Spectacular Spider-Man #139-143 (1988)


This is pretty gruesome: Tombstone has been threatening Robbie Robertson not to publish a story exposing Tombstone and Kingpin.  Turns out, they knew each other as kids and the same thing happened.

So, being an adult now, Robbie confronts Tombstone, and Tombstone breaks his back.  The story really develops Tombstone as a menacing, terrifying figure.

Spidey tries to track down Tombstone and there’s a nice battle.

Spidey learns he’s working for the Arranger who, in turn, is working with Kingpin.  They’re actually trying to get a relatively new dude, Roland Rayburn, who will be later known as The Persuader, to also work for Kingpin.

In the course of the action, Peter Parker gets some taped evidence of Tombstone and Kingpin’s crimes, and it turns out Big Pun is also looking to take Tombstone down.

The cover to 141 is rad.  Nice Sal Buscema work.

Lots of sneaking around and stuff follows, like Punisher bringing Spidey to his secret boat hideout.

And shooting stowaway gangsters.

Eventually, Punisher meets up with the newly christened Persuader and…

Persuader has a costume now!  Punisher gets hypnotized by Persuader.

So, Pun and Persuader “team up” (it’s a ruse) and drown Spider-Man in a pool.

By the end, Robbie goes public with his story, even though it means that his own career may be in jeopardy for covering up some past misdeeds.  In this fights sequence, we see his thoughts about his need to sack up and tell the truth…

Also, by the end…

Punisher shakes off Persuader’s mind control and seems to kill him.

Meanwhile, to everyone’s chagrin, The Gwen Stacy clone resurfaces (this is a Gerry Conway joint, after all), and gets kidnapped by High Evolutionary’s men, which will tie into Evolutionary War.

Also in this issue, a man named Eduardo Lobo starts hitting on Gloria Grant.

He’s a mutant with wolf powers.  But we don’t know that yet.

Also: Another Bromance entry at Lady Liberty.

Creators: Gerry Conway, Sal Buscema
Grade: B-.  Solid story, good character work.  Nice job.

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.



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