While I was putting the finishing touches on this review, the news came in that Stan Lee has died. This is very sad news for all of us but especially for those of us who grew up reading the Marvel comics of the 60s and, coming five months after Steve Ditko's death, is a hard pill to swallow. Thank you, Stan for all that you did with Steve and Jack!
If it hasn't been obvious, these newspaper reviews are written day-by-day so any reference to Stan on any given day is from that day. I am not going to go over it all and make changes. I'll let what was the present stay the present. I've been pretty sure that Stan hasn't been writing these stories for a while anyway so the references to "Stan" become a substitute for "the writer." With Stan's passing and Larry Lieber's retirement, we begin anew, assuming the strip continues.
Anyway, here's the opening for this review that I had written before hearing the sad news:
I have come to assume that the stories in this series end on a Sunday and a new one begins on a Monday. The Sunday "Next" caption is a good indicator of the start of a new story as well. But it isn't that cut and dried. Sometimes, the stories begin in the middle of the week. Here, for instance, the Sunday strip ended with the caption "Fury of the Iron Fist," a clear indication of a new story but MJ and Peter are still in Miami for the first half of the week. Oh well, close enough. Let's get back to Miami for the start of our Iron Fist epic.
May 14, 2018
Peter wakes up with a "Yawwn!" He says, "I dreamed I ran into this gorgeous redhead and we painted this town crimson!" In panel #2, Peter looks up at MJ who is getting dressed. His Spidey outfit is spread out on a nearby chair. "Oh yeah, I forgot! That's exactly what did happen, isn't it?" he says. "Very funny, Tiger," responds MJ. In panel #3, she tosses his Spidey suit at him and says, off-panel, "Now get dressed and pack your Spidey gear. I've booked you on the next flight back to New York!"
The Parkers seem able to book flights for the same day they're traveling with no trouble whatsoever. Either they are living in the 1950s or the strip-verse is one heck of a convenient place.
May 15, 2018
Now dressed, Peter jerks a thumb at the door as MJ puts on lipstick. "Better catch a cab to the airport," he says, "How about you?" "My Atlanta flight's not till afternoon," says MJ. In panel #2, they hug each other as MJ says, "I'll sure be glad when this publicity tour's history." "You and me both, honey," says Pete. But, in panel #3 (marked "Later..." in a caption), Peter has trouble at the airport. Alone in a crowd, he looks up at the departures and thinks, "Great! My flight's canceled. I'll be lucky to get back to New York by midnight!"
Maybe that's how you book a flight on the same day as it is scheduled. You book on a canceled flight.
May 16, 2018
The caption says, "Boarding an evening flight..." Well, that was painless. What was the point of the flight cancelation? Just a cute way to end yesterday's strip with the old Parker luck?
Anyway, Peter is going through TSA. A woman TSA officer motions him through the metal detector. "Always the same worry every time I fly," Peter thinks. In panel #2, he thinks, "Will the TSA find my Spidey suit - and refuse to believe it's just a Halloween costume?" In panel #3, a man TSA officer goes through his bag. "Sir - how do you explain this?" he asks. Peter recoils and thinks, "Uh-oh! Busted!" Talk about looking guilty, Pete!
May 17, 2018
The TSA guy pulls a bottle out of Peter's carry-on bag. "Surely you know - no liquids in a carry-on!" he says. "Whew!" thinks Peter, "I was positive this TSA guy'd spotted my Spidey garb in my bag!" In panel #2, he says, "Uh - sorry. Must've accidentally scooped it up at my hotel." As the TSA guy throws the bottle out, Peter thinks, "I panicked - forgot that today I'm wearing my costume under my clothes." He's in Miami in May with a costume on underneath and he forgot. Panel #3 is a close-up of Peter with the half-Spidey mask face and spider-sense bolts coming out of that side as he thinks, "Course if they'd done a strip search - how'd I explain a Halloween outfit as underwear in May?" Yeah, Pete! Explain that!
May 18, 2018
On the plane at last, with a guy sleeping next to him, Peter thinks, "At least when I arrive in New York, it won't be hard to get right to sleep!" Panel #2: "Meanwhile, somewhere in Manhattan..." according to the caption. Two goons with guns are chasing someone. "He ran into this alley!" says one. "And when we find him..." says the other. Panel #3 shows their intended victim hiding against the wall in the alley. The second goon finishes with "...that FBI agent is toast!"
This is probably the official beginning of the new story but... starting on a Friday? I'll stick with the Sunday-to-Sunday bit.
May 19, 2018
Okay, let's clarify this. The first goon has a Mohawk, the second goon is bald. The bald guy says, "He's got to be around here somewh..." but is cut off by a KRASSH. In panel #2, the FBI agent has knocked over a garbage can (the old metal kind that I don't think exist anywhere anymore...except in the strip-verse) and is running for it. But the two goons see him. "There he goes!" says Mohawk. "Blast 'im!" says baldy.
May 20, 2018
And the caption says..."While Peter arrives in New York on the red-eye from Florida..." Pete heads to Ground Transportation. There are a few bystanders around him. "I dozed off on the plane," he thinks, "Don't feel at all sleepy now." He is outside in panel #2 along with some bystanders and a policeman. He hails a cab and thinks, "Maybe I'll just stop by the paper and see what the graveyard shift is up to." In panel #3, Peter gets into a taxi. "The Daily Bugle please," he tells the cabbie, "that's on West 38th." In case you ever wondered. Panel #4 continues the caption from panel #1 which is right above it. But, yes, it's a bit confusing to have this panel begin with "...another Manhattanite is just trying to stay out of the cemetery!" The FBI agent is running through the alley. Off-panel, one of the goons says, "Stop, or I'll..." Panel #5 is a close-up of the agent as the shot hits above him with a BLAMM. "That was close!" says the agent. In panel #6, he runs right into Mohawk who points a gun at him and says, "The next one's gonna be a whole lot closer, FBI man!" What, was the FBI agent running in circles? Did Mohawk sprint around the block so he would be at the other end of the alley when the agent came out? What the heck just went on here?
Our "Next" caption is "It's Always Darkest...!" and it sure isn't looking good for the FBI agent. Last week's caption was the title of this new storyline..."Fury of the Iron Fist!" No Iron Fist yet but I'm willing to cut the caption some slack when it is serving as the title for the story.
May 21, 2018
And so "In a back alley in Manhattan..." Mohawk has the drop on the FBI agent. "Hold it right there, Jimmy Woo!" says Mohawk. "You know who I am?" says the agent. Sure he does! I do too. Jimmy Woo first appeared as an FBI agent in the 1950s Atlas series "The Yellow Claw," battling the evil Yellow Claw. Steranko brings him back in the "Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD" series in "Strange Tales" in the 60s to again face the Yellow Claw, only this Yellow Claw turns out to be a robot. Jimmy Woo has been seen off and on in various Marvel books since then. The Yellow Claw is "Yellow" because he is Chinese and was created in the 1950s when such derogatory stereotype labels were used. (In the same way that the Red Ghost in the 1960s is "Red" because he is a Communist.) The Yellow Claw continues to appear off and on but I doubt he would be referred to as "Yellow" these days. Back to the story.
In panel #2, bald joins Mohawk and says, "Sure! You FBI types keep tabs on us! Why shouldn't we keep tabs on you?" In panel #3, the camera moves up and behind Jimmy as Mohawk says, "We even plan to attend your funeral - like, right now!
May 22, 2018
Jimmy makes his move. He grabs Mohawk's gun hand and somehow spins him around. The gun goes off with a BLAMM. Bald tries to draw a bead on Jimmy who says, "Sorry, guys, but I'd just as soon not get shot tonight!" "Oooph," says Mohawk. But this ploy doesn't work. In panel #2, bald somehow gets around Mohawk (who is not in the panel) and whacks Jimmy over the head with his gun, which produces no sound effect except for Jimmy saying, "NNHH." "It's not like you've got a choice," says bald. But in panel #3, a figure in the shadows says, "Then maybe I'll give him one." Bald and Mohawk look over. Mohawk says, "Huh? Who in blazes are you?"
May 23, 2018
Bald and Mohawk confront the man in the shadows. "Step out of those shadows!" says bald. "Let us see who you are before we drill ya!" says Mohawk. The man in the shadows says, "Some people call me..." and he emerges in panel #2, saying, "...Iron Fist..." and he looks like a mixture of the iron Fist in the comics and the Iron Fist from the Netflix show. (At least, I think so. I haven't watched the Netflix show.) He's got the mask and the vest and the tights and the dragon tattoo on his chest but he also has a full beard that would probably make him easy to identify in his civilian identity. "...And here's why," he finishes in panel #3 even as he delivers a glowing punch that shatters the guns of both assailants.
May 24, 2018
Iron Fist grabs bald. "I'd heard you boys were operating around here," he says. Mohawk pulls a big knife and says, "You're not gonna hear anything ever again!" Jimmy has recovered and he steps in, yelling "No! Don't!" In panel #2, Mohawk stabs Jimmy. "Unnhh," says Jimmy. In panel #3, Iron Fist goes to Jimmy as bald and Mohawk flee. "You stabbed him, you filthy..." says Fist. "Clear out - while the masked guy's distracted," says bald.
I don't know where this is going but it's already more exciting than the entire Hulk-Lizard storyline.
May 25, 2018
Iron Fist holds Jimmy in his arms. "You're hurt - bad," he says. "I'm - Jimmy Woo - FBI," says Jimmy. In panel #2, Iron Fist leans in close to listen as Jimmy says, "Th-the guy - behind - this - is..." and if you thought you were going to find out in the next panel, shame on you. Instead, panel #3 is back to Peter as he gets out of his cab at the Daily Bugle. "While, some blocks away..." says the caption as Peter says, "City seems kinda quiet tonight. Robbie'll probably thank me for dropping by to break the monotony." What? Robbie is there in the middle of the night? Does he work 24 hours a day?
May 26, 2018
It's the middle of the night in an alleyway but a cab pulls up to where Iron Fist and Jimmy are. "Over here, buddy!" says the cabbie, "Your pal have too much to drink?" "No..." says Fist. He puts Jimmy into the cab in panel #2 and says, "He's been stabbed." The driver says "!" which I think means, "That's what I get for stopping at an alleyway in the middle of the night!"
May 27, 2018
The cab races through Chinatown. The cabbie says, "Metro General's not much farther! Don't let your pal bleed all over my cab, okay?" Panel #2 moves inside the cab where we see the driver and Iron Fist cradling Jimmy in the back. Jimmy has either gotten jaundiced from his wound or the Sunday colorist is indulging in a bit of racial stereotyping here. "Just get us to the hospital!" says Fist, "And don't be nervous because of this mask!" Also don't be nervous that his full beard from the weekdays has turned into stubble in the Sunday. Panel #3 is the same three people from a different angle. "The only people who have reason to fear me - are the ones who attacked this FBI agent!" says Fist."Meanwhile, in Midtown..." says the caption in panel #4 as the whole lower tier is devoted to the Daily Bugle. Robbie Robertson is sitting at his desk, talking on the phone. His name plate says "Robbie Robertson" even though "Robbie" is a nickname and his real first name is "Joe." "I never thought I'd say this - but I'll almost be glad when Jonah gets back from Florida!" he tells the person on the phone. And I don't blame him! Without JJJ there, Robbie is hanging around his office having private calls in the middle of the night. Panel #5 is all Robbie looking toward his office door as an off-panel voice says, "And if you stake me to a cup'a coffee, Robbie...," not caring that he's interrupting Robbie's phone call. Panel #6 reveals that the impolite speaker is Peter who finishes with "...I'll erase the footage from my phone so he'll never see that!" Robbie has apparently just hung up on whomever he was calling because he gets up and shakes Peter's hand. "Peter Parker - as I live and breathe!" he says.
The "Next" caption is "Midnight Assignment!" Last week's was "It's Always Darkest...!" which was so vague as to mean almost anything.
May 28, 2018
"Peter makes a late-night visit to the Daily Bugle..." according to our opening caption. Robbie Robertson is there, looking like he's tilting over a bit. The handshake between Robbie and Peter is very awkward-looking. It looks like Larry rushed the whole panel. "Great to see you! Jonah's still down in Florida," says Robbie. "I know, Robbie, I saw him," says Peter. Panel #2 is a closeup of both men. "You did? When he called, he didn't mention," says Robbie. "Well...actually it was MJ who saw him, and she told me," says Peter, thinking fast. And he thinks, "I forgot - Jameson saw Spider-Man - but not Peter Parker!"
May 29, 2018
Robbie returns to his desk. It looks like he has put his feet up and is about to fall asleep. Or he's double-jointed and he's crossed his legs. Or he's yanking on the leg of someone who is hiding under his desk. Or something. Peter sits on the desk (everybody is so casual) and says, "How's the Big Apple been getting along without me?" "Squeaking by," says Robbie, "Oh...the Kingpin just got out of of prison on a technicality. Rumor mill says he's back in town, but if he is, he hasn't..." Panel #2 interrupts him. It is a TV anchorman (turns out the TV was on in Robbie's office) who says..."to bring you a news bulletin." In panel #3, Peter and Robbie gawk at the TV, which now shows Iron Fist carrying Jimmy Woo to the hospital. "A masked man just appeared at Metro General Hospital carrying a badly wounded man," says the anchorman. Robbie and Peter both say, "?"
May 30, 2018
Peter and Robbie are still gawking at the television that is showing Iron Fist delivering Jimmy Woo to the hospital. The TV voice says, "The mysterious figure left the wounded man at the hospital - then fled before police arrived." "Not before a security camera got footage, though," says Pete. Panel #2 is a strange one, showing Robbie from the tieknot up and Peter looking up at him, showing Pete from the chin up. It makes it look as if Robbie is about a half a foot taller than Pete. "You recognize that guy - or at least his outfit?" asks Robbie, looking down. "Hey, just because I specialize in taking pics of Spider-Man - it doesn't mean I can ID every nutcase who slaps on a mask!" says Peter, looking up.
May 31, 2018
Robbie is in the foreground, filling up the left half of the panel. He cups his chin in his hand as he says, "If the Bugle had a photo of that masked character - maybe it'd make up a little for Spider-Man being out of town." And why doesn't the Bugle have a photo? The TV appears to, because there is a mug shot of Iron Fist now on the screen. Peter looks at the TV, his head turned away from us and Robbie so he doesn't notice that Robbie's comment sure seems to imply that he knows Peter is Spidey. Panel #2 is Robbie and Pete as Pete finally turns around to look at Robbie. "Peter, I know you're tired, but..." begins Robbie. "I grabbed a few winks on the flight here," says Peter, leaving him to finish up in panel #3 in a Loony Tunes spotlight, saying, "If I can't locate the guy with the dragon tattoo - I'll try to find out who he dropped off at the hospital!"
June 1, 2018
Peter starts to leave the office, his camera in his hands. (Did he have that camera all along? I'm too lazy to check.) "Maybe I should send a reporter with you," says Robbie. "How about letting me try writing the story, Robbie?" says Pete. Robbie is in a somewhat Loony Tunes spotlight in panel #2 and his face looks very odd as if we're looking at his mirror image. "Wellll...I doubt Jonah'd like that, " he says, "He'd be afraid you'd develop a taste for writing and he'd lose his best shutterbug. (Sort of like Todd McFarlane or John Byrne?) Panel #3 is back to Robbie and Pete although Peter is an Easter Island statue stuck in the right side of the panel. "Does that mean I can do it?" Pete asks. "That, son, is what I guess we're about to learn," replies Robbie.
June 2, 2018
Peter has finally left the office. He is so thrilled that he leaps up and clicks his heels with a KLIK. It looks like he has leapt clear up to the ceiling. The two anonymous office workers behind don't notice. "Yahoo!" he thinks, "Robbie Robertson's giving me a shot at being a reporter as well as a photographer!" But, in a Loony Tunes spotlight in panel #2, Pete rubs his chin and thinks about this. "Or to put it another way - He's giving me the perfect opportunity to fall flat on my none-too-photogenic face!"
Say what you want about how goofy the strip-verse is, I would much rather read about a photographer Parker who may also become a reporter than a CEO Parker or a Parker with Boomerang as his roommate.
June 3, 2018
On the sidewalk outside the Bugle (with only two other people...in midtown Manhattan), Peter raises his arm and yells, "Taxi!" In panel #2, he is already in the cab! He tells the cabbie, "Take me to Metropolitan General Hospital...fast!" (I'm not sure what the rush is.) The camera moves from the front seat to the back seat in panel #3. We see Peter, the cabbie, and Peter reflected in the rearview mirror, which I think is a nice touch. Pete thinks, "It would've been a lot cheaper to change to Spidey and web-swing there..." He completes the thought in panel #4, an exterior shot, showing the cab changing lanes in the busy traffic. "But I don't want Robbie to learn the wall-crawler's back in Manhattan - literally five minutes after Peter Parker arrives!" (I have no proof of this but I think Robbie already knows...and it wouldn't be literally five minutes.) Panel #5 gives us the caption, "While at Metro General..." and shows us an orderly and two nurses rushing Jimmy Woo along a corridor on a stretcher. One nurse says, "He's lost a lot of blood - but the wound's not in a vital spot." The other nurse says, "Too bad he's unconscious so he can't tell us..." She finishes the sentence off-panel in panel #6 as the panel shows us a fist-clenching Iron Fist up on the roof. "...who that masked man who brought him in was!"
