Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #115-116
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #115, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #116
..and then he shows up late for an appointment with Joy Mercardo to photograph Alex Woolcot, the child abuse victim that's been appearing in recent issues.
Alex's powers also trigger Peter's spider-sense causing him to burst in as Spider-Man even though there's no imminent threat. Spider-Man's arrival doesn't seem like a surprise to Joy.
But the most immediate concern is that he doesn't get any pictures of the confrontation between Alex's father and his teacher.
Peter's bad luck may even be having an effect on the comics themselves, since issue #115 seems to spoil the fact that J.J.'s Now magazine is ready for relaunch and that Joy is going to be on staff. That information is treated like new surprise information in Web of Spider-Man #16.
"Parker bad luck" has been a part of Spider-Man pretty much as long as there's been a Spider-Man, but after these recent stumbles, Peter sits down and flips a coin 179 times, and when it comes up tails every single time, he decides that there's something more going on than usual.
It's a good thing that he thought to check, because i never would have. Spider-Man's "bad luck" in the series lately hasn't felt like anything unusual. See References for the list. The argument is partially that he faced a lot of "run-of-the-mill" villains that gave him more trouble than they should have. Of course, Spider-Man may be partially or entirely wrong about how this bad luck has been affecting him, especially since some of his recent troubles - and i'm thinking specifically of the rapists that burned down his apartment and the Black Fox - were due to bad choices he made. But the "run-of-the-mill" line does seem to re-raise the question of how powerful Spider-Man is supposed to be; shades of how Roger Stern showed that the non-powered Tarantula should never have been able to challenge Spider-Man under normal circumstances.
In any event, Spider-Man goes to Dr. Strange for help with this problem. And let me just pause there and say "Yay, Marvel universe!". Going to Strange for help may seem out of the blue for the normally street-level Spider-Man, but Spidey does have a relationship with the magician and it's perfectly logical for him to seek him out when he's got a mystical-type problem.
Dr. Strange confirms that Spider-Man does have an aura "distorted by some type of bad luck power", which is "a combination of natural gene mutation and science" that is "bordering on the sorcerous".
Unfortunately, at the same time Spidey is seeking help from Dr. Strange, the Black Cat is on the prowl.
Good old Mark Beachum with the butt shot, and you have to love Peter David again doing the best he can with the artwork. Sure she's checking the lock picks in her boots.
Felicia invades the Foreigner's building, and finds the gold notebook that Peter sold in Web of Spider-Man #15, among a few other things (including Jimmy Hoffa's boots). She's discovered by some punky thugs, and she cockily stands undefended, expecting her bad luck powers to take care of business.
But of course they have now been removed.
The Black Cat winds up with a broken nose, but when she realizes that she's lost her powers, she rallies and defeats the thugs (we are into Rich Buckler's less photorealistic but also less asstastic art now)...
...escaping with the Foreigner's goods.
Peter gets home from Dr. Strange's and decides to stop in on Mary Jane. But they get into a fight when he sees Roderick Kingsley ("Roddy" to MJ) leaving her apartment. There's nothing going on between Kingsley and MJ but she does work for him and Peter gets jealous.
Meanwhile, we check in with the Foreigner, whose face we see fully for the first time. And he's got a visitor, a former student of his: Sabretooth.
Sabretooth is bored. His old partner (Constrictor) has bugged out on him and his old enemies (Power Man & Iron Fist) have vanished into thin air. And he hasn't killed anyone in two days.
Luckily he and the Foreigner discover what the Black Cat has done, and Sabretooth volunteers to hunt her down.
About this time, Spider-Man decides to check in on the Black Cat. He originally thought that she had deliberately hexed him but when she initially greets him very warmly - until he tells her he's not back in "that way" - he realizes that it wasn't deliberate. She won't tell him how she got the broken nose, and she kicks him out of her apartment.
That's when the drooling Sabretooth arrives.
But Spider-Man decides to return...
...so we get a Spidey/Sabretooth fight.
And man, Sabretooth is a whiny wimp.
Black Cat is not pleased with Spider-Man's interference.
At the very end of the issue, Alex Woolcot disintegrates his father.
Love the use of Doctor Strange, and it's really nice seeing Spider-Man fight Sabretooth prior to his elevation as a major Wolverine foe. And despite my "wimp" comment, he's definitely portrayed as a ferocious and dangerous opponent; it's just that his healing power hasn't yet made him immortal. Sabretooth's relationship with the Foreigner ultimately will turn out to be unimportant as well. We're not seeing the fully evolved character yet, although everything fits fine with what we've seen of him so far.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has to take place before the Missing In Action storyline begins in Web of Spider-Man #16-17. Also takes place before Dr. Strange's cloak is damaged in Doctor Strange #77.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): show
One thing I didn't like about the use of Dr.Strange was that he refused to erase Felcia's memory because it would be unethical for him to do so. In his own book, he erases memories all the time.
