daylight hours.
The story begins at the Empire State University campus where a vampire named Henry Sage has come to inject a compound in his body to complete the testing of the sun-walker formula. Blade, The Vampire Hunter has followed him. The vampire takes the compound and kills a janitor named Jose who happened to walk in on him. Peter Parker who is studying for a change dons his Spidey duds and quickly defeats and webs up the vampire while Blade watches.
Blade breaks the vampire out of jail in order to take him to New Orleans to be studied by a gropup of anti-vampire scientists. Spidey who is none too happy that the killer of his friend, Jose, is out of custody, hitches a ride to New Orleans to hunt down the vampire and the vampire hunter. Meanwhile Blade is shocked to learn that this vampire is almost human in his feelings for his dead wife and children. It seems that the formula which allows the vampires to walk during the day also brings back some of their humanity in the process.
Spider-Man catches up with Blade and Sage and they battle it out in the laboratory. Finally Spidey and Blade join forces to battle the vampire in a cemetary. However, this is a vampire who now prefers death to his continued existence as a blood-sucking thing.
This was a very good story that had smart plotting and strong character development. Like I said earlier, we finally get to see Peter devoting some time to his graduate studies for a change. We are also able to experience his anger, frustration and sadness at the murder of his friend. It's nice after last issue to see that Spidey can kick some butt too! The reader is presented with a multi-dimensional hero and villain in Blade and Henry Sage. Henry Sage is not some mindless killer but is a very sad thing who misses his family but has learned to love the power of being a vampire. Blade experiences moments of self doubt in his tough-as-nails persona when he realizes that a vampire can have the same feelings of loss that he has. After a dark and violent issue, the story concludes with a glimmer of hope as to the future
The art is clean and Spider-Man looks more traditional and less McFarlane-like. The cover is eerie and well colored, though I do not like the Spidey drawing on it.
However, the comic is not perfect. Spider-Man's snappy banter and pop culture references were just too much after a while, and the fight in the cemetary was hard to follow. On the other hand, you gotta love Old Webhead being forced, because of lack of funds, to hitch a ride on a truck to New Orleans.
Also of note in the letters page was a letter that was very critical of MTU #4. You might recall that I gave that issue 1/2 of one web and mentioned that the plot was way too confusing. Well, a reader made the same point in his letter. Now you know if Marvel printed that letter there had to be a lot of negative reaction against MTU #4, because Marvel seems to no longer print any critical letters. I wonder why?
Great comic but not perfect, so four and 1/2 webs are due. Still, this was a very respectable way to finish off this series.