Firelord came to Earth, acted like a jerk, got attacked by construction workers, went ape and tried to kill them, was stopped by Spidey, and ended up being delayed long enough for the web slinger to escape and regroup. Now Spidey is in for the fight of his life as we enter round 2! (For a full review of last issue, see my review for it. It'll help this story make more sense).
Firelord emerges out of the river he dove into last issue in a blaze of fire and anger. After retrieving his staff, Firelord is enraged about the way Spider- Man dared to lay hands upon him and swears that the webslinger will die for that effrontery. Firelord soon spots our hero and chases him into a nearby office building. Spider-Man lured Firelord into the building figuring that the former herald of Galactus would have less room to maneuver in there, giving Spidey the advantage.
Firelord keeps blasting Spidey with his staff, and Spidey keeps dodging and finally leads Firelord out of the building realizing that he may have cut Firelord's maneuverability, but he cut his own as well. Spider-Man wonders how he can defeat someone that much more powerful than him, and leads Firelord into a subway station, where he continues to dodge Firelord's blasts, knowing that just one connection with the cosmic blasts could possibly kill him. Eventually, Spidey lures Firelord into a subway tunnel, and then into the path of a subway car, and as Spidey jumps to safety, Firelord melts his way through the incoming subway car without getting hurt at all. Spider-Man is in awe of Firelord's power, and loses Firelord again in the twisting tunnels.
However, the train that Spidey is perched upon eventually goes outside on an elevated track, and Firelord spots him, and surrounds the tracks with fire. Not wanting to endanger any bystanders, Spidey jumps off the train and continues to flee from Firelord until he comes to a demolition site where workers are preparing to blow a building sky high. Spider-Man tells them to count to a thousand and then blow the building, and then lures Firelord inside the condemned building. Spider-Man continues to dodge Firelord's blasts inside the building, just as he has been doing since the beginning of last issue, and then jumps out of the building as the workers blow it up with Firelord still inside.
Spider-Man stops to catch his breath, thinking it's finally over, thankful that he survived. Spider-Man, incredibly tired from running from Firelord for so long decides to relax, but then Firelord emerges from the rubble completely unhurt and ready for more! Spider-Man feels frustration and amazment and Firelord's power, and continues dodging Firelord's blasts and fleeing from the cosmic powerhouse, eventually leading him to a gas station.
Spider-Man tricks Firelord into shooting a blast at the station, and then leaps out of harm's way, and Firelord is caught in the heart of a blazing explosion as all the gas in the station explodes with devestating force. Spider-Man thinks that he has killed Firelord, and sees the former herald of Galactus lying on the ground. Spider-Man approaches Firelord, who then gets up, completley unharmed by the explosion and ready to kill Spider-Man. Spider-Man, with nowhere left to run, attacks for the first time, and in his desperation, he hits Firelord again and again and again, dozens of times, as the much more powerful Firelord, for all his power cannot lay a hand on Spider-Man.
Spider-Man yells that he's not going to give up and keeps hammering away on Firelord until finally he feels a hand on his shoulder. The hand is Captain America's, as the Avengers have finally showed up. Cap tells Spidey to relax and that he's already won. Spidey clears his head and takes a look at Firelord, who is unconscious on the ground. Spidey was in such a fighting frenzy that he humbled Firelord in his rage.
I love the issues where Spidey faces a foe so much stronger than him and somehow manages to win. This is a classic example of Spider-Man's true heroic spirit, never giving up, never quitting, never laying down for anyone, no matter what the odds. Though he's strong, he's not the strongest, and though he's smart, he's not the smartest, but he is the purest of the pure, and that shines through in this issue very intensely. Great action, great suspense. One of my favorites.
Also, Firelord might be noble by some people's standards, but to me, he is just a jerk who thinks that he is a hell of a lot better than everybody else, attacking those who offend him and then getting appalled when someone dares to lay a hand on him. I was thrilled to see him humbled by the far weaker Spidey. What can I say? I know it's fiction, but DeFalco makes the characters come alive.
Great issue. No more explanation needed than the one above. One of my favorite fight issues.
If you like issues where Spidey overcomes a much stronger foe and wins fights he should never be able to win, check out his fight with the Juggernaut in issue #229-230 and his run in with the Synister Syndicate in issue #280-281 to name just a few of my personal favorites.