The Transparent Fox:
Issue(s): Spider-Woman #27, Spider-Woman #28, Spider-Woman #29
Actually, to be fair, that's not actually Spider-Woman. Now that she's a celebrity thanks to Rupert Dockery's coverage, she has fans, and the woman in the costume is the president of UCLA's Spider-Woman Sorority.
Meanwhile, with his Grinder super-villain a bust, Rupert decides to recruit a professional for his next attack on Spider-Woman. He visits the prison where the Enforcer is being kept. The Enforcer is being held under the name "Carson Collier". This added confusion to the already underwhelming mystery of the Enforcer's identity; it was pretty clearly established (via Dr. Druid's mind reading) that the Enforcer was the son of Charles L. Delazny, not Coot Collier's son Carson. So this seems to be a mistake on Michael Fleisher's part that the Handbook fixes by suggesting Delazny was using a fake name to confuse the police. The only reason this is worth sorting through is because of later revelations about the first Scourge.
Rupert pretends to want to interview the Enforcer about Spider-Woman, but the Enforcer isn't interested in talking. Rupert then pretends to leave his walking stick - which we've previously learned contains a hidden blade - behind.
The Enforcer uses it to escape. What the Enforcer doesn't know is the blade also contains a microphone and transmitter, allowing Rupert to listen to, and report on, the Enforcer's moves. Rupert is lucky that the Enforcer decided to hang on to the stick after escaping prison, especially since he is really enamored with his darts.
Considering the Carson/Delazny mix-up, i would have loved for Jessica to have let the newscaster finish their final sentence here:
"That's not my son. My son is right here!"
The Enforcer raids a museum exhibit featuring a giant spider statue. Spider-Woman, in a ridiculous disguise again, is waiting there.
The funny thing is the spider statue really has no significance. The Enforcer is raiding the statue because he knows that Spider-Woman knows that he knows that if he goes to the statue, she'll be there.
Anyway, Spider-Woman fails to defeat the Enforcer, and gets captured again.
To her rescue comes Scotty McDowell, who gets himself shot with a poison dart. The poison, according to the Enforcer, will cause Scotty to burst into flames if anyone goes near him, so the Enforcer puts him in the meat locker.
The Enforcer says that he'll cure Scotty if Spider-Woman will join him as a partner in crime and help him steal $10 million. She agrees. And Rupert Dockery is getting it all through his walking stick microphone.
The Enforcer's first job is a gem-encrusted statue owned by a Hindu group performing a ceremony at the Hollywood Bowl. Fleisher has a statement to make about that.
The next job has the Enforcer and Spider-Woman going for an insurance tycoon's stamp collection. By this point, police captain Alexander Walsh has heard about Spider-Woman's crime spree, and suspects something fishy is going on. So he ensures that his police don't apprehend Spider-Woman, and she and the Enforcer get away.
Spider-Woman's working relationship with the Enforcer isn't so great, but at least she isn't falling in love with him.
Their next job is a plane-jacking.
But back in New York, Spider-Man had read about Spider-Woman's crime spree, and took it upon himself to travel across the country to stop her. So Peter Parker is on the plane...
...and Spider-Man tries to stop them, but Spider-Woman actually knocks him off the plane into the ocean.
After swimming the eleven miles to the shore, he eventually tracks Jessica and the Enforcer down and Spider-Woman convinces herself to switch sides. As it turns out, the Enforcer didn't actually have an antidote to the poison he shot Scotty with, so there was no point in working with him anyway.
Scotty is therefore still poisoned at the end of this issue.
Spider-Man's appearance doesn't really add much, but it's not like that's the only problem here. The Rupert Dockery storyline is potentially interesting. Having to deal with press that is manipulating you is not a common plot. And there are plenty of times when Spider-Woman sees that Dockery's reporters just happen to be there whenever she and the Enforcer commit a crime...
...but this arc doesn't end with her doing anything about it. That's wrapped up very quickly in issue #30, and the idea that the police or the public might have been convinced that she's really a criminal isn't a factor at all. Even that would be ok if Spider-Woman had a clever way to deal with her forced partnership with the Enforcer, but that has a real anti-climactic end, too.
Leialoha is only on the middle part of this story, unfortunately. Ernie Chan draws himself into issue #29.
The fans do not seem pleased with this series, based on the lettercol. Regular writer 'verde' says it best: "There is little substance here. Characterization is minimal... With that lightweight tripe, you've managed to make the departed Jerry Hunt seem a deep and reasonable romantic interest... Jessica herself seems to have shed the full complement of everything built up in her rather short existence."
I can't say that Spider-Woman's book was ever great at this point, but verde's letter accurately describes its decline from "ok" to "poor".
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places Spider-Man's appearance here between Amazing Spider-Man #207-208.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showCaptain Alexander Walsh, Enforcer, Rupert Dockery, Scotty McDowell, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)
Michael Fleisher wrote a lot of nifty violent stuff for DC(horror anthology stories, Jonah Hex) but he just couldn't seem to fit in with Marvel's sense of continuity. He went back to DC after another year or so.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 10, 2011 11:06 PM
As bad as Spider-Woman's bondage scenes were, they were strictly kindergarten stuff compared to what Wonder Woman went through from 1941-47. Some panels I've seen in the WW Archives reprints are basically instruction manuals.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 6, 2013 2:55 PM
I can't believe "bugger" got past the Comics Code.
Posted by: Oliver_C | April 2, 2016 6:50 AM
I think it has a different meaning in the US. "That little bugger" is something I've heard in lots of older films and TV shows. I think it means an irritating person or pest here.
Posted by: Robert | April 2, 2016 9:36 AM
Well I'm half-right. It's 'used as a term of affection or respect, typically grudgingly. ("all right, let the little buggers come in")'.
Posted by: Robert | April 2, 2016 9:40 AM
Never been aware of Enforcer before, but now that I've seen him, I really like his costume. Simple, but cool.
Posted by: Dave77 | May 16, 2016 10:33 PM
Kinda interesting how the Enforcer loudly talks about the "Carson Collier retirement fund". I guess if he's actually Charles Delazney, this could be his way of maintaining his false identity facade?
Posted by: mikrolik | March 18, 2017 11:15 PM
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