MARVEL MASTERWORKS: MARVEL TEAM-UP VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Marvel Team-Up Nos. 1-11 (cover dates March, 1972- July, 1973)
Writers: Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, and Len Wein
Artists: Gil Kane, Ross Andru, and Jim Mooney
I have read all of these issues before in Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1, but Issue 3 smacked me as being too familiar, like I'd read it dozens of times. I scratched my head, knowing that I didn't own the floppy for that issue. It dawned on me that this issue was re-cut and reprinted in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #6, a quarter box acquisition circa 1983. 16 of the 21 pages from issue 3 were reprinted there. I found issues 6-11 of PPTSSM in said quarter box and read them dozens of times. The Morbius trilogy of issues 6-8 were a favorite of mine growing up.
Now that all of that is out of the way, let's get to the issues themselves. These were a joy to read and are loveable, dated Bronze Age goodness. No Earth shattering events, no crossovers, no variant covers, just comic books that told stories. It seems so quaint by today's standards. Issue 1 is a great Christmas story, back when they could do that in comics and not worry about offending someone. The Morbius appearances in 3 and 4 are pure gold. I mentioned my love of issue 3 already, but issue 4 has Gil Kane rendering my beloved Morbius. Kane's pencils aren't as solid here as they were during his run on Amazing Spider-Man, the result of an inferior inker.
The Tomorrow War arc in issues 9-11 is typical Bronze Age fare, ambling about for 3 issues and finally wrapping up. I have always been a sucker for Kang the Conqueror, and am holding out hope that he is the villain in the upcoming Avengers movie and not the Skrulls.
Some of Conway's dialogue is cheesy and dated, but so what? I doubt that he intended for this to be pored over in a deluxe hardcover edition 40 years later. They were intended to be disposable reading, here today, gone next month. I can forgive some of the shortcomings in mapping out plotlines and stuff. There is a lot more energy in old comic books because of this flying by the seat of their pants vibe.
The OCD zone- Beautiful, dull matte finish coated stock paper, sewn binding, superior linework and color restoration...Marvel Masterworks are the crème de la crème of hardcovers.
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