Disco music may have died in 1979, but don’t tell that to the Dazzler! Marvel Team Up #109 came out in September 1981, and the Dazzler is still trying to find work as a disco star. So why is she hanging out with Spider-Man?
Marvel Team Up featured Spider-Man partnering with some random other hero from the Marvel Universe. In the previous issue, he teamed up with Paladin to stop Thermo the Thermotronic Man, some new low-level criminal. This issue starts with Dazzler cancelling her concert to help save the two from this new villain. With this being two years after the demise of disco, I’m sure it wasn’t that hard to do.
After scaring away Thermo with her light powers, she takes a sick Spidey back to her place to recuperate. There’s a great panel with her elderly neighbors being judgy that she comes back to the apartment all painted up and bringing random men in costumes with her. “It’s just not decent!” says the old lady!
Inside Dazzler’s apartment is just as funny, with her being broke and only having tea to give the ailing Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Thermo is still running mad across the city, and stumbles into a satanic mass full of well to do Manhattanites. The cult leader, who they allude to being a sham, sees poor Thermo as an opportunity to make some money. Writer Dave Kraft crafted the oddest dialogue I’ve ever encountered in a comic before, with the cult leader describing Thermo as “he’s a fruitcake…but he’s a really powerful fruitcake! This might be worth something.” Watchmen this is not.
The next morning, Spidey wakes up much better to breakfast being served by Dazzler, only to scare her with one of his spider-shaped trackers. The good thing is that she was able to overcome her fear of insects later in the decade, in time for her to fight off the Brood with the X-Men.
Thermo and the cult steal some sort of wacky generator, as he’s going to need the power for his diabolical plan. They also kidnap Dazzler, to avenge their earlier meeting. Luckily for her, Spidey is feeling much better and along with Paladin comes to rescue her and stop Thermo. During the melee, Dazzler gets her bag of weapons back, only to put on roller skates! Really? This is the worst. What the hell?
Dazzler comes skating in and kicking cult member ass left and right. The three heroes are able to stop Thermo with the assistance of his ex-wife who conveniently provided something to nullify his powers. The cult scrambles away, with the oddest ending ever. Thermo’s ex-wife is standing over his incapacitated body crying hysterically. Mind you, in the previous issue it was revealed that he was nuts, killed his best friend and planned on killing her as well. They don’t even call the cops. Spidey and Dazzler leave, all flirty and Paladin is wondering why he’s the only one out of the five who is single. What?
This may sound like a train wreck (really it is), but it’s also what I love about the lesser comic book titles from this period. They’re well written (everything makes sense) but they’re crazy. It’s like the writers are trying to see how much wackiness they can stick into the story before their editors flip out. That said, Marvel Team Up is all wackiness. Herb Trimpe’s art in this is fine, but I can’t wait for the next time he’s at a comic book show. I have a lot of questions I need answered.