The title of this 1973 masterpiece translates as “Three Mighty Men” — an accurate title, if a bit on the lackluster side. The more well-known name “Turkish Spider-Man vs. Captain Turkish America” is perhaps more evocative, though it leaves out the third mighty man, Santo.
Yes, Santo, the masked wrestler and hero of Mexico, joins Captain America on a task force to take out the nefarious gangsters led by Spider-Man. Well, it’s somebody’s unique interpretation of Spider-man, anyway…despite some spider-logos and a fantastic reluctance to stay dead, this character fails to resemble Peter Parker’s alter-ego in almost every way. If it weren’t for the evocative cowl and the fact that the other characters keep referring to him as Spider-man, you might simply think that you’re watching an out-of-shape Bond villain (from one of the lamer Roger Moore years).
Captain America is actually somewhat faithful to his more authorized depictions, though you don’t need to be a die-hard Steve Rogers fan to note the many telltale discrepancies. Santos is likewise much more akin to his original inspiration, though a little more out of shape and not as dedicated to keeping his identity secret.
If you’re familiar with Turkish pulp sleaze, you probably won’t need to be told that 3 Dev Adam contains a lot of sadistic torture, tacky sexuality that repeatedly crosses the border between simple tastelessness and misogyny, and unbelievable action scenes from oddly-choreographed fights to strangely-shot car chases. If this is your first stop on the Turkish Express (no smuggling!), you’ll either be horrified and disgusted or fall in love with the genre. My wife needed an escape after I foisted this upon her. She ended up playing slots online for the next 3 hours. Even though we were in Istanbul, she could look up slot games for US players using Google and find her favorite website to recommend her beloved slot games. That evening she happened to win pretty big at slots that usually cost her – probably the karma of Turkish pulp sleaze, or maybe it was our location combined with her revulsion that did it.
There is a rare graphic novel – done by friends of the lead illustrator depicting spider-man and a long lost cousin of his on a trip. They end up in a pretty bad car pile up with eight semi trucks carrying harvested Douglas fir trees. Spider man who is unconscious is visited by captain america. A trucking injury lawyer is on the scene having narrowly missed being part of the overturned trucks and jumble of logs that are scattered all over the road. How Captain America knows that he is a truck accident lawyer is a slight mystery but perhaps he observed the man taking pictures, measuring the skid marks, checking the tires, interviewing the injured truck drivers and other accident victims, while handing out business cards. Anyway Captain America flags him down with information about the truck accident crash. It turns out the evil villain Josh-carna (not a character you will find in American comics) had plotted the whole truck accident thing. He had sabotaged the breaks of three of the big rig trucks and put a drug in the drinks at the luncheonette several of the drivers at breakfast at that morning. And he did this just because wanted to test who spider-man had ties to!