Amazing Spider-Man #272
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #272
I love replacing an I with a Y to make a name more awesomely radical. Slyde. Reptyl. Stryfe. Alistair Smythe. (Ok that last one may be alright.)
Despite the name and a goofy power set (he's slippery and he, well, slides around), this is a decent story that sets up Slyde, aka Jalome Beacher, as a vaguely sympathetic character only to turn around on us again at the the end. Beacher had just invented his improved Teflon substance when his company was acquired by a group of people that were obviously mobsters. And they soon run the company into the ground and fire Beacher.
Beacher tries to go into business for himself, but finds that banks wouldn't give him a loan without a sizeable downpayment. Beacher is black but nothing in the script suggests that his inability to get a loan was due to discrimination, and he also doesn't seem to have tried taking his idea to another company or getting venture capital. So that's why i say it's only vaguely sympathetic when he turns to crime to get money for the downpayment.
Spider-Man runs into Slyde twice. The first is just by chance, and Slyde manages to give him the slyp (sorry).
The second time, Spider-Man was investigating the people that attacked Nate Lubenski and instead discovers that the mob is organizing a hit on Slyde, because Slyde is now trying to blackmail the mobsters that took over his former company.
And it turns out that Slyde had actually contacted DA Blake Tower and made a deal to draw out the mobsters...
...but at the last second Slyde double-crosses Tower and zips away with the blackmail money.
Spider-Man has already been down since Aunt May is still bearing a grudge about Peter not protecting Nate liked she asked him to (as i've mentioned previously, it's an attitude that seems a bit irrational unless she knows that her nephew is Spider-Man. Not that it's wrong for May to be a bit irrational.)...
...and she's now also lamenting that they've drifted apart (or more to the point, that Peter hasn't been making an effort to be in her life).
And he's further annoyed when he hears that Tower intended to give Slyde amnesty and make him a hero for turning in the mobsters. So when Slyde grabs the money, Spidey doesn't make a huge effort to catch him. And more significantly, Spider-Man has decided he's only going to look out for #1 from now on.
In an epilogue (labelled as a "prologue" for next issue), we see Puma's shaman uncle arrive to tell him that "He-Who-Comes-From-Beyond" has arrived on Earth, and Puma must stop him. The uncle sees Puma reviewing films of Spider-Man and tells him that he should recruit Spider-Man to help him.
I'd say that Puma's uncle has vastly overestimated Spider-Man's abilities if he thinks he can help take out the Beyonder, but more on that in upcoming issues. Earlier, Spider-Man saw a mannequin in a costume shop that he briefly mistook for the Beyonder (it does look sort of like the Molecule Man, which is i guess why Spider-Man made that mistake).
Instead of the usual Frenz/Rubinstein, art in this issue is by Sal Buscema with inks by Kyle Baker. It's a nice change, and Baker's inks come through very strongly.
Slyde was shown in a single panel in Code of Honor #3 taking advantage of the fact that most of the heroes were away at Secret Wars to perform a minor robbery. It may have been a mistake for him to be included there since this publication debut here is a ways away from Secret Wars (I), but since he doesn't interact with Spider-Man in that story, it fits fine and simply shows that he's been active for a while. Slyde says it was "a few months" ago that his company got acquired by the mob.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: See above for the note about Slyde's chronology. A "How to read Spider-Man" box in the lettercol of Web of Spider-Man #10 places this issue before Web Of #10-13 and the Death of Jean DeWolff story in Spectacular. I mention this because Spider-Man's resolution to only look out for himself from now on isn't (overtly) referenced in those stories, but based on the editorial intent it seems ok to place stories in other books after this one.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAunt May, Blake Tower, Jenna Taylor, Joseph Threetrees, Nate Lubenski, Puma, Shaman (Puma's uncle), Slyde, Spider-Man
Puma's uncle needs a character appearing tag, since he has several more appearances. I'm not sure what you want to call him, since as far as I know his name has never been revealed. Murray Ward's Indexes refer to him as Shaman II and the MCP adopts that usage. (Although, personally, Shaman II never made much sense to me, since he's a shaman in the same sense that Reed Richards is a scientist but what else is there to call him?)
Posted by: Michael | October 23, 2013 7:53 PM
Thanks, Michael. I went with Shaman (Puma's uncle). Considered Uncle Shaman but was afraid that might trigger someone to make me watch another episode of Uncle Grandpa.
The MCP doesn't list him as appearing in this issue if it's the same one that appears in PPTSS@ 7.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 23, 2013 9:15 PM
I liked Slyde too as a villain. More of a Daredevil than Spider-Man level villain, but the frictionless outfit versus webbing is appropriate.