The "Next" caption is "Two Masks in the Moonlight" and I think we can guess which two masks those are. Last week's was "Midnight Assignment!" So, wait. Was all that stuff in the Daily Bugle and the cab ride and everything all taking place around midnight?
June 4, 2018
Today, the cabbie gets a speaking role. He stops his cab with a SKREETCH and Peter hops out. "Metro General - in record time, just as I promised," he says. "Thanks," says Pete. We don't see Peter pay the cabbie but, in panel #2, he is not happy. "Hey! I put pedal to the metal - and this is the tip I get?" he says. "Sorry, didn't have much money on me," says Peter. The cab zooms off with a SKREEE as Peter thinks, in panel #3, "Hope I make a bigger hit at the hospital than I did with that cabbie!"
June 5, 2018
Peter approaches a nurse whom we learn in panel #2 is named Linda. "Uh...hi. Name's Parker. I'm a reporter with the Bugle," he says. Linda says, "Don't tell me - you're here about the wounded guy - and the masked character who dropped him off." In panel #2, another nurse who was looking on in panel #1, motions to a guy standing over by the doors and whispers, "Careful, Linda! Remember what that man said!" Linda whispers back, "Oh, yeah. Hey. You think he's really FBI, like he claims?" In panel #3, she turns back toward Peter and says, "Sorry, sir. Afraid we can't - Huh? Now where'd he get to?" because Peter is already gone.
June 6, 2018
Now Peter is wandering the hospital corridors. There are two doctors and an orderly in the hall with him. He thinks, "If that guy outside's really an FBI agent - then either the patient I'm looking for is Mafioso - or else he's FBI, too!" In panel #2, a nurse confronts him. She looks a bit like Linda from yesterday but I don't think she IS Linda. "Are you authorized to be here?" she asks. "Uh - does a press pass count?" says Peter.
June 7, 2018
Nope. The nurse is definitely not Linda. She's not a nurse either. "I'm Dr. Christine Palmer," she tells Peter, "and by that camera, I'd say you're not the new resident surgeon." "I'm a reporter from the Daily Bugle," replies Peter, "I'm looking for the wounded man brought in a little while ago." In panel #2, Dr. Palmer calls out "Orderlies!" to two big orderlies walking by. "I was afraid that's what you'd say," says Peter.
Christine Palmer, by the way, was one of the nurses in the old 1970s Night Nurse comic series. And the name given to the doctor played by Rachel McAdams in the 2016 Dr. Strange film.
June 8, 2018
And so the two big orderlies shove Peter out the door. "Try sneakin' in again and we call the cops on you," says one. "Point taken!" Peter says. In panel #2, the orderlies turn their backs to us and go inside. Peter brushes his right shoulder and a cloud of dust flies up. Were the orderlies dusty? "Come on! Dr. Palmer wants us on 14!" one conveniently says. "Wonder who that guy up there is - and why the special delivery by some bozo in a yellow hood!" says the other. In panel #3, Peter looks at a door marked Exit. (So I guess the orderlies just sort of shoved him toward an exit without bothering to deposit him outside.) "Didn't need 'spider hearing' to catch that!" he thinks, "Looks like it's Spidey time, whether I like it or not!"
June 9, 2018
Outside, Peter hangs his jacket on a wall with some webbing as he changes into Spidey. "I don't want it known just yet that the web-spinner's back in town," he thinks. In panel #2, he crawls up the hospital wall, thinking, "Here's hoping my spidey sense can help me avoid the hospital's security cameras!"
June 10, 2018
Yes, it's "The exterior of Metro General, New York City..." as Spidey climbs the wall and thinks, "14th floor, here I come!" Panel #2 is a close-up of Spidey. (Did he leave a slime trail? What's the dark patch on the wall?) "I wonder if hospital administrators are superstitious," he thinks, "In other words - does this place have a 13th floor?" Good question, Spidey! Panel #3 is just Spidey's head peeking into a window. "It must," he thinks, "cause I just finished counting to 14..." The camera moves from inside looking out to outside looking in, over Spidey's shoulder in panel #4 as he sees a cop inside. "And last time I looked, most hospital floors don't have cops standing guard," he thinks. In panel #5, the camera moves inside again as Spidey opens the window. (Does the hospital actually have windows that open?) He thinks, "I'll just force open this window and sneak a peek at..." But he doesn't finish the thought because, in panel #6, a yellow slipper on a foot connected to a leg with green pants, kicks him in the gut. "Whoa!" says Spidey.
The "Next" caption is "Spider of Flesh - Fist of Iron!" which isn't exactly subtle. Last week's was "Two Masks in the Moonlight" which didn't happen until this last panel...and we don't even see Iron Fist's mask...just his leg and foot in pants and slipper.
June 11, 2018
"Spidey's barely climbed to Metro General's 14th Floor when..." he gets kicked in the gut by a yellow slipper (with a THAKK) as we saw yesterday. "Whoa! Who in the...?" he says. In panel #2, he recovers and clings to the wall as the masked figure with the yellow slippers stands on the ledge. "The name's Iron Fist," he says. "And I repeat: who?" says Spidey. (Ah! The first meeting of the strip-verse Spidey and Iron Fist!)
June 12, 2018
Now, Spidey also stands on the ledge as Iron Fist asks, "Why are you trying to break into Jimmy Woo's hospital room?" "Is that the guy's name?" asks Spidey. In panel #2, the camera moves in so that we get Spidey's head (and hand) and Iron Fist from the waist up. "Come to think of it - maybe you're the one who stabbed him!" says Spidey. "My only weapons are my four limbs," replies Fist. Panel #3 is all Spidey (crowded a bit by the Stan Lee - Larry Lieber 6-12 box). He says, "Yeah, I've been on the receiving end of one of them - and it smarts. Maybe you should call yourself Iron Foot!" Heh. That Spidey. What a card.
June 13, 2018
We begin with a strange panel. Spidey and Fist are still on the ledge but the panel is tilted so that we get Fist's full figure but only the top half of Spidey's head. "I'm the one who brought Jimmy Woo to this hospital," says Fist. "I heard, but that doesn't prove you didn't knife him first," says the top half of Spidey's head. This sets Fist off. Saying "Why you...," he leaps at Spidey in panel #2. Spidey evades him, saying, "If you thought that dropkick stunt'd get past my spider sense when I wasn't distracted..." His leg sticks into panel #3 where the next-panel version of him shoots some webbing at the wall (with a FWIP) to steady himself. "...you need a refresher course in Spider-Man 101," he says.
June 14, 2018
Spidey leaps to the roof. Fist climbs to the roof. "If I've gotta fight you to learn who you are, let's take it to the roof," says Spidey, who should already know who he is. He's IRON FIST! "I didn't come here to battle you," says Fist, "but if I have to..." Now up on the roof, the two face each other. Fist's fist gives off a glow. "...you'll learn why I call myself Iron Fist," he says. "Nice trick!" says Spidey, "You got a bunch of fireflies stashed up your sleeve?" (Uh...Spidey...he doesn't have a sleeve.) "While below..." in panel #3, a woman has tied up and gagged a nurse and stolen her uniform. The gagged nurse looks like the one who was talking to Linda on June 5th and the woman stealing her uniform looks like Linda but probably isn't Linda. "Thanks," says the woman, "I needed your nurse's outfit to accomplish my mission!"
June 15, 2018
So, the two guys who are supposed to be protecting Jimmy Woo stand on the roof, looking at each other. "You ready to tell me who you are behind that mask?" asks Spidey. "Wouldn't that kind of defeat its purpose?" responds Fist. (Good point.) Again, there is more of Fist shown than Spidey. This gets worse in panel #2 as we get the front half of Spidey's head and his left hand as he shoots webbing at Fist's glowing fist with a FWIP. We get Fist from the waist up. (Just checked to make sure the title of the strip hasn't changed to the Amazing Iron Fist.) "Okay - then we'll do this the hard way," says Spidey. "Web-Face, you've got no idea just how hard it's going to be!" says Fist. "On the 14th Floor..." in panel #3, the nurse who isn't Linda (and isn't a nurse either) is joined by a bald guy in a smock. She whispers to him, "With both of us disguised as nurses, nothing'll stop us from wasting Jimmy Woo!" Well, certainly not the posturing super-heroes on the roof!
June 16, 2018
On the roof, Spidey has covered Fist with webbing. "Unmask, and I'll consider letting you go so we can talk," says Spidey. (What is with this insistence that Fist unmask? Spidey isn't going to unmask so why should Fist? Can't they talk with the masks on? And even if Fist unmasks, what are the chances that Spidey will even recognize him?) "This webbing of yours - is strong stuff, all right," says Fist but his glowing fist has shed the webbing so that, in panel #2, he uses the fist to obliterate all the webbing with a FWOOSH. (What? Is the Fist on fire? What's with the fiery letters on the sound effect?) "But it's no match for my iron fist!" says Iron Fist. Off-panel, Spidey says "!" which may mean, "Dang! The fist is on fire!"
June 17, 2018
We take a step back in time to when Fist is still covered with webbing and uses his fist with a FWOOSH. But the FWOOSH isn't in fiery letters anymore so I guess the fist isn't on fire after all. To emphasize this, Spidey says, "You punched your way through my webbing?" Panel #2 is all Fist who uses his fist so fast that the panel shows him with five right arms. Off-panel, Spidey, still back-pedaling on what we learned on Saturday, says, "It should've given a little - and kept you enmeshed!" Fist says, "The iron fist doesn't always obey the Western laws of physics." Which is convenient. In panel #3, Spidey points at the glowing fist and says, "'Iron Fist' - is that your hand's name? I thought it was yours!" Panel #4 puts Spidey and Fist in similar positions as the ones they had above in panel #1 but Spidey is now rushing toward Fist. "It is shared by us both!" says Fist. (I like that Fist refers to himself and his fist as "us.") "Well, I've been known to bend a little steel with my bare hands myself..." says Spidey. And panel #5 is a classic super-hero pose as Spidey's fist is inches away from Fist's fist. "Let's see how your glowing knuckles hold up against a fist with spider strength behind it!" says Spidey. Well, we won't find out in panel #6 because it takes place "Several stories beneath their feet..." as the two phony nurses enter Jimmy Woo's room. "Move! The FBI agent's in here!" says the bald one.
The "Next" caption is "Assassins on Floor 14!" which is already true. Last week's was "Spider of Flesh - Fist of Iron!" which is happening right now!
June 18, 2018
And here we go. "Spider-Man vs. Iron Fist..." The first panel shows Spidey rushing forward, his fist inches away from the iron fist which is the only part of Iron Fist shown. (But is the caption referring to the man or the fist?) "Hope this punch doesn't crack your knuckles, man!" says Spidey. Panel #2 is a close-up of the two fists as they slam together with a THWAMM. "Yyaaa," says Spidey. In panel #3, Spidey has fallen to his knees, holding his injured left hand in his right hand. (Whoa! Hold it! In panel #1, Spidey was racing in with his right fist. In panel #2, it's still his right fist, though it's hard to tell. Maybe it was in the process of transforming from his right fist to his left fist.) "F-feels like - I've broken my hand!" says Spidey. "I warned you," says the still-standing Iron Fist.
June 19, 2018
It's back to the right hand, as Spidey massages it with his left hand. "Gonna be - a few minutes - before I can use this hand again," he says. Iron Fist, his arms crossed, says, "You brought it on yourself." In panel #2, Fist starts to reach for Spidey's mask. ("Maybe I should find out who you really are," he says.) But Spidey turns away as those spider-sense bolts come off his head. "Wait! My spider-sense - it's warning me..." His sentence finishes in the caption of panel #3. "...the man we're both here about - is in danger!" The panel shows the two phony nurses in the room with Jimmy Woo. The man says, "Woo's sedated!" The woman is preparing a hypo and she says, "That'll make it easy to administer the poison."
June 20, 2018
Fist leans over Spidey and asks, "What's this 'spider-sense' you keep talking about?" (Don't worry, Fist, he blabs about it to everyone.) "I can't explain," says Spidey, "but it tells me Jimmy Woo's in deadly peril!" The camera swings around a bit in panel #2 but it's still Fist and Spidey as IF says, "And why should I believe you?" "Because - if you don't - he's a dead man!" says Spidey, which is not a reason why Fist should believe him although it may be the result of not believing him. "As directly below..." says the caption in panel #3. The female phony nurse closes in on Jimmy Woo with her hypo.
June 21, 2018
The fake nurse lifts up Jimmy Woo's arm and prepares to inject him. She whispers, "This poison will enter Woo's bloodstream in seconds." But a SLAMM in panel #2 sends rocky debris all over the room. The two fake nurses recoil. Jimmy lies unconscious. (Do some of those chunks land on him?) "Put down that hypodermic," says someone off-panel who turns out to be Iron Fist, standing in a big hole in the wall in panel #3. "...or you'll live to regret it!" he says. "We were warned to expect the one called Iron Fist!" says the male "nurse."
June 22, 2018
The two fake nurses prepare to face off against Iron Mist. "It's two against one, man," says the male. "Those odds won't last long - and then!" says Fist. (And then...what???!) But in panel #2, a doctor stumbles in...most likely Dr. Christine Palmer whom we met before. "I thought I heard something in - ohh," she says as the man grabs her. "C'mon in, doc!" he says. Iron Fist just stands there and says, "!"
June 23, 2018
Now the bald guy has the doctor in one arm while he points a gun at Fist with his other hand. "Release the doctor!" says Fist. "No way!" says the guy. Panel #2 shows us the woman "nurse," the doctor, Jimmy Woo, and the bald guy. "You're going to stand right there and let us inject Woo with this poison," says the woman. "...or she's the night's first fatality," says the man, referring to the doctor. And where is Spidey in all this? I suspect we will find out tomorrow.
June 24, 2018
Iron Fist watches helplessly as the man holds the doctor (he's switched the gun to his right hand) and the woman prepares to inject Jimmy Woo. "What's going on?" asks Fist. Now, I suspect that this should actually have been the doctor's line because the bald guy says, "What's the matter, doc? Never seen a hostage before?" Actually, she is the hostage. Panel #2 moves the camera around behind the bald guy who now points the gun right at the doctor's head. "The so-called 'Iron Fist' just watches while your patient gets injected with poison," he says, "or I fill you full of lead!" Now the camera looks over Fist's shoulder in panel #3. "You've been watching too many gangster movies," Fist says. "That's my business," says the bald guy. (So, does that mean he has been watching too many gangster movies?) "Yours is to keep still as a statue, or..." he adds. The fake nurse has this wonderfully sinister look on her face as she moves in with the hypo. But it all gets broken up in panel #4 as Spidey enters and snags the gun with one strand of webbing and the hypo with another. "Spider-Man? You webbed them both - simultaneously?" says Fist. "Actually, I got him a nanosecond before I got her!" Spidey replies. In panel #5, Fist moves in on the bald guy and kicks him in the head with a THAKK. This allows the doctor to get free. "And I'll get him, a split second before I..." says Fist but in panel #6, the doctor has taken care of business. "No! I got her!" she says as she slams a tray into the "nurse's" face with a WHOK. A very nasty blow that you figure has got to break the "nurse's" jaw.
The "Next" caption is "Wanted - the Mastermind Behind the Attack!" I don't know if that means we'll actually find out, though. Last week's was "Assassins on Floor 14!" and that was already true last week.
June 25, 2018
"Two would-be assassins run afoul of Iron Fist and Dr. Christine Palmer," as the panel shows Christine bopping the female "nurse" on the head with a tray (and with a THAKK) while Fist kicks the male "nurse" in the gut with a WHOK. Panel #2 puts Spidey, Fist and the doc in a Loony Tunes spotlight. "Great! You two polished them off!" says Spidey. "After you webbed their guns!" says the doctor. "This is no time to start a mutual admiration society!" says Fist.
June 26, 2018
From left to right, it's Christine, Spidey, Fist, and the two webbed-up would-be assassins, who don't look too bad, considering. "I've seen photos of Spider-Man, but who're you - and who're these guys?" asks Christine of Fist who answers, "They came here to assassinate your patient." In panel #2, Christine looks back at Jimmy Woo and says, "You mean Mr. Woo? He's still unconscious, but the police will want to talk to..." and panel #3 shows a shaken Christine (she has wiggle lines around her head) with Jimmy in bed behind as she realizes that Spidey and Fist are both gone. "...you two," she says, quietly. (We know it's quietly because the lettering has shrunk to about half the regular size.)
June 27, 2018
Spidey and Fist have moved out to the roof again. "Now do you believe we're both on the same side?" asks Spidey. "You practically accused me of stabbing that FBI agent," replies Fist. Panel #2 is more of the same. "Only after you attacked me," says Spidey. "Because you were lurking outside his hospital window," replies Fist. Panel #3 is more of the same except it's now in a Loony Tunes spotlight. "Hmm, maybe we should start over," says Spidey, "Now do you believe we're both on the same side?" Yeah, it provides no new information and goes nowhere but I like strips like this. They give me that oldtime Spidey feeling.
June 28, 2018
Spidey sits on the roof's ledge, his legs crossed as Fist finishes telling his story. "...so both assailants fled, and I brought Woo to the hospital," he says. "Where two other guys tried to kill him," says Spidey, "Somebody really wants Woo dead. Any idea who?" In panel #2, Iron Fist replies, saying, "I forgot to mention - he whispered something to me before he passed out. He said 'The Golden Claw'!"
