Comics : Marvel Team-Up #74

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

This review was first published on: 2006.

In Detail...

"Live From New York It's Saturday Night!"
Marvel Team-Up #74
Oct 1978 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man & Cast of SNL - Stan Lee (vs. Silver Samurai)
Editor:  Bob Hall
Writer:  Chris Claremont
Pencils:  Bob Hall
Inker:  Marie Severin
Cover Art:  Dave Cockrum
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Articles: Mary Jane Watson-Parker

After a month of waiting, Peter had finally scored tickets so he and MJ could see a taping of Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, his special evening was soon giving way to his Parker luck as NY is hit with a huge rain storm, he almost loses his wallet in their cab, and they arrive too late to get decent seats despite a friend's assurance that they still could just before show time.

As Peter and MJ make their way up to the balcony seats, a man rushes past them and causes his Spidey-sense to go off. Peter can't pursue him because of his promises to MJ, who herself is distracted by Gilda Radner's appearance in a nearby hallway. MJ shouts out like a crazed fan as Gilda heads into the dressing room to check on some commotion.

Apparently, John Belushi had received a ring in a piece of fan mail and had gotten it stuck on his finger after trying it on. His cast mates stand around, amused by his predicament. As they try to help him get it off, producer Lorne Michaels enters and tells them its show time. The troop heads down the corridor to the stage with the man Peter spied before watching and waiting until everyone is gone. He then slips into a room, calls out his men from hiding, and slips into the armor of the Silver Samurai. Their purpose here? To reclaim the ring wrongfully sent to Belushi by any means necessary.

Peter and MJ find their seats as the show begins. Tonight's host is none other than Stan Lee himself, with Rick Jones as a musical act. No sooner does it begin than a page is abducted by one of the Samurai's men. Peter's Spidey-sense warns him and he takes his leave to investigate as the studio lights go out. Peter takes to the rafters to change....after stopping one of his shoes from clobbering Stan, that is.

Spidey investigates starting with the control room. There, Lorne is being held at gunpoint but from Spidey's vantage there doesn't seem to be anything amiss despite his Spidey-sense blaring. Trusting his gut, he takes off to further look around.

Backstage, Bill Murray takes a hard rubber replica of Thor's hammer to Garrett Morris for his Thor sketch only to spot the Samurai and his men in the corridor. There's no way he could get past them in order to warn anyone without being seen. Hanging back as they begin to search dressing rooms for the ring, Bill clobbers one of the goons and steals his coat and hat in order to tag along to find out what their scheme is.

Meanwhile, Gilda and Jane Curtin prepare to do their Weekend Update sketch but wonder where Bill is as he's part of it. They decide to just go with the flow and improvise around his parts. Jane introduces Gilda's character Emily Litella to do Bill's part. However, as soon as she gets on a roll with her bit she falls through the stage and disappears. Jane tries to cover for the sudden departure when she too falls down and into the arms of the Samurai's goons. The Samurai, who had cut holes beneath them in the stage, orders his men to search them. Just as they begin, Spidey swings in to knock them out.

Unfortunately, that leaves Spidey with the Samurai himself! He manages to avoid his blade, but with the rush the Samurai is in he takes his leave by slicing a steam pipe for cover. Spidey could easily follow, but stays behind to seal the pipe before it hurts someone. In the confusion, Gilda and Jane try to help by tackling one of the goons...only to discover it was Bill in his disguise. He quickly fills them in on what he's heard. Spidey informs them that the Samurai has covered every angle, and the only ones left to stop him are Spidey himself and the cast. To prevent a panic, Spidey returns Gilda and Jane back on stage and he and Bill take off after the Samurai.

Elsewhere, Larraine Newman prepares for her sketch by dressing up as Ms. Marvel just as two of the Samurai's goons burst in. Her costume is so convincing the goons believe her to be the real thing and start to take off before Larraine shatters the illusion by throwing a bottle at them instead of the expected power blasts. But the revelation comes too late as Spidey is allowed to enter and clobber them. The rest of the cast assembles outside and Spidey comes up with a plan to use the goons' fear of running into superheroes against them.

Soon on a catwalk above the studio, some of the Samurai's goons find themselves face-to-face with the mighty Thor! Unfortunately one of them notices that "Thor" has the wrong colored skin. Garrett realizes the jig is up, but he has backup waiting around the bend as Gilda and Bill hold two live power cables at the ready. On Garrett's command, they apply them to the metallic catwalk and shock the guards unconscious; Garrett protected by his rubber body suit.

Meanwhile, Spidey wonders why the cast is bothering to put on funny costumes. Dan Aykroyd explains to him that they want to throw the goons off balance with as many zany antics as possible. John, in his Samurai costume, heads for the stage to do his sketch when the Samurai finds him. At first he attacks because of the mockery of his culture, but discovers that John wears the ring he seeks. In the control room, the goons switch the monitors from Jane and Stan doing an improvised dance to the Samurai chasing John on stage. This provides enough of a distraction to let Dan and Larraine charge the room and douse the goons with fire extinguishers.

In the studio, Spidey swings onto the stage where the Samurai and John duke it out. The Samurai disables Spidey's advances sparking John to take the offensive and try to take the Samurai down, but he proves no match. As the Samurai has John in his grasp, Spidey knocks him back and helps him take the ring of John's finger. Putting it on, the Samurai teleports out of the studio, letting the cast take an applause for a spectacular show with no one in the audience the wiser.

In General...

A fun little offbeat story that makes use of the entire wacky cast it contains. There's just a couple of little points that put marks against it.

First of all, Spidey's spider-sense goes off when he looks at the control room, but instead of following it he departs with the assumption everything's okay. That sounds like a pretty irresponsible move on Mr. Responsibility's part. Also, while it may not give him 100% specific indications, it usually gives him a good clue of where the danger is so he can follow up on it.

Then there was the part where they shocked the goons; how could they possibly know that the Thor suit would substantially take the brunt of the shock and not hurt the actor, let alone not kill anyone with that shock? Then there was a very minor sub-plot with MJ being hit on by the man she was sitting next to which seemed completely pointless. The jokes at times also tried to come off funnier than they actually were. You'd expect Spidey with the cast of SNL to deliver some heavy duty laughs.

Overall, a good read for both Spidey and SNL fans alike.

Overall Rating...

3 Webs. A cute story, good art, but just a couple points kept it from being perfect.