As DeFalco writes it, it makes no sense that the bank won't give Beacher a loan without a "down payment". He's not buying a house. It would be more likely that they won't give a loan without "collateral" since new business loans are very risky, especially for a business that won't have capital assets they could seize on default.
The entire story is strange from a business perspective, but that is likely do to DeFalco's ignorance of the business world (and economic ignorance in the comics superhero genre in general). With a proven formula with real potential, Beacher should have easily found any number of investors. Also, unless Beacher's contract with his first company was extremely generous, anything he developed on company time (or in many companies, even on his own time if he was working in R&D) would be owned by the company anyway! He wouldn't be able to sell it. Although, it's likely he purposefully cheated his old company once it was bought it. Although it'd be likely they would sue him once they figured out what happened.
Very suspicious in any case. I think there is something else going on, and Beacher is an unreliable narrator.
Posted by: Chris | October 23, 2013 10:36 PM
Frenz should be credited too, right - at least I assume that art in the epilogue/prologue is Frenz. It sure looks like him.
Posted by: S | October 23, 2013 10:56 PM
Ron Frenz doesn't get a credit in the book or on any of the major sites that track and update credits (UHBMCC, GCD). As far as i can tell the art in the epilogue is the same as the rest of the issue, but the unusual Buscema/Baker pairing has thrown me off my scent so i could be wrong.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 24, 2013 11:31 AM
It was remarked back then that Slyde's costume weirdly resembled the Hypno Hustler's with the afro removed.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 24, 2013 6:59 PM
S, good eye on Ron Frenz in the epilogue. It's confirmed in the lettercol for issue #275.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 24, 2013 2:46 PM
At one point in the story Slyde tells Spidey "That's the biz, sweetheart!" Maybe it's just coincidence, but that's also the catchphrase of Remo Williams in the DESTROYER paperback series (and also in his Marvel comics appearances). Maybe Tom DeFalco is a Warren Murphy fan?
Posted by: Gary Himes | October 20, 2017 11:06 PM
I've wondered if villains like Slyde, Stryfe and D'Spayre expect heroes and journalists to spell their names correctly. Comic book baddies are usually very helpful in having us know who they are. There are exceptions, like Crossbones, who's a total jerk. I remember this fantastic Captain America story in which he was brawling with Dardevil; DD goes: "My name's Dardevil, what's yours?" And Crossbones, in a very nice touch from Gru, replies: "Use your imagination, what do you think this symbol on my chest means?"
Other than that, supervillains are very forthcoming, and referring to themselves in the third person is a popular fad among them (Brian Michael Bendis gaves us a clever allusion to this trope in DD's "Out" storyline). I imagine at least SOME might be considerate enough to tip us on the proper spelling.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | May 10, 2018 10:05 AM
To be fair, D'Spayre, as a supernatural avatar of a concept, probably doesn't care how humans think his name is spelled. Slyde and Stryfe though, are just trying to be kewl for the sake of poor literacy being kewl.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | May 12, 2018 6:19 AM
Makes sense. I just wish Stryfe and Slyde spent more time spray-painting their names on walls and sending signed letterbombs, lest their attempted kewlness by forever undermined by homophony. I guess a guy mistaken for "Strife" still gets to sound villain-ish, but bereft from collective presumption of poor literacy Slyde'll always be confused for a playground attraction. "You're name's 'Slide', like the toy?" "No, it's Slyde, SlYYYde, with a 'y', you dig?" "Oh...so ARE you in cahoots with that mean ol' Jungall Jim?"
But I find D'Spayre's devil-may-care attitude even more, ahem, d'spayreing. If you don't care how your name is spelled, why go through the trouble of switching letters around? Of course, he may've been named by someone else and given him the correct spelling (or if he figured out on his own, Heaven knows how!). "Bob, what if we raised our baby to become the supernatural avatar of the concept of 'despair'? We could call 'im 'Despair', what d'ya say?" "Jesus, Linda, we can't call him 'Despair'! You want him going around saying 'I'm Despair, the bringer of despair!'?? Kids'll go 'Dude, you're the bringer of yourself? Yeah, what-EVER! Don't hang 'round us kewl kidz, baldy.' Fer chrissake, Linda, at least give it some sorta twist..."
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | May 14, 2018 12:24 AM
To be fair, Stryfe comes from an alternate future. Maybe the spelling of the word evolved over time? Maybe even due to the influence of trailblazers (or traylblazers) like Slyde.
Posted by: James M | May 14, 2018 5:23 PM
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