Amazing Spider-Man #194-195
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #194, Amazing Spider-Man #195
Wolfman's Spider-man is still pretty bad. However, this is the first appearance of the Black Cat, so give him credit for creating a character with some longevity.
A decent amount of time is spent following the Cat directly, showing her recruit some henchmen and raiding various buildings in order to get information so she can break her dying father out of jail so her mother can see him one last time. She's obviously meant to be a sympathetic character, but at the same time she doesn't have a problem trying to murder Spider-man to achieve her goals.
Since she's a sexy girl in a cat suit, we get some 'jokes' you'd never see with a male villain.
And of course she uses her sexy powers to escape Spidey (to be fair, Spider-man has always been shown to be flustered when fighting women).
Spidey's a bit of a stickler in this arc. Knowing that the Black Cat is only doing what she's doing for her father and mother, he takes a really hard line on respecting the law, which isn't like him, and he spends so much time fighting her that she doesn't get to say goodbye to her father. In the end, she seemingly falls to her death.
The Black Cat is shown to have bad luck powers in these issues. It'll later turn out that she's just rigging an area in advance to simulate such powers.
In a sub-plot, we find the thief who killed Uncle Ben. He's taken up residence in Aunt May's retirement home/outpatient facility. He's got some scheme involving May but can't execute it because Peter Parker keeps showing up to visit Aunt May. So he forces the doctor to help him find a way to get rid of Peter, and they do it by sending Peter a telegram saying that his Aunt is dead.
Another sub-plot deals with Peter's romance with Betty Brant, who is having marriage troubles with Ned Leeds.
Everyone involved in these scenes, including Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn, act like complete asses.
According to the letter pages for ASM #194, the Black Cat was invented by Marv Wolfman for Spider-Woman, but Stan Lee wanted some revisions and by that point Wolfman was off Spider-Woman, so he introduced her in this arc instead. Her design was by Dave Cockrum.
Keith Pollard's art is fine. It seems like the standard Marvel style for the Spider-man books (which has always been slightly different than the rest of the line due to the focus on so many non-super characters), but it seems a number of people were writing in complaining that Pollard was being forced to draw too much like Ditko. I don't really see it.
My copy of issue #194 has missing pages and cut-out panels. Luckily i have the pdf as well, but kids: think about what you're doing before you take your scissor to a comic book.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Because of the telegram sent to Peter Parker, there shouldn't be any Spider-Man appearances between this and next issue, and not too much time should have passed.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
The burglar who killed Uncle Ben actually first reappeared in one page in a later Len Wein Amazing Spider-Man issue, but that thread didn't go anywhere until after Len left.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 18, 2011 1:08 AM
You need to put the image with the betty subplot conclusion
Posted by: doomsday | July 5, 2013 12:22 AM
Ummm, ok, i guess? Done!
Posted by: fnord12 | July 5, 2013 1:09 AM
Posted by: doomsday | July 5, 2013 2:15 AM
Wolfman should have kept Peter and Betty together. Both were rejected by their mates and are very close. Danm you MJ!
Posted by: doomsday | July 9, 2013 3:54 PM
What did Flash and Harry do?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 3, 2016 5:48 PM
Jon Dubya, Flash and Harry watch the whole scene with Ned and Betty and then they storm out on Peter, telling him (in so many words) that they think he's a serious a-hole.
The Black Cat is pretty much just Catwoman, but with some Marvel elements added other backstory: a sympathetic cat burglar who shares a mutual attraction with the hero. Her dynamic with Spider-Man is different than the Catwoman-Batman dynamic, but that's mostly down to the differences between Spider-Man and Batman as characters.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 2, 2017 8:43 AM
If you'll forgive me, I think it's a bum rap. The Black Cat was introduced here as a super-cat burglar. She wears a body-hugging costume, walks and perches on high wires, and pulls second-story jobs. Catwoman, in those days, was rather a super-criminal who liked cats. She wore body-hugging costumes from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, but her Golden Age costumes had skirts, and she reverted to wearing a skirted one in the mid-70s. I can't say she never pulled a second-story job in her skirtless period, as I've not read all those stories. And she had fought Batman hand to hand more than once, and I can think of at least one story that showed her to be extremely athletic. But the stuff the Black Cat does here wasn't schtick she had done in story after story.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | April 3, 2017 9:05 AM
Yeah, from what I've gathered, even though Catwoman obviously predates the Black Cat, at this point the two weren't that similar, and it was actually Catwoman who was later revamped to be more like the Black Cat. Elements like having a romantic relation with the hero while still being a nominal antagonist were introduced with the Black Cat first.
Posted by: Tuomas | April 3, 2017 11:28 AM
Attraction between Batman and Catwoman goes way back. But in Golden and Silver Age stories the element was sometimes present, sometimes wholly absent.
From 1977 it was DC lore that the Earth-Two Catwoman reformed and married her Batman. Their daughter was the Bronze Age Huntress.
At the time the present story came out the Earth One Bruce Wayne was just beginning to get involved with his own Selina Kyle. She was his girlfriend for a time.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | April 3, 2017 2:37 PM
Comments have been disabled for the summer while i'm not around to moderate.
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