Characters Appearing: Ashley Kafka, Frog-Man II, Harry Osborn, Leap-Frog, Liz Allan, Mary Jane Watson, Molten Man, Normie Osborn, Spider-Man, Vermin, Walrus, White Rabbit
Spectacular Spider-Man #184-185
Issue(s): Spectacular Spider-Man #184, Spectacular Spider-Man #185
Note that the final panel on the page above is a little shorter than the rest. I like to think that that is Sal Buscema's concession to all the gimmicky panels that have been going on with Todd McFarlane and all his imitators.
Also, Spider-Man asks Liz's step-brother, Molten Man, to look in on Liz.
We also check in with Vermin. Dr. Kafka counter-intuitively thinks that he's making good progress, since his Vermin side is becoming more violent, which Kafka says is because it knows that his human side is winning.
Then on the final page of issue #184, Frog-Man shows up.
The idea is that we've just had a long storyline full of heavy tragedy, so it is time to lighten things up.
So DeMatteis calls in all his comedy characters: Frog-Man, White Rabbit, and the Walrus.
Spider-Man goes to dinner at Frog-Man's house (Mary Jane convinces him to go so that he can lighten up and relax after all he's been through). And of course Frog-Man's father used to be the Leap-Frog.
Sal Buscema might have assumed that Frog-Man had a mother, too, but the script indicates that the woman there is just a visiting aunt, and Leap-Frog's wife did indeed pass away a while back, leaving him to raise Frog-Man.
DeMatteis makes a good distinction between the White Rabbit, who is interested in revenge against Frog-Man and general mayhem, and the Walrus, who would be content to knock over a gas station for the cash. But this isn't a story examining the motives of villains (i guess we had enough of that after the previous arc). It's a comedy issue. And sadly, DeMatteis is one of the driest writers i can think of; his idea of humor doesn't seem to amount to much more than, "Hey, here's a guy in a frog/walrus/rabbit costume!".
And the big joke is that Frog-Man gets the credit for defeating Walrus.
But that turns out to be Leap-Frog, who is more competent in his frog suit than his son. But his son does manage to defeat the White Rabbit.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Peter hasn't slept for "days" because he's been searching for Harry.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I'm a huge fan of DeMatteis' humor, as best seen in the comic that the "bwa-ha-ha" joke was referencing, Justice League America.
I love this story; the best part was Spidey finally having enough of the Walrus and finger poke of dooming him.
I'm slightly confused that Leap-Frog can be so good despite being not very good as a villain and also being older and gimpier. But good for Vin.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | November 20, 2015 4:32 PM
Wow. Talk about mood whiplash!
Posted by: Berend | November 20, 2015 5:24 PM
It takes a certain kind of artist to make the White Rabbit not sexy. Sal Buscema is dat artist.
Posted by: JC | November 20, 2015 10:49 PM
I think I said on the Defenders issue, Walrus was a character who should never have returned. The original story even ended with him losing his powers and the set-up suggested he'd move on to the next animal alphabetically.
I did like that DeMatteis acknowledged Speed Demon (and Yellow Claw). I was thinking to myself "Hold on, why isn't Speed Demon with them?".
There's something downright adorable about Spider-Man going to Frog-Man's house and considering Eugene a friend.
Also, as well as the "bwah-ha-ha" references, there's another Justice League reference. On the TV before the news reports on White Rabbit and Walrus' exploits, the newscaster says "'--all the Dwarf's fault,' Gardner was heard to say before he--" which is a reference to Guy GARDNER and Oberon from DeMatteis' run. (she says explaining something probably obvious to everyone else)
There's also something a bit weird. One of the news reporters is called Ira Gross. Which is also the name of that junkie Devil-Slayer befriended in DeMatteis' Defenders. Not exactly a common name either. The original one died, so this definitely isn't the same guy having "cleaned up" and got a job. DeMatteis must've just forgot he had already used the name and the editor didn't remember/know.
Posted by: AF | March 5, 2016 4:49 PM
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