Monday, July 02, 2018


From 1980, Spider-Woman #30, "Come Into My Parlor--Said the Fly!" Written by Michael Fleisher, breakdowns by Steve Leialoha, finishes by Jim Mooney; cover by Frank Miller.

My sister had this issue as a kid (she had a subscription, I had one to Star Wars) but when I re-read it I was thinking this was one of the first examples of continuity I would've read as a kid. Nope! I was thinking this was immediately before or after Moon Knight #35, just because of the Fly's appearance, but I'm several years off there. Also, one of the first Avengers comics I ever read was written by Roy Thomas, so I know damn well I was exposed to continuity there...

Anyway, this comic: Spider-Woman's tech support/possible love interest Scotty was still in a coma. Not just a coma, but a very comic-book kind of one: he had been shot with the Enforcer's "metabolic incendiary formula" in a previous issue, and had to be put in cryogenic freeze in order to keep him from bursting into flame! No time to dwell on that, though, since the Fly attacks on the very second panel! He's not even there for her, in fact; but after a brief scuffle and a shot of S-W's venom blast, he damages Scotty's cryotube and bails.

The Fly had been having some power trouble; namely, they were starting to fade. So, he went to mad scientist Karl Malus for help: this was his first appearance, and while he would go on to appear on Netflix's Jessica Jones, his early days were spent in attempts to "study" Spider-Woman. That's not creepy or anything...Here, Malus tells the Fly he could transfer powers from a superhero to him, lest he "find (himself) among the pathetic ranks of the unemployed!" Boy, if "Human Fly" is the only thing on your resume, I guess you would be in trouble...Malus was also working on a weapon that would work like her venom blasts, except he needed her to charge it.

Meanwhile, Spider-Woman has her own problems: she had been forced to team-up with the Enforcer previously, and to clear her name works with the cops in a sting against a crooked newspaper publisher. This involves her dressing up as the Enforcer to get the publisher to squeal, which is odd enough; but the detective (possibly a recurring supporting character) knows the ensuing confession wouldn't hold up in court, yet makes dandy blackmail material, and forces the publisher to clear Spider-Woman and get out of town. (This read like something a writer might do to sweep a previous writer's bit under the rug, but no, I think Fleisher wrote the previous ones too!)

Later, the Fly steals Scotty's cryotube--it's tough to think of it as a kidnapping when he's frozen like a TV dinner--to lure Spider-Woman into a trap. But she's a step ahead of them: she was there, disguised as Scotty's doctor, so she could follow and get them. (She has the Mission: Impossible style latex full head mask going there!) After a mere two page fight, with the Fly knocked out, Malus is contrite, even though he had tried to brain her with a metal rod during the fight. He offers to cure Scotty, since he was the inventor of the darts used by that "common thug" Enforcer. Sounds convenient, but okay. Malus fixes him a "simple injection," then makes an apology that sounds phonier than one on Twitter, and that's damn phony. (Man, I should just get off Twitter for a few days...) Scotty says he's never felt better as his eyes glow red for the reader; he'd be the villain the Hornet the next issue.

I don't think Spider-Woman disguised herself that often, but twice this issue, and as a guy both times? The way Frank Cho drew her, that seems implausible. And if you needed to see a lengthy suiting-up sequence with the Fly, this issue has you covered! This was also another Michael Fleisher book: we just saw his Warlord #100 recently, and this issue is even wordier! Lastly, Scotty was nearing the end of his story arc: like most of the "love interests" in Marvel's female-lead books of the time, he was kind of terrible...

2 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

Didn't know Malus was in Jessica Jones. Didn't he later become the Power Broker, and then turned himself into a 'roided up cripple years later in Captain America?

googum said...

I think the Broker was the front man on that, with Malus behind the scenes. Still, I looked him up and I think he was in symbiotes in the 90's or something.