January 1987: Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man 125 – Spider-People, Family Drama & Office Politics


Synopsis: ‘Wrecking Havoc‘ was written by Danny Fingeroth, with art by Jim Mooney, Vince Colletta and Art Nichols and opens with Peter ‘Spider-Man’ Parker being asked by his boss J.Jonah Jameson Jnr to get photos of this new Spider-Woman, who has been seen committing crimes in Denver , Colorado.  Peter agrees, partly for the money, but also is curious himself.

Speaking of, Spider-Woman herself is stealing a disk from Dextro-labs for someone she refers to as Clemson. She’s doing so just as  the Wrecking Crew (Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball and team leader the Wrecker) have arrived to pull the exact same job. The Crew are divided in their ongoing motives, but there’s still this job and with four of them present, it doesn’t go Spider-Woman’s way. The Wrecking Crew end up leaving with the disk.

Anxious over Clemson’s reaction, Spider-Woman starts flashing back to the last few years, from her contentious co-parenting of her daughter, her being in Freedom Force and how badly that ended to her being a fugitive. Her deal with Clemson keeps her out of jail, but has left her very much at Clemson’s mercy.

Meanwhile at his Chelsea apartment Peter is facing eviction (probably not for the first time) and avoiding his landlady Mrs Muggins. He owes 4 month’s rent and is having a slump at work.

Colorado and the Wrecking Crew are discussing their next move, which is blackmailing the US with a super-bomb after teaming up with Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil. Thing is only Bulldozer, Piledriver and Thunderball are in that meeting, the Wrecker  is on the phone to his ailing mum. Thunderball is fine with that as he is keen to replace the Wrecker, the other two are just happy to get paid and get laid so will go with whoever is in charge. What Wrecker wants is to get back to New York in time to see his mum before she dies.

Three days later all of the relevent players are in New York and the three non-Wrecker members of the Crew have been arrested after their involvement in an attack on Avengers Mansion. The Wrecker is still at large, at Clemson’s request Spider-Woman is pursuing him. Wrecker hides in a fleabag hotel, Spider-Woman bursts in on him and rather predictably a figt breaks out. Spider-Woman gets the disk from the Colorado robbery and the Wrecker then pursues her for it. This chase gets into the media and Peter Parker hears about it on route to the airport, to catch a flight to Denver. He gets out of the taxi he is in and a quick change later is on his his way as Spider-Man.

Spider-Man joins Spider-Woman and with his camera set up already helps Spider-Woman in her fight with the Wrecker. The Wrecker pretty much demolishes the Spider-people and the building they are all in.  Spider-Man is holding the last bits of the building and is able to get Spider-Woman out.

Later, on a nearby rooftop, Spider-Woman explains her situation to Spider-Man and believing her, decides to destroy his camera’s film as one picture does show Spider-Woman’s face without a mask.This makes sure that he makes no money from this job and guarantees his eviction. Then the Wrecker resurfaces, seeing the disk being destroyed and he wants revenge,

Notes: There is a number of tropes that define a really good Spider-Man story. Among those are the hero thought as a villain, an actual villain who has a  well explained motivation that has nothing to do with the hero and finally there’s a moral choice that Spider-Man has to make that costs him something and this issue has all three of them. This is chock full of pathos as both Spider-People are trying to do the right thing, but are often cast in the wrong light and as a result the misunderstanding fight is less drawn out than in other times. We also have more depth in the Wrecker than we have seen before.

This is a solid issue, but the art is less than the best Jim Mooney who was a very capable penciller capable of great Spider-Man comics, but maybe it’s the inkers, maybe it was rushed, but it feels less than. The dialogue is fine, but no more than that and lacks the snappy patter of an ideal Spider-Man comic. I didn’t dislike this comic, I had no problem with it and yet it did feel something lacking. That said, the cliffhanger left me thinking that the next issue was the one I should have picked. It was at best a mid-level comic, during  a mid-level era for this title.

Oh well, onward to better things…

Next Time: Whoever wields this hammer…ribbit.

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