Monday, 9 July 2007

Back when I was a kid Marvel Team-Up was my go-to book. Whenever you needed a break from sprawling multi-part story lines, meandering sub-plots and pointless crossovers you could always depend on MTU for some good old-fashioned done-in-one super-hero shenanigans.

While MTU always delivered a generous helping of rich, chocolatey, super-hero goodness every so often they would pull something special out of the bag. Like they did in Marvel Team-Up #67. Not only did it have Spidey-Kraven action which instantly gets it the YouAreComic seal of approval, it was also written by Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne. The team who would soon turn the X-Men into the world-devouring franchise we know and love today.

This issue is positively packed to bursting with quality. Claremont and Bryne know that they've only got 22 pages to do their magic in so they don't fool around. Three pages in and boom - we're already knee-deep in Spidey/Kraven fisticuffs:Next thing you know Spidey's off in La-La land reliving old Megadeth videos thanks to Kraven's nifty chemical tipped darts. He comes to in old Kravy's bamboo love nest and finds himself face to face with a fighting mad Tigra dressed in a rather fetching black, leather swimsuit and dog-collar ensemble.

Unfortunately for Spidey the crazy cat-lady has been brain-washed and is under Kraven's command. I think we can all guess what that command might be - I'll give you a hint, starts with 'K', ends with 'L' and rhymes with 'Phil':It's through nothing more than blind luck that mid-way through the kinky, fire-rolling, chain-whipping action Spidey rips off Tigra's snazzy collar. Sure it ruins the magic of the ensemble but it also frees the cat lady from Kraven's control.

While the super-heroes have a chinwag about how they both let a dude in a lion-mane waistcoat and stretchy leopard skin pants sneak up on them and take them out, Kraven decides since it's now two against one he should find himself a weapon to even the odds a little.

Remember folks this is Kraven the Hunter we're talking about here. He doesn't think like you and me. When he scampers off to get a weapon he's not heading for the knife block in the kitchen or daddy's priceless revolutionary war musket that hangs over the fireplace. Oh No - Kravey baby needs his weapon to have that special huntery feel:I've got to find something to help me take out those pesky heroes! Gun? No. Machete? No. Purple death ray? No. Ahhhh, crazed stampeding zoo animals - that's the ticket!

Bask in that crazy Kraven glory folks. That moment is worth the price of this book all by itself. I mean why would anyone want to watch Jonh McClane being all bald and unfunny, driving his car into a helicopter when you could read about a dude who lives in an abandoned zoo and takes out his enemies with horns full of black mamba venom?

It's too bad that after all that effort Kraven gets taken out by a web-ball in the end. You would expect a man who who wears a tiger tooth belt to go out with a little more dignity wouldn't you?
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