Marvel Team-Up (3rd series) #7

Issue Date: 
June 2005
Story Title: 

Robert Kirkman (writer), Scott Kolins (artist), Studio F (color art), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Schmidt, Moore & Lazer (assistant editors), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Ringmaster meets an old oriental man named Chen Hsu, who has with him a ring, formed from a fragment of the cosmic cube. It was commissioned by the Mandarin, but Tiboldt now wants his hands on it. He hypnotizes Hsu and takes the ring from him, though as he leaves, it seems Hsu wasn’t as hypnotized as the Ringmaster would like to believe. Meanwhile, Peter Parker ruins the food he’s cooking, and heads out in his costume to grab a takeout. He comes across Moon Knight fighting the Constrictor and gets involved. Between them, they defeat the villain, but then discover the Ringmaster robbing a bank. They intervene, but discover that, due to the Ringmaster getting the hang of using the ring, he has the upper hand. He creates a Circus of Crime to fight them with, but they eventually break his concentration and the circus vanishes. However, the Ringmaster has another thing up his sleeve, and he causes Spider-Man’s webbing to explode, causing a huge fireball. Meanwhile, Titannus monitors Earth’s heroes, waiting for the perfect opportunity to turn them into weapons of war.

Full Summary: 


Titannus returns to his craft after defeating Sunfire. He has been monitoring the super hero community, unbeknownst to them, for reasons not yet revealed. He is still concerned that Sunfire got as close to his beloved’s stasis chamber as he did. He tells her he’ll have to cloak the ship, and promises he will never fail her. He kneels down before her and swears his love for her over and over.

(New York City)

The Ringmaster, in plain clothes, meets with an aging oriental gentleman at a street café. His name is Chen Hsu. He has something that Tiboldt seeks, and pulls a small piece of jewelry from inside his shirt. It is a glowing ring. It has the power to warp reality around the wearer. He explains that the Mandarin commissioned its forming, from a fragment of the western world’s fabled cosmic cube. The Mandarin passed to the other realm before it could be completed, and his son is not worthy of its power. He shows it to the Ringmaster, asking him to make of it what he will.

Tiboldt tries to use his top hat’s hypnotic powers on Hsu, but the old man knocks his hat off with his cane. He asks if Tiboldt thinks him unprepared for negotiations. He is no fool. However, Tiboldt no longer relies as much on the hat as he used to, and uses his eyes to put Hsu asleep. Tiboldt takes the ring, and saunters off down the street, removing his overcoat, which he figures he no longer requires. As he disappears, Hsu is already awake. Evidently, he never was under Tiboldt’s spell.

(elsewhere in New York City)

Peter Parker is cooking steaks as Mary Jane reads a magazine. He asks why he had to cook - it’s her turn tonight. She replies that she got called in this morning, and worked all day. Peter, on the other hand, had the day off. Peter tells her he had the day off from teaching. He fought the Rhino today. She teases him about not knowing which of the multitude of super-villains he faces the Rhino is, before they launch themselves into some heavy petting. Unfortunately, the distraction causes the steaks to burn, and Mary figures they should get a Chinese takeout instead. Peter grabs his duds.

A crime is underway in another part of the city. The Constrictor has a couple of his henchmen moving some crates, but they are being watched by one of Moon Knight’s lookouts. He radios Frenchie to bring the glider round, before slinking back into his hidey-hole. In a matter of moments, Moon Knight is one the scene, and he delivers a deft kick to the Constrictor’s face. Schlicting is sent flying into a pile of crates, as Moon Knight throws a couple of bolas which wrap themselves around his henchmen, leaving them helpless.

The Constrictor uses one of his coils to wrap Moon Knight up, and seems intent on popping Moon Knight’s head off. In response, Moon Knight prepares to slice Frank, using small blades which snikt from his glove. However, before he can act, Spider-Man sees what’s going on and webs the Constrictor’s feet, pulling him away from Moon Knight. He leaves him dangling helplessly from a fire escape, and goes to speak with Moon Knight.

Moon Knight assures Spidey that he had the situation under control, as the Constrictor frees himself with surprising alacrity. They didn’t think it would be that easy, did they? His coil glows as he prepares to face them both. They attack Frank, whose coils smash the ground beneath them as they miss their targets. Moon Knight’s happy to fight. This is now personal.


Titannus looks at images of many of New York’s super heroes on a large screen. “Soon, my love, soon.” He says her father can no longer keep them apart. His madness will plague them no longer. He sees before him the raw materials that he can shape into the weapons of war to strike at her father, and force him to cease his attempts to separate them. Then, he will be able to cure her at long last. They will be together forever, as they were meant to be.

