Review: Marvel Team-Up #55

Marvel Team-Up #55 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum

Marvel Team-Up #55
Published and © by Marvel, March 1977

Title: “Spider, Spider on the Moon!”
Synopsis: Warlock saves Spider-Man from a runaway rocket, then the two team to battle the Stranger on the moon.

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Dave Hunt

Review: Following a pair of fairly down-to-earth issues (see reviews of Marvel Team-Up #53 and #54), writer Bill Mantlo goes big with this Warlock-led adventure. The results are less than stellar. Spider-Man is out of his league battling cosmic-level characters, while Mantlo doesn’t have the same knack for epic scale as some creators (e.g., Warlock auteur Jim Starlin). Warlock’s powers are all over the map here, and the new cosmic character – the Gardener – is underdeveloped. Given the presence of three Infinity Gems, this story lacks weight. John Byrne’s art continues to improve, despite the third inker in as many issues.

Grade: B

Cool factor: John Byrne does a good Warlock.
Not-so-cool factor: What’s up with the metallic egg in the final panel?

Notable: First appearance of the Gardener. … First appearance of the Power Gem and the Time Gem. … The “Mail It to Team-Up” letters page includes an LoC from cartoonist Fred Hembeck.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a Whitman variant and a 12p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “Each of my encounters with these Earthlings has filled me with rage at their overblown sense of self-importance!” – The Stranger, coming to terms with the obvious

Editor’s note: This review was written March 5, 2022.

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