Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #195

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Man Meets The Black Cat"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Spider-Man managed to come away from his first meeting with the Black Cat relatively unharmed but he wasn't so lucky when they encountered each other a second time.

In Detail...

"Nine Lives Has The Black Cat!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #195
Aug 1979 : SMURF 195.500 : SM Title
Summary: Black Cat Drowns
Arc: Part 2 of "Spider-Man Meets The Black Cat"
Editor:  Marv Wolfman
Writer:  Marv Wolfman
Pencils:  Keith Pollard
Inker:  M. Hands
Cover Art:  Al Milgrom
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 Reprinted In: Essential Spider-Man #9
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man vs Black Cat (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Betty Brant, Black Cat, The Burglar, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Leeds, Ned

Spider-Man lies buried beneath the rubble that was once a prison wall. The Black Cat and her partners use this opportunity to make their escape. Spidey gets to his feet and tells the cops he'll find Black Cat but he's in such bad shape he decides to call it a night and get some rest.

Black Cat takes Walter Hardy and tells her partners to split for the time being. Once Cat leaves, Bruno and Korpse are assaulted by an off panel fat man who's come to enlist their services.

Cat takes Walter to his own home, wondering how she could know where he lives and who she could be.

Peter is grabbing lunch at ESU when he Flash and Harry come to have a word with him, followed by Ned Leeds and Betty. Ned wants to hear from Peter that he'll never see his wife again. Betty wants him to tell Ned that he cares about her. Peter says he never wants to see either one of them again and to drive the point even further, he purposely acts like a jerk, telling Betty that her being there for him was only convenient since Mary Jane jilted him. Ouch. Betty, slaps Peter and runs off in tears. Double Ouch. Flash and Harry don't find Peter's behavior pleasant so they leave. Great job, Pete. You've done a masterful job of crushing Betty's spirit and looking like a heel in eyes of your friends.

At the Restwell nursing home, Dr. Rinehart has finally figured out a way to stop Peter from visiting aunt May and make the bugler disappear.

The home of Walter Hardy, Black Cat tells Walter that she brought him home so he could die with his family. She removes her mask--she's Felicia Hardy, Walter's daughter. She goes on to tell him that she aspired to be just like him and become the world's greatest cat bugler. She spent years practicing gymnastics and martial arts. When her father dies, she plans to keep following in his footsteps. She leaves him to rest and change because her mother doesn't know she's the Black Cat. As she's leaving, Walter reveals that he told her mother to lie to her about him being dead because he didn't want her to go the same route in life that he did. Felicia steps outside to give her parents some time alone when Spider-Man shows ups.

Cat and Spidey go at it again. Even though he knows her father is dying, he says that busting him out of prison still wasn't right. Cat is determined to keep her father so he can die at home with his family. During the tussle on the roof, both start rolling off the roof, but Spidey manages to grab the edge with his good arm. Unfortunately his bad arm hasn't healed yet so he's having difficulty holding Cat. He looses his grip on her and she falls to the rocky waters below. Spidey says that it seems like she squirmed free but thinks that he's just trying to make himself feel Better about her death. He goes inside the Hardy house and finds that Walter has already died.

Peter opens the door to his apartment and finds a telegram on the floor. His aunt has passed away.

In General...

The "death" of Black Cat, the "death" of aunt May, Dr. Rinehart and the bugler plotting against the Parker family, the fallout between Peter and Betty. There really was a lot going on in this issue but it never felt like it was too much to take in.

Peter telling Betty that he doesn't care about her and she was just convenient? Yeah, that was cold. Sure, he was only trying to drive her back to Ned, but that was a horrible, horrible way to go about it. Most readers probably would have been surprised if Betty didn't slap Peter.

So we've got Peter feeling like scum because he hurt Betty, decided to butt into Black Cat's business with her family, and as if things couldn't get any worse, he's informed that his aunt died. Now we all know she isn't dead. Still, I can only imagine how much hate mail Marvel received after this issue came out. Gotta give Marv Wolfman props for doing something this gutsy.

I originally thought the first story with Black Cat would involve her trying to steal some jewels or something, but we're shown that she is a compassionate and caring human being. She just wanted her father to die in a good place. Very touching.

Overall Rating...

The words on the cover read "This one has it all!" and it really does.