Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #16

Background

Vulture is set to blow town (which he has just blacked out) with as much loot as possible, and now he is holding a little girl hostage. Spider-Man is desperate to stop him, but how can he hope to find the Vulture--let alone defeat him--when he's nearly out of web fluid?

Story Details

  Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #16
Summary: Vulture
Arc: Part 2 of 'Blackout' (1-2)
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Writer: Rurik Tyler
Pencils: Rurik Tyler
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Cover Art: Rurik Tyler
Reprinted In: Spider-Man Universe #4

Spidey has managed to escape the police helicopter that was shooting at him, but now he's got another problem. Stopping the carjacking last issue left him precipitously low on web fluid, and he's got a whole city to cover. And nothing he can do will stretch his supply that much. So he finds another solution: catapulting himself high above the city using what little webbing he has to slingshot him into the sky (in an especially cool two-page drawing). Even this technique is no cure-all, however, since he still has to figure out where to look. The police helicopter, meanwhile, continues to circle the area, sending in a report that is overheard by the two officers that met up with Spider-Man at the carjacking last issue. Throwing caution to the wind, they head off their beat and try to find and help the webslinger.

Returning to the Vulture, he has since arrived at the apartment of Mr. DeMarley (and mistress) and retrieves the sapphire necklace. Unfortunately, the police helicopter chooses this instant to fly by and the Vulture realizes he still needs a hostage, flying off without revealing the location of Tamara DeMarley but promising to leave her in a conspicuous location once he's safe. The police find him, but the Vulture is too quick and uses his razor-sharp wings to slice off a landing strut. They are saved by Spider-Man, who in the process nearly gets killed by the less-than sturdy water tower he anchored himself to. He doesn't have time to catch his breath before the Vulture attacks.

Slicing through the billboard behind Spidey, the Vulture takes advantage of his surprise and cuts a serious gash into his back. Spidey manages to recover before the Vulture administers the coup de grace, but runs out of web fluid. Vulture realizes this and begins to fly off. He is intercepted by a determined Spider-Man who beat him to the top of the nearest building (on foot, nonetheless) and manages to jump on his back. He demands that Toomes turn over the girl, and the Vulture agrees to hand her over if he gets a walk. Spidey disagrees and the Vulture uses his electric glove to fry him.

But remember that nasty little chemical he doused Spider-Man with last issue? The one activated by electricity? The Vulture didn't.

The resulting fire shorts out the Vulture's electromagnetic flight harness and sends him into a tailspin that dumps him into the Hudson River. Spidey manages to peel off and land on a nearby building, which happens to be where the Vulture dumped little Tamara. Which is also treated with the chemical and starts to burn. Terrified, not by the fire but by Spider-Man, Tamara calms down when he lifts his mask and reveals himself to be a regular person. He saves her from the fire, carrying her down the side of the building with his mask on when he runs into the police. Fortunately, it is the two cops - probably the only two in the city - that are on his side, and they give Spider-Man a chance to put his mask back on. He leaves Tamara with them and catches a ride back to the city on a Daily Bugle truck, exhausted but content.

General Comments

Stories like this are what makes Webspinners such a great book. We don't have to worry about continuity, or feeding in future plot threads, or all the other things that the core titles have to deal with. We just get to sit back and watch Spider-Man and the Vulture go at it for two full issues and enjoy it. Did you notice that, not counting the part where he had to remove his mask, we never see Peter out of the suit in this story? That's something that you really couldn't get away with in Amazing or Peter Parker.

The Vulture is as deliciously slimy as last issue. No major character revision - he's still the same bitter old man with the compunction to prove himself superior to everyone - but he's just so much more dangerous that he couldn't help but be taken seriously. Getting the chance to slice Spidey up a bit didn't hurt in that department. And Spider-Man, once again, proves that wisecracks and determination can take you very far, even when you're out of web fluid and bleeding all over the sidewalk. After everything going on in the core titles right now (and in Webspinners' last lamentable story arc) it's great to have the chance to read a timeless Spider-Man story without all the baggage of the present continuity.

A few quibbles, of course. Having Spidey land on the building where Tamara was being kept was a bit convenient. Sure, Vulchy said he'd fly him there, but he goes into the drink immediately following that statement. And if the two of them had made their way there in the heat of battle, that's pushing credibility just a bit. And while I liked the visual touch in issue #16 of Peter's spider sense portrayed as a web shape, instead of the usual jagged lightning bolts or whatnot, flip back to the previous issue. His spider sense is drawn in the usual manner. Let's have some consistency here.

These are just two minor qualms with an otherwise highly enjoyable issue. The writing was strong, the art was great (the Vulture hasn't looked this menacing for quite some time) and it was just plain fun to read.

Overall Rating

Quality Spider-Man. Four webs.