Greetings from the Odinson,
A Look at Comics History: Part 1 of 10 – Spider-Man and the X-Men
Not every team-up goes over as smoothly as peanut butter and chocolate.
Over the course of the next ten weeks, the Odinson will be taking a look back at Comics History. More specifically, I will be looking at interactions and relationships between characters that do not necessarily have much in common but when they do interact, it’s always noteworthy.
I’ve written down the names of ten different odd couples on Post-its, threw them in my winged helmet, and each week I will pull one at random. I think I have come up with some really fun and interesting team-ups and pairings to talk about.
First up, Marvel’s amazing wall-crawler and Marvel’s merry mutants.
Spider-Man is the linchpin of the Marvel Universe. He is many a reader’s gateway character into the world of comic books. In the early days of Marvel History, Spidey was used in an interesting way. Young readers got to see and discover the Marvel Universe through his eyes as he met and interacted with all the other colorful heroes of the Marvel U.
It was always fun to see a young Spider-Man’s reaction when first meeting the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Daredevil, Hulk, and others. Among his many friendships, partnerships, and rivalries, whenever Spider-Man has a crossover with the X-Men, it is always must read material for the Odinson.
The Web-Spinner and the Children of the Atom have a long history of entertaining interactions, team-ups, and sometimes even fisticuffs.
Uncanny Encounters – In Uncanny X-Men #35, the first time our intrepid heroes meet sees Xavier’s First Class mistaking Spider-Man for the spider menace they are hunting. In Uncanny X-Men #135, Spidey is among a handful of Force sensitive heroes that sense the rise of the Dark Phoenix. When the wizard Kulan Gath takes Manhattan in Uncanny X-Men #190-191, Spider-Man is a huge key in helping the X-Men and Avengers defeat the villain’s magic. And, Uncanny X-Men #346, with outstanding pencils by Joe Madureira, features Spider-Man teaching the rookie Marrow a lesson about power and responsibility.
Amazing Crossovers – In a strange twist, in Amazing Spider-Man #71, Quicksilver, a former villain, tries to redeem himself by bringing that public menace, Spider-Man, to justice. Amazing Spider-Man #161-162 sees Spider-Man, Nightcrawler, and the Punisher forming an uneasy alliance in order to track down a sniper that is terrorizing New York City. In Amazing Spider-Man #203, Spidey teams up with Dazzler to take down the luminous Lightmaster. Amazing Spider-Man #207 sees the mutant menace, Mesmero, ruining Peter Parker’s date. And in arguably one of the greatest 2-part smash-ups of All-Time, Amazing Spider-Man #229-230, Spider-Man learns the hard way that nothing can stop the Juggernaut!
In Amazing Spider-Man #282, Spidey is mistaken for a mutant and X-Factor (the original X-Men in disguise) investigates. Magneto is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel U and in Amazing Spider-Man #327, he pits his might against a cosmic-powered Spider-Man. Amazing Spider-Man #329 and 351-352 sees the wall-crawler taking on the robotic menace of the Tri-Sentinel. During the Onslaught conflict in Amazing Spider-Man #415, Peter’s clone, Ben Reilly, gets a taste of what it’s like to run afoul of the Sentinels. In Amazing Spider-Man #420 and 425, Peter makes a new friend, Nate Summers, the displaced X-Man. And, Spidey has an interaction with bizarre consequences with Synch from Generation X in Amazing Spider-Man #437.
Marvelous Team-Ups – The original Marvel Team-Up series was fantastic when it came to exploring all the corners of the Marvel Universe through the eyes of Spider-Man, and some of his most exciting team-ups featured the X-Men. Marvel Team-Up #4 is an instant classic as Spidey and Xavier’s First Class team up to take on Morbius the Living Vampire! In Marvel Team-Up Annual #1, Spider-Man meets the All-New, All-Different X-Men, including Wolverine, for the very first time. In Marvel Team-Up #57, Spidey and Black Widow try desperately not to get shish kabobed by the sinister Silver Samurai. Spider-Man and Captain Britain have a tough time surviving Arcade’s Murder World in Marvel Team-Up #66. And in Marvel Team-Up #69-70, Spider-Man teams up with Havok and Thor to tackle the unparalleled might of the old X-Men foe – the Living Monolith!
