Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #75

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of an Arc: "Octopus and Owl"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

There's a gang war after breaking out between Doctor Octopus and the Owl. The Owl wants to blackmail the city, Doc Ock has a more sinister agenda in mind. The Black Cat has also made a shocking return into Spider-Man's life, after she was previously believed to be dead.

In Detail...

"Ferae Naturae (Wild Beasts)"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #75
Feb 1983 : SM Title
Summary: Black Cat Returns
Arc: Part 3 of "Octopus and Owl"
Editor:  Tom DeFalco
Writer:  Bill Mantlo
Pencils:  Al Milgrom
Inker:  Jim Mooney
Cover Art:  Al Milgrom
Staff Only
Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #4
Articles: Black Cat, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Kingpin, Owl

The story opens with Spider-Man hugging the Black Cat, and declaring how happy he is that she's alive. As Spider-Man and Black Cat kiss, Spider-Man suddenly stops their romantic embrace and demands to know where Black Cat has been all this time. Black Cat re-tells the last time she and Spidey were together, when she dived into the river to escape from him. Since she didn't resurface, and Spidey couldn't find her in the river, he assumed she was dead. Shortly after, Police Captain Jean DeWolff arrived with a pardon for Black Cat's crimes. But Spidey thought it was too late, as she drowned. But that was not the case, as the Cat explains. After she dived into the water, she slipped out of her costume which was covered in Spidey's webbing. Suddenly she was ambushed by a group of divers who took her to a secret underwater lair. Here Black Cat learned that these men worked for Doctor Octopus, who held Cat as his prisoner.

Spider-Man is astonished to hear she was Doc Ock's prisoner, and explains to her that Ock is preparing to turn New York into a battlefield. But Cat explains that Ock wants it as a bone yard, because he's not interested in blackmail like the Owl is, Ock wants to prove a point. He wants to prove that he's the most dangerous man alive by killing every man, woman, and child in New York using the gadget Black Cat stole from the Kingpin last issue. Spider-Man and Black Cat head back to the expensive hotel Cat is staying at. As they enter her room thru the window, Cat gets cozy on the bed and invites Spidey to join her. Although he knows there's more pressing matters to deal with, Spidey cannot resist Cat's feminine charms. As Cat slips into the bathroom to get into something "more comfortable", Spidey lies on the bed and thinks about his feelings for the Cat, and how she is not really evil, just wild, and is trying to reform herself. Suddenly his spider sense goes off, as there is danger in the bathroom where Black Cat is.

Suddenly four tentacles come smashing thru the wall and door, as Spidey is knocked back onto the ground covered in debris. Ock emerges carrying the Black Cat in one of his tentacles. He demands the activator from Spider-Man in exchange for Black Cat's life. Spider-Man declares that Ock can't have either, as he launches himself towards Ock in attack. Spider-Man manages to land a punch on Ock's face, as Ock keeps him at bay with his tentacles. Ock declares that Black Cat will die for escaping him before, but Spider-Man warns Ock not to threaten his lady. Ock is surprised to hear that Spidey and the Cat are together. Ock tosses Cat aside as he launches all four of his tentacles at Spider-Man. However Cat takes advantage of this and launches herself at Ock, clawing at his face. Spidey realises Black Cat is out of her league against Ock, and he's right. Ock ensnares Cat in his tentacles, and hurls her towards the wall with tremendous force. Spider-Man leaps up and catches Black Cat before she smashes into the wall. As Ock reaches for the activator, Black Cat snatches it up. Ock is not amused, and ensnares Black Cat in his tentacles again and rips the activator from her grasp. Ock says Black Cat knows too much about his plans for him to leave her here. So he takes her as his prisoner, smacking Spider-Man away as he leaves thru the window, and towards a waiting helicopter outside. Spider-Man tries to snag the helicopter with his webs, but fails.

Spider-Man pays a visit to the Kingpin in his headquarters. His goons open fire at Spider-Man, but Spidey quickly dispatches them, and jumps on Kingpin's desk and grabs him by his jacket and demands to know everything Kingpin knows. Kingpin removes Spider-Man's hands from his jacket, declaring nobody puts their hands on his person. However the Kingpin agrees to answer Spider-Man's questions because he is afraid. Spider-Man is shocked, and asks what the Kingpin is afraid of. He says he's afraid of Doctor Octopus. Kingpin explains that he learned weeks ago that a war was being waged for this city. The Owl merely sought to rob the city blind, but Doc Ock is far more dangerous. He intends to render New York a wasteland. He intends to do this by using the device the Owl stole, which is a neutron bomb. The device stolen from Kingpin is the trigger for it. The Owl intends to use the bomb for blackmail, Ock intends to use it ....period. Kingpin says he's begun relocating his human resources, and intends to leave the city himself soon. Kingpin tells Spider- Man that the Owl is at his Aerie, where Doc Ock will also most likely be found too. As Spider-Man heads for the Owl's Aerie, he thinks of the danger the city is in, but admits he is having a hard time feeling as concerned about New York city as he does about Black Cat.

