With the big fuss over the newest Civil War trailer with Spider-Man, I wanted to go back and look at the first time Spider-Man tried to join the Avengers. However, in my quest to find more information about Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, I remembered that this was not the first time Spider-Man somewhat tried to join up with the Avengers. For that, we will need to go over to Avengers #11 in a little story Marvel calls “The Mighty Avengers Meet Spider-Man.” O.K., not as snazzy as “My Killer, My Car”, but Stan does spice it up a bit with a banner under the title reading:
“And the only blurb we can write is ‘Wowee!’”
This is the ‘60s, baby, so get ready for some superhero fights! You’ve got snotty Cap, jerky Thor, trying-to-hard-to-be-cool Giant Man, and flirtatious Wasp vs. our man in the webby red and blue. Read on my friend, and soon all sorts of cool ’60s words will be coming out of you from “Wowee!” to “Golly gee!”
OK. That was a bad last line – but, jeepers, read on anyway!
The creative minds behind this are listed as:
Spectacular Story by Stan Lee
Incomparable Illustrations by Don Heck
Dazzling Delineation* by Chic Stone
Lachrymose** Lettering by Sam Rosen
You are going to want to read this for yourselves, guys. This is a fun read. The issue date is December 1964 and although the cover price was only $.12, it’s going to cost you over $2,000 if you want a near mint copy. It is available on Marvel Unlimited, and Marvel Masterworks, and Essential Avengers as well (just in case you spent all your money on that last copy of Amazing Fantasy #15).
A little background – Tony Stark is dead and strangely enough, Iron Man is missing, presumably out searching for the murderer of the philanthropic millionaire. Hulk has been gone a long time and the only members of the Avengers around are Thor, Captain America, Giant Man, and Wasp. This is before Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver join up (but don’t worry, I’ll get to them next post).
We meet up with the mighty heroes sitting around the board room talking about what to do about Iron Man. Captain America shoots down Rick Jones’s request for a leave of absence for Iron Man. In fact, he does more than just shoot him down, he shuts him up by completely demasculating him in front of the other guys. Don’t believe that Cap be that much of punk? Just look at those exclamation marks in his word balloons when he is reminding Rick that he is a real Avenger. Maybe he’s still mad over Rick Jones dressing up as Bucky in an effort to cheer up Cap for being sad that Bucky is dead. My guess is Rick was taking advice from the same psychiatrist as the one who told Peter to dress up as Spider-Man to cure Deb Whitman by making her think she was crazy. Instead, they decide to respect Iron Man’s desire to find the murderer himself and choose to do nothing at all to help him, because that’s what being on a team is all about.
But this isn’t about Avengers history, this is Spider-Man history! Enough of that nonsense! We’re jumping ahead to the 30th century to find Kang who has a brilliant idea to take out the Avengers – use Spider-Man to do it! The only problem is that Kang figures Spidey won’t voluntarily do this, so he creates a robot to do it for him. So Kang makes a proto image of Spider-Man by feeding into his computer all photos and videos of Spider-Man. “Next my iso-nuclear duplicator analyses every last submicroscopic detail of the proto-image gauging its strength, knowledge, personality, memories, and evaluating its every last ability!”***
Robo-Spidey even talks like the real deal. In fact, Robo-Spidey is more like Spidey than what we have been reading for the last ten years.
Robo-Spidey lands in modern day 1964 just in time to web up some bad guys that Captain America was facing. Cap is a little amazed that Spider-Man helped him until Robo-Spidey reveals he did it because he wants to join the Avengers. Cap is too nice a guy to say no to the nerd that wants to hang out, so he says, well, it’s up to the others and takes the mechanical marvel back to the Avengers mansion.
The others restrain Thor enough to allow Spidey to tell them where he saw the troubled metal avenger and take off in one of the lamest superhero battle cry since the Tick.
Robo-Spidey led them right into Kang’s trap at the Temple of Tirod in Mexico. Due to some 30th century science, Robo-Spidey is able to get there first and proceeds to earn the Spidey Kicks Butt title that JR gave his web site.
He uses “elasticized webbing” and a webbed-up fly swatter to take out Giant Man and the Wasp.
When he runs into Thor, Thor tries a different technique to subdue Spidey – throwing his hammer at him. Robo-Spidey just uses his webbing to grab Mjolnir and swing it away from Thor before unloading a ton of webbing on him. Since at this time Thor must have his hammer to remain the thunder deity, he converts back to Donald Blake while inside the webbing.
But not as embarrassing at what he does to Cap. He drops a rock on him, webs his eyes up, and pushes him off a wall.
But what Robo-Spidey wasn’t counting on was the real deal, who has been watching him the whole time (not sure how Spidey followed him to Mexico, maybe he ballooned while hanging from a jet plane or something). At this point we get a classic ‘60s match up – Spidey vs. Spidey. They shoot webs at each other. They swing around throwing punches at each other. They create web wings and fly over a jungle to fight in the air. (Now why doesn’t Spidey do that anymore?) In the end, Robo-Spidey is no match for the superior brain power of the real deal.
Yep. The old turn-off-the-switch trick always takes care of those pesky robots. Too bad Spidey wasn’t on the Avengers during their second movie. He could have taken care of Ultron for them.
The real Captain somehow got rid of the webbing over his eyes and witnesses the defeat of the robot. That’s going to be important later on. Spidey skips town and doesn’t go back to check on them and Captain America realizes that there is only one person who could make such a life like robot – Kang! Thor ends the issue just like any fan whose team just got beaten by their biggest rival as he shouts out to Kang, “Just wait ‘til next time!”
Oh, and just to keep fans of the Avengers happy (you know, since it is their own book, after all), we get this picture:
The robot is not heard of again until 1996 when Ben Reilly encounters him in Spider-Man Team-Up #4. I could not find this on Marvel Unlimited (I guess there are a few limitations), but from the review of it I found, it appears to be my gain. The robot was re-activated and used some temporal webbing to drain people of their temporal energy before finally getting its head knocked off.
We here at the Crawlspace aren’t just concerned with Spider-Man’s past history, but also his future history. Here are a few future stories we might could see as a result of this issue:
- Kang erases the time line of the team-up issue and reactivates the original Robo-Spidey. He defeats global Spidey and carries on thinking he is the one true Spidey. We get great stories and everyone loves reading Spider-Man again.
- Kang creates another Robo-Spidey to take on the new global Spidey that exists now. This new robot acts and thinks just like the current version of Spider-Man. Peter realizes what a douche-bag he has become and reverts back to his real self.
Either way, it’s got to be better than the web-diaper Spidey we’ve been reading lately. So until then, make mine Marvel true believers!
“Avengers 11.” Comics Chronology. SuperMegaMonkey, N.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/avengers_11.shtml>.
“Avengers 11.” Comics Price Guide. N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://comicspriceguide.com/collection/marvel/avengers/11/rkuxm>.
“Timespinner.” The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe. N.p., 17. Oct. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/spdmrobk.htm>.
All scans from Marvel Unlimited
* Delineation – (n) a pictorial representation of something
** Lachrymose – (adj) tearful or given to crying
*** OK, it’s not an exact quote. I added the Oxford comma. Supervillains! Right?!
Who says you can’t learn anything from reading comics? Take that Wertham!