Marvel Team-Up #89-90, 109, 124, and 149 sees Spider-Man teaming up with Nightcrawler, Dazzler, Beast, and Cannonball to take down some D-List Marvel villains. Marvel Team-Up #100 introduces the new mutant, Karma. In Marvel Team-Up #118, Spider-Man handles the Fixer in the material world while Professor X battles Mentallo in the mindscape. And in Marvel Team-Up #150, once again Spidey fights above his weight class and takes on the Juggernaut except this time he has the X-Men as back up.
Wolverine – When the Odinson was a kid, one of the most talked about and sought after comic issues on the playground was Marvel Team-Up #117, one of the earliest Wolverine-sans-X-Men adventures. Over the years, Logan and Peter have developed a pretty tight friendship.
Spidey and Wolverine came to blows overseas in Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, and Logan helped Peter cope with the trauma of that conflict in Web of Spider-Man #29. In Perceptions, they solved a murder mystery involving the always dangerous Wendigo. They served stalwartly for many years as pillars in the New Avengers. They even lived together during that time in Avengers Tower as seen in Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #13. And, in the Ultimate Universe, they even got to know what it was like to walk in the other man’s shoes when they were body swapped.
Logan has been many things to Peter, an enemy, partner, mentor, big brother, and teammate.
Ice Man – Bobby and Peter squabble and ultimately team-up in Amazing Spider-Man #92. This had to be the inspiration for one of the greatest Saturday Morning cartoons in history Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends which chronicles the college years for Spider-Man, Ice Man, and Firestar! The Amazing Friends concept even made its way to the comics in Amazing X-Men #7 and Ice Man #3. And, a version of it exists in the Ultimate Universe (except Firestar is replaced by Johnny Storm).
Kitty Pryde – These two joined forces in Marvel Team-Up #135 when Kitty helps Spidey survive an encounter with the underground dwelling Morlocks. In the Marvel Universe, Peter and Kitty are just acquaintances, but in the Ultimate Universe, they are one of the cutest couples in comics.
Deadpool – Wade Wilson is Spider-Man’s biggest fan. Deadpool even designed his own costume to look similar to the wall-crawler’s. These two have shared some of the wackiest adventures together. Spider-Man has always been known for his nonstop quips, especially while battling super villains, but even Spidey would have to give to a guy known as the Merc with a Mouth.
Random Encounters – In Marvel Fanfare #1-4, while on assignment in the dangerous Savage Land, Peter Parker, along with Ka-Zar and the X-Men are ambushed by the tyrannical Sauron. Spider-Man is one the first heroes the amnesiac Longshot meets in this world in Longshot #4. In Spectacular Spider-Man #116 and 119, Spidey and his then girlfriend, Black Cat, lay the smack down on Wolverine and Iron Fist’s erstwhile sparring partner, Sabretooth. In Sabotage, Spider-Man stands side-by-side with X-Force defiantly against the Juggernaut! And, Spidey’s bromance with Nate Summers continues in X-Man #24 and 37-38.
In X-Universe, a tale that takes place in the Age of Apocalypse reality, Gwen Stacy is part of the human resistance. The X-Men and Spider-Man collection explores the relationship between the Marvel icons throughout the years. During the Avengers vs. X-Men conflict, Spidey found himself on the opposing side to his mutant friends. Spider-Man embarks on harrowing adventures with Beast and Psylocke in the pages of A+X #4 and 16, and in A+X #14, two ex-cons, Magneto and Superior Spider-Man, form an uneasy alliance.
And finally, Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3, hands down, has to be one of the Odinson’s All-Time favorite interactions between Spider-Man the X-Men. It’s very rare that Marvel shows off Spider-Man’s true potential. A few instances that come to mind is the iconic Amazing Spider-Man #33 when he lifts 20 tons of wreckage in order to save Aunt May, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3 when Spidey fists fights the Hulk to garner the approval of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, that time in Amazing Spider-Man #270 when he beat Firelord, a former herald of Galactus, unconscious with his bare hands, and in Assassination Nation when Spidey flat out whips a 60 ton tank across the battlefield.
This is an A-List X-Men team consisting of Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Rogue, and Wolverine, and Spider-Man unleashes a whipping the likes the Children of Atom have rarely seen before or since. This is an elite unit of trained, veteran super heroes and Spidey tears through them like a kid through wrapping paper on Christmas morning. His confrontation with the X-Men in Secret Wars #3 shows just what Spidey is capable of when he really decides to cut loose.
Be sure to tune in next week as the Odinson picks another pair of random names from my winged helmet and explores their shared Comic Book History.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my new book – Autumn Dawn: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback and on Kindle.