Well, Jimmy DID say "Th-the guy - behind - this - is..." to Fist back on May 25. We can assume he finished the sentence for Fist's ears alone. The Golden Claw, eh? Sounds like the new non-racist name of the Yellow Claw, Jimmy's 1950s nemesis. I can go with that.
June 29, 2018
More Spidey-Fist rooftop action. In panel #1, Spidey says, "'The Golden Claw'? What's that?" He's clearly not up on his old Atlas comic books. "Who knows?" says Fist, shrugging, "I never heard the name before." In panel #2, Spidey puts his hand to his chin while Fist turns his back to us. "Could be one guy - or a whole gang - or just about anything," says Spidey. "Whoever or whatever it is - I intend to find them," says Fist. In panel #3, Spidey turns to Fist who turns back to look at Spidey. "Then, unless you wanna keep tripping over me everywhere you go - I suggest we work as a team!" says Spidey. Fist gets wiggle lines around his face and the scarves that tie his mask on (or whatever you call those things) stick up in the air as if he's thinking, "Whoa! Team-up? We better be tracking down someone more interesting than Drom the Backwards Man." (In-joke for old MTU fans.)
June 30, 2018
Fist starts to walk away, saying, "You want the two of us to join forces?" Yes, Fist, I believe that's what he said. "We can cover twice as much ground that way," says Spidey. Which means they will be working separately so it wouldn't exactly be a team-up, I guess. But even that is too much for Fist. In panel #2, he keeps walking away as he says, "Sorry, Iron Fist works alone." (Which is pretty much what he'd be doing under Spidey's plan.) "Hey, don't flatter yourself! I don't want a sidekick! If you read the papers, you know I"m mostly a solo act!" says Spidey. And, for some reason, he shoots a bunch of webbing (FWIP) onto Iron Fist's arm.
July 1, 2018
It's July, it's Sunday, it's Alex and there are birds in the sky as Spidey and Fist face off on the roof. Spidey has let go of the webline and it disappears from Fist's arm after the first panel, in which Fist says, "The next time you shoot your sticky web stuff at me..." and Spidey says, "I don't like the idea of our teaming up any more than you do...." In panel #2, Fist points a finger at Spidey and says, "In that case, you really don't like it." "But, if we work separately, we'll only be duplicating our efforts," says Spidey. In panel #3, Fist is still pointing at Spidey but the camera has moved around in front of him so that we can see more birds. "What makes you think you can track down this so-called 'Golden Claw' as fast as I could?" asks Fist. In panel #4, Spidey replies, "Hey, I've put away Dr. Octopus - Green Goblin - a whole slew of bad guys!" which I think is just an excuse for Alex to draw Ock and Gobby in the same panel. "Who've you got on your resume - a couple of jaywalkers?" says Spidey. Now, it's on! Panel #5 shows Spidey and Fist facing off against each other. (Which they've already done, haven't they?) "Did you ever hear of the Hand?" asks Fist. "What? A guy called Fist fought somebody called the Hand?" replies Spidey. Panel #6 moves in closer. They are nearly nose to nose. Now it's really on! (Like it was before.) "I'll bet you gave him a knuckle sandwich, right?" says Spidey. "Now you're really beginning to annoy me!" says Fist.
I like the bit about Fist fighting the Hand and the knuckle sandwich. Well done, Stan! (Or whomever is writing this these days.)
The "Next" caption is "The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship?" Note the question mark but I'm guessing the answer is "yes." Last week's caption was "Wanted - the Mastermind Behind the Attack!" and, at least we've got a name, anyway.
July 2, 2018
Suddenly, for no reason whatsoever (the "knuckle sandwich" joke was that persuasive?), Fist backs off, tosses aside the webbing that disappeared after panel #1 yesterday and says, "Maybe you're right. I've heard of Spider-Man - but you've never heard of me before tonight." Arms crossed, Spidey says, "Check. So?" Panel #2 is all Fist as he starts to unmask (!) just seconds after he was a solo act who was annoyed by Spidey's jokes. "So, what if I show you that Iron Fist..." he says, and reveals his full face in a Loony Tunes spotlight in panel #3. "...is really Danny Rand - CEO of Rand Enterprises!" Off-panel, Spidey says, "?" which probably means, "Who is Danny Rand? What is Rand Enterprises?"
July 3, 2018
The camera moves up into a bit of a drone shot but Spidey and Fist say put on the roof, talking, talking, talking. (In all this time, other assassins could have shown up and finished the job.) "You're telling me Iron Fist is really the CEO of a multinational - running around in a yellow mask with a tattoo on his chest?" "It's not a tattoo," says Fist. In panel #2, he touches his beard and says, "Don't you recognize me? My photo's been in the Wall Street Journal." "Sorry," says Spidey, "Guess my subscription lapsed." Hah! Looks like I was right about the "?" in yesterday's strip after all! I love it!
July 4, 2018
Still on the roof. Still talking. Spidey holds his chin with one hand as he points with the other. "Maybe I don't recognize your face, Rand - but I've heard of you," he says, "Didn't you survive a plane crash in the Himalayas when you were a kid?" Panel #2 is Rand in profile, replying, "Right. I only returned to civilization recently. Now - how about you?" Off-panel, Spidey says, "How about me what?" Back to the two of them in panel #3 as Rand says, "I removed my mask. How about you losing yours?" Spidey gets those wiggle lines around his head as if he's thinking, "Dang! I never figured on that!"
July 5, 2018
STILL on the roof, STILL talking. Spidey cocks a thumb at his chest and says, "You took off your mask - so now I'm supposed to take off mine?" Fist, arms crossed, says, "Sure. If we're going to team up." In panel #2, Spidey waves that off. "Sorry, man. No way," he says. "Huh? Why not?" asks a surprised Fist. (Yeah, Spidey! Why not!?) In panel #3, Spidey cocks that thumb at his own chest again and says, "I've spent years building up my secret identity. You've had yours for what - fifteen minutes?" So, it's okay to reveal your identity to Bruce Banner and all the others in this strip who have learned it, but not Danny Rand? Lame, Spidey, lame.
July 6, 2018
So, the beautiful friendship falls apart. Spidey waves Fist off. Fist puts his mask back on. "Sorry, Rand, I won't tell anybody who Iron Fist actually is," says Spidey, "But I'm not telling you who I really am." In panel #2, Fist perches on the ledge and says, "Serves me right for unmasking before we had a deal. Happy hunting, web-face! We'll see who finds the Golden Claw first!" In panel #3, he leaps away, finally getting off that roof. Spidey lingers behind and thinks, "First things first...namely Iron Fist's photo on the front page of the Bugle!" So, Spidey refuses to unmask after Fist did and he's going to print a big picture of Fist in the Bugle before he bothers to try to prevent Jimmy Woo's assassination? Yeah, your photo credit will probably tip Fist off to your identity, Spidey, and it will serve you right.
July 7, 2018
I am very disappointed in Spidey who is showing himself to be a bit of a weasel. In panel #1, he retrieves his camera. It is attached to something on the roof and, seeing as Rand was looking right into it, you'd think he would have seen it. "Before I joined Iron Fist below, I set up my camera," he thinks, "in case we returned here for a pow-wow." Panel #2 is the photo of Danny Rand looking right at the camera as seen in the viewfinder as Spidey thinks, "I'll lose this photo showing him as Danny Rand." And in panel #3, Spidey also finally gets off that roof. "Robbie Robertson wants a pic of the masked man who rescued that FBI agent," he thinks, "and what Robbie wants - Robbie gets!" (Sort of like Lola in "Damn Yankees,")
July 8, 2018
Sure enough, Spidey abandons the hunt to sell his photo. Panel #1 tells us that "J. Jonah Jameson in on the horn from points south..." as Robbie, at his desk and looking harried, talks to him on the phone. "Yes, Jonah, I know some masked man brought a wounded guy to Metro General. It happened here, remember - in New York." (The real question is why this is news down in Miami where Jonah is.) Panel #2 is JJJ in a bar complete with a bartender and six other customers. "Didn't anybody get that masked man's picture?" he asks, "That's the kind of thing that sells newspapers - and with the wall-crawler down here in Florida..." Panel #3 is back to Robbie who says, "I've got Parker on it! As you may recall, he's had some success in taking pictures of people in masks." There is a sound effect (KREEK) next to Robbie's shoulder which is, apparently, his door opening because Peter enters in panel #4 (some bystander walking behind him) brandishing his photo of Iron Fist. "Peter!" says Robbie, "Sorry, Jonah. I'll have to call you back!" Panel #5 moves behind Peter to show Robbie and Pete and his photo. "What did you find out?" asks Robbie. "The wounded man's an FBI agent," replies Pete, "and this is the guy who took him to the hospital." Panel #6 is still Robbie, Pete, and the photo but the photo of Fist takes center stage. "He calls himself - Iron Fist!" says Peter.
The "Next" caption is "On the Trail of the Golden Claw!" to which I can only say, "Finally!" Last week's was "The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship?" and, at this point, it looks like the answer is "no."
July 9, 2018
"The night shift at the Daily Bugle..." Yes, it's still night and Peter is back at the Bugle where Robbie is still at his desk. Robbie holds the picture of Iron Fist that Peter has given him. "Terrific, Peter!" says Robbie, "You actually got a photo of Iron Fist!" "Huh?" replies Pete, "I didn't know anybody'd even heard of him!" Panel #2 is Robbie alone as he says, "There were rumors of such a man fighting a criminal sect called the Hand...but nobody ever proved either of them even existed!"
July 10, 2018
So, it must be a little bit later because there is now a front page mock-up with a big headline that says, "Iron Fist by Peter Parker." (When did Peter find time to write the article?) The photo is still on Robbie's desk and Peter and Robbie still face each other. "You did a great job writing up the story, Peter," says Robbie. (When?) "I'll put this photo of Iron Fist on the front page." (Where?) "Let people know he rescued that FBI agent who's in the hospital." (Isn't that what the article does?) Panel #2 is all Peter looking guilty as Robbie, off-panel, says, "But you didn't learn who was behind that attack?" "Afraid not, Robbie," says Peter, as he thinks, "Why couldn't I bring myself to include what Iron Fist told me about the Golden Claw?" (I don't know, Pete! Maybe because he told it to Spider-Man?)
July 11, 2018
Peter leaves the Daily Bugle building. (Is it daytime yet?) He thinks, "I should be on Cloud Nine! The first photo ever of the so-called Iron Fist - and my first byline both as photographer and reporter!" Panel #2 is Pete over on the left side and a big window on the right side. But that's okay, the window is mostly covered up by Pete's thought balloons as he thinks, "But somehow I feel I shouldn't have outed Iron Fist. It's one thing to take pics of Spider-Man myself! It's something else to expose the existence of another mystery-man to the public." That's all right, Pete. Looks to me like Iron Fist has already exposed his own existence to the public.
July 12, 2018
"Back home, Peter calls MJ in Florida..." "I feel bad that, thanks to my photo, Iron Fist will be known to the world," he tells MJ. Panel #2 is MJ in what I first thought was the passenger seat of a car but I think is actually a big bed with a HUGE pillow. (So, I guess it is still night.) Off-panel and over the phone, Peter says, "...when, up till now, he's kept his existence a secret." (But he's already revealed it to Christine Palmer and other hospital personnel. Don't sweat it, Pete!) MJ says, "What's really bugging you, Tiger, is that he trusted you with his true identity..." She finishes off-panel in panel #3 as we switch back to Pete. "...but you didn't feel you should trust him with yours," she says. "Since when did you learn to read minds - and over the phone yet?" says Pete.
July 13, 2018
You got your MJ fix yesterday so all you get today is her off-panel and over the phone as she tells Peter, "I'll be home in a few days. Meanwhile, get some sleep." "I'm too wired to get any shut-eye, MJ," says Peter, over the phone, "Still, I was up all night, so I guess I should at least try..." And in panel #2, he's sitting on his couch fast asleep. ("ZZZZZZZ") So, wait. It WAS morning? Was MJ waking up in bed? And Peter WAS up all night? Then, what about Robbie? He's at his desk in panel #3. Does he work around the clock? The caption says, "Sometime later, at the Bugle..." as Robbie holds a piece of paper in his hands and says, "I've got to tell Peter about this!"
July 14, 2018
It looks like the sun is rising outside Peter's window as his phone rings (RRINNNG) waking him up. He reaches for it in panel #1 and speaks into it in panel #2. "...lo?" he says, eyes closed. "This is Robbie. Sorry if I woke you, Peter..." says the voice over the phone. In panel #3, we're back to Robbie at his desk, holding that paper, as he says, "I've got some hot news - about the man called Iron Fist!"
July 15, 2018
Alex Saviuk gives us a drone shot of the Parker living room. There's a glass coffee table on which Peter has propped his left foot and a flatscreen TV. The caption reads, "A phone call from Robbie Robertson wakes Peter..." Over the phone, Robbie says, "I haven't been able to learn much about the mysterious Iron Fist...except he may have some connection to a new martial arts studio downtown." In panel #2, Robbie is still at his desk and still holding that piece of paper but now he also has a laptop in front of him. "It's run by a young woman named Colleen Wing," he says. Over the phone, Peter says, "And you want me to check it out?" In panel #3, Robbie looks down at the Bugle's front page. (Has the laptop turned into a newspaper?) It no longer says "Iron Fist by Peter Parker." Now the headline is "Mysterious Iron Fist Saves FBI Agent From Murder Attempt, Photo & Story: Peter Parker." The Iron Fist photo has also been added. Robbie says, "What's wrong? For a guy who got his very first story byline on this morning's front page - you sure don't sound very eager to get a second one!" Panel #4 is a closer look at Peter on the couch than panel #1 just above. "Somehow - sneaking around to get Iron Fist's photo like I did last night - it's like I invaded the guy's privacy," says Pete. Panel #5 is a closer shot of Robbie on the phone than panel #2 just above. "This after all the pics you've taken of Spider-Man?" he says, "Peter, at the risk of sounding a bit like our revered boss J. Jonah Jameson..." And panel #6 breaks the pattern when it turns out to be another shot of Peter instead of a closer shot of Robbie in panel #3. All so that we can get Peter's shocked expression as an off-panel, on the phone Robbie says, "You're either a newspaperman or you're not!"
The "Next" caption is "Peter's Choice!" I suspect he's going to be a newspaperman. Last week's was "On the Trail of the Golden Claw!" which, no, hasn't happened yet, unless Iron Fist has been doing it all week off-panel.
July 16, 2018
We're back to Larry and the dailies so Peter is sitting on the other side of the couch than he was yesterday and there's a lamp that wasn't there before. A caption helpfully tells us that, "Robbie Robertson provides Peter with a possible lead on Iron Fist..." Still off-panel and over the phone, Robbie says, "Will you check out that martial arts studio - or should I send someone else?" "I'm on it, Robbie," says Peter. In panel #2, he sets his phone down on a side table and thinks, "Somehow I feel like a snitch for making the world aware of Iron Fist - when he's clearly been doing a lot of good work in secret!"
July 17, 2018
Peter has hit the streets. He heads towards "Wing Martial Arts Studio," his back to us, and thinks, "So this is the place that may have some connection to Iron Fist. Looks a bit downscale." Now inside the building, walking past a wall that is in disrepair, Peter begins to ascend the stairs. A big sign on the wall says, "Wing Martial Arts Studio 2nd Floor." "Still, what do I really know about that masked kung-fu fighter?" Peter thinks. (Well, you know he's Danny Rand, CEO of Rand Enterprises.) "It's not like I've got any reason to think he'd be more at home on Wall Street!" Peter thinks. (Except you know he's Danny Rand, CEO of Rand Enterprises.)
July 18, 2018
Peter has that half-Spidey mask on his face and spider-sense bolts emanating from it as he approaches a door labeled, "Wing Martial Arts Studio." "My spider-sense has started tingling ever since I - Hmm. Door's ajar," he thinks. In panel #2, Peter enters to find three Asian woman, two of whom wield swords. "Uh...pardon me," Pete says, "Is one of you Colleen Wing?"
July 19, 2018
Peter approaches the three women. "I'm looking for Colleen Wing," he says, "I understand she runs this - uh..." One of the women interrupts him. "It's called a dojo," she says, "and I am in charge here." Panel #2 is a twosome of Peter and Colleen. "I'm Peter Parker from the Daily Bugle," Pete says, "I learned of you - indirectly - from a man who calls himself Iron Fist." "That is not a name. It is a skin condition," says Colleen. Iron Fist is a skin condition? I have to admit...I don't get it.
July 20, 2018
Peter turns to leave. "Look, if you folks never heard of this Iron Fist guy, then I might as well..." he says but Colleen tells him to "Wait." Panel #2 is a close-up of Colleen. She says, "Perhaps I have heard of him." Panel #3 is, left to right, Peter, the back of Colleen's head, and the other two women. "It's important that I find him," says Pete. "Can you take me to him?" "Meet me at 11:00 tonight," says the back of Colleen's head, "on Crouching Dragon Street." But where on Crouching Dragon Street? On the corner of Hidden Tiger Avenue?
