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Marvel Team-Up #53: Review

Jan 1977
Bill Mantlo, John Byrne

Story Name:

Nightmare in New Mexico!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Marvel Team-Up #53 Review by (April 11, 2023)

Review: Yet another fairly cool Spidey and Hulk adventure, this one bringing in the X-Men who are, strictly speaking, not relevant to the plot but make for some nice camaraderie (though Wolverine, still in his early period, is a bit of a jerk). The real curio is the appearance of Woodgod, a character recently introduced in one of the anthology/try-out books without any clear direction for him to go. And the snarky but decent Spidey also gets to face off against military bureaucratic types which is always fun, though he occasionally overdoes it (not here) and we get the satisfaction of seeing him smacked down at those times. This issue has all the fun stuff, being primarily the setup, while the meat of the story is in the next issue.

Comments: Part one of two parts. Story continued from MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL #1. Woodgod was introduced in MARVEL PREMIERE #31; this is his second appearance, set two days after the events of that issue, according to MTU #54. Issue marks the first time John Byrne drew the X-Men. According to GCD, John Romita drew Hulk’s face on the cover. The letters page includes one by the legendary Fred Hembeck on the brink of stardom. There’s also a letter from future satirist and filmmaker Stephen Sayadian.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Team-Up #53 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The Hulk, seeking solace, comes to the desolate town of Liberty, New Mexico, where he detects a strange odor. He claims the town as his own and, cleaning up, rights a toppled truck and a dead man falls out of the cab. Woodgod (source of the odor) spies Hulk while searching for his father and Hulk, startled, throws the truck door at him. Woodgod can’t understand why Hulk would try to hurt him….

Not far away, Spider-Man is flying with the X-Men in their shuttle, on their way back from the previous adventure; their ship detects something in the sky. Storm and Banshee, fearing the return of the Rakks, head out to see what it is and encounter a band of floaters, National Guard hovercraft under the command of Major Del Tremens. Tremens has given orders that anything alive near Liberty is the enemy and the floaters fire on the X-Men. Cyclops shoots several of them down but Spidey is thrown off the shuttle, to be rescued by Banshee. They listen in on a transmission from Tremens who relays video of Hulk and Woodgod in Liberty and orders his men to contain them. Spidey decides he needs to help out Bruce Banner so he has Banshee fly him to the town, drop him off, and catch up to his teammates later….

In the town, Hulk and Woodgod are fighting, the latter having associated Hulk with “scream,” the nerve gas that killed his father and loosely referring to any sort of pain and death. Hulk raises an automobile to throw at his foe but comes into contact with electrical wires overhead and the shock causes Hulk to transform back into Bruce Banner who passes out. Woodgod is confused and then he is attacked by a squad of National Guard floaters. As he battles the floaters, Spider-Man arrives in time to use his webbing to create a cushion for Guardsmen hurled through the air. But Major Tremens isn’t happy to see him, informing him he is in a restricted area and threatening him for asking too many questions. Woodgod attacks Spidey from behind, knocking him into a water trough, and, while he is preparing to fight back, an angry Hulk rises from the ground on his other side, putting him in a precarious position….

Other X-Men present: Professor X, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, Colossus.

John Byrne
Frank Giacoia
Don Warfield
Dave Cockrum (Cover Penciler)
Dave Cockrum (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Sean Cassidy)
Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)

(Piotr Rasputin)

(Scott Summers)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kurt Wagner)

(Jean Grey)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)

(Peter Parker)

(Ororo Munroe)

(James Howlett)

> Marvel Team-Up: Book info and issue index

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