Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #188

 Posted: Feb 2011
 Staff: Jeremy Roby (E-Mail)


It’s Spider-Man and the Vulture – Mano-a-Mano!

Story 'Final Judgement'

The Time: Just seconds after last issue’s cliffhanger…

The Place: The Vulture’s old Staten Island hideout…

The Vulture lunges at Spider-Man, but our hero dodges him easily by leaping over his head. Then, Spider-Man throws a punch, but Vulture grabs his fist and tosses him away. Of course, Spider-Man rebounds easily and does a flying tackle at the Vulture that knocks them both out of a conveniently placed window. Now out in the open, the Vulture does what he does best and flies straight up into the air with Spider-Man hanging onto his leg.

Somehow, Spider-Man gets the Vulture in a headlock. The Vulture, determined to go out with a big bang, presses a button on his harness to increase his powers even more. Then he flips Spider-Man around and flies up even higher into the sky with our hero in tow. Spider-Man manages to swing his legs up and hit Vulture in the face. At this time, however, all the extra energy that’s being generated by the Vulture’s harness starts to burn through his costume. “I’m on fire!” he yells, as they both plummet down to the earth.

Of course, Spider-Man isn’t ready to go splat quite yet, so he spins a web parachute to ease their fall, plus a web pillow for their landing. (How he can spin a web pillow when his web parachute takes both hands to steer is anyone’s guess.)

Despite the odds, they both make it through okay. Then, Spider-Man takes the Vulture back to Aunt May’s house so he can apologize to her. “I hope your death is long and full of suffering,” says Aunt May. The police show up again and take him away and Aunt May gives Spider-Man a kiss as thanks before he swings off. The two ladies walk inside the house where Peter is sitting on the couch and they all have a happy reunion.

Some time later, the Vulture gets an unexpected visitor in prison. It’s Aunt May. She tells him that she doesn’t hate him anymore, but the matter of forgiveness is between him and God now. On her way out, Aunt May meets Harry Osborn, who gives her a mysterious package to pass along to Peter.

General Comments

It’s interesting to note that to readers at the time, it was a distinct possibility that the Vulture would kill Aunt May during the course of this storyline. The whole “seeking forgiveness” angle is a classic DeMatteis twist.

Overall Rating

This issue definitely didn’t skimp on the action; it’s pretty much one long fight scene. Unfortunately, it’s the same as every other Spider-Man/Vulture fight. He flies around, they trade punches in the air, then he falls down. You’d think the Vulture would plan better after all this time.


The Vulture’s next appearance is in the “Life Theft” storyline that kicks off in Amazing Spider-Man #386. This is another attempt to literally revitalize the character (who was already pretty long in the tooth even at his first appearance). Some people liked it, other hated it. But at least the writers were trying new ways to present old and seeming worn-out characters to a new audience, all without dismissing the established continuity.

 Posted: Feb 2011
 Staff: Jeremy Roby (E-Mail)