Marvel Team-Up 6: ...As Those Who Will Not See!
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciller: Gil Kane
Inker: Mike Esposito
Letterer: Jean Izzo
Colorist: not credited
Editor: Roy Thomas
The Guest Star:
The Thing (this is Spider-Man's book, making the Thing the guest star)
The Puppet Master; The Mad Thinker
The Set Up:
Ben bursts into a lab in the Baxter Building to find Spider-man over an unconscious body. After a verbal confrontation, Spidey shows Ben that the body is that of the Puppet Master. Alicia Masters (Ben's girlfriend and the stepdaughter of the Puppet Master) begs them not to hurt him further, and after he's awakened, he reveals that he may be able to cure Alicia's blindness. All four get in the Fantasti-car, and head for the Puppet Master's lab.
On the way, we learn the origin of the Puppet Master, and several tears are shed over his and Alicia's lives. They soon arrive at the lab, and while Alicia waits in the Fantasti-car, the other three head in. A security system is almost immediately tripped, knocking out Ben and Spidey. When the pair come to, they find the Puppet Master gone...
Page 14,panel 7. Ben smashes his way into a hidden entrance that Spidey locates. "I'm readin' ya, smart man. Back off--- It's Clobberin' Time!"
No Petunia in here, sigh. Of course, it is Spidey's book, but there's no Aunt May either!
Things of Interest:
Okay, this is not an issue of Marvel Two-in-One, it is Marvel Team-Up, cover-dated January, 1972. This predates the start of Ben's team-up book (which began with Marvel Feature 11 in September, 1973) by just under two years. As such, its outside the run of MTIO and not within the usual scope of this website. It was the only volume one MTU issue with Ben as the solo guest star that I hadn't included, so I just figured "what the heck."
It is interesting to see Spidey ruminating (on page 15) about his uncomfortable relation with the Fantastic Four. They've come a long way since those days.
We do get a three and a half page origin of the Puppet Master and Alicia in this issue. I'm not at all sure if any of the information presented here is being shown for the first time, and from what we've later seen in MTIO 74, even if its all true then it obviously leaves a few things out. Still and all, its a good solid origin for the Puppet Master. If not for that very nice sequence, I'd probably drop my rating on this book even further- its the Puppet Master that makes this issue work, Ben and Spidey are mostly irrelevant.
Though we never quite made it to him in the summary above, the Mad Thinker is in this issue as well. Its not a good appearance for him- he's a fairly generic mad scientist here with none of his usual planning and forethought. In fact, its so far off that I have to assume he planned this whole thing to make the Puppet Master think the lab got destroyed, and thus get the Puppet Master out of his hair.
The Puppet Master's next appearance after this is in MTIO 9. The Thinker goes on to appear in Iron Man 74-77 and Fantastic Four 181-183 before appearing in Marvel Two-in-One 38-39, which is, in your editor's opinion, one of the Thinker's best appearances.
Marvel Team-up issues 1-24 were reprinted, in black and white format, in Essential Marvel Team-Up 1. That, of course, includes this issue. We're still waiting for Essential Marvel Two-in-One.