At the Owl's Aerie, the Owl broods over how the neutron bombs is useless without the activator, and curses Ock for not joining forces with him to acquire the vast wealth they could have had. Suddenly a large explosion blows in a wall to the Aerie. Ock's troops storm the Aerie, followed by Ock himself, who has Black Cat in one of his tentacles. Ock orders his men to seize the neutron bomb as he obliterates the Owl. Spider-Man arrives outside the Aerie, and sees the chaos ensuing inside. Spider-Man swings in, intent on saving Cat and grabbing the activator. However the Owl and Ock's henchmen spot him, and pull him down off his web line. Spider-Man sees Ock pursue the Owl, with Black Cat still imprisoned in his tentacles, but he cannot follow them, as he is out numbered by the villain's henchmen. Deep within the gloomy bowels of the Aerie, Ock is having trouble finding the Owl. Suddenly the Owl swoops down and slashes at Ock's right arm with his talons. Ock is furious that the Owl drew blood. Ock decides to put the Cat down while he deals with the Owl. Ock knocks Black Cat out with a tentacle before putting her down. The Owl swoops down again at Ock and shreds the cloth off his back with his talons. Ock realises he cannot find the Owl in this darkness, and so he tricks him by dropping the activator, knowing the Owl will swoop out to grab it, which indeed he does. Ock then grabs the Owl in his tentacles. The Owl tries to fight back with his talons, but Ock breaks them to pieces with his tentacle claws. Ock then rips off the Owl's cloak so he cannot glide anymore. Ock then pulls up the Owl's trousers exposing his leg braces. Ock then destroys the leg braces too, declaring the Owl cannot walk now either. The Owl swears that Ock will pay for this, but Ock says Owl is the one who shall pay.....with his life. With that Ock drops the Owl from their great height.

Spider-Man hears a scream as he fights the henchmen. He plows thru the henchmen towards where the scream came from, and thinks to himself if Ock has hurt the Black Cat, he's a dead man. Spider-Man follows his spider sense thru the darkness, where he finds the bloody and battered Owl, unconscious on the ground. Spider-Man swings on in search of Ock and the Black Cat. Meanwhile Ock is lashing his tentacles at the Black Cat, who has the activator, and is taunting Ock with it. As Black Cat leaps onto a girder, Ock smashes it beneath her feet, causing her to fall and drop the activator. Ock catches the activator and ensnares Black Cat in his tentacles. Ock then boasts about how he is going to inform New York what he is going to do, but not give them enough warning for them to be able to do anything about it. He will warn them of their impending doom, so that they will be aware of his genius and superiority, before they all perish. Suddenly Spider-Man leaps down at Ock and says "Octopus, there's a four letter word for people like you! SICK!!". Spidey lands a punch on Ock, as Ock rants that he is not insane, and his every action is guided by the pure light of reason. Spider-Man mocks Ock, but Ock says that Spider-Man was always incapable of understanding his genius. As Ock grabs Spider-Man's neck in one of his tentacle claws and begins to choke him, Black Cat wrenches the tentacle off Spider-Man's neck. Ock is furious and begins to brutally smash Black Cat against the walls. Spider-Man tries to get Ock to release Cat, but Ock continues to smash her against the walls, but he drops the activator as Spider- Man struggles against him. However one of his tentacles grab it again and attempt to put it into the neutron bomb. Spider-Man grabs Ock by his tentacles and pulls him towards him, where he viciously rips Ock's tentacles off his body. Ock screams in pain as if they were his own flesh and blood arms that were ripped off him, as he falls to the ground. Spider-Man then swings over to Black Cat, who is on the floor in pain. Ock is still writhing in agony as his severed tentacles continue to move. As Spidey takes Black Cat in his arms, she says to him that he defeated his greatest enemy. He won. Spidey tells her to hush, and let them enjoy a few quiet moments together, as he hugs her.

In General...

This 75th issue of Spectacular Spider-Man was a double sized issue, and boy am I glad it was. Double the pages and double the excitement. The gang war between Doc Ock and the Owl reaches a thrilling climax. Ock is one evil and ruthless man. His twisted scheme to obliterate New York and all of it's citizens just to prove a point is fantastically fiendish. His brutal beating of both the Owl and Black Cat is awesome. And the Kingpin saying he was actually afraid of Doc Ock?? Loved it. Ock was on fire in this one. Truly one of his crowning issues of villainy.

Spidey and Black Cat's relationship has never been a favorite of mine. Black Cat's methods of crime fighting were always too wild for Spider-Man's taste. They never seemed to have much in common except raw animal attraction. And Spidey had a lot of reservations about teaming with her in this one. And he was right to have them too. Black Cat deliberately put herself in harm's way several times, and it's always Spider-Man who has to save her. More of a hindrance than a help she is.

Overall Rating...

Doctor Octopus is my favorite Spidey villain, and he really shined with his villainy in this one. A classic Ock story. I've never been a huge fan of Black Cat, so to see Doc Ock bashing the living daylights out of her was a wonderful bonus.

A solid five webs.