July 21, 2018
Peter is back at the Daily Bugle talking to Robbie Robertson who, apparently, never sleeps. "You have an appointment tonight with Iron Fist?" asks an excited Robbie, half rising from his chair. "Well, at least with Colleen Wing...who claims she can take me to him." Panel #2 is all Peter as Robbie says, off-panel, "Guess I don't have to tell you, Peter, to watch your back." Actually, it's not all Peter because Peter is half Spidey again with spider-sense bolts coming out from all over his head. "Don't worry, Robbie," he says, "Sometimes I feel like I've got eyes in the back of my head." And he thinks, "Only I call it - my spider sense!"
July 22, 2018
Welcome to a complete waste of time...the Sunday version. Spidey is web-swinging around the city. "Somehow I feel all turned around today!" he says. In panel #2, he performs an acrobatic move and fires some webbing with a FWIPP. Because it is Alex as artist, there is a bird behind him. "Most of the time, I prowl around as Spider-Man by night...and Peter Parker sleeps during the day, or walks around the city snapping pictures," he says. (I don't think this is at all true but let's go with it.) In panel #3, Spidey swings past a stone gargoyle and says, "But, tonight, Peter's got a late date with someone who says she can lead him to Iron Fist...and I'm playing Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man in broad daylight!" Panel #4 is street level as two bystanders look up at Spidey swinging past with some more birds nearby. "Yo Spidey! Way to go!" says one bystander. "Don't let your webs get warped, man!" says the other. Panel #5 is a straight-on shot of Spidey web-swinging. "On the other hand, sometimes it's cool to get a little positive feedback while the sun's out," he says. Panel #6 shows Spidey from behind, web-swinging. There is a building that has what looks like a big billboard on it with a woman's face but that's just Alex trying to keep from being bored, I think. "And who knows what Peter'll find tonight - in Chinatown," says Spidey.
Yep. That's it. The "Next" caption is "Crouching Dragon - Hidden Danger!" which, maybe, means we'll actually get to that meeting with Colleen Wing this week. Last time, the caption was "Peter's Choice!" which was whether he was a newspaperman or not. I guess he is!
July 23, 2018
And here we are. "11:00 PM, in New York's famous Chinatown..." Peter looks up at the sign that reads, "Crouching Dragon St." There is a big sign on a building that reads, "Panda Pagoda." Otherwise, all the other signs are in Chinese. Or, I suspect, fake Chinese. Most of the Chinese characters portrayed are just squiggles. Peter thinks, "The folks who live here keep the neighborhood looking 'exotic.' Brings in the tourists - to sample good food and plenty of atmosphere." Panel #2 is a straight-on head shot of Peter (so Larry doesn't have to recreate all those squiggles) as he thinks, "But tonight, I just want to find out what I can about Iron Fist...and the oh-so-mysterious Golden Claw!" I don't really understand this. What else does he need to find out about Iron Fist? He knows Fist is Danny Rand. Why not go to Rand Enterprises and talk to him?
July 24, 2018
The sign still says "Crouching Dragon St." and there are still a bunch of so-called Chinese characters on signs as Peter looks at his watch and thinks, "She's late. Maybe Colleen Wing isn't gonna show..." Off-panel, Colleen says, "Hssst...Peter Parker!" In panel #2, Peter turns to see the same three women he saw at Colleen's studio. "Do I really need a triple escort just to talk to Iron Fist?" he asks. "There are those who may not desire that such a meeting take place. Come!" says Colleen.
Have I mentioned anything yet about Colleen Wing? She first appeared in the Iron Fist series in Marvel Premiere in 1974, eventually teaming up with Misty Knight as private investigators in Nightwing Investigations, then becoming known as the Daughters of the Dragon. She has appeared in the Marvel Netflix series Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Luke Cage. That's good enough, I think.
July 25, 2018
Peter walks along with Colleen and the other two. "The way these byways twist and turn...we've left Crouching Dragon Street way behind," he says. (I'm still trying to figure out how Peter knew where to go on Crouching Dragon St. in order to meet Colleen.) "It was merely our journey's starting point...not its finish," says Colleen. (The so-called Chinese characters on the building signs have mostly turned to squiggles and smudges.) Panel #2 is Colleen and Peter who has that half-Spidey mask and spider-sense bolts. Colleen gestures at a building. "Behind this door you will meet the one you came to see," she says. "If my spider-sense wasn't acting up again, lady, I might actually believe you," thinks Peter.
July 26, 2018
Colleen walks ahead of Peter with the two others behind. "Iron Fist wait for us just ahead," she says. (I don't think this "wait" rather than "waits" is intentional racial stereotype speak. I think it's a typo. Or unintentional racial stereotype speak.) "Frankly, Ms. Wing, I'm more interested in..." begins Peter, then he ducks (thanks to those spider-sense bolts coming off his head) and finishes in panel #2 with "...what's behind me!" The two women behind him attack with their swords but miss him with a SWISSH.
July 27, 2018
Peter now lies on the ground as Colleen barks out, "Fan-Hua! You missed him!" Fan-Hua's sword has become imbedded in a nearby brick wall with a THWANG. "He moved so quickly!" says Fan-Hua. Peter, mostly concerned about concealing his identity as Spidey says, "Actually...uhh...I stumbled!" In panel #2, Peter is nearly pushed out of the picture. His head and left hand are there as Colleen orders the swordswoman who is not Fan-Hua to "Kill him!" "Can't let them realize my spider sense let me dodge that stealth-blow! I plan to go on being Spider-Man, assuming I survive the evening!" Peter thinks. Actually, Peter is lucky he is Spider-Man. Any ordinary reporter would be dead by now. Granted, this is the strip-verse but I can't imagine the Colleen Wing from the comic books ordering some poor schlub of a reporter to be hacked to death because he showed an interest in Iron Fist. We'll see where this leads.
July 28, 2018
Colleen now also has a sword. "Lei-Ling! Stop him!" she orders. (So, now we know the name of the other swordswoman.) "I'm trying!" replies Lei-Ling but Peter, still on the ground, keeps dodging. "I could probably keep dodging their swords all night," he thinks. In panel #2, he leaps away, heading toward the lower left part of the panel as Lei-Ling's sword hits the cement behind him. "But I don't want them to put two and two together - and come up with the answer: Spider-Man!" That sword strikes the cement with a TCHINK. I'm not kidding. Either the letterer was completely oblivious or there's some serious semi-secret racial prejudice going on here.
July 29, 2018
We begin with a caption that feels like it's something out of the 1970s. "Peter has a trio of lovely but lethal maidens after him..." (Or maybe the 1960s.) He runs down an alley, knocking aside trash cans (the type that we used to have in the 1970s) as Colleen, Fan-Hua, and Lei-Ling chase him, waving their swords. "He can't possibly evade all our blades!" says Colleen. In panel #2, the threesome run past the trash cans as Peter looks back. "He's fortunate that he stumbled into those garbage cans!" says Fan-Hua. "Great! They're falling for it," Peter thinks. Panel #3 is Peter from behind as he looks over his shoulder. "I've got to keep these Red Sonja wannabes thinking I'm just clumsy," thinks Peter, "instead of suspecting I might be Spider-Man!" Panel #4 moves the camera back down the alley so that we can see Colleen and Fan-Hua too. "Whom two of their pals encountered with Iron Fist!" Peter thinks. (So, he thinks Colleen and the gang are with the Golden Claw.) "Maybe if I can round that corner and escape, they'll give up on..." But that thought is never finished because in panel #5, someone clobbers Peter over the head with what looks like a mace. THONNGG is the sound of metal on Peter's head. (Is Peter's head made of metal, too?) "HNNHH," says Peter. "Someone has downed him! But who?" says Colleen. In panel #6, Peter lies on the ground as the three women confront someone who appears to have a cape on. "You?!" says Colleen.
The "Next" caption is "Captive!" which speaks for itself. Last time, we had "Crouching Dragon - Hidden Danger!" which turned into not-so-secret danger.
July 30, 2018
"As Peter tries to evade the three swordswomen attacking him..." the panel #5 attack from yesterday is repeated as Peter is repelled by an iron mace with a THONNGG. The mace wielder is behind a wall. Colleen, looking on, says, "Someone has felled the brash reporter!" Panel #2 reveals the attacker. A man with a Fu Manchu mustache, dressed in a suit (with no cape...it looks like a different outfit than yesterday). "You left me no choice but to do it myself," says the attacker. "Golden Claw!" says either Fan-Hua or Lei-Ling off-panel. "Grand uncle!" says Colleen. So, Peter was right. These three are allied with the Golden Claw. And Colleen is related to him. That's the strip-verse for you.
July 31, 2018
Peter lies on the ground as the Golden Claw chats with Colleen, who, it turns out, isn't Colleen...which explains a lot of things. "Why have you brought this outsider here?" asks the Claw. "Fan-Hua, Lei-Ling and I were at the dojo of Colleen Wing, sire," says not-Colleen. She gets panel #2 all to herself as she says, "...when this one came there looking for her. He assumed I was Wing...and I let him believe so." In panel #3, the Claw leans down and grabs unconscious Peter by the head with not-Colleen looking from behind. "Let me see who - you young fools! I recognize this man!" says the Claw. He recognizes him? I can't wait to find out more.
August 1, 2018
The Claw is now standing with not-Colleen next to him. Fan-Hua and Lei-Ling are in silhouette behind. Peter is still unconscious which seems a bit long seeing as he's Spider-Man even if he was hit by an iron mace. (What happened to that mace, by the way?) "The fallen one is Peter Parker," says the Claw. "He told us as much," says not-Colleen, "but who is..." The Claw cuts her off in panel #2 which he has all to himself. "You must connect strands of information, grand-niece," says the Claw, refusing to give us not-Colleen's name, "He is nothing - but his wife is the Broadway actress Mary Jane Parker." He finishes in panel #3 as he and not-Colleen show their profiles to us. "That, even more than being a newspaper reporter, makes him too important for us to simply make disappear." Okay, I'll buy that. I'm not used to thinking of Peter as "important" but when you put it the way the Claw does...yeah, he kinda is.
August 2, 2018
Two goons appear out of nowhere and pick Peter, still unconscious, up. The Claw orders them to "Bind and gag him while I speak with Suwan." Suwan! That's right! She goes all the way back to those Atlas "Yellow Claw" issues, too. She falls for Jimmy Woo back in the day. I suspect that's going to happen here, as well. "Yes, O Golden Claw!" replies one of the goons. (Are these the same guys who first attacked Jimmy? That was already too long ago to be sure.) In panel #2, the Claw speaks with Suwan. "You returned with Parker when I had sent you after Colleen Wing," says the Claw. "We captured her this morning, sire," says Suwan, "She is restrained within." Panel #3 is all Claw, who says, "The perfect bait for impudent Iron Fist."
August 3, 2018
Now the Claw, Suwan, the two goons, and the unconscious Peter are all inside. There, they have Colleen Wing, shackled by her wrists to the wall. "So we meet again, Ms. Wing," says the Claw. "Once was twice too often, Claw," says Colleen. Panel #2 moves in on the Claw as he faces off against Colleen. "You should have accepted my offer to betray Iron Fist - and spared yourself much discomfort!" says the Claw. Colleen leans in at him, straining against her bonds, and says, "Just hand me my sword and I'll show you discomfort!"
August 4, 2018
It's the same as panel #2 from yesterday only from the other side. Colleen is now on the left and the Claw on the right. "I demand you release me, Claw!" says Collleen. The Claw holds up a finger with a very long and sharp fingernail and says, "Do not be over-familiar. Please address me as 'Golden Claw'." Now the camera moves behind the Claw so we see the back of his head. "My grandniece and her comrades captured you at my behest," says the Claw (sorry for being over-familar, Claw!), "so the troublesome Iron Fist would come in search of you." This should be fairly obvious but Colleen has this shocked look on her face as if she hasn't considered this before.
August 5, 2018
All right. So Peter is now bound and gagged in a warehouse. At least there are crates all around him, making it look like a warehouse. I presume this is the same building in which Colleen is a prisoner but she doesn't seem to be in this area. Suwan and the Claw are, however. They discuss their plans where Peter can hear them. We begin with a caption. "Peter's head begins to clear..." and panel #1 is Peter alone, thinking, "What - hit me? Oh, yeah - now I remember!" Panel #2 shows Peter in the lower left corner with Suwan and the Claw on the right. "If that isn't the mysterious Golden Claw - just shrink me down and call me Ant-Man!" thinks Peter, "Better pretend I'm still out of it!" Meanwhile, Suwan says, "I am sorry I lured the reporter here, grand-sire..." Panel #3 now puts Suwan and the Claw in the foreground and Peter in the background. "...especially since he has turned out to be the husband of a minor celebrity," she finishes. "'Minor celebrity?' I'm glad MJ isn't around to hear that!" thinks Peter. (I'm also glad MJ isn't around to be skewered by three swords! Though Fan-Hua and Lei-Ling seem to have disappeared.) Now a drone shot for panel #4 showing that Suwan and the Claw have chosen to have their conversation only a few feet from Peter even through they could speak far away from him in this large room. "Since he is here, Suwan, I would find out what he knows," says the Claw. "I know Peter Parker has taken many photographs of the secretive Spider-Man..." He continues all alone in panel #5. "...and, since, earlier, two of my operatives encountered Iron Fist and the web-spinner together - I must make certain he has not led the human arachnid to my humble abode." (Don't you love the way villains...even a classy villain like the Claw...use Spidey's nicknames in conversation, calling him the "web-spinner." Though I'm not sure Spidey would want to include "the human arachnid" to his collection of names.) Panel #6 belongs to Peter as he thinks, "Mister...you don't know the half of it! But then - I know even less about what's going on!
The "Next" caption is "An Ominous Arrival!" Who is that going to be? Iron Fist? Last time we had "Captive!" which was already true when we got the caption and is just as true now.
August 6, 2018
It turns out that Colleen is in this same room, after all. There she is, chained to the wall, as the Claw and Suwan lead Peter over to the same area. Peter is still bound, his hands tied behind his back, but his gag is gone. "I shall deal with you later, Colleen Wing," says the Claw, "At this time, I must turn my full attention to Peter Parker." "Don't - put yourself out - on my account, Claw," says Peter who does not get the "over-familiar" speech from the Claw. Instead, in panel #2, the Claw goes profile to profile with Peter as he says, "I am well aware you are suspected of being a confidant of the one called Spider-Man." "Did you take an online course to learn how to talk like that?" replies Peter.
August 7, 2018
The Claw reaches out toward Peter's shoulder and says, "Answer me! What do you know of Spider-Man or Iron Fist!" "Not much," replies Peter, "In case you didn't notice, the wall-crawler wears a mask - and I never met anybody called Iron Fist." In panel #2, the Claw magically causes the Daily Bugle to appear in his hand, from nowhere. It is the paper that has Peter's photo and article but the headline has changed slightly from "Mysterious Iron Fist Saves FBI Agent From Murder Attempt, Photo & Story: Peter Parker" to Mysterious 'Ironfist' Saves FBI Agent From Murder, Photo & Story: Peter Parker." (Must be a later edition.) "Yet you were close enough to him to take his photograph," says the Claw. "Hey, didn't you ever hear of a zoom lens?" replies Peter.
August 8, 2018
The Claw waves the newspaper at Peter. Suwan holds Peter from behind, grabbing each of his arms. "Iron Fist and Spider-Man attacked two of my henchmen last night," says the Claw, "Yet you, who have photographed them both, claim to know nothing of them?" Panel #2 is Peter in close-up with half of Suwan's face behind. From off-panel, the Claw says, "Well? Have you lost your tongue?" In panel #3, Peter, in profile, smirks at the Claw and answers, "Sorry, I was just trying hard to remember - when's the last I heard anybody use the word 'henchmen'!"
August 9, 2018
Peter leans in to the Claw with Suwan still behind him. "Look, Claw, I've got no idea of Spider-Man's wherabouts," he says, "I was in Florida until last night." "He speaks the truth!" says Suwan. In panel #2, she shows the Claw a slip of paper that says "A716 92 17C" on it. It means nothing to me but Suwan recognizes it. "I found this airline boarding pass in his pocket," she says. "Yeesh!" thinks Peter, "I'm lucky she didn't uncover my Spidey costume!"
August 10, 2018
Back to a Claw-Peter twosome. "Why were you at the hospital at the same time as Spider-Man and Iron Fist?" asks the Claw. "I was trying to get to talk to that wounded FBI agent named Woo!" Peter replies. From off-panel, Suwan says, "Jimmy Woo?" In panel #2, Suwan confronts the Claw. Peter is now about 6 feet away and kneeling down. (That happened fast.) "You didn't tell me he was the one you ordered killed, granduncle," says Suwan. "Something tells me I just struck a nerve!" thinks Peter. And, yes, it sure looks like Suwan has a thing for Jimmy as she did in the "Yellow Claw" comics of the 1950s.
August 11, 2018
Peter appears to be forgotten (Colleen too.) At least he doesn't appear in today's strip. Suwan stands next to the Claw and says, "You sent assassins after Jimmy Woo - and hid that fact from me?" "You disappoint me, Suwan," says the Claw, "I dared hope you were cured of your school girl crush on that man." Panel #2 is all Suwan as, looking vulnerable, she says, "It's no infatuation! I love him! I've always loved him!"