Posted by: Michael | December 23, 2013 11:24 PM
I meant to mention the PM&IF comment in my Considerations section. As you say, the reason Sabretooth's statement was ambiguous was probably because PAD didn't know how the series would end (although you'd think with Priest as editor...). But we know that Spidey shows up in his red & blue costume at Iron Fist's funeral, so this has to take place before that issue anyway. And the last time Sabretooth went up against Luke and Danny was PM&IF #84. So the timescale for Sabretooth's comment doesn't have to be immediate and we don't know when the last time he actually looked for them was. But they had been teleported to K'un-Lun, blinked in and out of existence by the Beyonder, their building was turned to gold and taken away, and then then Danny came back from K'un-Lun changed (even if he wasn't meant to be a H'ylthri clone yet, he might have come back with a different aura/spore). So there's a lot of room for his comment to work.
Not that i think it'll change your opinion of the story, but for your other points, i'd say 1) Dr. Strange wipes people's minds when in his (arrogant) wisdom he thinks it's for the greater good, but he doesn't want every super-hero with girlfriend troubles or secret identity problems knocking on his door.
2) I think Spidey is blaming a lot of his normal Parker luck on the hex, but it's possible that it really only came into effect when the Black Cat became active again a few issues ago. PAD is deliberately not definitive about when it started (e.g. he could have had Dr. Strange confirm that it's been part of him for a long time).
3) The Foreigner is (so weirdly, to me!) being set up here as Sabretooth's mentor and superior, so in that context i think it's acceptable that he could find a way to disguise his voice to trick his pupil. The smell would be the harder thing to mask; a tattered scarf or something might be enough to muffle his voice.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 24, 2013 8:59 AM
This is definitely PM&IF Sabretooth and not Claremont Sabretooth. It won't be long when Sabretooth gets sucked into the X-Universe, but PAD brings in Sabretooth for one more issue of PPTSSM. I wonder if PAD intended to establish him as one of Spidey's rogues until Claremont called in seniority?
Posted by: Chris | December 24, 2013 3:51 PM
Fnord, I enjoyed the story- I just had a few issues.
Posted by: Michael | December 24, 2013 5:43 PM
Claremont himself didn't make Sabertooth unbeatably tough in his Iron Fist or Ms. Marvel appearances, and Wolverine takes him out in about one panel in UXM 222, about a year from this. Sabretooth's varying threat level is really no worse than Spidey's own frequent difficulties with non-powered thugs. I disagree with Stern's approach if trying to explain away such things; they're so common they should just be accepted as genre convention.
Consider this very instance: Sabertooth's strength level is at the lowest end of the superhuman range, about a tenth of Spidey's level. Sabes is closer to a normal human strength level than he is to Spidey's. But that doesn't mean Spidey should be able to clobber him without working up a sweat. It's comics: there's no reason Spidey shouldn't have cool fights with everyone from Tarantula to Sabertooth to Firelord. The power differences shouldn't be emphasized or not according to what makes a fun read.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 24, 2013 8:53 PM
I believe Wolverine only beat him by unsheathing thus unbreakable claws in Sabretooth's gut, if it's the story I'm thinking about. That's pretty extreme.
It was more a problem with Sabretooth's healing factor. I believe non-powered villains have removed Spidey's webbing with no problem.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | December 24, 2013 9:03 PM
You're right about the Sabretooth/Wolverine battle. Scrambler messed with Wolverine's powers. Then Sabretooth wailed on him. However, he broke his hand on Wolverine's adamantium jaw & then the claws came out into Sabretooth's stomach.
Posted by: cjyde | December 24, 2013 11:21 PM
You could make the argument that Spider-Man was lucky to win the fight with Firelord, yes. But the fact that he had to fight Firelord (who had come from deep space for a pizza of all things) in the first place wasn't exactly lucky or probable either.
Posted by: Max_Spider | December 25, 2013 1:21 PM
Actually, considering how often Firelord comes to Earth, how intolerant people in the MU are and how short-tempered Firelord is, it's amazing Firelord hasn't gone on more rampages.
Posted by: Michael | December 25, 2013 2:19 PM
I felt he beat Fire lord way too easily. Fire lord is a match for Thor or Silver Surfer.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | December 25, 2013 3:46 PM
Peter David before this came out that the Foreigner was to facially resemble Patrick McGoohan.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 10, 2014 6:41 PM
To be fair to Felicia, it's not like Sabretooth doesn't get his ass handed to him by everyone else. There definitely has been far worse people he's lost to over the years (Mindee Cuckoo knocked him out with one punch in Austen's X-Men).
