Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #94-95
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #94, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #95
This is the most high tech we've seen the Kingpin get. He used high tech equipment to empower the Black Cat, but that was Harlan Stillwell's lab. It's also pretty gruesome for the Kingpin to be reanimating a corpse, poetic justice of using a former rival as a lackey aside.
We're reminded early in this arc that the Kingpin's wife Vanessa is in a coma via an oddly drawn Faces of the Kingpin sequence.
Silvermane goes out of control on his first test mission. He's supposed to be shaking down a loan shark that was expanding into unauthorized territory, but when Spider-Man shows up he goes after him instead. And when the Kingpin demands that Silvermane be shut down, there's some difficulty.
Eventually, the Answer figures out what's going on. It was Dagger, of Cloak & Dagger fame...
...who killed Silverman, and it seems that he's now got a connection with her light energy. He starts seeking her out, and meanwhile Dagger feels weak and depleted. This puts Cloak in the precarious situation of having to drain "light" from his victims instead of receiving it from Dagger.
Spider-Man is badly hurt in the fight with Silvermane and he goes crawling to the Black Cat's place. She brings him home and puts him to bed after he makes her promise she won't go after Silvermane without him. After she leaves, however, Spidey's costume slips back on top of him and takes him out for some sleep-webbing. This explains why Spider-Man has been so tired lately. While he's sleeping, his costume has been taking him out for a spin. And of course he webs right past the Black Cat, who assumes he's going after Silvermane without her.
Later, when Peter wakes up for real, the Cat has gone off without him.
Meanwhile, the Kingpin contacts the Rose and orders him to set up a big drug deal that will attract the attention of Cloak & Dagger. This is only the second appearance of the Rose. In his first appearance, he seemed to be an independent agent. Here, he is an agent of the Kingpin, albeit one that has a lot of ambition and that the Kingpin doesn't trust. It's not contradicting anything, and it makes sense, but it had me scrambling to look over my Rose appearances to make sure i hadn't missed anything.
Eventually everyone converges on the pier where the fake drug deal is going down.
Then Silvermane shows up and grabs Dagger.
While the others trip over each other trying to rescue her, the Answer swoops down and snatches her away (in addition to being the key to controlling Silvermane, he's deduced that her light powers might be able to help the Kingpin's wife). Cloak teleports away as well, taking two of the Rose's goons plus Silvermane with him.
In a subplot, Flash's girlfriend Sha Shan finally manages to get a hold of Peter and Flash's other friends, but they are surprisingly unsympathetic to her troubles. Harry Osborn is busy dealing with a hostile corporate takeover. And Peter, well...
I kind of thought maybe Peter suddenly suspected Flash of being the Hobgoblin or something and that's why he choked. But nope... it really was the chili. And they're all eating in a restaurant with the plainest decor i've ever seen.
I like this storyline. Al Milgrom is no Claremont or Stern, but his run on Spectacular is better than Mantlo's and he's hitting his stride with these issues. Not great, for sure. The dialogue is still kind of stiff and so is the art, occasionally. But there's a lot of moving pieces in this story and it's all handled well. I feel like Milgrom has a better handle on Cloak & Dagger than their creator Mantlo did, as well.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: We're getting to a convergence point for a lot of Marvel books due to the Casket of Ancient Winters storyline from Thor. Spider-Man is especially tricky because he appears in multiple books. Issue #95 ends unresolved, and issue #96 picks up with Cloak coming out of his teleportation. But by then Spider-Man has gone back to his old costume, so it take place after Amazing Spider-Man #258. And #96 takes place during the snow-storm from the Thor story. So while it's usually my policy to not break up a story-arc, in this case it's necessary because the Spider-Man books are wound up so tight.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAbraham Varley, Answer, Ben Urich, Betty Brant, Black Cat, Cloak, Dagger, Daniel Johnston, Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Kingpin, Liz Allan, Mamie Muggins, Nate Lubenski, Richard Fisk, Sha Shan, Silvermane, Spider-Man, Spot, Vanessa Fisk, Venom Symbiote
Al Milgrom is no Claremont or Stern, but his run on Spectacular is better than Mantlo's and he's hitting his stride with these issues. Not great, for sure. The dialogue is still kind of stiff and so is the art, occasionally
You know you have been reading too many old comic books when Al Milgrom starts to look decent.
I haven't read these issues, and I'll take your word for it that it works as a story, but those panels look pretty dire.
Posted by: James N. | September 9, 2011 4:22 PM
I don't like Milgrom as an artist, but I agree with fnord12 that this era of PPTSSM was pretty enjoyable. Not great, but it had its own identity separate from ASM and developed a pretty entertaining arc with the Kingpin/Answer and Cloak & Dagger.
Posted by: Chris | August 27, 2013 10:28 PM
I much prefer Mantlo's Spectacular to Milgrom's. Milgrom's run felt especially like a low-point in Spider-Man history, what with the drab art, terrible villains like the Answer, and the character assassination of the Black Cat that he continued (technically, I think Mantlo started it, but just barely before he was off the book).
Posted by: TCP | November 4, 2014 4:39 PM
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