Jun 8, 2020

Spider-Rama: Marvel Team-Up #2

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, and Jim Mooney

Spider-Man and the Human Torch, vs. The Frightful Four! Except there's only three of them, so they mind control Spider-Man so they make four. And then they open a door to the Negative Zone!


BEN: First Spider-Man comic written by Gerry Conway, who would go on to make a major impact on the character.

DUY: The Frightful Four's original fourth member was Medusa, so in this one they mind-control Spider-Man to get him to be their fourth member. This also includes Paste Pot Pete, who as mentioned for the last issue is the other villain apart from the Sandman that both Peter and Johnny have fought. I'm actually wrong — this is Spidey's first actual encounter with Paste Pot Pete/The Trapster in real time. I confused him with the Looter.

BEN: I didn’t even argue with you because it did seem like he’s fought Pete before.

DUY: The reason for the Trapster's name change would be revealed in the Spider-Man/Human Torch miniseries from 2005, by the 3rd-best Spider-Man writer ever Dan Slott and the ever-underrated Ty Templeton.

BEN: I wonder if this was originally going to be a Spider-Man and the Torch series, but it changed to Spider-Man being the sole anchor of the book.

DUY: The logo on the cover does make it look like it's supposed to be them.


BEN: Jim Mooney’s inks on Ross Andru’s pencils give the art a much cleaner look than the first issue. Mooney, highly underrated.

DUY: I think of the many things Spider-Rama has taught me, near the top of that list is "Jim Mooney was frickin' good." 

BEN: I knew he was good, but I couldn’t have told you any specific comics he had worked on.


DUY: This is a comic I read as a kid for some reason. I think it got reprinted somewhere. And I think it was my introduction to Annihilus. Knowing who Annihilus is now, I realize that this was meant to be a showcase of how dangerous he was and how they couldn't let him get out. But the fact that he was held at bay for a time by the Trapster made it really hard for me to take Annihilus seriously for a long time.

BEN: I feel like the pacing is off so far on this series. Because it’s an ancillary comic, they can’t really do anything substantial in Peter or Johnny’s regular lives, so it’s all costume stuff. That seems like it would be a good thing, but instead it feels stretched out.

 The first issue was so forced pacingwise too. Spidey spotlight, Torch spotlight, oh now they found Sandman.

BEN: It reminds me of old Justice League comics, where nothing consequential ever happened to anyone. Unless you count splitting up into three pairs of heroes to recover artifacts.


Between this and the one time with the Ringmaster, for someone with heightened senses and a Spider-sense that can take over when he shuts his other senses off, Spider-Man sure is an easy mark for mind control.

BEN: You never factor in all the concussions


 Fun fact: Annihilus is a great villain name:

DUY: Let it be known that a mind-controlled Spider-Man can beat a full-power Johnny Storm:

BEN: I continue to love the idea that Peter is always holding back his full power


BEN: Gerry Conway, as I can imagine this being his audition for the Amazing Spider-Man job.

DUY: Yeah, I'll give it to Conway.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama today. 

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko— 

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones. 

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