FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Starfox

Siskoid and Shag's coverage of Marvel Team-Up brings them to issue #143 (July 1984) as Spider-Man and Starfox race to find a cure for Captain Marvel's ailing condition in another dimension!

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Relevant images and further credits at: FW Team-Up Supplemental

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15 responses to “FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Starfox

  1. What are my feelings about Starfox? It’s funny, for the most part I could take him or leave him, but, for some reason, if he happens to be in the room I really, really like him. How odd.
    Seriously though, I’m fine with him as an Avenger. He was with the team when I began reading the book on a regular basis. I do like his swashbuckling attitude. It’s something that is rare in Marvel heroes. A guy who actually enjoys being a superhero, as opposed to someone who finds it a burden or a responsibility. It’s refreshing. As a member of The Avengers, He basically filled the Iron Man tile as the guy who hit on the ladies. When he left the team to pursue Nebula I was indifferent. Starfox is just another character in Marvel’s bullpen they can slot in when the need some who can flay and is super tough.
    This was a decent enough issue of MTU. Sure it’s Spider-Man out of his element, but that was fun about MTU. Both the Amazing & Peter Parker titles were there each month to give you the status quo and the latest episode of life dumps on our hero. MTU was about giving us the grand adventure and showing us Spidey hanging with the other heroes. Often times, introducing us to those heroes. It gave us fun stores that weren’t bogged down by what was happening in the main title. It’s why I loved it.
    Thank you both for another fun episode and great discussion.

  2. This is a fun issue and also, kind of bonkers, but in a good way. I enjoyed how the two of you tackled it and you both made this a great and easy pod to listen to.

    In my opinion, the best runs on MTU are when they have these little two-parters. It gives the book its own kind of continuity apart from the other Spider-Man titles and allows MTU to stand on its own.

    It also allows for a little more context to get added, some interesting character beats, and makes room for a running joke to pay off, like Spider-Man’s “what happened to we?” because you don’t have to waste too much time setting the plot up for half the book, since most of it was covered last issue.

    I do like Starfox as written here in this issue, all bluster and swashbuckling bravado. Some characters don’t require a deep dive and can still work wonderfully in the right story. And Starfox as a one-dimensional character (see what I did there? One-dimensional and they went to another dimension!!! That’s just gold.) works in this one.

    But those powers….oh boy. Those powers are gross.

    Starfox though does invite a conversations that is very relevant about consent, coercion and misconduct, specifically from a “good guy”.

    Everyone, we would hope, condemns overt acts of sexual harassment and assault. That’s just the lowest bar to clear, and Starfox doesn’t fall quite into that category, although his power could be used as an allegory for drugging victims, which is a whole ‘nother ball to unravel.

    Starfox, as presented here and in Stern’s Avengers, makes me think more about that Aziz Ansari story from a few years back that sparked a conversation about the persistent coercive tactics men can use to wear women down in dating situations about sex. Things a lot of men may find harmless and part of the “game” but are actually problematic and manipulative and can be scary from the woman’s perspective. Starfox illustrates to me how, even guys who consider themselves “one of the good ones”, can be perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

    Its a sticky subject which requires a lot of nuance that I think a comic book could never really tackle in a way that would work. Especially one from the 80s. But, the conversation is there to be had about Starfox outside of the comic book that could be more constructive and useful than simply saying “his powers are kind of gross now”.

    And now, in an attempt to lighten it up and get back to the book in question, the bad guy here…I want to say his name was Grog….always looked like that He-Man character Lockjaw to me.

  3. I wrote a pretty good doctor DRUID pitch. I actually really like the character you know why MATH! think about it He was a rich but not SUPER RICH dude who ran into lots of aliens right before the Fantastic FOUR. So what? Well Doctor DRUID wrote the report that got the FF their funding! and now druid is jelous,
    Siskoid your right THUNDRA would be better. But i always say that.
    I dont hate the look of the Black costume but I always felt like “You want a simple costume here’s Daredevil.
    and Shag “it goes to another dimenson is Marvel’s answer to EVERYTHING

  4. SINCE i’m always such a negative Nelly I’m say I REALLY LIKE captain Marvel I kinda like Marvel’s other Captan Marvel too. I’M conflicted cuz I LIKE MONICA better than Billy BAtson but he’s the REAL captain marvel

  5. What happens when the super hero Star fox finds him self facing a foe greater then any man has ever faced ? Here’s my pitch for a Star fox cross over . Hight schoolers !!! Yes can star fox , Hardcase , choice and Prime Handel being substitute teachers at hero high . Dealing with Captain California , weather man and Peter Penguin. Life will never be the same .

