Spider-Man: Marvel Team-Up
written by Chris Claremont
illustrated by John Byrne
While they were busy making comics history over in Uncanny X-Men, writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne were also giving Spider-Man thrills by partnering him with various luminaries of Marvel’s superhero universe. This collection presents those stories from the late ’70s, a much simpler time in comics. The stories live up to that simplicity, and yet they’re also long, complicated, richly textured, and full of Marvel Comics history. It’s a treat to read stories from a time when continuity was king in comics.
It’s also a lot of fun to see the different heroes Spider-Man gets paired up with. Most of them are (or at least were at the time) lesser-known characters like Wasp and Yellowjacket, Ms. Marvel, Captain Britain, and Tigra (Thor also makes an appearance, as the cover suggests). Several of the stories are two-parters that lead into the next team-up, a very fun bit of comics continuity. There’s also the little tidbits that comics aficionados always enjoys—like how The Wasp, as an Avenger, is allowed access to the Fantastic Four’s lab when they aren’t around. As a child reading these stories, I was thrilled at the community of superheroes and the camaraderie they all shared. Team-up stories were the perfect venue for such sentiments.
The artwork by Byrne in his prime is a true treat here, as are Claremont’s dialogue- and thought balloon-heavy panels. If you treasure the days when reading a single issue of a comic actually took some time, then a collection of stories like this is perfect for you.