Super-Villain Team-Up #9: Review

Dec 1976
Bill Mantlo, Sal Trapani

Story Name:

Pawns of Attuma

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Super-Villain Team-Up #9 Review by (June 10, 2014)
Jim Shooter did the layouts for this issue. While mainly known as a writer and editor he did do some pencilling, mainly a lot of Legion of Super-Heroes stories in Adventure Comics. Next issue we'll learn that Red Skull is the mystery client, and he is also the 1 controlling the spies. Shroud is a character invented by Steve Englehart for this series. His origin has elements of Batman, Daredevil and Dr Doom himself, with maybe a bit of Dr Strange thrown in. He's decided to be a superhero, and has chosen Doom as a challenge to establish his rep. Namorita is fudging things a bit by calling Namor her brother - she's actually the cloned daughter of his cousin Namora. She came to light in Sub-Mariner #50, and has been involved with Hydrobase since its debut in SM#61. Tamara Rahn is a red-skinned alien, the last few of whose race were mistakenly killed by Atlanteans in SM#56. Tamara initially blamed Namor but has since become his ally. The Attuma/Dr Doom/Subby story will continue in Avengers #155-156, but the Rudolfo/Shroud and Red Skull elements will stay in this series.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Super-Villain Team-Up #9 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Continued from AVENGERS #154.

Attuma captured most of the Avengers in Av#154 and put slave collars on them. Now he's sending them to fight Sub-Mariner on Hydrobase.

Iron Man is towing Captain America through the air. He tries to resist the collar but it short-circuits his armour, and they crash on Hydrobase island. Also, even though his chest-plate has had a jury-rigged repair since Tyrak damaged it in Av#154, Tony Stark's heart is suffering. They're joined by Wasp and Yellowjacket on a flying ant. Wasp is recovering from an attempt to defy her collar. Vision carries Scarlet Witch (her arm in a sling after being shot in Av#153), unconscious for the same reason.

Confidant they won't be able to resist his orders to fight Namor, Attuma flies his battlecruiser off to another part of his plan. But he doesn't realise he's being followed by a surveillance craft.

But Sub-Mariner isn't on Hydrobase, he's with Shroud and the Circus of Crime in Latveria. In #7 Shroud apparently killed Dr Doom by pushing him off a cliff, freeing Namor from his oath of service to Doom (#5). But at the end of #8 Dr Doom reappeared in Latveria alive. (However readers of that issue know that the real Doom is alive and recovering on Hydrobase - confused yet?) Shroud KO'd Namor to stop him from obeying Doom again.

Shroud is disguised as a carny worker, but Ringmaster betrays him. 'Doom' tells Boris to escort the Circus out of the country. Boris obeys his master's robot duplicate. But when the Doombot is alone with Shroud and Namor it gives Shroud the temporary antidote to the ailment that's been plaguing Sub-Mariner since SM#67. (In #5 Dr Doom ruined the suit made by Mr Fantastic to protect Namor from the problem, and concocted this antidote to help control him.) And it then unmasks to reveal not a robot but Rudolfo, heir to the Latverian throne.

Rudolfo is leading a revolution, but he claims not to be seeking personal power this time. He learned humility after his earlier revolutionary defeat in Astonishing Tales #1-3. Now his new band just want to get rid of the tyrant Doom and his Doombots, and they're ready to seize their chance with Doom dead.

Shroud offers his services and dons his costume. But Namor is fed up with surface world games and flies back to Hydrobase, concerned about his comatose people. And all this has been watched by a spy who reports to the same master as the occupant of the craft following Attuma.

On Hydrobase island its amphibian occupants are being commanded by Namorita and Tamara Rahn. They are looking after Dr Doom who has promised to find a way to turn the amphibians back to humans and cure the Atlanteans in suspended animation. But Doom is more concerned with contacting 1 of his minions who is brokering a deal selling something to a mystery client. Until angry Namorita ruins his communicator.

Doom is about to attack the girl when the Avengers break into the room. Doom warns them that the US has signed a non-aggression pact with Latveria and its monarch, but it seems the Avengers have been too busy lately to hear about this. And anyway this is Hydrobase and they're after Sub-Mariner.

Then ensues a tragedy of errors. Cap, IM and Vision attack Dr Doom because they think he's hiding Namor. Doom defends himself with a forcefield. Tamara thinks Doom must have told the truth last issue when he claimed to be Namor's ally, so she attacks the wounded Wanda who blacks out from pain. Tamara is distracted by Vision's red skin, wondering if he is 1 of her lost race, allowing Wasp and Yellowjacket to get to her. Until the shrunken heroes are stunned by amphibian blaster-fire, which takes out Tamara as well.

Doom drops his forcefield to blast his attackers. Vision is unaffected and moves in to try phasing into Doom's armour and body. But the villain re-erects the forcefield through Vision's body, turning the tables. Cap recovers and attacks again, only to be felled by Namorita in defence of her brother Namor.

Now it's just Doom and Shellhead in armour vs armour combat. IM buries Doom in rubble, and is worried that he's killed him. Until Doom's armoured hand emerges and blasts him to sleep.

But there's another Avenger we haven't accounted for. In Av#154 we saw Beast leaving his teammates captured by Attuma's minion Tyrak and going to get reinforcements. Now he arrives at the hospital room where Wonder Man is sitting with Whizzer, who had a heart attack in Av Annual #6. Wondy joins him in a quinjet, and Bob Frank insists on coming too.

Meanwhile Sub-Mariner is challenged as he flies out of Latveria by some Soviet fighter planes on border patrol. He forces 1 of the pilots to tell him that they were on the lookout for Attuma's battleship, and that the villain is after a weapon developed by a Maryland research centre. So that's where Namor heads next.

This story is continued in AVENGERS #155.

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Sal Trapani
Sal Trapani
Hugh Paley
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Dan Adkins (Cover Inker)
Layouts: Jim Shooter. Letterer: Denise Wohl.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Atlanteans, Attuma, Namorita, Shroud, Tamara Rahn, Whizzer (Golden Age).