Posted by: Scott | December 28, 2015 2:27 PM
Mark, as drawn by Rich Buckler & Bob McLeod in #116, yes, the Foreigner does have a resemblance to Patrick McGoohan.
I've never been especially fond of the Foreigner. He very much comes across as a pet character of PAD's. I wonder if part of this is due to PAD still being new to writing. Perhaps if the Foreigner had come about a few years afterward PAD would have refrained from making him such an incredibly super-competent, amazingly skilled, almost-unbeatable foe. It's actually a bit funny that part of PAD trying to build up the Foreigner here is by saying he trained Sabretooth, who would certainly go on to become a pet character of Chris Claremont's.
I didn't read issue #116, or Sabretooth's subsequent appearance in this series, when they first came out, but as back issues in the early 1990s, when the X-Men were HUGE, and Sabretooth was considered one of their major enemies. Because of that, I was really surprised that the character was written in Spectacular Spider-Man as an adversary that the Black Cat could hold her own against, and who had no healing abilities. This was so completely at odds with how Claremont and others subsequently depicted Sabretooth as this unstoppable killing machine who would beat Wolverine within an inch of his life every year on his birthday.
But, as others have already commented, Sabretooth is hardly the first or last villain to be written as incredibly inconsistent.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 2, 2016 1:09 AM
I kinda agree with Ben Herman in regards to the Foreigner. At one point he says he has six ways to kill a person known only to himself. That made me roll my eyes. Most of all we ever see the Foreigner do is stand around talking, and calling the Kingpin "Willie" (and Fisk would probably snap the neck of anyone else who did that).
We're constantly being told how uber-bad-ass the Foreigner is, but he rarely (if ever?) does anything to justify the reputation Peter David wants him to have.
Posted by: mikrolik | January 2, 2016 12:57 PM
Well, he does have the Hobgoblin killed, in a scene so badly written people still complain about it.
Posted by: Michael | January 2, 2016 1:07 PM
Ooooh! Something just occurred to me!
What if Peter David wrote a story where the Hulk (either the grey "Mister Fixit" version or the green "merged" version) fought the Foreigner? Which one of them would win? Or would the difficulty in attempting to figure out which incredibly awesome and unbeatable pet character of his was better than the other actually cause PAD's head to explode?
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 2, 2016 6:12 PM
Michael: The Foreigner was commissioned by Jason Macendale to kill the Hobgoblin, but he didn't do it himself: he sent four goons in bright orange and yellow costumes to do it. He was too busy playing chess with "Willie".
And of course, revealed years later, it wasn't the actual Hobgoblin, but a brainwashed impostor.
Granted, if it was the real Hobby, and Foreigner did kill him personally, I'd probably still complain that the Foreigner shouldn't be able to so easily dispatch a villain that gives Spider-Man such a hard time, but I can't even do that!
Posted by: mikrolik | January 3, 2016 11:18 AM
Ben, I'm pretty sure either Mr Fixit would begin working for the Foreigner or we'd find out the Foreigner is in charge of the Pantheon.
Posted by: Chris | January 3, 2016 12:58 PM
Chris, either of those are terrifying possibilities!
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 3, 2016 2:25 PM
I'd like to make my own No-Prize explanation for Sabertooth's showing between his Iron Fist days and his later appearance in X-Men: Sometime after his Weapon X days, he would have been in some sort of accident or disaster that would wreck both his abilities and his mental state for a great while (of course I'd argue that Sabertooth's brain had never run at full tilt anyway, but that's just splitting hairs at this point). Since his healing factor and other powers aren't working correctly at this point, he has to have hasty retraining by people like the Foreigner and a costume that mimics his old claws to keep up the illusion that he's as tough as ever. As for his battles with the likes of Spider-Man and Iron Fist, he may be used to fighting super powered people, but I don't think he's ever fought genuine heroes before.
Posted by: D09 | February 5, 2016 2:17 PM
I've read that Claremont had an explanation for that, he intended for the real Sabretooth to only appear harassing Wolverine one-on-one, and that the supervillain Sabretooth who appears as one of the Marauders (and I think the rest of his supervillain career beforehand) is just an imperfect clone made by Mr Sinister. As far as I know that never actually made it into print though. So, sort of like the Doombots - If you don't like the story, you can say it's a clone of a clone of a clone of Sabretooth.
Posted by: Jonathan | February 6, 2016 11:42 AM
That's a cop out trying to make a villain more badass cause he gets popular. Doombots are ok for a great villain like dr doom. This is the real Sabretooth. the only reason Sabretooth switched to Wolverine was that Wolvie was the only hero he could defeat.
