Marvel Team-Up (3rd series) #21

Issue Date: 
August 2006
Story Title: 
Freedom Ring: part two of five

Robert Kirkman (writer), Andy Kuhn (artist), Studio F’s Marte Gracia (colorist), VC’s Rus Wooton (letterer), Aubrey Sitterson (editor), Tom Brevoort (consulting editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Curtis has his new cosmic ring, and has been taking some time to figure out the rules. He has determined that the ring has several attributes such as the ability to create anything he thinks about. He has to be careful not to wear it whilst sleeping. He also creates a super hero costume for himself, and explains to his friend Troy that he’s named himself Freedom Ring! Curtis then heads out on a dinner and movie date with Jeffrey, a waiter he met at his local diner. Whilst queuing outside a restaurant, he hears an explosion nearby and decides to investigate as Freedom Ring. When he arrives, he discovers Spider-Man in combat with the Abomination, who Curtis thinks is actually the Hulk. He creates a rocket launcher and blasts the creature, but it has little effect. Spider-Man manages to rescue him from a pummeling, and then Curtis tries to drop heavy concrete blocks on the Abomination, again to little effect. When Spider-Man is caught and taken out of the fight, the Abomination heads after Curtis. He creates wall after wall to stop him, but they crumble under the creature’s mighty strength. It then punches Curtis in the stomach, and Spidey has to rescue him a second time, realizing that he’s in real bad shape. Fortunately, the X-Men arrive in the Blackbird and take on the creature whilst Spider-Man swings Curtis to the nearest hospital. Meanwhile, aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, the evil Tony Stark escapes from his stasis booth and takes on two operatives.

Full Summary: 

Curtis Doyle is learning to use the cosmic ring, which he has discovered can alter reality within a small radius around him. He has noticed there are a few other rules, too, which he relays to his friend Troy. He doesn’t need to know anything about what he creates. If he wanted to create a giraffe, one would appear. The same goes with a gun. He doesn’t need to know the mechanics - just that it’s a gun. If something leaves the radius it fades away. If he throws something away it will fade gradually once it reaches the limits of the ring’s influence. Also, creating multiple things requires a lot of concentration. He adds that he needs to take the ring off when he goes to bed as it can still work when he is asleep.

Curtis is pleased he’ll never have to buy groceries again, or cook. Troy laughs and says he’s envious. Anything else he plans to do with it? Curtis replies that there’s one more thing, and Troy will love it. He creates a costume for himself. It’s a brownish-red color with a silver ring on his chest. He tells Troy he’s going to be a super hero. Troy asks why. His parents weren’t exactly murdered in an alleyway or anything. Curtis replies that it doesn’t mean someone else’s weren’t. Besides, he’d feel like a jerk if he didn’t use his powers responsibly. The main thing he wants is to have some fun with it. He then informs Troy that he has picked a name, and Troy helped him choose it - Freedom Ring!

Troy asks how he helped with that. Curtis tells him that when he found the ring, he called it his ‘free dumb ring.’ It sounded stupid to him at first but he’s grown used to it. Troy wonders if his costume should be more patriotic. Curtis changes it into a red, white and blue version with stars on the torso. Looks kinda stupid. Troy then asks what he’s doing tonight. Curtis informs him that he has a date.


Curtis goes off to meet Jeffrey, a waiter who has asked him out. He hands Jeffrey a Fuglees CD as a present. Jeffrey’s never heard of them, but thanks him for it. They grab a taxi and head out on their dinner and movie date. They head to a posh restaurant and are queuing when they hear an explosion. They don’t know what’s going on, but Curtis wants to begin his super hero career. He feigns panic and runs away. Once out of sight from the crowd, his clothes transform into the brownish-red Freedom Ring costume.


High above New York City is the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. On board, in the cryogenics room, is a highly advanced Life Model Decoy. It has malfunctioned and now believes itself to be Captain America’s former lover, Diamondback. Also in stasis is an alternate reality’s version of Tony Stark, only he’s from a much harsher dimension and much more malevolent than this dimension’s Stark. The Professor, a doctor, enters the room with Agent Mitch Carson. Mitch is there as protection as the two inhabitants of the room are still considered deadly. The doctor needs to recycle the water in their tanks and check their vitals.

