Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #123
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #123
We start with Spider-Man responding to a call for help from the Black Cat. Felicia had received a phone call saying that, as Spider-Man's "lover", she would be the first to die. When Spider-Man arrives at her building, a bomb goes off. Spider-Man rescues the Black Cat, including her "ugly" jacket (which has been getting a lot of negative comments in the lettercol, but from the Cat's perspective it does have $40,000 worth of gold on it).
In the aftermath, Keating shows up and starts yelling at Spider-Man for always being around when there's an emergency. And his mere presence triggers Spider-Man's spider-sense.
There's a fun little scene with Spider-Man and the Black Cat trying to get into Peter's apartment and having to deal with the perpetual problem of the rooftop sunbathers Bambi, Randi, and Candy. The Cat has a unique solution.
It does clear the roof.
While Felicia is at Peter's apartment, and starting to get close...
...Mary Jane arrives, having just told another love interest, Alfredo, that she has to sort things out with Peter. Peter and MJ aren't officially dating, but finding the Black Cat in his apartment is awkward.
So when the Cat suddenly thinks of someone who can help them with the bomb threat problem, Peter leaps on the chance to leave. And so MJ calls Alfredo back.
Meanwhile, "J.D.", an assistant to the Foreigner, provides a box of equipment, including "one face mask, one gaudy leotard, and "one ammo belt with flame cartridges", to an unstable criminal named Kirk Donoghue. J.D. tells Kirk that he is to "avoid brutality".
Meanwhile, the "someone" that the Black Cat thought to get help from is the Foreigner himself, aka Rafael Sabitini, who is shown to have a weird penchant for disguises. Note that he also trigger's Spider-Man's spider-sense.
The Foreigner tells Spider-Man that the person who is after them is the Blaze.
The original Blaze was a gag villain created by two college kids trying to outsmart Spider-Man in an earlier Peter David Spectacular story. This guy, Kirk Donoghue, was a small time hood that had been busted by Spider-Man and recently was released from jail. The Foreigner tells Spider-Man that Kirk bought the costume directly from the college kids, but we know they were actually delivered by the Foreigner's assistant.
Foreigner gives Spider-Man and the Black Cat info on the Blaze, and they wind up in a department store where Blaze and some goons have taken a hostage.
The duo take out Blaze with little trouble, but Blaze's treatment of the hostage brings out strong reactions in each of them. For the Black Cat, this means manifesting claws, an element of her new powers.
And, after finding out that the hostage has already been killed, Spider-Man goes into a frenzy, intending to kill Blaze.
But Keating shows up - another suspiciously quick response time - and stops Spider-Man from killing.
In the end, while Peter and Felicia again begin developing something...
...Keating shows up at Blaze's cell, and tells Blaze that the Foreigner is
Lt. Keating has been a longtime minor police character, similar in some ways to Jean DeWolff, and he first appeared in some late 70s Defenders stories. So seeing him suddenly exhibiting super-strength and killing minor villains must have been quite a shock.
Peter David does great with all this stuff - Spider-Man's angry reaction, the relationship tension between Peter, Felicia, and MJ, and all the little jokes like Spider-Man telling Foreigner that he has all his albums. The problem, if anything, is the general mystery overload due to the state of the other Spider-books at this time. I also like Dwayne Turner's art, which mostly keeps the more realistic style established by Buckler on this title but occasionally veers to the more cartoonish, like the panel of the Black Cat shouting at the bathing beauties.
A "special announcement" in the lettercol says "The startling storyline begun in this issue, continues in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, as soon as the Gang War saga concludes in that title. Confused? Don't be. Everything will be fine -- we hope." It also indicates that next issue will be a "never before revealed" fill-in featuring Doctor Octopus. Indeed the next few issues will be fill-ins of various sorts, with Peter David next writing the issue on #128, although he does write Amazing #289, which is the issue after Gang War.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the "special announcement" above. While that doesn't necessary suggest placement, the MCP does place this during Gang War, with Amazing Spider-Man #289 taking place later on. I should also note that the MCP does not list Alfredo Morelli as appearing in this issue, which i am assuming is an oversight, although with his convoluted storyline plus the various disguises people are wearing, i can't be sure.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBambi, Black Cat, Candy, Foreigner, Gauntlet (Alfredo Morelli), Mary Jane Watson, Randi, Spider-Man
Felicia was responsible for the woman's death in this issue under New York's felony murder rule. Annoyingly, the question of Felicia's responsibility for the death- legal or moral- is forgotten about after this issue.
Posted by: Michael | March 1, 2014 3:14 PM
Mike Zeck was originally announced to be the new regular artist beginning with this issue.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 1, 2014 6:09 PM
Rafael Sabitini was the Italian writer of popular early 20th century adventure stories like Captain Blood. If Peter was better read, he might realize something is up with this Foreigner guy.
Posted by: Chris | March 1, 2014 7:14 PM
@Michael: That’s a bit ambiguous. Prior issues establish The Foreigner telling Felicia this plan and asking for her help in it. If the woman died due to Foreigner’s plan one might say she isn’t to blame for that. But regardless the Blaze killed her and that was of his own volition. Forigner didn’t intend that I think.
Peter is living with Felicia in that story, we just happen to not see her. As a proud cat owner lemme tell ya...they like to go off and prowl away from home for long stretches of time.
So....does anyone think Peter and Felicia were dating after this? I find it hard to believe given he’s only probationally trusting her.
Posted by: Al | December 14, 2015 11:33 PM
@Al- the felony murder rule is often applied in situations where one conspirator didn't intend lethal force.
Posted by: Michael | December 14, 2015 11:53 PM
@Michael: Legally she is culpable, morally it's a bit different. Peter wouldn't blame Felicia for what happened as it wasn't part of her or even the Foeigner's plan. Again the Blaze went rogue. Like if she planned to stage a fake robbery with a toy gun but the guy decided he was going to bring a bomb and murder everyone that's not really her fault.
Sure in ASm #289 they were sleeping together. But a lot of stuff in between complicates the issue, including him outright stating he doesn't have a girlfriend in Spider-Man vs. Wolverine.
I always assumed at some point after that (maybe in ASm #289) they hooked up.
Posted by: Al | December 23, 2015 9:00 PM
@Al- but if Peter had done the same thing, he WOULD blame himself.
Posted by: Michael | December 24, 2015 7:50 AM
@Michael...Yeah? Spider-Man blames himself for everything. But he’s clearly more sympathetic to his friends and other people. He’s never reprimanded MJ for abandoning her sister, or Flash or Betty for cheating on Ned.
When it comes to other people Peter has demonstrated that he is both more sympathetic and can look at things more clearly and logically. For Felicia she didn’t intend for that to happen and neither did Foreigner. The Blaze just did it of his own volition.
Posted by: Al | January 12, 2016 12:01 PM
Candi, Randi and Bambi never have tans...
Posted by: Benway | November 10, 2016 9:20 PM
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