Marvel Team-Up #93-94
Issue(s): Marvel Team-Up #93, Marvel Team-Up #94
The club is soon attacked by the Tatterdemalion.
I shouldn't be surprised after reading Spider-Woman's series, but man, LA has some really weird villains. This guy has a unique motivation, to be sure. He's dressed like a homeless person (or... tatterdemalion, my vocabulary word of the day) and apparently smells like one too, and he likes to destroy rich people's stuff.
Both Spider-Man and the Werewolf are afraid to jeopardize their secret identities to stop Tatterdemalion, but this is the nightclub where the Shroud hangs out, and he apparently recognizes Peter and Jack's problem and turns out the lights. He tells his agents not to get involved directly, though. It's not actually revealed yet that it's the Shroud.
But when the lights go back on, Spider-Man sees the Werewolf and isn't aware that Jack is now in control of his bestial form. Spidey considers him the greater threat and attacks him instead, giving Tatterdemalion a respite.
We'll see that Tatterdemalion is very punny, and i was disappointed to see Spider-Man try to get in on the act.
Tatterdemalion manages to capture the Werewolf and escape to a hideout in the sewer populated by additional homeless people. They apparently considered the Werewolf an inspiration since he too was shunned by society but now that he can control himself they are no longer interested. Jack's "up by the bootstraps" attitude surely isn't winning him any favors, either.
Spider-Man tracks the Werewolf down and while he's fighting Tatterdemalion...
...Werewolf By Night manages to escape and join the fight. Tatterdemalion's homeless followers flee the scene. And while the Tatterdemalion is weirdly non-corporeal, they manage to punch him out when they get his hat and scarf off.
The Tatterdemalion's punny way of talking can be annoying but at least it's a distinct personality, and his political views make him an interesting opponent. There's no time for any kind of reflection about that or a proper reunion with the Werewolf, though, because throughout all of this, Spider-Man has been observed by a mysterious woman. She appears in the aftermath of the Tatterdemalion, but only Spider-Man can see her, so he follows, leaving Jack Russell behind.
She turns out to be Dansen Macabre, another weird LA villain!
With her hypnotic dancing, she mesmerizes Spider-Man and sends him after the Shroud. She worships Shiva and doesn't like that Shroud is an agent of Kali. I'd complain about all these white people worshiping Hindu gods when there is a dearth of Indian heroes and villains, but it's probably better this way since i doubt they are being depicted accurately. For what it's worth, the Shroud doesn't actually claim to be an agent of Kali, and i don't know much about Dansen Macabre's backstory, although i see she has a number of additional appearances.
Spidey takes care of Shroud's partners Cat and Mouse...
...and then faces the Shroud.
The Shroud causes darkness to engulf Spider-Man. Spidey thinks he's able to use his spider-sense to locate and capture Shroud...
...but it turns out the Shroud was one step ahead of him.
In addition to creating darkness, the Shroud can apparently dispel all darkness, causing a flash of light that frees Spider-Man from Dansen's control.
She's still able to disappear...
...but the Shroud is still able to sense her, and Spider-Man can at least tell when she opens a door.
Spider-Man's spider-sense is pretty ineffective against the Shroud and Dansen.
The Shroud says that they're going to have to let Dansen Macabre go, since the police wouldn't be able to hold her anyway, and he's technically a criminal. Spider-Man immediately attacks the Shroud upon hearing that...
...but the Shroud is able to evade Spidey with darkness again. Frustrated, Peter decides to just head back to the airport and forget everything. But the Shroud meets him there, reveals that he knows Peter's secret ID, and reveals his own secret.
It seems like Grant, who co-wrote Spider-Woman #19-20, would have been right at home with her series, considering the penchant for weirdness he shows in these issues. Nice Mike Zeck art on issue #94.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place while Spider-Man is in LA, soon after Spider-Woman #20. Spider-Man returns to New York in Marvel Team-Up #95.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBuck Cowan, Cat (Shroud's agent), Dansen Macabre, Mouse (Shroud's agent), Shroud, Spider-Man, Tatterdemalion, Werewolf By Night
I like Taderdemilion but then I'm always a sucker for villains with unique motivations, especially political ones.
And it's interesting that Dansen Macabre (cool name) is always clearly intended to be nude (in spite of the colourist trying to cover it up)
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | July 3, 2013 3:45 PM
Steven Grant seems to be one of those writers with decent craft, but who didn't catch on with any popular titles or built up his own following. I enjoyed his Master of the Obvious columns online at ComicBookResources, but I always found his industry advice hard to take given his own lack of success.
Posted by: Chris | July 3, 2013 10:02 PM
The weird thing is that this story never explains who hired the Enforcer or who outfitted the Tatterdemalion. Instead, we veer off into shenanigans with Dansen Macabre. The Official Handbook claims that the Committee was behind the Enforcer and the Tatterdemalion but I'm not sure if this is what Grant intended or something the Handbook made up.
Posted by: Michael | July 3, 2013 11:06 PM
That's a weird credit for Jim Novak; typically he's only a letterer.
I don't think the Tatterdemalion was actually called that name in his WBN appearance.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 5, 2013 4:50 PM
You're correct on the Novak credit; it was Mike Esposito. Fixed it.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 5, 2013 4:57 PM
Going by this, it's weird that Dansen will eventually work for the Shroud in Night Shift.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 10, 2013 1:36 AM
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