I’ve now picked up all of the Essentials except
Essential Conan (which is pretty much impossible to
find.) This was the most often requested volume of
those that hadn’t been reviewed. Essential
Avengers Vol. 3
and Essential Captain
America Vol. 1 & 2
will be reviewed some
other week.

General Information

Title: Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1

Credited to: Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Gil Kane, Ross
Andru, and Friends

Original Publication Date: 2002 reprint of material
first published
from 1972-1974

ISBN: 0-7851-0828-9

Cover Price: $14.95 US, $23.95 Can

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

Various superheroes in the Marvel Universe get a
chance to team up for
one or two issues to face some odd threat.
Spider-Man appears in the
majority of the team-ups, with the occasional
appearance of Human
Torch when Spidey isn’t there.

This collects the first 24 issues of the series,
including the
following team-ups:

Issues 1-3: Spider-Man and the Human Torch

Issue 4: Spider-Man and the X-Men

Issue 5: Spider-Man and the Vision

Issue 6: Spider-Man and the Thing

Issue 7: Spider-Man and Thor

Issue 8: Spider-Man and the Cat

Issue 9: Spider-Man and Iron Man

Issue 10: Spider-Man and the Human Torch

Issue 11: Spider-Man and the Inhumans

Issue 12: Spider-Man and the Werewolf

Issue 13: Spider-Man and Captain America

Issue 14: Spider-Man and Namor

Issue 15: Spider-Man and Ghost Rider

Issue 16: Spider-Man and Captain Marvel

Issue 17: Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic

Issue 18: Human Torch and the Incredible Hulk

Issue 19: Spider-Man and Ka-Zar

Issue 20: Spider-Man and Black Panther

Issue 21: Spider-Man and Dr. Strange

Issue 22: Spider-Man and Hawkeye

Issue 23: Human Torch and Ice Man

Issue 24: Spider-Man and Brother Voodoo

High Point

The Ghost Rider issue. He’s a pretty cool hero, now
that I’ve seen
him in action. I can see why Nicholas Cage is
fighting so hard to
play the lead in the movie.

Low Point

The Cat issue. It was the most blatant of the
cross-promotions, and
I’m pretty sure she’s just a cheap knock-off of DC’s
Catwoman.

The Scores

The originality is a bit weak. It doesn’t
take much thought
to put those frequent cross-overs into their own
title, and a lot of
the team-ups started with Spider-Man swinging through
the city, to
randomly bump into someone who has already started
some sort of
investigation. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork is usually clean and clear. I
must confess that
I don’t like Gil Kane’s Spider-Man. (In fact, I
think that Tomb
of Dracula
is the only title with Gil Kane art I
like.) Kane
does much of the art, with Ross Andru taking the
lion’s share of
what’s left. I give it 4 out of 6.

The stories being told often have contrived
beginnings and
endings, but the middle bits tend to work out well.
The multiple
issue stories, in which Spider-Man tends to actively
seek out an
appropriate hero to team up with, are generally
pretty good. I give
it 4 out of 6.



The characterization is what this book
should be about. They
had a chance to take their best known hero and stack
him up against
the rest of the Marvel Universe, with a changing
dynamic every issue.
This should have been a great showcase, but the
rushed plotlines left
the guest stars too frequently undefined. I give it
3 out of 6.

The emotional response this generated was
pretty good. Most
of the stories were entertaining, even though they
were contrived.
(Let’s face it; I knew by the concept that this would
be contrived, so
it wasn’t a big disappointment when I opened the book
and found
proof.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow in the middle of the issues was
pretty good, as was
the flow in the first four and in the multiple issue
story starting
wit the Captain Marvel issue. Those stories had very
natural blends
from one issue to the next. Others often felt like
they were begun
and ended in a hurry to get them in between the
latest issues of
Amazing Spider-Man. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an entertaining collection,
but I’d recommend
getting a volume of Essential Spider-Man
instead. I give it
4 out of 6.

In total, Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1
receives 26 out of
42.

Additional Notes and Comments

Next up: I’ve got a few comics waiting in the wings,
particularly
since I realized that Get Fuzzy and
Calvin and
Hobbes
qualify for reviews. Check out the
options

and then let me
know
what you
want to see next.