Marvel Team-Up #7

Story 'A Hitch in Time!'

  Marvel Team-Up #7
Summary: Spider-Man & Thor (vs. Kryllk)
Editor: Roy Thomas
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Ross Andru
Inker: Jim Mooney
Cover Art: Gil Kane
Articles: Jarvis

Our scene: late night in Manhattan. Peter Parker walks the street lost in his thoughts when a woman's scream jars him to awareness. Looking down an alley, he sees a woman about to fall victim to a pair of armed muggers. Not having time to change into his Spider-Man costume, Peter charges down the alley and gives them both a good beating while still in his street clothes. After it's over, he turns to check on the woman, but she's already hurrying away, without so much as a "thank you". Peter tries again to talk to her but she keeps on her way, saying she "doesn't want to get involved". For Peter to hear this, when he's constantly risked and messed up his own life to get involved and help others, irritates him.

But a voice from above thinks Peter's irritation is nothing but gratuitous self-pity, and tells him so. Turning around, Peter sees that voice belongs to the mighty Thor, God of Thunder and mainstay of the Avengers. The following conversation is pretty funny, because Thor thinks he's talking to an average guy and expects a degree of respect, but Pete sees Thor as an equal and treats him as such. Actually, Pete crosses the line into being a bit rude and it almost looks like the two may come to blows when they both suddenly notice that something's very wrong with the sky. It's becoming like a negative image, with a stark white sky peppered with black stars. Reacting instantly, Thor has Peter get close to him and he whirls his hammer to create a dimensional pocket to protect them from what's happening. Thor acted just in time, for as he drops his vortex we see that the entire street has fallen victim to this effect. Time has stopped, and everyone and everything but Peter and Thor are affected. Thor tries to send Peter on his way, which is reasonable since he still doesn't know to whom he's speaking, but Peter changes into his Spidey suit and insists on helping out.

Their discussion is interrupted by a platoon of Trolls marching down the street, and they leap to attack. Thor recognizes these trolls, and Kryllk the Cruel leads them. Kryllk is pleased that Thor remembers him, because he wants the thunder god to know who it is that has killed him! I'll admit to some confusion at this point, since none of these adversaries look like Asgardian trolls as we've seen them in past issues of Thor. Really, they just look like big humans. I'm not sure if this is a mistake on Ross Andru's part or not, but since the story identifies them as trolls, I guess I'll just go along. The fight continues to rage, with the heroes generally keeping the upper hand, and Kryllk reveals that his assault on Earth is merely a prelude to the destruction of Asgard itself. He calls Thor's attention to a large, dark egg being borne by some of his underlings, the Dark Crystal. It is this device that allows Kryllk to stop time. Thor's heard enough, and having finally fought his way through to Kryllk, raises Mjolnir for a final blow. He's thwarted when Kryllk and all his trolls vanish like wisps of smoke, teleported away by the crystal's power.

Well, in order to stop Kryllk's plan, they have to find him, and to that end they hop uptown to Avengers Mansion. Unfortunately, the mansion and everything in it has fallen victim to the time freezing-effect, so the Avengers can be of no help. Thor laments that if only the monitors worked they could track Kryllk, and this gives Spidey an idea. He pulls up a circuit board and does some "fancy rewiring" which allows the scanner to work in its time-stopped state. The monitor reveals two distinct trails left in the wake of the Dark Crystal, one leading to Asgard and one leading beyond to some distant, nameless planet. Thor opens a portal with his hammer, sending Spider-Man to Asgard and himself to Kryllks lair. He sends Spidey to Asgard because he dare not go himself, being exiled from that land by his father, Odin. You'd think Odin would make an exception to allow Thor to repel an invasion of the Golden Realm, but who are we to question the All Father?

Spidey arrives in Asgard to find it's fallen victim to the same time stoppage that hit Earth, and swings off to see what he can do to help. As he does so, Thor has arrived in a "cold and forbidding" place, on a planetoid near Jupiter. Feeling the hum of heavy machinery beneath his feet, he uses his hammer to smash his way through the surface of the planet and into Kryllks base beneath. Thor beats the crap out of at least a dozen of Kryllks trolls, but when he gets to Kryllk himself he's felled by the troll lord's personal shield. Kryllk then gloats at the subdued thunder god, and tells how he found the dark crystal beneath Asgard. The Crystal spoke to him, and explained many mysteries of the universe (including, presumably, how to stop time and teleport). It gave him the power to challenge Odin himself, and Kryllk means to do it.

Meanwhile, back in Asgard, Spidey has found himself some trolls to fight. Though perhaps not possessed of the trolls' brute strength, Spidey is much faster and more agile, and he's able to hold his own. At the head of the group of trolls he sees a projection of Kryllk and lashes out at it. Though his hand passes through the illusion, back in his base, the real Kryllk reels as though he'd been struck a mighty blow in his chest. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Thor throws aside the trolls that held him and begins to attack Kryllk, but his foe vanishes before his eyes. Also vanished are all his troll troopers. Before our puzzled thunder god can wonder too long what has happened, Uatu the Watcher appears in the chamber, along with Spider-Man. He explains that the Dark Crystal is his, and Kryllk's use of it to tamper with time was threatening the entire continuum. This left the Watcher no choice but to intervene. Having set things right, the Watcher sends the heroes home, and returns to his own sanctuary on the moon. That is the rather abrupt end to our tale today.

Next Issue: Spidey and the Cat in "The Man-Killer Moves at Midnight!", and I warn you, it's gonna get ugly!

General Comments

Thoughts on this issue: For starters, I'm glad to see Ross Andru back penciling this issue. As I've noted elsewhere I'm a big fan of Andru's Spidey, and he doesn't disappoint here. The one thing I'm sorely tempted to nitpick is the way Spidey is able to take a circuit board and completely rework it without so much as a soldering iron to work with, but that's a fairly standard comic book device, so I'll let it slide.

Elsewhere in Spidey's world: In Amazing Spider-Man 118 the three-issue Disruptor story arc is concluding, with the Disruptor's shocking secret identity revealed.

And meanwhile, in the real world: The first American POW's are released from the Hanoi Hilton, and America's last ground troops leave South Vietnam, ending it's direct involvement in the war. "The Godfather", Coppola's masterpiece and the standard for gangster movies to this day, wins best picture at the Oscars.

Overall Rating

Here's an average issue of Marvel Team-Up for you. Still a little contrived and finding its way, but a solid enough story.