Characters Appearing: Abe Brown, Mindy McPherson, Prowler, Spider-Man, Vulture
Issue(s): Prowler #1, Prowler #2, Prowler #3, Prowler #4
So while he's doing some crime prevention on one end of town (and you have to love that the police recognize the Prowler's work. Do the crooks all have plungers stuck on their heads?)...
...the Nightcreeper is fighting crime lethally elsewhere.
When Hobie hears about the other incident...
...he walks out on his wife Mindy, who wants to talk to him about moving to California.
Prowler runs into Spider-Man while he's out, but Spidey knows that the Prowler wouldn't be killing people. They wind up just fighting random muggers for pages and pages, but it gives Prowler a chance to vent about how Silver Sable helped him get a new job, but he doesn't have time for the job and his wife and crimefighting. But if there was any chance of Prowler giving up fighting crime, Spidey's standard "I didn't fight crime and Uncle Ben died" speech puts the kibosh on it. Prowler then goes to the dojo of his brother (Abe Brown, of the Sons of the Tiger) and gets his butt kicked due to all the distractions in his life.
Meanwhile, Nightcreeper robs a technology company - which we learn is his current place of work in his civilian identity - to replenish his arsenal. He sees his boss arguing with a major shareholder while he's there. Prowler later goes to work at what turns out to be the same company, and he finds Nightcreeper standing over the body of the shareholder.
Nightcreeper denies having killed the man (and calls Prowler the imposter), but they fight. Nightcreeper says that he stole the technology for his suit from the "crooks who run this company". The fight ends when a night watchman comes in, because both characters agree that they don't want the watchman accidentally getting hurt. They depart, arranging to meet the next night to search for the real killer.
Hobie gets home, but while he's treating his wounds, Mindy learns that he's the Prowler.
In Amazing Spider-Man annual #25 Mindy knew that Hobie was doing dangerous work for Silver Sable, but i guess she didn't know exactly what. She locks herself in the bedroom, leaving Hobie to sleep on the couch.
The next day, Hobie goes to work and fakes surprise about the murder. He also learns that a Holden Tooks has gained a majority share of the company.
That night, Prowler meets up with Nightcreeper. But before they start investigating the murder, they see one of the crooks that the Prowler apprehended the previous night. He's out of jail already, "proving" that Nightcreeper's lethal methods are the right ones. They try to stop the crook and his gang, but Prowler ends up in a fight with Nightcreeper over his methods, and they separate again after Nightcreeper's actions get civilians shot at (we also see a flashback with Nightcreeper's daughter getting caught in crossfire and becoming crippled).
After watching another training/therapy session between Hobie and Abe, we learn that Holden Tooks is really Adrian Toomes, the rejuvenated Vulture. And at his company, we keep seeing a guy with penciled-on facial hair who is probably Nightcreeper.
Later, Prowler and Nightcreeper meet again and almost start fighting, but Prowler sees that Nightcreeper is about to crack and just tells him to turn himself in. But after Prowler leaves, the Vulture comes along.
When Hobie gets home, Mindy tells him that she's been given a promotion and is moving to California. While they're arguing about it, a news report shows that Nightcreeper has been taken to the hospital (and it's confirmed that he's pencil-stache). Hobie had seen the Vulture earlier but wanted to get home to talk to Mindy, so he only called the police instead of going after Vulture himself. And now he blames himself for Nightcreeper's injury. Hobie leaves without resolving things with Mindy.
Prowler locates the Vulture but immediately gets trounced by him. He goes to Abe to get patched up. The next day, Hobie goes to work and uses technology that he's been working on ("pneumatic controls for this laser 'bugging' device"?!?!?!) to spy on Tooks, and learns that he's the Vulture and that he's planning on using his pneumatic Prowler technology to improve the Vulture costume (villains: this is one of many reasons why you should fight your urge to self-narrate). So that night he confronts the Vulture again.
Nightcreeper shows up again, but he's barely standing and in any event Prowler has to try to stop him from using lethal force, so he's no help. Vulture gets away and Prowler takes Nightcreeper back to the hospital. Prowler then gives the police the tape of Vulture incriminating himself. And that's basically it. Prowler never catches the Vulture and he doesn't convince Nightcreeper that lethal force is bad. And Mindy is still leaving him for California. It makes an old school Amazing Spider-Man ending look downright cheerful.
For the most part this is all exceedingly average, which is good by the standards of the time. Nightcreeper is a bit on the nose (according to my thesaurus, he should later form a team with Lurker, Dark Skulker, and Trespasser) and the fact that he's duplicating Prowler's didn't mean that he had to have the exact same costume in a different color scheme (plus spikes!). Carl Potts and William Reinhold have both worked on the Punisher and it seems like they might have been using Nightcreeper to say something about Punisher-like characters, but he's really just a basic foil for Prowler (and he'll never appear again). Still, if you can tolerate Nightcreeper and don't mind the Youthful Vulture, this isn't a horrible mini.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place this (along with a lot of other stuff) between Amazing Spider-Man #389-390.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I think the company that Prowler and Nightcreeper work for is supposed to be the company that Gregory Bestman, the Vulture's old partner, owned. That's why the Vulture considers it "his" company- because Bestman swindled the Vulture out of his company.
Posted by: Michael | January 25, 2018 10:11 PM
The CEO is said to be John Bestman. Gregory's son?
Posted by: fnord12 | January 25, 2018 10:18 PM
Before he left Marvel to do Spawn, Todd McFarlane was interested in Spawn-ifying the Prowler, and there are certainly visual similarities. Maybe the residual idea that the Prowler could have turned into a “hot” character is what justified this mini.
I’ve always liked Hobie, and I’m glad he’s only treated to a mediocre mini, rather than whatever fate would have awaited him at Todd McFrlane’s hands.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 25, 2018 11:05 PM
I think that's some of the most blatantly terrible dialogue, even out of context and in excerpt form. "..my new CRIMINAL CAREER!", etc. And that last splash page is right out of Lee Spider-Man tropes, where Spider-Man laments why his life is so complicated. It's almost as if they were trying to force anyone into the slot of "super-hero with personal problems" to compensate for the uprooted Spidey status quo in his own books.
Posted by: Wis | January 26, 2018 9:32 AM
Wow, I had deja vu reading this. It reminds me of Shadowhawk's third series, where he dealt with a copy-cat vigilante who used lethal force, Hawk's Shadow.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | January 27, 2018 4:10 PM
I've always prefered the idea of prowler as a sympathetic villain to a crime fighting hero, but it's the 90s and he's got claws, so hero he is.
Posted by: kveto | April 19, 2018 2:56 PM
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