Most of the comics in Marvel’s Giant-Size line were designed to take the place of Annuals, so they were associated with a regular series. Super-Villain Team-Up, however, started as two Giant-Size issues and then a series came from it.

The two Giant-Size issues were mostly reprints, but they had a some new material that introduced the Namor/Doctor Doom alliance.

The pair argue and fight a bunch but ultimately agree to be a gruesome twosome.

That alliance leads to the SVTU series.

Where the two fight some more.

And team up some more. And brood a lot.

A little over a year earlier, Marvel published a solo Dr. Doom story in the pages of Astonishing Tales #8.  It was a truly great book, and showed tremendous potential.  I also think it was the first time we’d seen a book just about a villain, with no superhero in it.

Super-Villain Team-Up does not live up to the promise of that issue.

Why?  Because it’s not really about Doom.  It’s really just more Sub-Mariner comics.  And there was a reason why the Namor solo book was cancelled in 1974: It sucked.

Another this book isn’t good is because there’s no creator continuity.  Every issue features a different writer or artist.  It took 4 people just to write and pencil issue #1!

Storywise, it starts with them fighting.  They never really stop fighting, either.  They bicker and bicker.

A bunch of real villains (including Tiger Shark) take over Hydro-base and beat up Namor.  Doom sees this, and for some reason wants to get involved as Sub-Mariner’s ally.  He kills both Dr. Dorcas and one of Attuma’s main henchmen.

Namor, uncharacteristically, seems to have a problem with it, so the two of them go at it.  Namor loses, and runs away (also uncharacteristically), but his suit has been damaged (and it serves as life-support for him on land).

I really hope this gets better.

1 thought on “SUPER VILLAIN TEAM-UP #1-4/GIANT-SIZE SVTU #1-2 (1975-1976)”

  1. This series started out in 1974 with so much potential. Forty-eight years later, I am still echoing Marvel’s disappointment at it’s failure. Marvel’s attitude in 1978 in re this series was “How could a monthly series featuring our top-two supervillains fail-??” Well, I have had 4.2 decades to dwell on it, and I believe the answer to what sunk it is the same problem that sunk the original “X-Men” series, as well as “The Invaders” series a decade later: Poor writing, poor direction, and lack of attention from the “management”, i.e., the Editor/s-in-Chief/s. The premiere issue, Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up#1, “Encounter At Land’s End”, is actually one of my favorite Marvel comics of all time! It’s got everything! Roy Thomas and John Buscema at the top of their games, two awesome lead characters in Dr. Doom and the Sub-Mariner ( in his BITCHIN’ mid-Seventies blue-black underwater disco suit! ) and a great story which, in spite of all the reflective flashbacks, played out over a period of about fifteen minutes! Now THAT’S tight storytelling! This series’ deterioration into a ho-hum blah series began immediately with the following issue, with uninspired artwork, and a routine story. Issues #1-6 of the regular monthly were actually not half-bad, but by the time Marvel made the highly-erroneous decision to write out Namor’s costume and the reason for him needing it, the decline was irreversible. I feel the same way about the Super-Villain Team-Up series that I do about the “M*A*S*H” TV series: It started out of the gate pretty strong, but as both these series went into their “second acts”, they were just unfollowable. The turning point for “M*A*S*H” was the loss of Colonel Blake and Trapper John, ( and the introduction of their vastly-inferior replacements Colonel Potter and BJ Hunneycutt ) and for “Super-Villain Team-Up”, it was the loss of Namor’s awesome blue costume, the tragic necessity for him having to wear it, ( the patented Marvel formula of the handicapped hero ) the connection it gave him and the series to the Fantastic Four, ( requiring occasional maintenance from Mr. Fantastic ) and the eventual ( and grossly unnecessary ) restoration of the Atlanteans to life. ( thus totally destroying the entire series’ motivation ) I mourn ( obviously ) the loss of the Super-Villain Team-Up series to this very day. Marvel and DC are both producing an awful lot of crap these days, undoubtedly due to the influx of the new generations of writers, but Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up#1 stands as a shining, golden example of how great a single-issue comic-book can be!


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