August 12, 2018
It's Sunday. Time for some continuity errors. First, Peter is back to kneeling on the ground with tape covering his mouth. Tape that disappeared days ago. He thinks, " I may be handcuffed, but at least I've got a front row seat..." (Was he ever actually handcuffed? Last Sunday, he definitely had rope tying his hands.) In panel #2, it looks like the tape is again gone. Suwan is wearing a white skirt with a slit that goes high up on her thigh. Last week, she had a purple skirt on with no slit. Two weeks ago, she was wearing white spandex pants. Peter finishes his thought with "...to a major blowup between my curvaceous captor and her evil-mastermind uncle!" (Get with it, Peter! It's 2018! None of this "curvaceous captor' stuff! Also, the Claw is her granduncle, not her uncle.) "How dare you try to have Jimmy Woo killed behind my back?" says Suwan. In panel #3, Peter has the tape on his mouth again as the Claw looks like he's ready to slap Suwan with the back of his hand. "Silence!" he says, "You may be of my own bloodline, Suwan..." He finishes in panel #4 with "...but beware how you speak - to the Golden Claw!" Suwan kneels and puts her hands together in prayer. "Y-yes, sire!" she says. And look! Fan-Hua and Lei-Ling are behind them! Where have they been keeping themselves? Panel #5 is only the Claw and the kneeling Suwan. "Woo is an FBI agent - and thus, our enemy," says the Claw, "I need no one's permission to order a sworn foe exterminated." Panel #6 is Peter, his mouth securely sealed with tape. "So the Claw's niece has a thing for Jimmy Woo!" he thinks, "I'll have to file that under 'potentially useful information'." You can file it next to "how my mouth got taped again."
The "Next" caption is "At the Mercy of the Golden Claw!" Something that's going on for over a week. Last week's was "An Ominous Arrival!" which turned out to be...nobody.
August 13, 2018
Peter's mouth gag is gone again. In panel #1, Suwan bows her head to the Claw and says, "I spoke rashly, granduncle. You can, of course, order any assassination you deem necessary." (That's what I tell my granduncle, too!) She continues, "But you know I've always loved Jimmy Woo." "I did not issue my commands lightly, Suwan..." says the Claw. In panel #2, he grabs Suwan's face in his hand. (I'm not sure how this works. He grabs her chin in the palm of his hand but the palm is facing toward him. His fingers seem to go up the sides of Suwan's face. Shouldn't they be blocked by her jaw?) "However, he stood in the way of my master plan!" he says. Behind, Peter thinks, "And if I'm lucky, I'll learn what it is - before they deep-six me!" (They aren't going to deep-six you, Peter. You're Spider-Man. You can escape at any time. And don't say that you're playing a role. You thought that last comment. The only people who "heard" it were you and the reader.)
August 14, 2018
Now the Claw faces Colleen and says, "Since neither Parker nor Colleen Wing appears to know anything useful regarding Spider-Man or Iron Fist...it is time they were eliminated." Wait, wait wait! Didn't the Claw tell Suwan that they couldn't kill Peter because he was married to a Broadway star and was a reporter for the Daily Bugle? When did this change? Off-panel, someone says, "Not so fast, Claw!" Is it Iron Fist? No. Panel #2 reveals a large, bald man who says, "Surely your partner needs to sign off on this double murder." "Ah...Wilson Fisk," says the Claw, looking up at him. Behind them, Peter conveniently thinks for us, "AKA - the Kingpin."
I suspect that this is the "Ominous Arrival" touted in the "Next" caption of August 5th. Too bad, it came a little too late.
August 15, 2018
Peter looks on as the Claw confronts the Kingpin. There are the tops of two heads behind Kingy. His goons, presumably. "Robbie was right!" thinks Peter, "The Kingpin's back - and worse, he's in league with the Golden Claw!" (Robbie mentioned this way back on May 29th! Now that's foreshadowing!) Claw says, "You question my orders to my own men, Mr. Fisk?" and the Kingpin says, "As partners, surely we should confer on such decisions." In panel #2, Kingpin looks at Peter and says, "After all, if a reporter married to a Broadway star is found dead in this part of the city...it could draw attention that might disrupt our joint scheme." (That's what the Claw said before! Did they swap brains?) "Which is what, chrome dome?" asks Peter, referring to the scheme.
August 16, 2018
From left to right, it's Colleen, the Claw, the Kingpin, and Peter. The Claw says, "It saddens me that you underestimate me, Mr. Fisk. I've no intention of the bodies of this pair being found in Chinatown." In panel #2, the Claw turns to Suwan who is still bowing her head. "Suwan! Take them to Wing's place - and make their deaths look accidental," orders the Claw. Panel #3 is the Kingpin and the Claw as Fisk says, "Please allow my two associates to accompany them, Claw. They specialize in accidents of the fiery kind." (What is that between Kingpin and the Claw? Is that the back of one of the goons heads? What a strange place to put him.)
August 17, 2018
The Claw and Kingpin walk away, their backs to us. Peter is manhandled by one of Fisk's goons while Colleen is handled by Fan-Hua (I think). Colleen has handcuffs on, even though she was previously manacled to the wall. "Now come, Mr. Fisk. You and I have much to discuss," says the Claw. "Indeed we do!" says Fisk. Peter thinks, "Unfortunately, I won't be around to hear it..." In panel #2, he and Colleen are led to the back of a van. Fan-Hua has disappeared and the two Kingpin goons have taken charge with Suwan looking on. Peter continues his thought with "...cause Colleen Wing and I are scheduled to be the victims of a tragic fire!" One of the goons looks at Suwan and says, "Throw 'em in the back o' the van." I have no idea why he's telling that to Suwan since she is not involved in putting them in the van; she's several feet away. "Do not order me about like a servant!" she says.
August 18, 2018
Hey, look! Fan-Hua and Lei-Ling are back. They and one of Fisk's goons look on in the background as Colleen and Peter lean in to whisper to each other in the foreground. I presume they are in the back of the van. "Your name is Peter Parker? I'm Colleen Wing," says Colleen. "Yeah, I came to your dojo looking for you and ran into that swordswoman instead," Peter whispers back. Panel #2 is Colleen alone as she whispers, "Suwan is only lately trained in swordcraft. Put a blade in my hand, and she'd soon wish she'd stuck to making tea for her murderous granduncle."
August 19, 2018
"An innocuous-looking van rolls through the Manhattan night..." It is traveling on Mott Street, passing the Bayard St. intersection. If it is on Mott, then it must be traveling south because Mott is one way. I thought Colleen's dojo was in midtown but I'm not sure where I got that idea so maybe it isn't. The van says "Double Happiness Florist 80 Mott St." on the side. There is a guy in the foreground, leaning up against the street sign pole, smoking a cigarette and reading the newspaper. There are three people in the background buying fresh produce. Someone in the van says, "Colleen Wing's dojo is only a few blocks ahead." So, it is definitely not in midtown. Panel #2 continues the caption with "...but its unwilling occupants are potentially anything but harmless." Inside the van, Peter and Colleen lie on the floor. Fan-Hua, Lei-Ling and one of the Kingpin's goons look on. "Colleen, have you got any idea what the Golden Claw and the Kingpin are up to?" Peter whispers. "Only rumors. Danny and I have been trying to learn more," Colleen whispers back. Panel #3 is a close-up of Peter and Colleen as Peter whispers, "Danny? As in Danny Rand, alias Iron Fist?" (Really, Peter, just because you're whispering, that doesn't mean some of the others can't hear you. You're going to blurt out Fist's secret identity while trussed up on the floor of a van?) Colleen whispers back, "He keeps a low profile. How do you know his secret?" (And it didn't help, Colleen, that you called him "Danny.") A different angle in panel #4 showing a goon along with Colleen and Peter. The goon has a slight smile on his face as if he can hear everything they are saying. "When we met," Peter whispers, "he decided to trust me with his dual identity." (This is Peter completely blowing his Spider-Man identity so casually he doesn't seem to know that he's doing it.) "And did you likewise share a secret of yours with him?" whispers Colleen. Panel #5 is back to Peter and Colleen alone. "Not...really!" says Peter (But he has now!) "Well, you never know..." whispers Colleen. Panel #6 has a caption which completes Colleen's sentence. "You may yet get the chance before this night is over!" And this line is in a caption because the panel shows Iron Fist standing on the roof of the building that houses Wing Martial Arts Studio.
The "Next" caption is "Leaving the Scene of an Accident!" whatever that may mean. Our last one was "At the Mercy of the Golden Claw!" which still appears to be true.
August 20, 2018
"In the back of a speeding van..." Peter and Colleen continue to whisper on the floor. It looks like a pair of pant legs behind Peter and a skirt behind Colleen, which means that some of their captors have changed seats. "You and Iron Fist were on the trail of Kingpin and the Golden Claw?" whispers Peter. "We'd learned they'd joined forces, but not what they plan to do!" whispers Colleen. Panels #2 and #3 are stacked one of top of the other with panel #2 being much bigger than #3 which only allows enough room to show Peter's head as if squeezed down in the van. A pretty nifty effect. In panel #2 the van stops with a SKREEEK. What? Did they have to slam on their brakes? How could they miss Colleen's dojo? The sign reading "Wing Martial Arts Studio" has suddenly become huge! The writing on the side of the van has been reduced to "Double Happiness Florists." I guess the daily strip can't fit in the address. In that cramped panel #3, Peter whispers, "Well, wherever our would-be executioners were taking us...I think we're there!" Come on, Pete! You know where they were taking you! They told you!
August 21, 2018
The Kingpin's goon wields a lug wrench as he orders Peter and Colleen out of the van. In fact, he says, "Drag 'em outta the van!" Fan-Hua behind does not drag them out. They step out on their own. "If only we could break free..." whispers Colleen as Peter thinks, "My spider strength could snap these ropes but I won't blow my secret ID unless I have to." Why not, Peter? You already blew it with Colleen. The van, by the way, is back to saying "Double Happiness Florist 80 Mott St." if we can judge by the little bit that is visible. In panel #2, the goon hikes a thumb at "Wing Martial Arts Studio" and says, "In minutes, this whole building'll be an inferno!" "It sounds like I might not have a choice," thinks Peter.
August 22, 2018
So, Peter takes off running. "If I can escape," he thinks, "Spider-Man can come back for Colleen Wing!" Colleen, Lei-Ling and two goons watch him go. "Hey! That Parker creep's makin' a break for it!" says the bald goon. (Did we have a bald goon on the van?) In panel #2, the other goon throws his lug wrench and whacks Peter in the back of the legs with a SWAKK. "He ain't gettin' far," says the goon. Peter says, "OWWW." Peter, you're Spider-Man! That couldn't hurt you all that much! In panel #3, the lug wrench goon gets into the van's driver's seat. "Forget settin' a fire! I'll flatten 'em with the van! We'll make it look like a hit-and-run!" he says. Now, there's some thinking! Forget about the Kingpin's orders. Run them down with a van that will be easy to identify. And why aren't there any bystanders on the street?
August 23, 2018
So, there's Peter lying in the street with the lug wrench next to him. The goon in the van drives right toward him with a SKREE. "That hoodlum means to run me over!" Peter thinks. In panel #2, he gets that half-Spidey mask and the spider-sense bolts. "Secret identity get stuffed!" he thinks, "I'm gonna snap these ropes and..." but someone off-panel says "Don't worry." It's Iron Fist and he steps in front of the van in panel #3. "I've got this!" he says. "Iron Fist!?" says Peter.
August 24, 2018
Now, we're inside the van, looking over the driver's shoulder. He sees Iron Fist, with his fist blazing, and Peter behind. "Huh? Where'd that Iron Fist creep come from?" he says, "Aw, what's the difference? This van'll knock him on his..." He never finishes that sentence as, in panel #2, Iron Fist punches the van with a THWAMM, completely wrecking the front end.
August 25, 2018
I can buy that Fist's punch smashes the front of the van but I'm having a hard time with what follows. He punches the van again and sends it flying through the air in a loop-de-loop, finally smashing into the second story of a building with a KRAASSH. In panel #2, Fist turns to Peter. "You did that with just your fist?" says Peter. (As if he didn't see it with his own eyes.) "Well," says Fist, his fist still blazing, "I had years of training."
August 26, 2018
The van falls to earth with a KERWHUMPP. Colleen and the others are in the background. The van falls near them and they don't seem to even flinch. Iron Fist stands in the middle of the street, his right arm straight out in front of him, the fist blazing, looking cool. Peter has gotten up on his knees. "Where'd you learn to hit like that, Iron Fist?" Peter asks. Panel #2 is all Fist and his blazing fist. "A place called K'Un Lun," he says, "But don't look for it on a geography website. It materializes on Earth only one day every ten years. (Like Brigadoon...except it only appears once every 100 years.) Panel #3 is Fist and Peter and, because it's Sunday and it's Alex, some birds. "Who are you - and what are you doing mixed up in this?" asks Fist. "Peter Parker - reporter for the Daily Bugle," (and I'm Spider-Man as I'm sure you'll find out since I told Colleen that you told me your secret identity) says Peter. In panel #4, the camera moves behind Suwan, Lei-Ling, Fan-Hua, Colleen, and the remaining goon as Peter and Fist stand on the other side of the street. (And there are some bystanders way over in the corner. I guess a van falling from second story heights will bring out three curious people. Speaking of the van, what about the driver? Is he dead? Did Iron Fist kill him? Why doesn't anybody care?) "Thanks for saving me," Peter tells Fist, "but your friend Colleen Wing's still a captive over there!" "Colleen?" says Fist, "You have a lot of questions to answer, Parker." Panel #5 moves in on Fist and Pete again as Fist slams his two fists together and heads across the street. "But right now I have to help Colleen," he says. And Peter thinks, "If I can just sneak off and change, I'll join him." But in panel #6, the remaining goon wraps his arm around Colleen's neck and points a gun at her head. "Hands in the air, Iron Fist," he says, "or I put moonlight through her!" Suwan, Lei-Ling and Fan-Hua all look shocked at this as if they are not on the goon's side at all.
The "Next" caption is "Standoff on Manhattan's Mean Streets!" It could be good. Last time, we had "Leaving the Scene of an Accident!" which nobody did.
August 27, 2018
Whoa! Did that goon ever change! Yesterday, he had a full head of hair and looked Native American. Now he's bald and looks Asian. (Wasn't he a bald guy before? Did Alex draw the other goon by mistake yesterday? The one that was in the van?) He holds his gun against Colleen's head. Fist and Peter move in. (I thought Peter was going to sneak off and become Spider-Man.) "Reach for the skyline, Iron Fist. You too, Parker," says the goon. "That day-glo uppercut might've totaled Howie an' the van..." (Isn't anyone concerned as to whether Howie is still alive?) The goon finishes off-panel in panel #2, saying, "But it won't stop me puttin' a bullet through little Miss Kung Fu of 2018!" Fist's fist is blazing again as he says, "If you hurt her - !"
August 28, 2018
Now, the goon is still bald but looks Caucasian. From left to right, we have Peter, the back of Fist's head, the goon pointing a gun at Colleen, Colleen, and Suwan who is holding some sort of gun. "Don't let him stop you, Iron Fist!" says Colleen. "If him or his pal take a step, you're history," says the goon. "Actually, fool..." says Suwan. And then in panel #2 she shoots the goon in the back with a taser type ray that makes a TZAPT. "ARRGG" says the goon, falling back. "It is you of whom we shall soon speak in the past tense!" says Suwan. So, maybe that look of shock on her face on Sunday was for real?
August 29, 2018
Peter and Iron Fist look down at the goon as Suwan brandishes her laser gun. Only the goon's legs are seen from the calves down. Peter has somehow gotten out of his bonds. In fact, the rope seems to be floating in the air behind him. A very strange thing. "She zapped the Kingpin's hitman with one of the Golden Claw's weapons!" Pete says for all those who missed yesterday's strip. "We're in your debt, Suwan - but why?" says Fist. Panel #2 is Suwan and just a sliver of Fist's face. "I've learned that last night, you saved Jimmy Woo's life," she tells Fist's sliver. "I have always loved him - even more than I love and honor my granduncle!"
August 30, 2018
Fist and Suwan face each other in profile. "The Claw won't thank you for saving us, Suwan," says Fist. (Let's be specific here. Suwan saved Colleen, who has now disappeared from the strip. The goon had a gun to Colleen's head. Fist and Peter were not in danger.) "And how will he know - if you do not tell him?" she says. Panel #2 is Peter, definitely out of his bonds, feeling the goon's pulse. "She's right about that, Fist," he says, "This hoodlum will be out for hours." (Can you tell how long someone will be unconscious by feeling their pulse?) Suddenly, in panel #3, Suwan is behind Peter and she has changed her tune. "But surely he will reveal that I attacked him!" she says, suddenly panicked. "He works for the Kingpin," replies Peter, "so I doubt he'll be eager to report how he failed to kill us." Plus, he was shot from behind. He has no idea who shot him. Well, except Suwan had to talk while she was doing it.
August 31, 2018
Hey! Colleen is back! Fist shatters her handcuffs and says, "I'm sorry you got roughed up, Colleen." Colleen says, "When we went after the Claw and Kingpin, we both knew the risks." Peter standing on the right side of the panel says, "If only we knew what those two are up to...!" Panel #2 is a Loony Tunes spotlight with Suwan, Fan-Hua, and Lei-Ling standing behind Fist and Peter. The two men look back at Suwan as she says, "I do." (She's not getting married. She's responding to Peter's panel #1 comment.)
September 1, 2018
Another Loony Tunes spotlight, this time with Fist, Suwan, and Peter. "You'll tell us about the Claw and Kingpin's plans?" asks Fist. "My granduncle swore to me that he would never cause harm to the man I love, even though he is an FBI agent," replies Suwan. In panel #2, a tear rolls down her cheek as she says, "When he broke that oath - he dissolved all allegiance I felt to him."
