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Marvel Team-Up #54: Review

Feb 1977
Bill Mantlo, John Byrne

Story Name:

Spider in the Middle!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Marvel Team-Up #54 Review by (April 19, 2023)

Review: Another misleading but highly dramatic cover (the cannon has no effect on Hulk) leads into an action-packed issue with Spidey escaping from the usual fascist US Military types from 1970s pop culture and freeing Hulk and Woodgod, the two superpowered monsters. Not a lot to say, just an exciting story, well-drawn and -written. And Spidey ends up on the Moon!

Comments: Part two of two parts. Story is revealed to take place two days after the events of MARVEL PREMIERE #31. Spidey refers to Vic Tanny, owner of the first chain of gymnasiums across the USA starting in the 1940s. Jim Novak lettered page one. The letters page includes one by future Marvel indexer Robert J. Sodaro and one by future comics blogger Rob Allstetter.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Team-Up #54 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In the desolate town of Liberty, New Mexico, Spider-Man is caught between the battling Hulk and Woodgod, while all three are surrounded by a National Guard team led by Major Del Tremens. Terms calls to Spidey to get out of the way so the hero webs his way upward as the Guardsmen fire an electro-mass net which increases in mass the more resistance it meets, ideally trapping even Hulk while electrocuting the two monsters. Spidey grows suspicious and demands that Tremens tell him what’s going on; Tremens refuses and threatens to shoot Spidey. The Web-Slinger then destroys the controls to the electro-net, allowing Hulk and Woodgod to free themselves. The Guardsmen fire missiles but both monsters now recognize Spider-Man as their friend and protect him; Tremens declares him an enemy and his men fire gas that knocks out all three of the good guys….

Spidey wakes up at Tranquility Base to find himself with heavy shackles on his hands and feet plus a huge body casing chained to the floor. Tremens tells him that Woodgod will be fired into space in an ICBM while Spidey and Hulk will be blamed for the disaster in Liberty. Spidey claims to have photos that will reveal the truth so Tremens orders his men to take the camera; it was a ruse to get them to remove the huge body casing and he fights his way out, the shackles still on his hands and feet. Spidey locates and frees Woodgod who smashes the shackles holding Spidey and together they find Hulk, kept insensible by gas, and free him too. Tremens and his men have an atomic cannon ready to force the three fugitives into the ICBM; Hulk approaches…they fire but the cannon has no effect on Hulk. He claps and accidentally collapses the floor, plummeting down into the silo. Woodgod leaps forward and smashes the cannon, which explodes, hurling Spidey into the rocket where he is knocked unconscious; Tremens hits the firing button and the missile is launched; Hulk grabs on to the rocket to save Spidey but when the first stage is jettisoned, Hulk falls with it. With nothing he can do to help “Bug-Man” Hulk leaps away. Meanwhile, Tremens reminds Woodgod that “Man” killed his father—so Woodgod kill Tremens and departs, plotting his revenge. As for Spidey, he’s headed into space….

John Byrne
Mike Esposito
George Roussos
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Mike Esposito (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Bruce Banner)

(Peter Parker)

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