Titannus is a genetically altered Skrull, one of the early participants in the Super-Skrull program. Brainwashed to believe the love of his life could only be saved by enslaving an army of superpowered humans, Titannus engaged Earth's heroes in battle. Upon learning that his love was a lie, Titannus went mad and crushed his own head. Titannus' body was stolen by Japanese scientists and taken to a secret bunker where his head miraculously grows back. These scientists now control the awesome power of Titannus and set it loose on Baltimore, Maryland!
This is the final issue extravaganza of the third Marvel Team-Up series and the culmination of a 25-issue long storyline by Robert Kirkman. Dr. Strange teleports She-Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Captain America, and Cage to his sanctum to prepare for combat against Titannus. Again. This meeting of heroes seems like a cross between the New Avengers and the Secret Defenders, with good ole' Doc assembling whatever characters Marvel editorial would allow that month. The heroes engage Titannus and trick him into submission. Crusader shows up as well, making this a secret Skrull vs. Skrull battle, the truth of which even the Secret Defenders are unaware. Its a big, pretty battle, but not much happens that didn't already occur in this series. Bookending the story is a tale of the Legion of Losers in the future, which has more going for it than the actual story. More of an epilog than a payoff, issue #25 - the final chapter of this incarnation of Marvel Team-Up - is for those readers that are already following the title to its conclusion, die-hard Darkhawk completists, or both.
The Titannus story had its moments, despite and perhaps in part because of its echoes of Kang/Ravonna and its general 90's feel. I like the characters that Kirkman chose to tell his story, but I can't help feeling that pulling Dr. Strange into this tale as "gatherer of the heroes" is a bit worn and brings the comic into Secret Defenders territory, which is indictative of the crutches writers use when working in the Marvel Universe. When Dr. Strange teleports a rag-tag bunch of heroes together for an epic, confusing melee, you get the feeling that you've read this one before. It was an entertaining melee, though. I enjoyed individiual moments of the 25-issue run (Ringmaster's comment on continuity, Freedom Ring and Crusader's philosophical discussion of super-heroics, the creation of new characters Freedom Ring, Iron Maniac, and Crusader, and the founding of the Legion of Losers), but I feel that the whole is less than the sum of its parts. I get the feeling the book was brought into being and cancelled too quickly for its own good.
I like the Legion of Losers. I wish the story was about them more than the Secret Defenders. That being said, I like the Secret Defenders. Marvel Team- Up delievered the goods as best it could. Since the book is now cancelled, watch for Waid and Perez' upcoming Brave and the Bold series to see more team- up awesomeness. Kudos to Robert Kirkman, Andy Kuhn and the rest of the Marvel Bullpen for a decent ride on the Marvel merry-go-round. I liked it better than Marvel Team-Up volume 2.