September 2, 2018
It's a drone shot of the scene. We see Peter, Fist, Colleen, Suwan, Fan-Hua, Lei-Ling and the legs of the unconscious goon. What about the guy in the car? Is he dead? Nobody cares. Fist says, "Please tell us, Suwan - before the police arrive." (Why aren't the police there already?) "What's the big plan of Kingpin and Golden Claw?" Suwan replies, "I will inform you and Colleen Wing..." But in panel #2, she points right at a surprised Peter (as Colleen looks on) and finishes with "but I will not speak before this - newspaper reporter!" In panel #3, Peter says, "If there's one thing I can take, it's a hint," and starts to walk away. Fist calls after him, "Wait, Parker!" I thought you were a newspaperman. No, he doesn't say that. He says, "You have as much right to know as any of us!" Fist's face fills the left side of panel #4 as Peter walks across the street on the right side. "Maybe," replies, Pete, "but I think I can do more good...by getting in touch with a guy I know." Panel #5 is the four women and Fist as Colleen says, "Is Peter Parker gone?" (Yeah, Colleen! Didn't you see him? He just walked across the street!) "Yes," says Fist, "but judging by the photos he's taken for the Bugle..." He finishes off-panel in panel #6 with "...I strongly suspects [sic] he knows someone who can help..." The panel shows Spidey next to a wall where he has apparently webbed up his Peter duds. Hmmm. Isn't he going to show up awful soon after Peter leaves? Isn't this a tad suspicious?
The "Next" caption is "Showdown on the Great White Way!" I can't wait! Last time, we had "Standoff on Manhattan's Mean Streets!" which took place if, by standoff, you mean that everyone stood around and talked.
September 3, 2018
This one is for those of us who missed the Sunday strip. First a caption, telling us something we already know. "Suwan offers to help Iron Fist - but has sent Peter away..." It's the four women and Fist as Suwan says, "Because my granduncle betrayed me, I'll tell you two what i know of his plans..." Panel #2 is Fist and Colleen as Suwan says, off-panel, "...but I wanted no reporters present." Fist puts his hand up to his mouth so he can whisper to Colleen, "Judging by the photos Peter Parker's taken in the past - I suspect he'll quickly contact Spider-Man!" All of which we saw and heard yesterday.
September 4, 2018
Another Loony Tunes spotlight, this one with Fist, Colleen, and Suwan. "So tell us - what are the Golden Claw and the Kingpin up to?" asks Fist. "They've called a meeting of crime bosses," replies Suwan. She's all alone in panel #2 as she continues, "They claim it's so the underworld can unite against the police. But, actually, they plan to execute their competitors...." Panel #3 is a shot from the wall of a building looking down at Fist, Colleen, Suwan, and Lei-Ling. The camera has chosen this particular wall because Spidey is perched on it. "...leaving themselves the overlords of all crime in this city!" finishes Suwan. Spidey says, "!" but I don't think anybody hears him.
September 5, 2018
Again, it's Fist, Colleen, and Suwan. "Even if our enemies' intended victims are mobsters, we can't let them be murdered!" says Fist. "But - there are only two of us," says Colleen. "Correction," says an off-panel voice. And in panel #2, Spidey swings down to join them. "Three!" he says. "I thought you might be along before long," says Fist. (Has Fist figured out that Peter is Spidey? Shouldn't be hard to do. I mean, just how long ago did Peter leave, anyway?)
September 6, 2018
From left to right, it is the back of Lei-Ling's head, the back of Suwan's head, Iron Fist, Spidey, and Colleen. "I've no objection to the infamous Spider-Man joining us," says Suwan, "but after I lead you to the crime summit, my companions and I must leave you." "I understand, Suwan," says Fist, "Whatever Claw's done..." He finishes off-panel in panel #2, saying, "...he's still your granduncle!" And the only person in the panel is Suwan, looking down in shame.
September 7, 2018
A mid-week caption! "As Suwan leads the way to an unknown destination..." Spidey, Colleen (from the chin up) and Suwan (only half of her face) walk through an alley. "Colleen - what happened to Iron Fist?" asks Spidey. (Should Spidey know Colleen's name? Has she figured out that he is Peter?) "He said he had something he must do first," she replies. (Did he leave the stove on? What else is there to do except this?) "We've reached the site," says the half of Suwan's head. Panel #2 has Spidey from the chin up and the back of Colleen's head. The rest of the panel is taken up with the marquee of the Mammon Theatre." "It's the Mammon Theatre," thinks Spidey, which we can see for ourselves, "The venue for MJ's hit play!" We can see that too, since the marquee says, "Broadway's Biggest Smash, Picture Perfect, starring MJ Parker & Vince...(the rest of Vince's name is off-panel...should we know his name?)...Temporarily Closed for Structure...(off-panel)" with "Closed" caution tape across the marquee and on the doors.
September 8, 2018
The camera is inside the theatre looking out at Colleen, Suwan, and Spidey peering in through the glass doors. There is a sign that says, "Closed for Structural Repairs" that we can see from inside but I doubt anyone outside could see. Fan-Hua and Lei-Ling appear to have already gone home. "That darkened Broadway theater is our destination?" asks Colleen. (Colleen spells it "theater" in her word balloons. Spidey spells it "theatre" in his.) "It recently had to close for repairs..." says Suwan, telling them something they already know if they bothered to read the marquee. Panel #2 is a close-up of Suwan's face. "...so my granduncle deemed it the perfect location for the crime summit!" she finishes.
September 9, 2018
We move back in time a minute or so for the Sunday strip. Suwan, Spidey, and Colleen are again across the street from the theatre. (And nobody is around! This is Broadway at night! Where is everybody?) The theatre marquee is a bit different. Now it just says, "Picture Perfect starring MJ Parker & Vince..." There is a sign slapped over a poster of MJ that says, "Closed for Repairs." "The crime summit's taking place - in the Mammon Theatre?" asks Spidey and he thinks, "The place where my wife's been starring in a hit play!" Panel #2 is Suwan, Colleen, Spidey, and...Lei-Ling! I thought she went home! "It was recently shuttered because of structural damage," says Suwan, "My granduncle convinced the Kingpin it was the ideal spot for their conclave..." She finishes in a caption in panel #3. "...and they bribed the contractors to abandon the site for this evening." Why is this in a caption? Because the panel shows the contractors walking away from the Kingpin and Claw, counting their money. Panel #4 is all Spidey, except for two bystanders walking along the sidewalk past the theatre. (So, there are at least two people out in the theatre district tonight.) "But if they carry out their murder plot, the theatre might be totally destroyed," says Spidey, "It may never open again!" Colleen confronts Spidey in panel #5. "Surely, Spider-Man, the possible folding of a Broadway play is the least of our worries right now!" she says. But he didn't say the play will close, Colleen, he said the theatre may never open again! I'd consider that something to worry about. But Spidey buys into the "least of our worries." In panel #6, he lowers his head and says, "Yeah, I guess it has to be!" Also in the panel are Colleen, Suwan, Lei-Ling, and...Fan-Hua! She didn't go home either!
The "Next" caption is "Knights on Broadway?" We'll wait to see what that means. Last week, it was "Showdown on the Great White Way!" Well, we made it to the Great White Way but there hasn't been any showdown, unless you want to count Colleen getting on Spidey for being concerned about the theatre.
September 10, 2018
Before we jump in, I should note that Alex Saviuk has taken over the daily strip as of today. That means that Larry Leiber's last strip, September 8th, came and went with no fanfare whatsoever. Larry has been the artist on the daily strip for more than 20 years. His work has gotten a bit odd and wobbly lately but, hey, Larry's going to be 87 years old on October 26th. Thanks for all the good work, Larry! Enjoy your retirement!
Meanwhile, "Outside the closed-for-repairs Mammon Theatre..." Spidey, Colleen, and Suwan hang out at the entrance to an alley across the street. Fan-Hua and Lei-Ling stand behind them. "You see?" whispers Suwan, "The gangland bosses are arriving incognito." Panel #2 shows the mob bosses under the marquee in the background as Spidey and Colleen fill up the foreground. Off-panel, Suwan says, "...right under the noses of any police in the theater district!" (But wouldn't they notice a bunch of guys going into a theater that is closed for repairs? Speaking of which, the marquee now has a "Closed for Repairs" sign slapped over Vince's last name, although we can see that his last name begins with an "E.") "Hey!" says one boss, "I've seen that play 'Picture Perfect' here!" "Me too!" says another, "That MJ Parker was great!"
September 11, 2018
The "Closed for Repairs" sign has disappeared from the marquee so we can now see that Vince's last name is "Evans" or maybe just "Evan." The mob bosses are still entering. Spidey and Colleen are still hanging out in the alley. "The last of the criminals just entered the theater," says Colleen. "Even if we have to tackle them without Iron Fist, we'd better..." Spidey begins but someone off-panel interrupts, saying, "O ye, of little faith." Panel #2 reveals the speaker as Iron Fist. "I told you I'd be back," he says. "But Suwan and her cohorts have gone," says Colleen, "just as she said they would!" Hey, yeah! They are gone. They must have left between strips.
September 12, 2018
"Inside the theater..." there are a whole bunch of angry mob bosses. One yells out, "Well, we're here for this so-called crime summit!" Another shakes his fist and says, "So where's the Kingpin guy - and that Golden Claw guy?" Off-panel, someone says, "We said we would be present..." Panel #2 swings the camera around behind the bosses to show the Kingpin and Claw on stage. "...and we are," says Kingy. "Leave it to them two to make an entrance!" says a mob boss. And there's a sound effect up in the left corner. KLIK. Is that the stage lights turning on? Someone locking the door? I have no idea.
September 13, 2018
The camera moves down into the crowd looking up at the Kingpin and Claw. "Okay, Claw, Kingpin - why'd you want us all to come here?" says one boss. "Remember - we got guns trained on both'a ya," says another, pointing a gun. Panel #2 gives us an unnecessary caption..."In the balcony above," as we move into the balcony where Spidey, Colleen, and Fist are. (How'd they get there? I don't know.) They look down at Kingpin and Claw and the bosses, two of whom now appear to be holding guns. "Those two must be mad - to take on all those armed men!" whispers Colleen. "If I know the Kingpin, Colleen, he'll have something up his sleeve," whispers Spidey.
September 14, 2018
Now the camera is just behind Kingpin and Claw as they fill the foreground with all the bosses in the background. "Two criminal masterminds address a gangland audience," says the caption. "We are here this evening, gentlemen, to do you a sublime favor," says the Claw. "From this moment on, you need no longer worry about the police," says the Kingpin. The camera swings around to show us Kingpin and Claw from the front. "...because the Golden Claw and I are assuming control of all your rackets," says the Kingpin.
September 15, 2018
Now we're down in the crowd. All the bosses, some with guns. "You hear the Kingpin, Joey?" asks one. "Yeah! Him an' his buddy wanna take over our gangs!" says Joey. "With all the hardware we're packin', they must be nuts," says a third boss. (I'll take your word for it about "all the hardware" but I've still only seen about three guns.) Panel #2 is Fist, Colleen, and Spidey in the balcony. "Whatever Fisk and the Claw are - they aren't crazy!" whispers Spidey. The camera pulls back to show the threesome in the balcony with the angry bosses (and three guns) down below. The Kingpin's face fills the right side of the panel and I think he would be able to see Spidey and the gang pretty easily. "We've got to be ready for anything!" whispers Spidey.
September 16, 2018
"The half-lit interior of the Mammon Theatre, in midtown Manhattan..." (I've finally figured out that the Mammon spells it "Theatre" in its name but that Stan spells it "theater" everywhere else.) Panel #1 is the mob bosses (and who knew there would be so many of them?) with three dark silhouettes in the balcony representing Fist, Colleen, and Spidey. Off-panel, the Claw says, "Gentlemen - you heard my associate Wilson Fisk, also known as the Kingpin, correctly..." He continues in panel #2, showing the Claw and Fisk up on stage in a spotlight with the backs of five boss heads down below. "We will relieve you of the burden of overseeing the criminal enterprises in this great city..." "...by taking them over," the Kingpin says, finishing the Claw's sentence. Panel #3 is back in the audience as the bosses go for their guns (but I still only see three guns altogether). "You two're outta your gourds!" says one. "We got enough firepower to turn ya both into Swiss cheese," says another. Panel #4 gives that same old unnecessary caption, "In the balcony..." as Colleen, Fist, and Spidey look down. Colleen goes for her sword. (Where did that sword come from? She sure didn't have it when she was chained up.) "We came here to rescue the crime bosses," she says, "but we'll have to save the Kingpin and the Claw instead!" "Don't be too sure, Colleen," says Spidey. In panel #5, Colleen has to check with Fist. (Why? Because she's a woman?) "Danny?" she says. "What he said," says Fist. And, in panel #6, at last four guns! One boss yells, "Okay, boys - blast 'em!" and they do with a KBAM and a KBAM and a BAMM.
The "Next" caption is "The Show Must Go On...?" with the question mark. Last time, we had "Knights on Broadway?" also with the question mark. Well, we're certainly on Broadway so...is the answer to the question "yes?" Are Spidey, Colleen, and Fist the "Knights?" It's not worth putting much thought into it.
September 17, 2018
Five mob bosses fire their guns right at Kingpin and Claw.. "You two clowns thought you could horn in on our rackets?" says one, "C'mon everybody - blast 'em!" The camera switches to the shot, in panel #2, where we can see the threesome in the balcony along with the bosses plus the Kingpin and the Claw looking smug. Colleen says, "The Golden Claw and the Kingpin are both dead men!" "I wouldn't put money on it, if I were you," says Spidey. Because, you know, the woman is always the sap.
September 18, 2018
There are four BLAMMs and at least 7 streaks of bullets but the Kingpin and the Claw have gotten rather ghosty and the bullets pass right through them. "Hey! Our shots are goin' through them two, like they ain't really here!" says one off-panel boss. "That, fool, is because..." begins the ghosty Claw. "...we never were!" he finishes in panel #2. Now their ghosty forms are fraying as if blown away by a wind amidst 3 more useless BLAMMs. "Th-they're fadin' away!" says an off-panel boss. And panel #3 is Colleen, Fist and Spidey in the balcony. "Just like we figured," says Spidey. "They were holograms all along!" says Fist.
September 19, 2018
It's back to the bosses (four of them seen) with our threesome behind in the balcony. "Kingpin an' the Claw - they've vanished!" says a boss. A ghostly (if we can deduce that by the curvey lines of the word balloon) voice says, "If you only believe in what you can see, boys..." It finishes in panel #2 with "Feast your eyes on this!" A big fire extinguisher type tank falls from above down at the bosses. "Huh? Somethin's droppin' from the ceiling," says one. Panel #3 is Fist and Spidey. "I'm betting that canister's full of some kind of gas!" says Fist. "If you think I'm giving you odds on that bet," says Spidey. Huh? That's it? Finish your sentence, Spidey!
September 20, 2018
Spidey goes into action. With Colleen and Fist looking on, he webswings (FWIPP) out of the balcony, saying, "Gotta stop that gas bomb from hitting the floor!" Panels #2 and #3 are Colleen and Fist. In #2, Colleen says, "Can't you just let it hit the floor - and knock out those gangsters?" (Since the woman is the sap again.) In #3, Fist says, "We don't know if it's knockout gas or poison gas!" (And seeing as Suwan told you guys that Fisk and the Claw were going to kill the other bosses, I think you can figure that out for yourselves.) "In which case - we die along with the hoodlums!" says Colleen as if she'd otherwise be fine with all the hoodlums dying.
September 21, 2018
With another FWIPP, Spidey swings down low to catch the canister. "Got it - just in time!" he says. The bosses cringe away from the canister and wave their guns around. "It's Spider-Man!" says one, "He must be workin' with Kingpin an' the Claw!" (Right. That's why he just grabbed the canister. You call yourself a boss? Use your head!) Another, who is using his head, says, "He's no hologram! Get 'im!" In panel #2, the bosses fire at least 7 guns at Spidey with 3 BLAMMs. The web-slinger swings away, carrying the canister. "Would it have killed you creeps to simply say 'thank you'?" he says.
September 22, 2018
We move in close on Spidey as he swings away, with the bosses in the background, still shooting at him. We get two BLAMMs and can even see a couple of the bullets as they fly past. "Shoot the wall-crawler full'a holes!" yells a boss. "If this canister packs poison gas - and a bullet hits it," thinks Spidey. He finishes in panel #2 as more bullets fly past and one even hits the canister with a PTINNG. "...the Daily Bugle'll have to super-size its obituary section," he thinks.
September 23, 2018
It's more of the same as Spidey swings along with the bosses shooting at him (with 3 BLAMMs). "Good thing those mobsters played hooky from target practice," thinks Spidey. No kidding! Panel #2 looks like yesterday's panel #1 as more bullets fly by with one BLAMM and Spidey thinks, "But sooner or later, a bullet's going to strike this gas-filled canister..." In panel #3, instead of returning to the balcony and getting out of there with the canister, for some reason he lands on the stage, bullets flying past him, and heads for backstage. "...and then we'll all learn if the gas inside is lethal!" he thinks. (Maybe he should have said something about this to the bosses to get them to stop shooting.) He crouches backstage in panel #4 with one boss climbing on the stage, coming after him. "Gotta find a safe spot to store this thing," Spidey thinks, "before I can even think about fighting back!" (Hey, what are Fist and Colleen doing through all this? Why aren't they helping?) In panel #5, Spidey finds a convenient mass of vegetation. "Maybe behind this scenery," he thinks as he puts the canister there. He is still putting the canister in the bushes in panel #6 when two bosses sneak up behind him. One aims his gun at him and whispers, "This is great! I got a clear shot at 'im! I'm gonna be the guy who shot Spider-Man!"
The "Next" caption is "Welcome to the Hall of Infamy!" Whatever that means. Last week, we had "The Show Must Go On...?" and I guess it did.
September 24, 2018
So, Spidey's in the bushes, putting the gas canister there and one of the bosses is behind him, thinking, "While the web-slinger's puttin' down that canister...I'm gonna put him down - for keeps!" I guess his spider-sense is on a break or something. But panel #2 shows a hand whacking the boss on the back of the neck. THWAK says the whack. "RRRHH" says the boss. Panel #3 has the unconscious boss in the lower foreground. Iron Fist (who whacked him) and Colleen, wielding her sword, are behind. (So, I guess they are helping.) "He's lucky I didn't let you use your sword on him!" says Fist. Colleen looks back at three other gun-toting bosses coming backstage. "But here come the rest of them!" she says.
September 25, 2018
A battle royale begins. Colleen uses her sword with a SLICE. Fist uses his hands. Five bosses get socked or have their guns sliced in half. "There's so many of them, they're getting in each other's way," says Colleen. "Still, they'll overwhelm us by sheer numbers," says Fist, "unless I remind them..." He finishes in panel #2 with, "...why I'm called Iron Fist!" And he reminds them by punching...the floor. But that works. With a SLAAMMM, it repels the bosses and Colleen. (And where is Spidey? Still putting that canister behind the bushes?)
September 26, 2018
Iron Fist's fist smokes from the effort. We can see three of the bosses knocked out flat on the floor. But six more are coming. Colleen puts her hand on the back of the kneeling Fist. "Your blood laid those hoodlums low," she says (I think she means "Your blow...") "but there are still hordes of them!" "It will take me ...a little time...to recharge my mystic energy," says Fist. Then, in panel #2, Spidey shows up behind them, shooting webbing with a FWIPP. "Or you could just let your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man take charge!" he says. "Yeah...I guess that'd work, too!" says Colleen.
September 27, 2018
In spite of Spidey's bold statement yesterday, it turns out that the trio are in trouble. Webbing covers the guns of two of the bosses but we can see two more who are not webbed. Spidey, Fist, and Colleen stand, left to right. "We're surrounded," thinks, Spidey, "Can't web-swing to safety and desert Colleen and Danny!" Then, he says, "So, how come you don't look worried about becoming a human bullseye?" "Because - I'm waiting," says Fist. "Waiting for what?" asks Colleen. Panel #2 is a close-up of the threesome. A big SMASSHH sound effect appears behind them. "For that!" says Fist. Spidey and Colleen both say "?" which I'm pretty sure means, "What's that?"
September 28, 2018
The smash is repeated only now it's a SMASH. The door bursts open as five policemen arrive, one using a battering ram. Five bosses look back at the door and one says, "Gangway! It's an army of cops!" The police mop up the bosses (we see two cops taking on three bosses) while Spidey, Fist, and Colleen stand there and watch. "How'd they know World War III was going on inside this theater?" asks Spidey. "I didn't get a chance to mention it," says Fist, "but when I sneaked off earlier..." He finishes in panel #3 which belongs to Fist and Spidey. "...my 'good buddy' Danny Rand made a fast phone call," he says. "And when the chairman of a Fortune 500 company makes a call...." says Spidey. Well, what? When the chairman of a Fortune 500 company makes a call, then what????
September 29, 2018
Three cops point guns at six bosses who put their hands up. "Hold yer fire, blue boys!" says one. "We give up!" says another. Now, in panel #2, Colleen, Fist, and Spidey are hiding behind a curtain. "This will set crime back years in this city!" says Colleen. "But it doesn't answer the million-dollar question," says Fist. "Yeah, where are the Kingpin and the Golden Claw?" says Spidey.
September 30, 2018
A whole lot of whispering goes on, as Spidey, Fist, and Colleen hang around backstage instead of making a break for it as they say they ought to do. In the background, the cops are hauling the bosses away. One boss is still unconscious on the floor. "The cops are rounding up the last of the mobsters," whispers Spidey, "so I suggest we hunt for a back exit!" "Why?" whispers Colleen, "It was Danny who summoned the police!" Panel #2 is our threesome, not going anywhere. "Danny Rand, yes!" whispers Fist, "Not a little-known masked entity who calls himself Iron Fist." (Masked entity?) Panel #3 has three cops leading two bosses in the foreground while Fist, Spidey, and Colleen stand around in plain sight backstage in the background. "Check!" whispers Spidey, "They'll want to question all three of us...and meanwhile, the Kingpin and the Golden Claw will escape." Panel #4 is Colleen and Spidey as she whispers, "What? Do you really think they're nearby? All we saw earlier was their holographic images." Panel #5 is back to Fist, Spidey, and Colleen, still not moving. "It took a lot of energy to generate such realistic holograms!" whispers Spidey. "He's right, Colleen!" whispers Fist, "I'm betting they're a lot closer than they'd like to be!" And finally, in panel #6, all the whispering and standing around in plain sight does them in. A cop points at them and says, "Hey, you three - we wanna talk to you!" "Why do I always have to be right?" says Spidey. Why do you have to stand around and whisper, Spidey?
The "Next" caption is "Pursuit of the Pursuers!" So, who's pursuing who? Last time we had "Welcome to the Hall of Infamy!" and I guess that fits.
October 1, 2018
"The police have rounded up the assembled crime bosses," says the caption. Three cops lead two bosses away while the fourth cop points at Fist, Spidey, and Colleen behind the curtain and says, "Hold it! We need to ask you some questions!" Spidey says, "If we stop, the Golden Claw and the Kingpin will get away!" So, in panel #2, the cop finds his gun covered in webbing with a FWIPP. "Then let's not stop!" says an off-panel Spidey. "Hey!" says the cop, lines radiating off his head.
October 2, 2018
Whoa! Time jump! Spidey, Fist, and Colleen are on the roof with a helicopter going WHUP WHUP WHUP right above them. (Is that all it took to evade those cops? Some webbing over one guy's gun?) Spidey has already snagged the runner of the copter with some webbing. Kingpin looks out the window of the chopper. "You were right!" says Colleen, "The two big cheeses were on the roof all along!" "They'll escape in that 'copter!" says Fist. "Not if I can help it," says Spidey. But in panel #2, looking down from the copter's perspective, Spidey is pulled into the air with Fist and Colleen looking on from below. "Sheesh!" says Spidey, "I guess I should've grabbed hold of something!"
October 3, 2018
Spidey is pulled into the air by the helicopter. He looks down and says, "I'll secure a webline to the roof, and this chopper'll stop climbing." (Either that or it will tear his arms off.) But in panel #2, his webshooter goes FFT. "Crud! What a time for my webshooter to jam!" he says. In panel #3, Colleen and Fist run along the roof, as Spidey flies away with the copter. "They'll cut his webline - and he'll fall to his death!" says Colleen. (Except they'd have to get down on the runner to do that.) "Not if Iron Fist can help it!" says Fist.
October 4, 2018
Iron Fist gets to the edge of the roof. "Hang on, Spider-Man!" he calls. "Like I've got a choice?" says Spidey. In panel #2, with Colleen looking on, Fist leaps off the roof, saying, "Help is on the way!" But in panel #3, he only jumps high enough to grab Spidey by the ankle. "Sorry! Thought my momentum would carry me a bit higher!" he says. "Any lower and they'd be scraping you up off the street!" says Spidey.
October 5, 2018
Somehow, Iron Fist manages to get off of Spidey's ankle and hang on to a runner. Spidey's web has disappeared. Now he hangs on to the other runner. Claw looks out the window at them. "There you go! Got a firm grip?" asks Spidey. "Check!" replies Fist, "I just need something to hold on to till I can take an Iron Fist to this egg-beater!" In panel #2, Claw and Kingpin look out the window. "We have unwelcome passengers, Mr. Fisk!" says the Claw. "Yes, Claw - I noticed," says Kingpin. And in panel #3, Spidey and Fist get rocked back and forth. "But they're about to be evicted," says the off-panel Kingpin.
October 6, 2018
Spidey and Fist are shaken back and forth. We can tell because of the wiggle lines all over their bodies. Also because Spidey says, "They're trying to shake us off the chopper!" "So I've noticed!" says Fist. Panel #2 takes us into the cockpit. Claw, looking out, says, "They still cling to the helicopter!' "Don't worry - they won't be there much longer!" says Kingpin, with an evil smile.
October 7, 2018
"As Colleen Wing watches helplessly from below..." says the caption and there's Colleen on the ground, looking up in horror, as four cops lead four crooks into the paddy wagon. (Why did Colleen bother to go down from the roof? And don't the cops still want to talk to her?) "...a helicopter goes through a series of aerial contortions," continues the caption in panel #2 as we see, from Colleen's point of view, the copter with Spidey and Fist hanging from it. "Can you not shake free our two uninvited guests, Mr. Fisk?" says the Claw from inside the chopper. Panel #3 moves into the cockpit where Kingpin says, "It's not that simple, Claw. But don't worry. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve." (Not that simple? Didn't Fisk brag that "they won't be there much longer" just yesterday?) Panel #4 is back to Spidey and Fist hanging around. "With my spider-strength, I could hang on here all day," says Spidey, "but how about you, Iron Fist?" "I wasn't 'lucky' enough to get bitten by a radioactive arachnid," says Fist, "but my martial-arts training greatly increased my endurance." (Whatever. I'm trying to figure out how he knows about the radioactive spider. Did Spidey blab about that to him?) Panel #5 is still Spidey and Fist but from a little farther away. "Great! I'm still betting you're as tired as I am of just being ballast!" says the web-slinger. "Check!" says Fist, "So let's see what the two of us can do..." Panel #6 is a close-up of Fist with his right fist glowing. "...to bring this flying egg-beater down to earth!" he finishes.
The "Next" caption is "Taking the Plunge?" Don't be fooled! Note the question mark! Last time was "Pursuit of the Pursuers!" and I'm still trying to figure that one out. The pursuers are Spidey, Fist, and Colleen, right? Well, who's pursuing them? The cops could have been but they gave up so quickly, we had a time jump to get our heroes to the roof. The Claw and Kingpin aren't the pursuers, are they? Bah! I give up!
October 8, 2018
"As Spidey and Iron Fist cling beneath a getaway chopper..." the Kingpin and the Claw are in the cockpit. "After my next maneuver," says the Kingpin, "they'll have to scrape those two do-gooders off the roof of the Mammon Theatre!" (Looks like he's gotten cocky again.) Panel #2 shows Fist and Spidey still hanging on to the copter's runners. "They've put the 'copter into a vertical dive!" says Fist. "They must plan to pull up just in time to let us take the hit!" says Spidey. I say, "The Kingpin must be one hell of a chopper pilot if he can pull that off without crashing."
October 9, 2018
The helicopter is in that vertical dive. Spidey and Fist still cling to the runners but they've started to climb up on them. Iron Fist's right hand is glowing fiercely again. "Roof's coming up fast! You ready, Fist?" says Spidey. "Since the day I came back from K'un-Lun!" says Fist. In panel #2, each hero punches the floor of the chopper with a SMASHHH.
October 10, 2018
In the cockpit, the Claw looks back at the two fists coming up through the floor. "Their infernal fists have smashed through the cockpit!" he says. "I've lost control of the 'copter!" says the Kingpin. (Really? So the vertical dive was not the best of ideas?) In panel #2, Spidey and Fist have pulled their fists out of the floor and still hang on to the runners. "Guess we misjudged how much power the two of us would have together!" says Spidey. "We didn't just cripple the chopper," says Fist. "...we sent it into a death spiral!" he finishes in panel #3 as we again see the two heroes hanging on for dear life. (So, it's the good guys' fault that the chopper is in a death spiral? The vertical dive didn't have anything to do with that?)
October 11, 2018
The copter is plummeting. Spidey and Fist hang on to the runners. "Kingpin and the Claw have got to regain control of the 'copter," says Spidey, "or they'll perish with us!" "Or..." says Fist. "Or, maybe not!" he says in panel #2, as Kingpin and the Claw use jet packs to fly away from the crashing helicopter. (Jet packs! Weren't we all supposed to have those in the future! Where's my jet pack?)
October 12, 2018
How many different angles can Alex show Fist and Spidey on the helicopter runners? This time he shows them from behind. "The rooftop's coming up fast!" says Fist. "We can't stop this chopper from crashing," says Spidey, "but we don't have to go down in flames with it!" In panel #2, Spidey grabs Fist around the waist and starts to weave a parachute with his webbing. "A parachute made out of your webbing?" says Fist. "Haven't tried this in a while," says Spidey, "but I guess it's like riding a bicycle...!" and he thinks, "Good thing I managed to un-jam my web-shooter!" Yeah, Spidey! When did you have time to do that? While you were hanging onto a runner being buffteted about? Oh well. I suppose we should be grateful that Stan remembered it was jammed in the first place.
October 13, 2018
Spidey and Fist float down on the parachute as the copter continues its fall. "Hope the cops've got all the crime lords out of the theater by now, before..." says Spidey. Panel #2 shows us the helicopter, crashing on the roof of the Mammon Theatre with a KRA BOOOOM. Whoops!
October 14, 2018
In case you didn't get enough of it in yesterday's second panel, the first panel here repeats the crash on the Mammon's roof with another KRA BOOOM. (But only 3 "O"s this time.) In panel #2, the cops, bosses, and Colleen look up at the roof. (Guess it's a good thing Colleen went down to the street after all.) "What in blazes was that?" says one cop. "That helicopter - it fell onto the roof of the theater," says Colleen, "but - I didn't see Spider-Man or Iron Fist jump free!" The roof is completely aflame with a smashed helicopter on it, in panel #3, but the roof seems to be holding up just fine. A caption answers Colleen's concern. "That, Colleen Wing, is because on the far side of the current conflagration..." it says. Okay, the caption only starts to answer. The panel does the rest. It shows Spidey and Fist floating down on the web parachute. "Why didn't you tell me you could form those webs of yours into a parachute?" asks Fist. I know the answer to that. "You didn't ask!" But that's not what Spidey says. Panel #4 gives us a close-up of the duo as Spidey replies, "Actually, I hadn't tried it in so long - I wasn't sure I could!" In panel #5, Spidey and Fist continue to descend. "We're drifting down into that construction site a few blocks south of 42nd," says Fist. (So, 39th?) "Yeah..." says Spidey. "And look who's there waitin' for us!" he says, as they descend to meet Kingpin and the Claw.
The "Next" caption is "Grudge Match - To the Finish!" We can only hope. Last time, it was "Taking the Plunge?" and, yeah, I guess they did.
October 15, 2018
Yet again we get the KRA-BOOOM. (Now it has a hyphen.) Spidey and Fist continue to glide down on the parachute. "We're lucky your web-chute carried us free of the crash zone!" says Fist. "Don't cash in your four-leaf clovers just yet, Fist," says Spidey. Panel #2 is shot from behind Spidey and Fist as we see Kingpin and Claw standing in a construction site. "Look who escaped the chopper via their own personal jet packs!" says Spidey. Iron Fist points at them and says (just in case we only started reading the strip a couple of days ago), "Kingpin and the Golden Claw!"
October 16, 2018
Kingpin and Claw shrug off their jet packs. "We should've tried to get farther with these jets, Claw," says Kingpin. "No, Fisk! No more fleeing from our costumed foes!" says Claw. Panel #2 shows Spidey and Fist descending into the construction site. "Here we stand," says Martin Luther...er, I mean, the Claw, "until they lie lifeless at our feet!" "Point taken!" says Kingpin.
October 17, 2018
The huge Kingpin looms over Spider-Man. "So we meet again, Spider-Man," he says. "Who writes your dialogue - the guys that do Saturday-morning cartoons?" says Spidey. (I think, Spidey, the answer to that question is...Stan Lee.) In panel #2, Claw and Fist get in fighting poses. "You and I have never clashed till now, Iron Fist!" says the Claw. "But I've spent my whole life training to face monsters like you!" says Fist.
October 18, 2018
Spidey throws a punch at Kingpin who blocks it with his forearm. It gives off a THWAM sound. "I thought that roundhouse would lay you out, Kingpin," says Spidey, "but you parried at just the right instant!" "I've studied your methods since we fought," says Kingpin. In panel #2, Kingpin blocks another Spidey punch. This one makes a WOHMM sound. "...and I'm ready to counter anything you throw at me!" says Kingpin. Spidey thinks, "He's so prepared - he might as well have his own spider-sense!" Well, then, try a different approach, Spidey! Are you that stuck in routine that you can't improvise?
October 19, 2018
Over with Fist and the Claw, Iron Fist's fist is glowing but the Claw has put on a Golden metal claw. (That's 3 "Fists" and 3 "Claws" in that sentence.) Apparently, Fist let the Claw pull that claw out from wherever it was hiding and then put it on. "Let's see how a Golden Claw stands up to an Iron Fist!" says Fist. "Knowing we would clash one day, I designed this metal talon to absorb your greatest blow," says the Claw. The camera pulls back in panel #2 to show all four of our combatants. "...and turn its force back against you!" says the Claw who repels Fist with a SZRAKK. Fist goes flying back, saying "HHRRR." Behind, Kingpin takes a swing at Spidey who thinks, "We four are so evenly matched, this could go on all night!" Oh God, I hope not.
October 20, 2018
Back to Spidey and Kingpin as Spidey thinks, "This is crazy! I can't get past Kingpin's defenses..." Panel #2 again pulls back to show all four of them. "...and Danny Rand isn't doing any better against the Claw!" thinks Spidey. "Soon your power will be exhausted - and I shall destroy you!" the Claw says to Fist.
October 21, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen...our opening caption: "In a lonely construction site, a fierce battle rages..." Spidey again throws a punch that Kingpin blocks. This time the sound of it is KTHOW. "Can't get past his defenses," thinks Spidey. "I've long envied your spider-strength," says Kingpin. In panel #2, the Kingpin picks up...something...to throw at Spidey. There is a wheelbarrow next to him in panel #1 or maybe it's a big pan of cement with a shovel in it. When he picks it up in panel #2, it doesn't have any cement in it and the shovel is gone. He says, "But it was inconvenient to be bitten by a radioactive arachnid - so I hired a personal trainer." So, now Kingpin knows about the radioactive spider?! Has Spidey blabbed this to everybody? In panel #3, the Kingpin holds the big pan in front of him while Spidey, for some reason, shoots his webbing from both shooters right into it. We get two FWIPPs which do him no good. "...who helped me develop fighting skills that negate your spider-powers!" The Kingpin is still blathering on. In panel #4, the Kingpin throws the big pan at Spidey who ducks. "I gotta admit - you owe the guy a raise!" says Spidey but he thinks, "I'm getting nowhere against Kingpin." In panel #5, he continues his thought as he watches Fist fight the Claw. "...and Iron Fist isn't doing any better with the Golden Claw!" In panel #6, he finishes his thought as the Kingpin again looms over him. "There's got to be a way to break this logjam - but what is it? What??"
The "Next" caption is "Plain as the Mask on Your Face!" which is kind of cute. Last week's was "Grudge Match - To the Finish!" except, sadly, it hasn't finished.
October 22, 2018
Spidey is still fighting Kingpin. Fist is still fighting Claw. Kingpin blocks another Spidey blow with a THUM. "I'm fully ready to counter your every move, wall-crawler," says Kingpin, "while the Claw is equally prepared for Iron Fist!" "Well, then," replies Spidey, "Maybe it's time to..." In panel #2, he somersaults over to land between Fist and the Claw. "...change partners and dance!" he says. Kingpin, Claw, and Fist all say "?" which I think means W? T? F?
October 23, 2018
Spidey lands between Fist and Claw's legs. "Time to switch opponents, Fist!" he says, "You fight Kingpin - I'll take the Claw!" "Wild idea!" says Fist, even though it's been done in many comic stories before. Fist aims his glowing fist at Kingy while Spidey and Claw glare at each other in the background. "Kingpin's used to battling you - but he's never faced the power of the Iron Fist!" says Iron Fist.
October 24, 2018
Kingpin puts up his dukes. "I'm not afraid of some bearded clown with a hand that glows like a firefly!" he says. Iron Fist winds up his fist. "Well, at the risk of dispensing unwanted advice," he says. "Maybe you should be!" he says in panel #2, landing a blow on the Kingpin with a SZZRAK. "UNNHHH," says the Kingpin, falling backward.
October 25, 2018
Fist follows this up with a kick that gives off a KIKT, sending force lines all around the Kingpin's head. "You were right, web-spinner!" says Fist, "The Kingpin's down!" But, in panel #2, Spidey is still having trouble with the Claw. "Do not expect me to share his fate, Spider-Man!" says Claw, holding out his metal talon. Spidey thinks, "Any blow I aim at, that metal mitt rebounds back at me!" as he falls backwards.
October 26, 2018
Spidey takes to his webs, swinging around a crane that is right next to the Claw. (I don't think that crane was there before. Let me check...Okay, it was, but not as close as it is now.) Claw turns around to watch Spidey go and says, "You can't stand against my power talon, young fool!" "Not by facing it head-on!" says Spidey, "but what if I..." "...go around it!" he finishes in panel #2, swinging around the crane and kicking the Claw in the face with a FTHAK. (I'm not sure why this worked. Did the Claw keep watching in the wrong direction? Then he wouldn't have been kicked in the face. And if he saw Spidey coming, why didn't the talon repel the kick?)
October 27, 2018
Well, what does it matter why it worked? The Kingpin and the Claw are laid out on the ground like cords of wood. Someone has taken the Claw's talon but neither Spidey nor Fist are holding it. "Your plan worked!" says Fist, "You defeated my enemy - and I squashed yours." Panel #2 is just Fist and Spidey. "How did you know such a scheme would work?" asks Fist. "I didn't - but what choice did we have?" says Spidey. His answer should have been, "Because I've read a lot of comic books!"
October 28, 2018
Kingpin and the Claw are really out. Spidey drags the Kingpin over by the Claw. There is a REEEEEEEEEEEEE that spans the first two panels. "Judging by those sirens, the police will be here any second," says Fist. In panel #2, Spidey and Fist sit the two baddies up so that they are back-to-back. "I love the boys in blue," says Spidey, "but I haven't time to answer a million questions." In panel #3, Spidey wraps the two villains in webbing. "So what say we wrap up these two," he says. More webbing in panel #4 (with a FWIPP). "...as an early Halloween package," continues Spidey. In panel #5, he ties a bow in the webbing. "...and we'll leave it for the cops to open!" he finishes. "You know, web-spinner..." begins Fist. "You and I have a lot more in common than I thought!" finishes Fist as he and Spidey run off just as three cops show up.
This is all well and good but I wonder with what the police will charge Kingpin and Claw. Crashing their helicopter into the theater? There's no evidence they were involved in anything else, is there?
Anyway, the "Next" caption is "Aftermath - and Alter Egos!" which means we are actually finishing up! Last time was "Plain as the Mask on Your Face!" referring to the way to defeat Kingy and Claw. And I guess it was.
October 29, 2018
Now the siren sound is SHREEEEE. Spidey and Fist are slipping out a loose board in the fence. Fist looks back and says, "It worked, web-slinger! You slammed my enemy - and I took care of yours!" "No need for us to hang around to talk to the police," says Spidey. He finishes in a caption in panel #2, the panel showing the three cops with their guns drawn facing the Kingpin and Claw who have finally woken up. The webbing that Spidey spent three panels weaving yesterday, plus the bow, have been reduced down to one simple band of webbing encircling them. "They'll have to be content with the Halloween present we wrapped up for them!" says Spidey's caption.
October 30, 2018
Spidey and Fist confer in an alley. "For a guy I never even heard of a couple of days ago, Iron Fist - you've got a lot on the ball," says Spidey. "And you more than live up to your hype," says Fist. In panel #2, Spidey reaches for his mask and starts to pull it off. "Now, about that little matter of you wanting to know my real identity," says Spidey. Fist says, "!?" which is the polite way of saying, "Are you f***ing kidding me?!"
October 31, 2018
It's a close-up of Fist and Spidey as Spidey starts to take off his mask. "You've decided to show me who you really are?" asks Fist. "You shared your secret with me earlier," says Spidey, "and what better time to unmask than on Halloween?" But in panel #2, Fist puts his hand out and yells, "Stop!" Spidey says, "?" which I guess is the short form of "Huh?"
November 1, 2018
Fist moves in on Spidey. "Keep your mask on, Spider-Man!" he says. "No need!" replies Spidey, "I've realized you had a point about faces." Panel #2 is all Spidey. He has already pulled his mask up above his mouth and he speaks (so you'd think that Fist would recognize his voice as Peter Parker's). "You showed me yours - so I'll show you mine," he says, which sounds vaguely smutty. This has to be on purpose, right? But in panel #3, Fist doesn't want to engage in foreplay. He pulls Spidey's mask back down and says, "I said - keep it on!" "What in the - ?" which, I think, is the long version of "?"
November 2, 2018
Time for a lot of chat. In panel #1, as Spidey finishes pulling his mask down, Fist says, "I don't need to see your face - and I don't want to!" "But before, you said..." says Spidey but Fist, in a panel #2 close-up, cuts him off. "If everyone learned Iron Fist is Danny Rand, I could hire bodyguards to protect my privacy! But I doubt if Spider-Man is secretly zillionaire Bruce Wayne..." Back to a two-shot in panel #3. "That's for sure!" says Spidey. "...so, the fewer people know your secret, the better," finishes Fist.
November 3, 2018
They're still talking. In a two-shot, Spidey says, "Okay, if you don't wanna see the face under this mask, I sure won't force it on you!" and Fist says, "Good. Now we'd better get back to Colleen." It's a big Fist profile in panel #2 as he continues with, "The last she saw of us, we were clinging to a helicopter that was about to crash and burn!" Which is a good point.
November 4, 2018
So, yeah, let's get back to Colleen or, as the caption puts it, "In New York's theater district..." There are two bystanders and three police cars with three policemen. One is pushing a mob boss into his car. (This boss-arresting is taking a long time.) Colleen asks him, "Officer - any word yet about Spider-Man and Iron Fist?" "Spider-Man and - who did you say?" replies the cop. In panel #2, two cops don't even look at her as Colleen walks into an alley. "Never mind," she says. Panel #3 is a nice silent panel as Colleen walks through the alley, her head down. Behind her is one cop. Also the ruined marquee of the Mammoon Theatre and, because it's Alex, some birds in the sky. And who does Colleen meet in the alley in panel #4? Spidey and Iron Fist, of course. "Thanks for not reminding the police I was here, Colleen," says Fist...except she did. "Danny! You're all right!" she says. "Which is more than I can say for the Kingpin and the Golden Claw," says Fist...except they're all right too; they just got arrested with no evidence against them. But never mind about that. Spidey has his back to Fist and Colleen as he looks at something. The camera moves around in panel #5 so that we see Spidey from the front. Colleen and Fist are behind him and Fist says, "Are you okay, Spider-Man?" "Yes," replies Spidey, "I was just looking at..." And panel #6 shows Spidey saying, "...what's left of the Mammon Theatre." And yes, that's what he's looking at...which is curious because Colleen was over next to the Mammon Theatre before she entered the alley and she entered the alley from the other side.
Our "Next" caption is "Separate Ways - and a New Adventure!" So, should I end this review right here? Not so fast. Let's deal with that "Separate Ways" part first. Last time was "Aftermath - and Alter Egos!" and that is a pretty good way to describe it.
November 5, 2018
Panel #1's caption says, "Iron Fist has sought out Colleen Wing..." but it sure seemed like Colleen found them rather than the other way around. "Thank heaven you both leaped free of that falling helicopter!" she says for the benefit of those of us who stopped reading for a couple of weeks. "I couldn't agree more!" says Fist. Spidey is still looking at the ruins of the Mammon Theatre and Fist says, "But somehow, the wall-crawler doesn't act like he's feeling all that lucky."
November 6, 2018
It's Spidey, Fist, and Colleen in the alley. Fist puts his hand on Spidey's shoulder and says, "You all right, Spider-Man?" "Yeah," says Spidey, "but I can't help thinking..." And panel #2 is a close-up of Spidey's eye lens (we see one eye lens of Iron Fist in the background, too) with the Mammon Theatre marquee reflected in both of them. We can see "Picture...starring MJ Parker" on the marquee. It's a nice panel. "With the damage that explosion did to this theater, there's gonna be some long faces on Broadway," he says and he thinks, "Including MJ - my wife - who's starring in a hit play at the Mammon!"
November 7, 2018
With Colleen looking on, Fist and Spidey shake hands. "I know you've gotta go," says Fist, "but if you ever need a helping hand, you know where to find me!" "I do?" asks Spidey. In panel #2, Fist points up at a building. "Sure. In the penthouse of the Rand Tower." How about that? Rand Tower must be about a block from the Mammon Theatre. Panel #3 frames our trio in the alley entrance for a curtain call. "Although anytime I can get away from that high-rise prison - you're more likely to find me at Colleen's dojo!" says Iron Fist.
November 8, 2018
Spidey web-swings away. Back on the ground, Fist says to Colleen, "Something sure bothered Spider-Man about seeing that theater in ruins!" Colleen says, "It won't reopen for a long while! Maybe he knows someone who works there!" Panel #2 is the ruined marquee with 29 (if I've counted correctly) bystanders and cops crowding around it. Off-panel, Fist says, "You must be right, Colleen! Probably a stagehand or somebody!"
November 9, 2018
Spidey is back home. He sits on his couch, still in his costume but with his mask removed. There is a Patrick Nagel print of a woman with big hoop earrings in profile on the wall behind him. He is on the phone with MJ. "Uh - sorry if I woke you down in Miami, MJ," he says, "but I'm afraid I've got some bad news." Panel #2 is MJ in bed in her hotel room. She has the TV on and it is showing the collapsed marquee of the Mammon Theatre. (I'm not sure why this is national news, but...) "If you mean the theater collapsing - I just saw the footage!" she says, "Well, at least this publicity tour's over and tomorrow I fly home." Back to Pete in panel #3 as he says, "And the minute you get here, honey, we'll paint the town red!" (But maybe he should have told her that the theater collapsed because of Fist and him.)
November 10, 2018
Whoop! Looks like we just plunged into the next storyline! Oh well, let's take it through Sunday to finish this up. But here we are at the Daily Bugle and JJJ is back! He's talking to Robbie Robertson who says, "Surely you can't be serious, Jonah!" (I am serious...and don't call me Shirley.) "You think I hopped the first red-eye I could get from Miami because I like flying economy?" says Jonah. In panel #2, Jonah, all alone, gives us that grimace-smile of his and says, "I decided it's time I exposed Spider-Man once and for all - for the super criminal that he really is!"
November 11, 2018
"The Daily Bugle..." sayeth the caption. JJJ and Robbie are hashing it out. "I don't get it, Jonah!" says Robbie, "You're barely off the plane from Florida - and already you've hatched a new scheme to implicate Spider-Man in a crime?" Panel #2 is JJJ smoking his cigar. (Is he still smoking in the comics? I think they've eliminated all smoking.) There is a thought balloon behind him showing the Hulk and the Lizard who appeared in the previous (awful) storyline. "I know he's a crook, Robbie!" says JJJ, "Why else would he protect the secrets of two other menaces - the Hulk and the so-called Lizard!?" (Now, as I recall, the point was made in that story that the Hulk's identity was already publicly known. But never mind. It's JJJ and he's on a roll.) In panel #3, he blows smoke rings as Robbie looks hapless behind him. "You didn't tell me about that part," says Robbie. "Wellll....I promised not to," says Jonah, "and you know J. Jonah Jameson is a man of his word!" In panel #4, JJJ looks out the window (and there are some birds out there!). "But I'm still positive the wall-crawler's a master criminal," he says, "so I've employed a superhero to bring him to justice!" Panel #5 is Robbie and JJJ. Robbie turns to look out of the panel when he hears a KER-RAAKK. "You did? But who...?" he says. "Ah - here he is now!" says Jonah. And panel #6 shows a large African-American man in the doorway. He is bald and wears sunglasses and he holds the doorknob in his hand. The door itself has been knocked off its hinges. A Daily Bugle employee is in the background, looking frightened. JJJ introduces the newcomer to Robbie. "Luke Cage - sometimes known as the Hero for Hire!" he says. "Sorry about that, man," says Luke, "Your door was stuck."
The "Next" caption is "The Bulletproof Man - and the Human Spider!" which will serve as the title of our next review. Last week's caption was "Separate Ways - and a New Adventure!" which not only describes the events of the past week but always serves as a fitting farewell to Stan. We'll miss you, Stan!
As all of you already know, Stan "The Man" Lee passed away the day after the last strip in this storyline. This was already going to be a farewell review because Larry Lieber, Stan's brother, stopped drawing the strip in September. Now it's a very emotional good-bye. Stan was the last of the triumvirate of Marvel Age creators, along with Jack and Steve, who had such an impact on all of our lives. Good-bye, Stan! Thanks for everything!
So, whither the Spider-Man newspaper strip? We're on our way to a new story featuring Luke Cage. (First Fist, then Cage. The Netflix heroes. Is Jessica Jones next?) Is that going to be Stan's last story? Or did Stan stop writing the strip a long time ago? Will it continue with the same ghost writer it's had? Or was Stan still writing and will he be replaced? Or will it close down after more than 40 years? Whatever happens, I'll be here to let you know and, I hope, continue reviewing it.
Before the sad news of Stan's death, I was planning to give this story three-and-a-half webs. It was too long, of course. They all are. But it had some nice mystery in it with the attack on Jimmy Woo (unfortunately forgotten later on) and the introduction of Suwan posing as Colleen Wing. I liked the updating of the Yellow Claw into the Golden Claw and the alliance with the Kingpin worked. Yes, they were defeated too easily after all those months of set-up but...does anybody remember the previous Hulk/Lizard story and how tortuous that was? This one was light-years better.
So, it was already going to get a decent rating but now that we know it was Larry's last story and with Stan dying today, I feel like I have to honor them in the best way this review can. So....five webs! Thank you Stan and Larry for all of the fun and excitement over all the previous years!