Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #197

Background

Spidey teams up with the original X-Men!

Story 'Power Play!'

Our hero is late for a lunch date with his parents. Wait a minute, didn’t his parents die a long time ago? Well, yes, but now they’re back, and trying to get to know Peter a little better after spending years in a Soviet prison camp (see Amazing Spider-Man #364 for the whole story).

It turns out that they’re meeting at an Indian restaurant. The original X-Men (consisting at this time of Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, and Iceman) are hanging out at a Chinese restaurant next door. Holy serendipity! Our two groups’ quality time is cut short, however, because a bank robbery is in progress right next door. Holy double serendipity!

The X-Men and Spidey suit up rather quickly and go into action. One robber is cut down by a bunch of Archangel’s blades (don’t worry, they only paralyze his legs so he falls down), another is tripped up by one of Iceman’s slides. The last pair try to run away, but Cyclops uses his optic blasts to herd them into Spidey’s webbing.

Crisis averted, they chat in the street about how old fashioned it is to foil an ordinary bank robbery for once. They’re just about to go their separate ways when Professor Power comes cruising out of the sky and blasts them all. Our hero’s Spider-Sense allows him to dodge the blast. Some debris, however, is heading straight for his parents, who have been watching him the whole time. He tags it with a web and whips it around and smack Professor Power upside the head. Our villain then shoots some Alpha-Beams ™ at Spidey, knocking him into the air.

By this team, the X-Men have recovered from the blast and go into action. Beast catches Spidey, but Professor Power puts him in a chokehold while he was distracted. Then the other X-Men run to his rescue. Professor Power knocks Archangel out the sky with one hand, while breaking up Iceman’s ice wall by shooting bullets out of the fingertips of his other hand. Cyclops tries to go mano-a-mano with Professor Power, pitting his eye-beans against Alpha-Beams ™, but he eventually loses out.

With our villain having taken out each of the heroes one by one, we end with him gloating over his victory.

General Comments

Professor Power originally was introduced way back in Marvel Team-Up #124 where Spidey was partnered with the Beast. And just who happened to write that story? Our very own J.M. DeMatteis. Yes, it looks like another moldy oldie has been dusted off the shelf of forgotten villains that no one really wanted to see again. The last time DeMatteis tried that (in Spectacular Spider-Man #191) it didn’t turn out so well.

Overall Rating

Professor Power is certainly a lame villain, but even the lamest villain has to have a win sometime. So in that vein, I’ll try to be lenient with this story and just look at it as a campy return to the tropes of yesteryear. Because as ludicrous as this issue is, it gets even weirder next time out.