Posted by: kveto | February 6, 2016 2:53 PM
Yeah, I don't think Sabretooth is portrayed inconsistently here to any of his previous appearances. At this point, nothing has been printed in the comics giving him a healing factor, or any connection to Wolverine. Behind the scenes we know there was an intended connection to Wolverine, but none of that had seen print. He was just an Iron Fist villain, who became a Power Man & Iron Fist villain, and that's it. He was mostly known for being partners with the Constrictor. The Foreigner isn't being built up that much by having some seniority over Sabretooth, because at the time Sabretooth was a C-list villain. This was his 5th appearance since he'd been introduced 9 years before, and his 1st appearance in a comic not featuring Iron Fist.
The Ms Marvel story hadn't been printed yet, the Classic X-Men backup hadn't been written yet, the Mutant Massacre hadn't happened yet. At the time there was nothing to say that ripping the webbing off his face wouldn't put him in hospital, or that he couldn't get beat by the Black Cat. (And as Fnord points out, the comic is clear that he would have won that fight by biting her ankle off, if it hadn't been for his breaking his teeth on her lockpicks.)
Posted by: Jonathan | February 6, 2016 6:12 PM
Even after he was given to Wolverine, he still continues to be routinely beaten up by anyone and everyone.
I really don't know where Creed ever got his reputation as a badass. I actually started making a list of all the unbelievable people who have beaten him in a fight and it genuinely got too long and I thought nobody would care. The amount of children who have beaten him is hilarious.
Posted by: AF | February 6, 2016 7:04 PM
AF- he got his reputation because he took out Rogue in 3 punches:
Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2016 7:14 PM
Funny you should mention that Rogue one because I legitimately spent the better half of a day a year or so back trying to find an on-panel fight that Sabretooth definitely won against another established character who's not Wolverine (and even still, by now Wolverine has beaten him about 10 times for every time Creed has beat him).
That Rogue one was the one I found. (and the only other one I found was he also beat Maverick in Wolverine #166, but the severity of that was later retconned).
But for his few victories, he really is the definition of the worf effect.
Don't MAKE me write that list...
Posted by: AF | February 6, 2016 7:23 PM
Well he did beat Psylocke and nearly kill her requiring her to be saved by the Crimson Dawn. He also beat Caliban and Archangel in the same storyline. And earlier he fought Archangel to a draw in X-Factor 52, although Sabretooth easily recovered from his wounds, while Warren was suffering the consequences of being poisoned for quite some time.
Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2016 8:37 PM
AF,I've already made a list of heroes who kicked Sabretooth's butt. http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/peter_parker_the_spectacular_s_81.shtml
Posted by: kveto | February 6, 2016 10:39 PM
Posted by: AF | February 7, 2016 4:46 AM
About the clone thing: why would Sinister make a weaker/imperfect copy of Sabertooth in the first place?
Posted by: D09 | February 11, 2016 11:38 AM
Originally, per Chris Claremont, the real Sabretooth wasn't a super-villain per se, but rather a psycho from Wolverine's past (and possibly his father as well) that liked to screw with Wolverine on his birthday every year. The implication here is that Sinister got hold of Sabretooth's DNA and made clones so that he could have his own Wolverine type mutant in the Marauders as the original Sabretooth had no intention of working for him.
After Claremont was forced out, the revised status of Sabretooth was that he WAS the costumed super-villain we saw running around the Marvel universe and the one in the Marauders was the clone. Presumably Sinister cloned this super-villain Sabretooth since the original preferred to be freelance rather than working as a Marauder full time.
Regardless of which backstory is preferred, the comic book science behind cloning in Marvel generally portrays clones as becoming weak and degraded the more times they are copied and grown from a previous clone. Basically, Sinister probably did not intend to create weak Sabretooth clones but after a while that might have just been the best he could make.
Posted by: Red Comet | February 11, 2016 12:09 PM
There's not a thing I don't hate about that comment. Sorry.
Posted by: AF | February 11, 2016 1:37 PM
"Every Thanos or Mantis or Madrox appearance not written by me isn't the real one!"
Posted by: AF | February 11, 2016 1:38 PM
Parker says he can't crop the female victim from the pictures, but I don't understand why he can't just blot out her face or body to protect her privacy.
Posted by: Mortificator | March 20, 2018 1:00 PM
Flipping a coin 179 times? I'll remember that trick if I start having incredibly bad luck.
Posted by: Nth Wolf | March 21, 2018 7:03 AM
101 Uses for a Dead Cat was a hit book of cartoons by Simon Bond.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 21, 2018 7:30 AM
Comments are now closed.
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