And Spidey Makes Four!
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Ross Andru
Inker: Jim Mooney
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Originally published: May 1972
This Team-Up features Spidey and the Human Torch against the Sandman. Um, isn’t that what happened last time? Yes. The difference here is that the Sandman is joined by some friends – it’s Spidey and the Torch versus the Frightful Four (sort of).
Hmm…different writer than issue 1. Maybe I wasn’t the only one unhappy with Roy Thomas’s performance?
The Torch is depressed, I guess about breaking up with Crystal? I think that’s what’s happened anyway. He seeks out Spider-Man for comfort. Spider-Man, royal douche that he is, basically tells Johnny to screw off.
Meanwhile, the Wizard,
Paste-Pot Pete Trapster and the Sandman are discussing reforming the Frightful Four — and the Wizard wants Spider-Man to be their fourth member! What is up?
The next day, Johnny is again stewing in his own juices when the doorbell rings. Seeing that it’s Spider-Man, Johnny heads downstairs to greet him, only to have Spidey sock him right in the jaw! When he recovers, the Torch notices that Spidey isn’t alone: the Sandman is there with him. Curiouser and curiouser. When the Torch questions Spidey about this, the webhead responds with a backhanded bitchslap.
Johnny actually lets Spider-Man pummel him a few more times before he actually starts to fight back. Throughout the whole ordeal, Spider-Man remains mysteriously quiet. Off to the side, the Wizard and the Trapster have joined Sandman and are waiting for the two heroes to fight it out. After a short time the Torch begins to clue in that somehow the Frightful Three in the corner are controlling Spider-Man, but he still has no option but to fight back and protect himself. Unfortunately, the Torch is too concerned about Spidey to fight as hard as he maybe should, and the wallcrawler is able to subdue and knock out young Mr. Storm.
When Johnny awakes he is bound in paste and a straightjacket. He witnesses the Wizard trying to break into the Negative Zone, while Sandman slaps around an entranced Spider-Man. At no point does anybody consider unmasking Spidey. Everything’s going smoothly for the bad guys until Annihilus shows up and starts taking control.
While the baddies are distracted, Johnny frees himself and starts fighting. Since they have to deal with Annihilus, the Wizard orders Spider-Man to kill the Human Torch. Sheesh. Spider-Man does a number on the Torch, but as he’s getting pummeled Johnny is able to remind Spidey that he is not a patsy, that he is in fact a free man. This magically snaps Spider-Man out of his trance, and the forces of good are ready to take on the villains together.
They quickly round up the human bad guys, but what about Annihilus? Well, Spidey is smart enough to simply turn off the Negative Zone machine thing that Annihilus is feeding off of, saving the day.
This issue was better than the first one but still kinda weak. I was going to write more of a review, but I’m tired and I think I’ll head to bed.