  6. Speaking of heroes who can manipulate emotions, doesn’t Spider-woman (Jessica Drew) have some kind of spider pheromones that attract men? I’ve only seen it referenced once in one of the multiple Avengers comics where Spider-man, Wolverine and one other male hero are looking uncomfortable around Spider-woman until she explains what’s going on. It was successfully played for comic effect. Though I haven’t heard it referenced in any of her recent titles.

      1. It was a fascinating aspect of Mark Gruenwald’s run on Spider-Woman – men we’re attracted to her but women were repulsed, making her feel an outcast.

  7. The discussion of Starfox’s powers, their problematic nature, and the question for whether or not Starfox has conscious control over them, reminded me very much of a situation I’m currently reading about in an old (2001) Star Trek: New Frontier novel. A new crewmember of the USS Trident is a member of a species that (by the crewmember’s account) passively enhances existing feelings within those around him, especially in regard to sexual attraction. The crewmember claims that this is NOT mind control, but that doesn’t stop M’Ress from feeling that her agency was indeed taken from her after a one-night stand. The crewmember chafes at being asked to swear an Oath of Celibacy similar to that previously established in canon for Deltans as a result, perhaps not unfairly. But all in all, the crewmember comes off as a horrible person, especially as he assigns M’Ress menial duties in apparent retaliation. Apparently Peter David was writing about these issues even earlier than the 2005 storyline Siskoid and Shag discussed.

  8. Now, I know I bought this one but I don’t recall it. I always liked Starfox’s look and sunny attitude but that name… he’s a fox from the stars, oh dear. And even at the start of his Avengers career he seemed a bit creepy.

    It’s interesting to see how much classic Spider-Man inker Mike Esposito improved Greg Laroque’s work which was, as pointed out on your excellent show, not always the strongest.

  9. I started reading The Avengers just after Starfox joined, so, for me, he is a core member of the team.

    I actually think that the least interesting thing about him is the connection to Thanos. I wish he would get fleshed out beyond that, but there’s no chance of that now.

    Great episode covering a beloved two-part story from my youth.


  10. Let’s see, this issue itself was fine. It was an excuse to give some visibility to the newest Avengers, and did that job adequately. This story didn’t stand out in any other way for me, but that’s ok, because I enjoy MTU as a concept alone plenty, and no regrets buying this issue back in the day.

    Ah Starfox. Since Roger Stern brought him onto the Avengers early in this run, I have a soft spot for him. Plus with him being a hero in a comic book, I simply trusted he wouldn’t use his power inappropriately. That’s not what heroes in the 80s did. Oh, my little brain was not ready for the deconstruction comics on the horizon, but that was honestly my take at the time of this issue.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Slott about 5 years ago at Dallas Fan Expo, and when I said “I loved your She-Hulk series”, he immediately said “I shouldn’t have written that Starfox story.” So that’s interesting, for what that’s worth coming second hand thru me.

    So at this rate, you’ll reach #150 in 2025 and my kids will be halfway thru college. Ouch. Thanks for the great show!

  11. By the time I was reading Avengers (the Under Siege story) Starfox was gone from the team. So to me, he’s that guy who shows up in stories having to do with Nebula and Thanos and usually would just get knocked out and taken prisoner, so I’m kind of indifferent toward him. He’d also sometimes show up in those “call in all the reserve members” stories. Has he ever done another stint on an Avengers team? If not, he’s a done in one guy like so many other Avengers like Moondragon, Ex Nihilo, Silverclaw, Triathlon, Crystal, Sersi, Gilgamesh, Nightmask, Rage, Firebird, etc where only one writer wants to use the character. I also think of an Eternal is on your team, they should be mega powerful. I feel like Sersi and Gilgamesh were similarly shortchanged.

    Count me as another fan of Spidey’s black costume! It was the costume he was wearing when I first started getting Spidey comics and I think it looked so cool in some of those gritty noir urban adventures Spidey would get into in the mid-late 80s. He actually did switch between costumes for a time. It was only when his red and blue costume got destroyed fighting Magma in Web of Spider-Man that he was exclusively wearing the black costume until Venom showed up. And the black costume lent itself to some COOL covers. Just look at Web of Spider-Man #1!

    1. The only notable Starfox story that doesn’t fall into the Nebula-Thanos category is Avengers: Infinity, a 4-issue mini from 2000, published during the Busiek-Perez run on the main Avengers title. Written by Roger Stern and art by Sean Chen, the cast featured Thor plus 5 Avengers from your list above of “writer’s pet characters”, because if anybody will give those heroes some love, it’s Stern!

      I used to have a silk screen wall hanging of the WoSM #1 cover. Wish I could remember if I still have it or not. It was very cool. Getting senile is “great”. That’s a long way of saying I also loved the black costume and wish Spidey would wear it occasionally.

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