The ‘cosmic’ Ringmaster heads through a crowd of people, stopping traffic using the ring’s power and walks straight into the NY 1st National Bank building. <>

Spider-Man and Moon Knight have fought the Constrictor and won. He is now thoroughly webbed up, upside down, between buildings. Even Moon Knight looks beat. They hear sirens and figure they should exit the scene before they’re arrested for doing their civic duty. Moon Knight grabs a ladder, which is dropped from his glider, and offers Spidey a lift. Spidey grabs the Chinese food and jumps aboard.

As they glide over New York City, Spidey is impressed with his transport. His shoulders get so sore sometimes, he wishes he had something similar. He had a car once, but it was so lame. Now it’s like he’s riding with Batman, or something. Frenchie notices the bank robbery taking place beneath them, and Moon Knight is immediately out of his seat, preparing for action. Moon Knight assumes Spidey will help, and Spidey replies with a little sarcasm that maybe Moon Knight should just assume he’s got nothing else to do. He quickly apologizes, though. He didn’t mean for it to come out like that.

Suddenly, as Frenchie beings the glider down, an explosion takes out one of the craft’s wings. They crash land unceremoniously in the street and evacuate the glider. Moon Knight tells Frenchie it isn’t safe, and to go. Spidey apologizes for his spaceship, but Moon Knight replies that Frenchie will probably be back soon with another one to pick them up by the time they’ve dealt with whoever shot them down. Spidey is a little upset about the takeout. MJ is going to kill him. “You’re married?” enquires Moon Knight. Spidey asks why that always surprises everyone.

Behind them, the Ringmaster approaches, carrying a colorful weapon, which he used to down the craft. He then drops the weapon, which reverts to its former incarnation; a flock of pigeons. As they fly away, none the worse for their experience, the Ringmaster holds his gloved hand up, showing them the ring. He explains that it can do anything he wants it to. He’s just getting the hang of using it, but they can imagine his delight when he saw that they had decided to try and foil his bank robbery. His ultimate goal, of course, is world domination, but for now he’s just tearing things up - practicing mostly.

Because Spidey remembers his name, the Ringmaster tells him he’ll kill him second. Out of nowhere, a circus tent appears around them. The heroes find themselves standing in a ring of fire, with several of the Ringmaster’s cohorts surrounding them. He orders them to attack, and the heroes soon find themselves up to their spandex in animals, muscle-bound thugs and a bowling pin-throwing clown. It doesn’t take long to subdue the heroes, and an elephant wraps its trunk around them. Spidey easily removes the trunk, and Moon Knight’s staff is thrown with accuracy at the Ringmaster, and it catches him on the chin. The circus vanishes, leaving the Ringmaster on the floor with the bank’s security staff waiting patiently, hypnotized, and carrying his quarry.

Tiboldt admits that elaborate things take a lot of concentration, but he thinks he’s really getting the hang of this. He thanks them for allowing him to work with them. He’s learning all sorts of things he can do with the cosmic ring. For instance, he tells them, he asks Spider-Man if he knows his webbing is now a highly volatile explosive substance. Spidey suddenly becomes really worried. “You wouldn’t! Oh, you’re fighting dirty.” Seen from afar, a massive explosion rocks the street.

Characters Involved: 


Moon Knight

Titannus and his beloved

The Ringmaster/Maynard Tiboldt

The Ringmaster’s Circus of Crime

Chen Hsu

Café patrons

Mary Jane Parker
The Constrictor/Frank Schlicting

The Constrictor’s henchmen

Residents of New York

Moon Knight’s pilot, Jean Paul ‘Frenchie’ DuChamp and a lookout man

Bank security staff

(on screen)

Several super heroes including Wolverine and X-23

Story Notes: 

Although this issue is untitled, it should be Master of the Ring, part one.

The Circus of Crime first appeared in Incredible Hulk (1st series) #3. It isn’t entirely certain whether these are real people/animals transported to the scene, or simply constructs created from nothing by the Ringmaster.

Moon Knight is one of Marvel’s unsung heroes. Like Spider-Man and Daredevil, he spends much of his time fighting low-league crime in New York City.

Mary Jane having trouble remembering the Rhino is interesting, as shortly after she first met Peter, they both went into town to see the city’s latest super-villain run amok – the Rhino. [Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #41]

Issue Information: 
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