Marvel Team Up #127: Spider-Man Teaches The Watcher The True Meaning Of Christmas

Yes, you’ve read that right

Marvel Team Up #127 is a Christmas story. It’s the night before Christmas, and Peter Parker is bringing presents to a holiday party with Aunt May and her geriatric friends. To get brownie points, he keeps telling the ladies there that they look like Elizabeth Taylor, who was a fashion idol to old ladies in the early 1980s. Much to his chagrin, these silver foxes wind up forcing him under the mistletoe.

Mr. Chekov–not the Star Trek navigator but an old beatnik–is very sad that his granddaughter Bette is missing. She was supposed to be in attendance but has been out of communication, much to her grandfather’s dismay. For whatever reason, Uatu the Watcher–a large alien that basically watches the Earth to record its history. He’s feeling the magic of the season, and has appointed Spidey to find Bette and save Christmas.

As an aside, I love looking at advertisements in old comic books. The best is a goofy Marvel comics subscription ad with Magneto, Doctor Octopus and Doctor Doom out Christmas caroling. What is even more amazing is the deal they are offering. Six dollars for an annual subscription. It gets even cheaper; the third and any other subscriptions you buy are only $4. That’s amazing.

It’s off to Brooklyn to find her. Apparently she’s gotten involved with a drug dealer named Buck who has a bunch of cocaine that they stole off of the mob. They’re on the run, and both Spidey and the mob have found them. While being chased, Bette drops a brick of cocaine into the snow, which leads to the mob gunning her down. But the whole scene looked like it was out of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

This is turning into the worst Christmas Eve ever, with Spider-Man standing over Bette’s dying body, scolding the Watcher for not doing anything to help save the woman’s life. Uatu decides to finally get involved in a way that didn’t interfere with his “observe only” life mission, helping stabilize her condition and directing Spidey to the nearest hospital. Better survives and is reunited in a touching scene with her grandfather.

The last page of the book is a monologue with Uatu describing what happend and how humbled he was that he could finally participate in the human condition, to the point that he was crying. It’s something when you can make a creature whose soul duty is to observe everything get emotionally involved. This issue was written by J.M. DeMatteis and it’s a great example on how good a storyteller he was.

This issue was a fun holiday tale and helps get you in the holiday spirit. After all, there are only 54 shopping days till Christmas!