Cover Price: $.25

#24
August 1974

Value: $10 (Near Mint-)

 

Supporting Cast:


Guests:
Brother Voodoo (1st Appearance in Strange Tales #169)


Villains
:
1st Moondog

"Moondog Is Another Name For Murder!" - 19 Pages


Writer -
Len Wein
Artist - Jim Mooney
Inker - Sal Trapani
Cover - Gil Kane
Lettering - John Costanza
Colorist -
Glynis Wein
Editor -
Roy Thomas

One of the best things about Marvel Team-Up was that it gave lesser-known characters a chance to be seen. Sure, it's always fun to see Spider-Man tag team with the Human Torch, Iron Man or Daredevil, but it also is nice to see him occasionally team with a character who doesn't have a regular series.

Brother Voodoo, the guest-star in Marvel Team Up #24, is a classic example of this kind of lesser-known hero. Jericho Drumm, AKA Brother Voodoo (introduced in Strange Tales #169), is a former psychologist and now powerful Haitian houngan, or voodoo priest. The soul of his dead brother Daniel also inhabits his body and he can use Daniel's spirit to possess another person. He also can manipulate fire (although he cannot create it) and create clouds of mystical smoke to hide his movements. Aside from his run in Strange Tales, Brother Voodoo has never had his own series, but he occasionally pops up to aid other heroes, usually when black magic is at work.

This story starts with a particularly funny splash page of Spider-Man painting a mustache, beard and blackened teeth on a billboard of J. Jonah Jameson. It's no surprise, since Len Wein wrote this issue. Wein had a knack for employing humor in Spider-Man stories, perhaps more than any other regular Spider-Man writer. "Maybe I could become a new Van Gogh -- cut off one of my ears," Spider-man jokes as he decorates Jonah's picture. "Nah-- that'd probably make my mask lopsided." Just then, he hears a scream from the street below. A young woman is being attacked by a gang of strange men wearing animal furs and carrying knives. He leaps down to the woman's aid and begins fighting the would-be attackers. However, they aren't just regular muggers - they display superhuman strength and with their superior numbers, they are able to take Spider-Man down. But before they can do the Web-Slinger any harm, a thick cloud of smoke billows down the street and the night air is filled with the frenzied sound of drumbeats. Brother Voodoo emerges from the cloud of smoke and comes to Spider-Man's assistance. "Away from him, you worthless scum! Your mad master shall have no new sacrifice this night!"

Spider-Man and Brother Voodoo are able to fight off the attackers, although the men escape when the heroes check on the young woman they were stalking. It turns out that she auditioned for an off-Broadway play about voodoo. She didn't get the part and got a bad vibe from the director. As she started home, these men attacked her. Brother Voodoo adds that he has been tracking a villain halfway across the country. The man's name is Moondog, an evil houngan from New Orleans. There, he operated a sinister cult. Brother Voodoo smashed Moondog's cult in New Orleans, but the villain himself escaped and has set up base in New York City. He recognizes the men they just fought as followers of the Moondog. Spider-Man and Brother Voodoo figure the fact that a new play about voodoo is opening in town isn't just a coincidence. They go down to the theater, where they find the play - or rather, a strange and dark ritual - in progress. Moondog stands on the stage with a knife in hand, while a young woman lays on an altar about to be sacrificed. But before Moondog can sacrifice the young woman, Brother Voodoo and Spider-Man intervene. "Shed one drop of that child's blood -- and I will surely destroy you!" Brother Voodoo says. But what the heroes weren't counting on is that the entire audience is made up of Moondog's followers. The heroes fight valiantly against the horde of brainwashed followers, but Moondog's supernatural laugh causes them to lose consciousness. Moondog then ties the heroes up to stakes and plans to burn them alive! "Since you both denied me a sacrifice earlier this evening -- I intend to sacrifice the two of you in her place! Ha-Ha-Ha!" he says.

However, Moondog doesn't know about Brother Voodoo's ability to manipulate fire. The hero uses the fire to burn through his ropes, while Spider-Man shields himself in a cocoon of webbing. They resume the battle, with Spider-Man fighting the Moondog's followers, while Brother Voodoo goes after their leader. Using his brother Daniel's spirit, he possesses one of the followers and traps Moondog on a scaffold high above the theater. Brother Voodoo throws Moondog off the scaffold, saying, "I will have to kill him!" Spider-Man then catches Moondog with his webbing. When they confront the villain, his personality has suddenly changed. "Moondog? Wh-who are you talking about? My name is Wally Bevins -- I'm an accountant!" Brother Voodoo explains that Moondog is a loa, or spirit, not a living being. He possessed the body of Mr. Bevins. That's why Brother Voodoo hurled him off the scaffold - he knew Moondog would abandon Bevins' body. And with that, the story ends.

This issue isn't an earth-shattering event or a chapter in a classic, epic storyline. But it is an entertaining little superhero story and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Not every story needs to be continued in the next issue. Sometimes, a one-and-done tale is just fine. As for Brother Voodoo, this would mark his only appearance (to date) in the pages of Spider-Man's various series.

Next issue: This time, Spider-Man teams up with an old friend (Daredevil) to battle the Unholy Trio - Cat-Man, Bird-Man and Ape-Man!

Reviewed by Bruce Buchanan.

Quality Rating: 2
Significance Rating: 2

Overall Rating:

4

 

Marvel Team-Up #23

Also This Month:

Amazing Spider-Man #135
Doctor Strange #2

Marvel Team-Up #25