Characters Appearing: Bloodshed, Ricky Dichinson, Spider-Man
Web of Spider-Man #81
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #81
This one inserts an encounter between Spider-Man and a pair of brothers at some point in Spider-Man's past. They were breaking into a car, so it's a minor matter that wouldn't really stand out for Spidey (although, when pressed, he does recall one of the brother's names). But of course it would have been a huge deal from the perspective of the brothers. The story is from the perspective of the younger brother, Ricky, who was a bit of a coward and a pushover, and was only going along with the break-in because his older brother Wyndell bullied him into it.
Ricky was a minor at the time of the incident, so he plead guilty and his record was subsequently sealed. But his older brother skipped bail and disappeared. Ricky is now working at a trading company, and doing well for himself, but is constantly looking over his shoulder because he's afraid that his criminal background will be discovered or that his brother will return.
And his brother does return in this story, as a super-villain called Bloodshed.
Wyndell became a mercenary after skipping bail, and later volunteered for a program that gave him super-powers in return for doing jobs for the group that ran the program. The group isn't identified, but as Bloodshed, Wyndell later wound up working for Phillippe Bazin, the crimelord from the Darkhawk series. He's come back to Ricky now because on his last job for Bazin he had to dump a shipment of drugs to avoid getting caught by the Coast Guard, and now Bazin says that Bloodshed owes him for what the drugs were worth. And Bloodshed wants Ricky to steal from his company to get the money to pay back Bazin.
Ricky doesn't want to help his brother, but he remains cowardly and easy to bully. When he sees Spider-Man, he impulsively shouts out for him, but backs down when Spider-Man approaches.
But Bloodshed was watching his brother, and thinks that Ricky has tattled on him. So he attacks.
Spidey throws the fight because Bloodshed has no compunction about endangering nearby civilians. But he tags Bloodshed with a spider-tracer. Bloodshed then returns to Ricky's apartment and tears it up to intimidate him into not going to Spidey again.
Spider-Man meanwhile follows the tracer and sees Ricky again, and that's when he finds Ricky's name (in the apartment building's directory). Spider-Man then looks up the case but gets mixed up since Ricky's records were sealed and therefore there's only mention of one person during the old break-in. He comes to the incorrect conclusion that Ricky is Bloodshed.
Meanwhile, Ricky finds his courage on his own and refuses to help his brother.
Spidey then shows up, but he doesn't see Bloodshed and he focuses on Ricky, and gets hit in the back.
Spidey continues to get knocked around by Bloodshed, who makes the kind-of meta comment that once you lose the momentum in a fight you are guaranteed to lose. But Ricky serves as a momentum changer, jumping on Bloodshed's back, and then Spidey is able to knock Bloodshed out. In the end, Ricky no longer has that feeling of nervousness as he goes through his life.
A simple story. Definitely fill-in material. But the way Busiek chooses to tell it, it serves as a nice little character study. And it seems to me that with the Spider books being in the shape they are currently in, creator-wise, it would have made sense after this story and the next two turned out as well as they did to keep Busiek on as the regular writer.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It feels like a fill-in but it's got that old-school feel as if it was written in the early-mid 80s. Nice.
Posted by: JSfan | November 13, 2015 3:49 PM
Shame Busiek never wrote Spider-Man proper. His sensibilities would've killed on the character.
Posted by: JC | November 14, 2015 12:17 AM
Maybe once Dan Slott moves on from Spider-Man, they'll offer the solo keys to the kingdom to Busiek? I think he'd still knock it out of the park, but he probably just wants to focus on Astro City. It is pretty infuriating though that Mackie and Kavanagh were driving forces on Spidey for so long while we know Busiek would've been so much better. I wonder what a reboot with Byrne joined by Busiek would've been like rather than aimless Mackie.
Posted by: PeterA | November 14, 2015 4:02 AM
On an interesting note, Bloodshed just recently appeared in NIGHTHAWK #2.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | September 24, 2016 4:52 PM
So sad Walker's Nighthawk run got canceled so quickly. But post-Secret Wars appearances are out of scope for fnord so I'll continue my lamentation elsewhere.
Posted by: cullen | September 25, 2016 1:46 AM
Ricky was a young boy, he had a heart of stone
Posted by: Mquinn1976 | May 29, 2018 3:21 PM
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