Amazing Spider-Man #318-319
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #318, Amazing Spider-Man #319
And he does it by adding a bunch of gimmicks to his tail.
If he can destroy those inanimate plastic dummies so easily, just imagine what he could do to living, moving people. Wait, what?
I've always liked the idea that Scorpion was a stronger, faster version of Spider-Man. Scientifically accurate or not, that was the reason why Farley Stillwell chose the scorpion as the inspiration for the guy he was creating to kill Spider-Man. So Scorpion shouldn't need any gimmicks to be a threat to Spider-Man. He doesn't need to be shooting that stuff out of his tail any more than Spider-Man should be shooting it out of his webshooters.
But i guess after a career of straight losses, the Scorpion disagrees. So he's gone to Justin Hammer for an upgrade. In return he has to forgo his desire for revenge against Spider-Man and especially J. Jonah Jameson (who funded Stillwell's experiments).
I have to question Hammer's business sense, though.
Uh, buddy? Shouldn't you get the guy locked into a contract before you invest in putting high tech weaponry in his suit?
Thanks for that footnote, by the way. Helpful.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker is having trouble selling his photos. And also meanwhile, Mary Jane can't get any modelling gigs because Topaz is getting them all.
You didn't know Topaz did that in addition to hanging out with Werewolf By Night and Dr. Strange (although it might explain her most recent appearance). Ok, there was actually a real life supermodel called Topaz in the 80s; i'm just having fun.
But Peter and MJ aren't, despite what MJ wears to bed.
The next day, Peter hears from some college kids that they are going to protest a General Musgrave getting a peace medal. Since Peter needs money, he decides to go to the event to get some photographs. And it turns out that this is the mission that Hammer sent Scorpion on as well.
It turns out that Joy Mercardo and Lance Bannon are already covering the event, so Peter has no reason to be taking photos. But it does mean he's there when the Scorpion attacks.
In addition to his new tail blasts, he's got a mask that vaporizes Spider-Man's webbing.
He's a regular Iron Man.
Things are all going according to plan for the Scorpion until he hears that pictures of this fight will make money for J. Jonah Jameson.
Then, instead of kidnapping Musgrave for Hammer, he holds him as a hostage until the police bring him JJ instead.
While the police wait for a response from JJ, Spider-Man is forced to deliver the Scorpion a pizza.
But JJ ain't coming. Even if JJ were willing to sacrifice himself, he's been replaced by the Chameleon at this point. So he's a no-show. In the meantime, Hammer is not happy about Scorpion failing to follow directions, so he decides to call up some other operatives.
He settles on Rhino and Blacklash. I guess that's why he doesn't need a contract.
While Peter is out trying to get these photos, MJ is partying since she can't get a gig. And she learns from her friend Sandy that the real reason she can't get a gig is because she's been blacklisted.
Meanwhile, Scorpion gives Spider-Man the slip so Peter goes home. And he finds out the news from MJ, including the additional information that it's Jonathan Caesar that is behind the blacklisting.
I'm finding everything about these Amazing issues to be increasingly annoying. The characters are so unrecognizable it's laughable. That expositional summary of Caesar is very clunky and it also completely misses the mark (the fact that he tried to kidnap MJ seems to be the most important piece of information and it's left out). And on top of all that, this is a three panel page. Not splash panels. Just three regular panels.
Anyway, later Spider-Man tracks down the Scorpion and gets involved in what i guess i'll call a fight between him and Rhino and Blacklash.
It's not much of a fight and it ends when the police show up and all the bad guys run away. It's actually not clear what happens to the Scorpion except that the Rhino takes Hammer's tech back (well, just the stuff in the tail, not the web vaporizer in the mask).
That ending with Spider-Man talking to Musgrave about his friend the photographer is neither funny nor a good idea if we're supposed to take it seriously.
Also in these issues, we're teased with the idea that Harry is sneaking out to be the Green Goblin, but (for now) he's really just cleaning out one of his dad's buildings so that his family can move back to Manhattan.
