Frank Miller did the cover for the final issue of Machine Man and for this team-up. I guess ol’ Frankie liked drawing the character. Or, more likely, Marvel was desperately trying to make the character’s books sell. That’s an interesting thing about this period of Marvel: They didn’t give up on characters. They’d push a book with mediocre or low sales as hard as they could before cancelling it. On the other hand, low sales in 1980 translate to pretty decent sales by modern standards, and on top of that production costs were much lower because they used pulp and distributed to newsstands.
Anyway, Sandman is in jail (they keep him in a plexi-glass bubble created by Reed Richards) with Baron Brimstone. I’m not sure why they’re not in Rikers or Project Pegasus. The prison is called “a certain maximum security facility.” Anyway, they escape and decide to team-up for revenge against their respective nemeses, who don’t team up well (at least not initially)…
So, instead of the typical “nice to meet you, let’s fight” the heroes knock heads in a more vaudevillian manner. (Question: Spidey has spidey sense and I have to assume Machine Man has some kind of radar sensing, so why wouldn’t they both move out of the way?)
Spider-Man is so irritated at their crash that he attacks Machine Man for the next several pages.
Then, of course, they make up and defeat the villains. To get the villains’ hideout, Gears Garvin makes a beanie for Machine Man.