Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #69

Issue Date: 
May 1978
Story Title: 
Night of the Living God!

Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (penciler), R. Villamonte (inker), Mary Titus (colorist), J. Costanza (letterer), Archie Goodwin (editor)

Brief Description: 

Havok and Polaris are attacked on Muir Isle by strange men in ancient Egyptian clothes. Polaris is left for dead and Havok is abducted. In New York, Peter Parker is burning the midnight oil at university when he notices a break-in in another office by men dressed in Egyptian garb. He follows them as Spider-Man to an embassy and finds them handling the tied up Havok. Spider-Man frees Havok but soon they both face the mastermind behind the abduction, Havok’s old nemesis, the Living Pharaoh. Unfortunately, the Pharaoh uses a special ankh to paralyze Havok and takes out Spider-Man. Havok is then put into a sarcophagus-like device, where his power is absorbed and sent to the Pharaoh who (just as Spider-Man gets ready for round two) transforms into the godlike giant Living Monolith. On Muir Isle, Polaris has survived the attack. After not being able to contact the X-Men, she calls the Beast, currently an Avenger, who goes to investigate what is going on with the X-Men…

Full Summary: 

Muir Isle, a lonely island in Scotland’s outer Hebrides, where Moira MacTaggert set up her mutant research center 20 years ago. Currently, it is also the home of former X-Men Lorna Dane and Alex Summers aka Polaris and Havok, who are currently out for a walk in the cold, unware they are being watched by men with old-fashioned Egyptian headdresses and loincloths.

With the island’s other inhabitants Moira and Jamie Madrox in Edinburgh for the weekend, they have the island all to themselves. They’ve been working hard since they arrived, trying to salvage what little Magneto left intact of Moira’s lab.

Suddenly, they are attacked by an energy blast. Havok fires back one of his own, assuring Lorna he has his power more under control now and won’t kill those creeps. Another energy bolt comes from the flying ship the strangers use, with one of them warning the others not to harm the boy. Havok finally realizes those guys are dressed like the Living Pharaoh’s old mob.

Polaris uses her magnetic power to bring down the ship. They are unaware that two more men are scaling the cliffs behind the couple. Figuring they have no order to take the girl alive, one of the men fires at Lorna, who loses her footing and falls into the icy ocean. Before Alex can help, the jet shoots out some snare that wraps itself tightly around Alex’s body and neutralizes his power to boot. The men talk about giving him an injection to render him unconscious. Alex begs them to make sure Lorna doesn’t drown. He will come with them, he promises. The men figure she is expendable and transport him aboard. They leave, not seeing how a hand grabs the rocks from the ocean.

Dawn in Scotland means two in the morning in New York. Most of the Empire State University Campus is deserted but there is light in the science building, especially the advanced chem lab, occupied by the very tired senior, Peter Parker.

The time has come the walrus said… to call it a night, Peter yawns. He’s been studying six hours without a break. Between school and worrying about Aunt May, he hasn’t had much time left for super-heroics. Good thing life’s been quiet.

As he gets up to leave, he notices light in Professor Craig’s office, but he left hours ago. He eavesdrops and realizes someone is in there, someone who is trying very hard not to be found. In fact, there are more members of the Living Pharaoh’s gang, who have searched for and found their master’s mystic Ankh.

Peter webs the door shut, then quickly changes into his Spider-Man uniform. However, when he hears a whirring sound he realizes he was wrong. Those men didn’t use the door. They have a ride hovering outside the window.

Inside the room, the men gloat that soon nobody will dare oppose their master’s will once he has ultimate power.

Spider-Man breaks through the door and embarrassingly gets caught in his own webbing, allowing the villains to get away. Spidey at least manages to throw one of his trackers onto the ship, though he still feel like an idiot.

On Muir Isle, Lorna Dane has managed to drag herself ashore. Shivering and desperate, she calls the X-Men’s home in Westchester, but nobody answers. She wonder why nobody is at home - it is three a.m. in New York. And, even if the X-Men were on a mission, Cerebro should have taken the call. Only one other option. She prays he is there.

Lorna is in luck. The Beast – currently an Avenger – greets her with a joke. When Lorna starts talking, he becomes serious and promises her he will handle things on this end. She is just to take care of herself. It won’t do at all to bring Alex home in triumph, only to have her dying of pneumonia.

Beast heads toward the Quinjet. His teammate Thor reminds him they are on standby. Something’s come up, is Beast’s cryptic reply.

Thor is surprised. Beast deserts his post, then takes a quinjet, which Agent Gyrich has forbidden them to do. Beast’s words were jocular, but his demeanor was grim. Thor fears what plagues his teammate is a matter of life and death.