Come on, people! This is the Rhino and the Scorpion, and ok, Blacklash. A big knockdown fight with Todd McFarlane art? Splash panels would be ok. But there should be something awesome here. Instead it's just a bunch of random panels on the last four pages.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I've placed this before Gerry Conway's three way gang war heats up in Web of Spider-Man #53.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Spider-Man Legends vol. 3: Todd McFarlane Book 3 TPB
Inbound References (3): showChameleon, Harry Osborn, Joy Mercado, Justin Hammer, Lance Bannon, Liz Allan, Mary Jane Watson, Rhino, Sandy Kintzler, Scorpion, Spider-Man, Whiplash (Blacklash)
How on earth does Scorpion's mask work? You can so clearly see his nose and lips that at first I thought it might be painted on, but then later you see him putting on the mask, which later even becomes a plot point!
Regarding MJ in her night things... is it me, or is the cheesecake art very suddenly becoming a lot more prevalent? I mean, there have always been sexy ladies in comics, but between the Goblin Queen, MJ's recent portrayals and other random stuff like that girl in the latest review of Moon Knight, 1988/1989 seems to be a watershed moment in the sexualization of women in comics.
Posted by: Berend | October 7, 2014 8:54 PM
I see Justin has his monitors set up Days of Future Past style.
Posted by: Max_Spider | October 7, 2014 9:19 PM
I too wish the Spidey vs. Blacklast and Rhino vs. Scorpion fights were longer. Heck I wish Scorpion could have laid at least one hit on Spidey. Guy had an amazing intro back in the 60s and he looks really great here!
Posted by: david banes | October 7, 2014 9:31 PM
Note that Man-Killer is listed as deceased but Busiek would later bring her back in Thunderbolts claiming her death was never confirmed.
Posted by: Michael | October 7, 2014 11:58 PM
Berend, I think you're right. ASM of this era really ushered in the cheesecake era in my mind. Reading the letter colunms, all they do is gush about how hot and sexy MJ is. It really made the comics feel like poor grade wanking material.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 8, 2014 4:28 AM
Fnord, as we'll see later, Harry really IS planning on becoming a heroic Green Goblin.
Posted by: Michael | October 8, 2014 7:43 AM
Scorpion's mask is one of those things that seems really cool but I have no idea how it works. IF someone touches Scorpion's face, would their hand be vaporized? Does Scorpion have to push a button to make it work (Rhino will later have the exact same feature on his mask)? Does it only work on inorganic material? Weird.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | October 8, 2014 11:59 AM
Oh yeah Gargan's tail powers being his trump card is lambshaded by The Symbiote during Mark Millar's Marvel Knight's Spider-Man run.
"So what? This tail hits slightly harder than the last one is going to beat Spider-Man this time?" or something like that.
Posted by: david banes | October 18, 2014 9:51 PM
While his narrative story-telling sucks, we can add Scorpion to the list of characters that MacFarlane is awesome at drawing.
Actually, the best example of the disparity between MacFarlane's awesome ability to draw a mask and his total inability to draw a real human face is in that panel where the Goblin mask is hanging up. The mask? Phenomenal. Harry's face? Drawn by a 5th grader?
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 1, 2015 7:59 AM
@david banes: Sadly, Millar was dead right on that one. "Get a new gimmicky tail" becomes the Scorpion's running storyline for the next several years, and it seriously diminishes him as a threat. Of course, if Millar wanted to make Gargan a threat again by turning him into Venom, he probably shouldn't have had Spider-Man take him out again within just a few pages at the end of the arc.
@Michael: Mentioning Caesar in the same story that features Hammer brings home the similarities between the two characters. Both of them are "untouchable" rich guys who have supervillains on retainer. Michelinie really, really likes the Bond-villain archetype; we've also got Carlton Drake and the Life Foundation floating around. And Michelinie also uses Sebastian Shaw a few times in a similar capacity. Even mercenaries like Chance and killer vigilantes like Cardiac turn out to be independently wealthy in their secret identities.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 1, 2015 8:12 PM
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