Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #24

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Worst of the Worst

This review was first published on: 1995.

Background...

Once in a while, a comic stands out fromt the crowd, and this one certainly did that!

First, the background. Spider-Man has just been officially pardoned (as of Amazing #186) but failed to graduate with the rest of his class as a result of forgetting about a gym credit (Amazing #185). Also, Aunt May is in hospital as we approach the story where she apparently dies in Amazing #198 or thereabouts. Peter has just returned home to his apartment to "Hit the Books" in order catch up his missed class and avoid six more months as an undergrad. Why he needs to study books to make up a gym credit I have no idea. Duh!

Actually, there's another clanger in this issue as well. Peter complains about how little time he has had for studying with all the women in his life - Gwen, M-J, and Betty. Of course, Gwen has been dead for five years, and even the Gwen clone hasn't been seen for two years. Oh yeah, and how come Hypno-Hustler didn't see Spider-Man get changed back to Peter at the end of the fight. Plus, having stuck webbing in his ears to fight H-H, how does he explain being deaf for an hour to his friends - the music wasn't that loud. Plus...

In Detail...

"Spider-Man Night Fever"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #24
Nov 1978 : SM Title
Summary: Death Dance of The Hypno-Hustler
Editor:  Bob Hall
Writer:  Bill Mantlo
Pencils:  Frank Springer
Inker:  Frank Springer
Cover Art:  Frank Springer
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 Reprinted In: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1
Articles: Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Glory Grant, Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Hypno-Hustler, Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Sha Shan

Anyway, back at the start of the book. As Peter walks in the door, he is surprised to find Holly, Flash and Sha Shan, Harry, Liz and Betty waiting for him. They are holding something more terrifying than any horror he has ever faced before - a white leisure suit, complete with waistcoat and a black shirt with a huge collar. They have decided that Peter is going to join them in a trip to the "Beyond Forever Disco".

There's a bit of a sub-plot involving the Maggia stealing some plutonium. The Maggia features quite a bit around these issues, but let's ignore that for now and rejoin Peter and Friends at the disco where he is having real trouble trying to relax. In a suit like that I can understand it. Mary-Jane turns up, and is peeved because she had previously attempted to ask Peter out unsuccessfully. She thinks Peter is dating Betty (who is having trouble with her husband Ned Leeds who is in Paris).

Before this starts to turn into a soap, let's cut to the action. The featured act at the club for the night is "The Hypno-Hustler". He dresses in a white spandex body suit with moon boots and some purple ornaments. He wears a pair of goggles with spinning spiral disks where the eyes should be. With the mesmerising support of his three backup vocalists, "The Mercy Killers", he has the power to hypnotise one and all. Hypnotise? Well, stun into submission anyway.

After robbing the club safe, the Hypno-Hustler and the Mercy Killers subjugate the fans at the club before burgling them. Peter manages to resist long enough to get into costume, sticking balls of webbing in his ears to block the sound. He then joins battle with the Hustler, whose boots turn out to be more than just ugly, but also fitted with knives and gas. Spider-Man toys with him for a bit, then pulls the guys headphones off and lets the Mercy Killers dazzle their own boss.

So, is that awsome or what? It's got action, fashion, dynamic interpersonal conflict, and at all stars the guy in the red and blue suit - or maybe that should be "the guy in the white polyester suit."