The doctor figures he’ll start with Stark first. They’ve been having to increase his daily sedative dosage and he’s becoming a bit of a bother. The green liquid empties from his tank and, unseen by the two S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, Stark opens one eye. He then steps from the chamber and grabs the doctor before Carson has time to react. He informs the doctor that he’s been immune to his sedative for some time. Carson pulls out his pistol and aims it at Stark’s head, ordering him to release the doctor or be killed. Stark replies that if he knew what he was capable of, he’d turn the gun on himself.

(elsewhere again)

Spider-Man is munching on donuts upside down on the edge of a building. He loves his new costume, as the extra arms can hold donuts with ease. No more sticky fingers. As he eats, an explosion rocks the street below. He swears that they know when he’s hiding from his wife eating donuts. He puts them down and swings into action.

Meanwhile, Curtis is annoyed that Jeffrey’s going to think he’s a total coward now, but he can explain things later. He realizes he needs something like a jetpack to get to the scene of the explosion quickly. He concentrates and creates a hang-glider, which sends him soaring above the streets. “Sweet!” he grins.

He arrives at the scene and discovers Spider-Man in battle with a hulking green monster. Spidey is using his agility to keep out of harm’s way, as the creature smashes everything around him. Curtis’s ring glows and his hang-glider disappears, transforming instead into a rocket launcher. “Hey ugly! I brought you something,” he shouts, before firing a rocket at the creature. Spidey swings away as the rocket hits home. Unfortunately for Curtis, as the smoke dissipates, the creature comes rampaging towards him, madder than ever. He is about to pound on Curtis when Spidey swings back around and grabs him around the waist, whisking him away from the creature’s massive fists.

Not recognizing Spider-Man in his new costume, Curtis asks who he is. Spidey explains and so Curtis informs Spidey that he’s called Freedom Ring. Spidey tells Curtis that the guy below isn’t the Hulk, as he seems to think. The green guy’s name is the Abomination. He’s been studying the Avengers database. He’s kinda on the team now, he adds, self-consciously, just in case Curtis hasn’t been watching the news.

Spider-Man’s spider-sense kicks in and he turns to see the Abomination charging at him. He leaps out of the way as Curtis creates a huge block of concrete over the creature’s head, which he proceeds to drop on it. Spidey warns Curtis to be careful as this guy’s no joke. He leaps in and smashes the creature in the face. Curtis then creates another block, but the Abomination simply smashes it before it drops.

The Abomination manages to smack Spider-Man away from him and then heads after Curtis. He creates wall after wall of concrete between the pair of them, but the monster smashes his way through them. The Abomination tells him that he cannot be stopped. All he wanted was to escape and to find his freedom, but they just had to interfere. He roars at Curtis, taunting him that he is weak. “You can’t stop me!”

He finally reaches Curtis, who is terrified. He slams his giant fist into Curtis’ stomach, putting him down for the count. The Abomination tells him he is soft and weak. He will not survive this. Luckily, Spider-Man swings down and grabs Curtis, just as the creature hammers both fists down on him. Spidey asks Curtis if he’s invulnerable because he took a bad hit back there. He then realizes that Curtis isn’t responding. He’s in a really bad way.

The Abomination yells at them, asking where they’re going. They can’t escape him. He then notices a shadow crossing his path and tells Curtis that dropping another large object on him won’t do any good. He then turns to see that it isn’t a concrete block. Descending from the Blackbird are the astonishing X-Men. “Oh, this is not good,” he exclaims.

The X-Men engage the Abomination in combat, with Beast, Colossus and Wolverine going in hard to put the creature down. Spidey tells the injured Curtis that it’s his lucky day. The mutants have arrived which means he can get him outta there. He then remembers how badly injured Curtis is. Perhaps this isn’t his lucky day after all. They’re only six blocks from the nearest hospital, and Spidey pleads, “Please don’t die on me.”

Characters Involved: 

Curtis Doyle

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Shadowcat, Wolverine (all X-Men)





New Yorkers

S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Mitch Carson and the doctor

Alternate dimension Tony Stark

Diamondback Life Model Decoy

Restaurant maitre’d

The Abomination

Story Notes: 

Troy’s joke about Curtis’ parents not being murdered in an alley probably refers to the origin of Batman, as his parents were killed by a mugger in an alleyway.

The Fuglees is a play on The Fugees, who have had several hits including Killing Me Softly and Fu-Gee-La.

Issue Information: 
Written By: