|Cover Art:||Sal Buscema|
|Reprinted In:||Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1|
Spidey hitches a ride on a slow tugboat to get home after a fight with the Kingpin (one of the crew identifies their stowaway as "Spider-Guy!") He visits Curt Connors to let him know that his "Taser" gizmo worked in his fight with the crime lord. Connors, though, is not feeling well and Spidey leaves with an exhortation for the doctor to get some rest.
Meanwhile a man steps out of a limo in Gramercy Park with two tigers on a leash. Upon entering a building he is attacked by the Tarantula. The two are interrupted by the mysterious "El Lider" from last issue (says Kraven, "Say the word, Mister, and I'll tear this bargain-basement Montalban to ribbons) who chastises them both and instructs them to work together to kidnap school chancellor Richard Gorman.
Peter visits Aunt May and Anna Watson drops by. Peter begins to tell her his troubles with Mary Jane but decides not to. Meanwhile Kraven and the Tarantula infiltrate the office of Gorman who, of course, is preoccupied with the financial crisis. They capture Gorman and, after turning the air conditioning up to slow down the guards (?), escape with the chancellor.
The next day Peter brings Glory Grant to the Daily Bugle for a job. The current secretary leaves in tears leaving Grant hesitant. But Peter and Joe Robertson convince her to try and she goes into Jonah's office. Seconds later Glory comes out with the job and the two act like old friends! Confused, Peter is distracted by a TV report of the kidnapping.
Spidey goes to investigate and is attacked by Kraven's tigers. Kraven wants to kill Spidey so his pay scale will go back up. Meanwhile Tarantula brings Gorman to the leader and asks for both his and Kraven's money. Tarantula, though, knows the leader's secret. Guessing this, the leader has booby-trapped the money with gas which knocks Tarantula unconscious. Back at the fight, Kraven gains the upper hand on the still weary Spider-Man. But using his inner resolve - and his thoughts of Aunt May and Mary Jane - Spidey thinks of an idea to defeat him and the Hunter electrocutes himself by stabbing a light bulb underneath where he had just pinned Spidey.
I don't know how often the police are stopped by high-powered air conditioners, but I hope the criminal element doesn't pick up on this ingenious idea.
It's a good enough story, with an interesting twist on what happens after Tarantula's success. Sal's art is better compared to last issue.
Given Kraven's ultimate futility as a villain (until Kraven's Last Hunt) it's hard to see another Spidey "I-can't-die-what-will-happen-to-Aunt-May" moment happening here.
Similar in flavour to the preceding issue, this one earns the same rating. Three average webs.
*According to our friends at Marvel Chronology Project, this issue takes place after Amazing Spider-Man #164 (featuring Spidey vs. the Kingpin) and is followed by the next issue of this very title. Peter references his fight with the Kingpin on the splash page.
*Although the cover title is "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man," the indicia omits "Peter Parker."
*Once again, the letters page (whose title is revealed as "Peter Parker's Pad" in an anachronistic nod to this very website) has a text piece, presumably by G.C. Here's a tidbit that may make older readers cringe..."Some fifteen fine pencilers and inkers, and five wondrous wordsmiths, have spun the wallcrawler's webs throughout his first - can it really be that long? - fourteen years." I hate to think what those numbers are up to now, 28 years or so later as of this writing.
*The Marvel Bullpen Bulletins preview Ms. Marvel #1, starring a character who is "very much a super-heroine for the seventies." Also talked about are Logan's Run, with art by a young George "Pacesetter" Perez, and Black Panther #1, by Jack "King" Kirby. About T'Challa, "Despite the recent demise of Jungle Action, we have a lot of faith in the Panther as a character...what Jack came up with was so different, exciting and inimitably his own, we just had to start it as its own title.
What Kirby came up with - and this is strictly opinion - was a Black Panther completely out of character and forced into bizarre science fiction plots. The "highlight" of his run was when T'Challa was helped by family members of all shapes and sizes dressed as The Black Musketeers.
Meanwhile, Don McGregor's excellent "Panther Vs. the Klan" storyline from Jungle Action would have to wait a few years until its completion in Marvel Premiere.