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Spider-Man's Time Travel Adventure

Time travel is one of my favorite subjects of all time. In fact, I'm so obsessed with time travel I even wrote a book, which I hope you'll check out some time at Amazon called, "The Time Cruisers". So, it was only a matter of time before I posted some of my favorite time travel stories from my favorite medium, comic books.

 I hope to do an ongoing series of articles on the subject, and first off is the subject of this article, Spider-Man and his epic adventure back into the time stream where Spider-Man runs into the likes of Deathlok and Killraven along the way in two very messed up post-apocalyptic future time-lines.

It all started in Marvel Team-Up issue number 41 back in 1975 and ran through issue 46. Boy, those were the days, comics only cost 25 cents a piece and you could find them everywhere.

Well, anyway, back to the story. It all began with a bewildered Scarlet Witch who was compelled to answer a strange call. It was a voice that would lead her to the castle of Dr. Doom himself. Finding herself under attack not by Dr. Doom, but by Cotton Mather, a man dressed in attire reminiscent of the pilgrims, the Scarlet Witch let out a hex bolt in desperation. The bolt traveled to New York City where it found Spidey and transported him to the castle of Dr. Doom where Mather was preparing Dr. Doom's time platform for take off.

Mather forces the Scarlet Witch back into time to Salem, Massachusetts, to the days of the Salem witch trials, and Spidey follows after.

So naturally, Mather puts the Scarlet Witch on trial for witchcraft in front of an angry mob of early American Salem residents, and naturally her husband the Vision shows up just in the nick of time to save her, along with Spider-Man's aid of course.

Well, it wasn't quite that simple. In issue 42, a fight breaks out, Cotton Mather wins, and Spider-Man, the Scarlet Witch, and the Vision are captured and thrown into prison. They escape, track down Mather and meet a cat named the Dark-Rider - a very spooky dude riding a dark horse. It's then that Doctor Doom, of all people, shows up.

Scene from Marvel Team-Up 41

Issue 42 ends with the promise of "A Past Gone Mad!" in the next exciting issue!

Doctor Doom smacks the crap of Cotton Mather while the mysterious Dark-Rider lets on that he knows Doc Doom's entire past history, and declares that he is a rider on the winds of time itself! And he must have been a time traveler because here he was a villain in a 1975 comic book with an 1980's mohawk before anybody had even heard of Mister T. When issue 43 is over after lots fighting, it's the Dark-Rider that still stands and Doctor Doom, Spider-Man, the Vision, and the Scarlet Witch that lie helplessly on the dirt. To be continued of course with the caption, "Death in the Year Before Yesterday!"

By issue 44, everyone of course is captured, so another hero, or heroine I should say, pops up from the future, or the present, I guess, well, it's our past. Anyway, from early in the year of 1975 comes Moondragon to the year 1692, yeah that weird superhero lady with the bald head summoned by the hex powers of the Scarlet Witch.

The heroes wake up as the Moondragon fights the Dark-Rider and, by the end, our heroes prevail. Doctor Doom poofs back into the present and the other heroes take Doom's time machine back as well, but not Spider-Man. He asks the Vision to send the machine back for him while he checks on some Salem residents who were previously on trial. Unfortunately, they meet with a grisly fate, hung by the necks falsely accused of the crime of witchcraft.

Naturally, with Spider-Man's luck, once he takes his turn to travel back to the present, he misses his destination altogether and winds up in a future world where the aliens from H.G. Wells' novel the War of the Worlds have taken over the Earth. In this alternate timeline the aliens had returned in the future year of 2001, which is our past, of course. In the years, 2018 through 2020 a freedom fighter had emerged named Killraven with whom Spidey teams up with in issue 45.

As soon as Spider-Man arrives in this terrible future world, he runs into Killraven while fighting off the machines of the Martians driven by their human slaves. After a few heads have been bashed, Killraven fills Spider-Man in on the events leading up to this strange timeline. Spider-Man of course, doesn't know if he's in a alternate timeline or what, so the news that one day the world will be taken over by Martians doesn't exactly sit well with him.

After a few more battles, Spider-Man once again hops aboard Doctor Doom's time machine in hopes that this time he'll make it back to the present. For more on Killraven.

But poor Spidey winds up in another post apocalyptic future timeline in the year 1990 in the world of Deathlok.

At this point, it's only around 15 years from Spider-Man's future. At the time of this writing, it's ironically 24 years in our past. Aren't you glad the future, our present didn't turn out quite as bad as they were predicting, at least so far?

This version of Deathlok was Luther Manning, a soldier who, after being near-fatally injured, awakens in the body of the experimental Deathlok cyborg built by Harlan Ryker in a post-apocalyptic future. Another version of Deathlok recently appeared on the television series Agents of SHIELD.

At first, Spider-Man takes the cyborg as a bad guy, defending what he assumes are a bunch of kids that turn out to be mind-numbed radioactive mutants intent on killing Spider-Man and Deathlok. Again, the shock of believing that only in a few years the world would be destroyed is a major shock for Spider-Man.

After fighting hordes of bad guys, Spider-Man heads back once again to Doctor Doom's time machine hoping that Deathlok's future isn't his, or, if it is, that it can be changed as the text itself says from Marvel Team-Up 46, "...Leaving the computerized warrior of a time that may or may not be facing the cold ruins of a once proud city."

And there you have it, a quick over view of a awesome classic story arc taking Spider-Man from early American history to his future, our past, and our future, or something like that.

For more on Deathlok.

You can find this entire story in Essentials Marvel Team-Up Vol. 2

Order the Time Cruisers from Amazon

The Time Cruisers The Exodus Trap
A search for a missing scientist, responsible for the Philadelphia Experiment during World War II, takes his son, Ronald Montgomery, and his friends on an exciting, epic-sized time travel adventure through biblical history and beyond.

While on his journey, he must confront incredible odds, facing the likes of Pharaoh's army, and Adolf Hitlerís Nazi soldiers and villainous right hand man, Bastian Wolfe. Joining him on this adventure are his prospective love interest, Mary, his rival for her affections, Mack, Professor Jack Warren, and a mysterious government agent named John Martin.

Along the way, this group of time traveling adventurers will also encounter Noah, Moses, and even the Biblical strong man, Samson. Relive the Bibleís greatest adventures through the eyes of our heroes, and learn the secrets of Americaís underground time travel organization, known as ATTA, sworn to defend America from all enemies, past, present, and future.