Monday, 1 October 2012

Marvel Team-Up #100: Arrest This Woman

Today's second post is Marvel Team-Up #100, which the Chronology Project dates to between Uncanny #144 and #145. So hello, future! I'm writing this only very slightly in the past! Much less far in the past than I wrote the surrounding articles, so forgive me for any discontinuity.

Two stories this issue, and we're covering both. First up, this issue introduces a new supervillain, Karma, who has the power of mind control. She uses it to discredit Spider-Man by abducting two young orphans... No, wait. That's not what's happening at all.

This is more cleverly structured than I'd expect an issue of Marvel Team-Up in 1980 to be, and unusually avoids giving away the twist on the cover. Xi'an is a young Vietnamese girl, a refugee from South Vietnam, who has the power of mind control. She has an evil uncle who wants her to work as a minion, an evil brother (Tran) who is happy to, and two younger siblings who are dependent on her, and have been taken away by the said evil relatives.

Fortunately, the misunderstanding is cleared up (thanks to Xavier for providing access to Cerebro technology - so Reed knows exactly who Charles is at this point - when did that happen?) Xi'an has seen a Daily Bugle headline and assumed that Spider-Man was a criminal (understandable), and that she wouldn't be causing any harm by using him. This is not true, as events prove (you might take issue with it even if she'd been right), but she's under pressure and she's still thinking about the wider consequences of her actions. Plenty of so-called heroes wouldn't bother with that at all.

They team up. This is called Marvel Team-Up for a reason. In the battle, Tran is able to take control of the entire Fantastic Four at once, which is a bit overpowered. It eventually reaches the point where Xi'an has to take Tran out, which she does, regretfully. She feels responsible for what he's done, and decides to atone, taking the name Karma.

The art in this is early Frank Miller, before most of his run on Daredevil. Generally nothing to write home about, but I like the flashback bits, and the motif used behind Shan and Tran when they possess people. This will be adopted by most artists for Shan's mind control, and a variant, with a more socialist feel, appears on the cover of last week's Astonishing X-Men #54.

The second part is a Storm story, and shows the by now infamous early meeting of our Ororo Monroe (her name given like that for I think the first time?), and T'Challa (the Black Panther, the King of Wakanda (a kind of African Switzerland), and an Avenger). The framing event features an Afrikaner sent by Andreas de Ruyter, to kill Storm. She flashbacks to a previous incident: Ororo, then twelve, on her trek to East Africa, comes across a kid - T'Challa obv - about her age being attacked by South Africans, and saves him. During which, she flies for the first time! Back in the present, she visits T'Challa, who is being a superhero in New York because apparently that's what people do when they get superpowers in the Marvel Universe, even if they're kings of compact but rich African nations. I dunno.

Anyway, they team-up in the present, natch, find that the bad guy has transferred his consciousness into a robot, take him down, etc. And then they part. A third person omniscient caption both raises the possibility but then specifically denies that anything further will ever happen between them - like, say, them getting married.

That had been a special, unique moment in both their lives...

...a moment which -- once denied -- can never be truly recaptured.

Both know this. Perhaps that is what makes their parting all the more painful.

Yet... Part they do.

As friends. They may wish for more. But that is what they are, what they will remain. Forever.

This is not going on the chart, because we know we'll be able to make that link anyway later.

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