Kamala Khan is an ordinary teenage girl with all the usual problems – overprotective parents, bullying classmates and a distinctly dead social life. Her life was forever changed one night when she snuck out of the house to go to a party and was exposed to the Terrigen Mists, revealing her heritage as an Inhuman and awakening her latent powers as a shape-shifter. Now she protects Jersey City, with the blessing of her idol, Carol Danvers, as the new Ms. Marvel.
Peter Parker was an ordinary teenage boy with all the usual problems. His life was forever changed during a lab demonstration which ended with his being bitten by a spider. Afterward, Peter acquired the strength, agility and wall-crawling powers of a spider, along with a precognitive “Spider-Sense” that warned him of approaching danger. Now an alleged adult, he protects Manhattan as Spider-Man.
Two heroes born of circumstance. Two people from two distinctly different worlds. Yet fate will unite them in a common cause, when Kamala is on a field trip to watch a scientific demonstration where Peter has been asked to introduce Empire State University’s pride and joy. Unfortunately, it is here that a villain from Peter’s past has chosen to reemerge and place all of New York City in danger.
Marvel Comics was built on team-up stories. Back in the good ol’ days when Stan Lee was writing dialogue for a dozen books a month, you couldn’t go two or three issues without a crossover or a cameo, as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes joined forces. It was a solid concept and one that has inspired whole books devoted to Marvel’s greatest heroes working together.
This brings us to Marvel Team-Up #1 and the fourth volume to bear that title. It’s not surprising that this first issue involves Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. Spider-Man was the co-star of most of the issues of the original volume of Marvel Team-Up and Kamala Khan is easily the most popular original character to come out of Marvel Comics in the past decade. Putting the two of them together makes sense from a marketing standpoint, as they are the two characters most likely to instantly attract attention and bring in readers.
Thankfully, Eve L. Ewing has a solid grasp on both characters and delivers two surprisingly good scripts, not counting on the popularity of her heroes to carry the tale. And yes, I did say TWO scripts, because this new Marvel Team-up has a new gimmick – two comics, each telling the tale from the perspective of one of the issue’s two protagonists. While this is somewhat awkward to deal with in a digital format, flipping the physical comic helps add to the fun of the story.
The artwork is as good as the writing. Joey Vazquez’s streamlined style evokes the spirit of a classic manga, with Peter sporting a slightly spikey haircut, a distinct lack of backgrounds during conversations and a lot of speed lines during the fight scenes. Paired with the bold colors of Felipe Sobreiro, the final result is memorable, not looking like anything else Marvel is publishing right now.
Marvel Team-Up #1 is a solid reintroduction to a classic concept with a twist and a solid story with strong art on its own terms. While it’s unlikely to hold onto a steady readership (a continual problem with series based around rotating casts) this first issue is riveting and is sure to appeal to fans of both Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. Hopefully the high level of quality will continue as the team-ups and creative teams change.