Thursday, June 28, 2007

Still musing on the Spider-Man movies. Let's take a look at Spidey's win/loss record for a second, shall we? Green Goblin...killed by his own glider. Oh-kay. How about Doc Ock: sacrifices self to save city, which only just now struck me as way out of character for the evil little toad. (Between these 80's Spidey issues, I'm re-reading Adam Troy-Castro's Revenge of the Sinister Six, where Ock is a complete bastard.)

(Possible Spider-Man 3 spoilers after the picture!)
Ock's beaten so badly, even his metal arms are tired.
If I remember, Venom was blown up by a Goblin bomb, and Sandman dried up and blew away. So aside from the outright shelacking Peter gave Harry, movie Spidey's track record is kind of piss poor. Sure, they still go in the win column, but when have we seen Spider-Man win a big fight outright? I would've much preferred, say, dropping a musical number somewhere (save 'em for the DVD, Raimi) and had Spidey simply punch Venom in the face until he cried symbiote tears or something.

It's weird: I've had Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man issues #75 and #79 forever, and while I know there's issues between them, and have even read them; in my mind #75 and #79 segue right up, one-two. After a brutal beating in #75, Doc Ock tries to get back at Spidey through the hospitalized Black Cat. (See? Bastard.)

Even though the Doctor puts up one of his best fights, it still ends in crushing embarrassment, as Spidey saves Doc Ock from being crushed. Looking back at it, though, I would've maybe had this issue first, then the more-climatic battle of #75, where Spidey 'disarms' Doc Ock. (Ugh. Saw that coming, and still couldn't avoid it.)
Count yourself lucky Spidey pulled off the metal ones, Ock.
Now, even taking into account Spidey being super-pissed over Ock nearly beating the Black Car to death, Spidey's damn lucky he didn't kill Ock. A lot of people that lose an arm, or two, probably die of shock. But four? It might be psychosomatic, but still. Also, how Spidey tore the metal there, on all four arms at the same time, instead of ripping divots out of Ock's torso, defies analysis.

But Spectacular #75 is the definitive Spidey/Ock beatdown for me, and it's a win with no asterisk, no lucky breaks, no backup or trickery or deus ex machina: Spidey gets pissed, things get broken. Hell yeah.

This panel reminded me of a joke about a bear and a hunter.  A wildly inappropriate joke.
This was right before the stretch were Doc Ock had been beaten so many times he finally had a nervous breakdown, and started to freeze up at the sight of Spider-Man. I'm missing some of those, or I may have just read friends' copies, but I think in his next appearance Octopus goes catatonic and drooly, then the next time he had enough foresight to program his arms to defend him as he went catatonic and drooly. Finally, Spidey was in a position where only Ock could defuse a bomb (or something) but had frozen. Spidey had to let himself take a beating from the arms until Ock regained his confidence, woke up, disarmed the bomb, and left a beaten Spider-Man to choke on it. Sometimes, just like with the heroes, the villains need to be broken down completely, so they can build back up again.

Panels from Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #75 and #79, both issues written by Bill Mantlo, breakdowns by Al Milgrom, inks by Jim Mooney.

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