Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #49-51 (1980-1981)

spider-man white tiger

Roger Stern introduces a series of White Tiger backups, culminating in the end of Hector Ayala’s role as White Tiger in #52.  Solid Spider-Man stories, but nothing you’d miss by skipping.  Except for the first Stern/John Romita, Jr. collaboration.  They’d work together later, on Stern’s epic Amazing Spider-Man run.

The most continuity-significant event of these issues is that Aunt May gets engaged to Nathan Lubensky, who will gain increasing prominence as a side character.

As for the tights-and-fights elements of the story: The villain formerly known as Power Man (Erik Josten) takes on a new identity as The Smuggler, but he is significantly less powerful.  He’s still strong enough that it takes Spider-Man almost an entire issue to take him down, though.  This bleeds issue #49 over into issue #50, where Spider-Man fights aliens and Mysterio.

I’m not sure I like John Romita, Jr.’s Mysterio.  He’s very muscular.  I think Mysterio should be a skinny nerd.

This is really two separate stories, but they begin and end halfway through #50, so I had to combine them.

Also, these issues begin what they call a “miniseries” about White Tiger, but really it’s just a series of backups that end as the main story in issue #52.  I imagine they did the first three installments as backups because nobody would have bought an issue of PPTSS where it was nothing but set-up for a White Tiger/Spider-Man team up.

Creators: Roger Stern, with art by Denys Cowan (White Tiger backups only), Jim Mooney (#49), John Romita Jr. (#50), Marie Severin (#51)
Grade: C+
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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