Spider-Man sees the Quinjet passing by and wonders what’s up. He lands on the street where he last sensed the tracer before it was either discovered or the ship was put behind a shield. He sees an ambulance stopping, with men also dressed in Egyptian garb. He follows them to a mansion and realizes it is an embassy, though he doesn’t know of which nation. With his luck, though, it’s probably Latveria. He jokes he has no idea what Dr. Doom would do with these refugees from The Ten Commandments meets Star Wars.

Spider-Man watches as the men from the ambulance take out the tied up Havok in a hurry, as the stasis bands holding him have reached saturation point.

Spider-Man attacks the two men and begins to free Havok, but finds they are soon joined by more goons. By that point, Havok has freed himself. Spider-Man suggests he take cover while he takes care of them. Havok snaps that those animals have killed the woman he loves and now they’re gonna pay as only Havok can make them pay! With that, he blasts away. Spider-Man is amazed by his power. For a moment, Havok seemed like a living star.

Eventually, the two of them prevail against the number of their foes. Spider-Man believes that’s the end. Alex grimly informs him it just started. Beating the flunkies means nothing. They need to beat their boss!

That moment, they are hit by a blast courtesy of their leader, the Living Pharaoh. Seeing the man in his Egyptian get-up, Spidey asks if he is for real? Very much so, is Havok’s grim reply.

The Living Pharaoh gloats he has been waiting for this a long time. Before the night is over, one of them will emerge triumphant – and it will be him!

Spider-Man tries to provoke him, to distract him from Havok who caught the brunt of the blast. However, this earns him another energy blast and he is punched through the wall. On the other side, a young woman is horrified fearing he is dead.

A fear shared by Havok. That’s two lives the Pharaoh owes him! Things have changed, he announces, since they last met. He is no longer a kid! He knows what his power is and he is no longer afraid to use it!

The two mutants blast at each other, equal in power none giving in. The stalemate might last forever, but one of the goons throws a chain with an Ankh pendant over Havok’s head and immediately Havok is paralyzed. As the Pharaoh had planned. Havok is completely helpless. The Pharaoh orders his henchmen to take Havok to his lab, while he prepares himself for the transformation.

The two henchmen quickly carry Havok to a subbasement. Alex Summers is aware of everything going on but he cannot move. He knows what is coming, too. His power and that of the Living Pharaoh are inextricable linked, with Havok the dominant part of this gestalt. So long as he is alive, the cosmic power they share flows to him, not to the Pharaoh. But should Havok die, then that near infinite power belongs to the Pharaoh alone.

The men put him down on a slab and inform him that unlike last time the Pharaoh wants his power, not his life. A casing is put over him and one man explains that this tube will amplify the power he and the Pharaoh share and transfer it to the Pharaoh. At the same time, the systems will keep Havok, his living battery, in peak shape.

However, they cannot close the casing, due to the webbing of Spider-Man, who crouches above them. The men are surprised. The blast should have pulverized him. Spidey makes a quip, not letting on that the blast while causing no broken bones did take a lot out of him.

He quickly kayos the two men, and thinks aloud that he will probably just have to remove the Ankh to help Havok.

That moment, the Pharaoh stalks into the room and orders him to stop or he will feel the wrath of one who is the personification of the gods Horus and Osiris.

Unimpressed, Spider-Man mocks his skimpy metallic costume. Is he trying out for The Wiz or Star Wars 2? Not in a mood for jokes the Pharaoh tries to blast him again, Spider-Man easily dodges the blasts, aware that the Pharaoh has to be careful not to hit Havok or any equipment.

Spider-Man hits him hard and the Pharaoh stumbles back against the casing. While the webbing holds, the piece of ceiling it is attached to drops and so does the casing, encasing Havok. Immediately the cosmic energy is transferred to the Phararoh who begins to transform into something more powerful. He grows to giant size as he once more turns into the all-powerful Living Monolith. He bursts through the lab’s ceiling as he grabs Spider-Man and booms the hero will be the first to fall before his irresistible might!

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Polaris (both X-Men)

Beast, Thor (Avengers)

Living Pharaoh / Living Monolith
Abdollah, Rashid, Jamal and other henchmen

Story Notes: 

Havok and Polaris moved to Muir Isle in X-Men (1st series) #109.

Magneto attacked Muir in X-Men (1st series) #104.

Aunt May suffered from a series of heart attacks in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #177.

“The time has come the walrus said” is a quote from Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”

The Beast finds the X-Men in X-Men (1st series) #111.

The Avengers are under house arrest due to events in Avengers (1st series) #172.

Havok and the Living Pharaoh first tussled in X-Men (1st series) #55-57.

The Wiz was a Broadway musical adaptation and of the Wizard of Oz book & 1939 film, updated to originate in New York rather than Kansas and with an all African-American cast. A film version debuted the same year as the publication of this issue.

In an interesting snapshot of pop culture of that year, Spider-Man assumes that the sequel to Star Wars, which hit the screens to massive financial success the previous year, would be called Star Wars 2. This is two years before the sequel was indeed released under the name the Empire Strikes Back.

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