Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #84. The Kingpin & the Schemer

Amazing Spider-Man #84, The Kingpin and the Schemer
("Look, Spider-Man, I can do that trick where you pull away the carpet, and all the furniture stays put. Oops; that's my career in magic over before it began." Cover from May 1970.)

"The Kingpin Strikes Back!"

Written by Stan Lee
Art by John Romita, Jim Mooney and John Buscema
Lettering by Sam Rosen


Money, and how to make it fast, that's what's on Spider-Man's mind because there's a five thousand dollar reward up for the Schemer's capture. And how our hero could do with that kind of cash injection. Of course, to get the reward, he first has to find the Schemer. It's a safe bet he won't be hanging out at his old HQ, the one Spidey trashed last issue, therefore our hero's going to have to start asking questions. Swinging over New York, he spots a likely candidate, a cheap crook if ever he saw one and swings down to lean on him a bit.

Trouble is, what looks like a cheap crook is in fact a cop - and he's looking for the Schemer too. So much for that idea.

But then, Spidey has an outrageous stroke of luck. As he's passing a building, his spider-sense starts to tingle. He looks in through the window...

...and wouldn't you know it, he sees one of the Schemer's hoods. He recognises him from the fight yesterday. There are ten million stories in the naked city, and Spider-Man has a remarkable knack for bumping into just the ones he needs.

But not in this case. When he leans on the crook, the crook says he doesn't have a clue where the Schemer is. Spidey believes him, so it's back to the drawing board.

Well, as this is getting him nowhere, he changes back into his street threads and pays a visit to Gwen who's still moping about his seeming reluctance to visit her in hospital. She's also giving him the third degree about exactly what happened last issue with the truck. She's been trying to work out how he came out of it without a scratch. Now he's worried. She's getting too close to the truth. Fortunately, our hero has a brilliant plan to fall back on. He drops his cocoa, declares that he's not feeling well and leaves. Hmn, yes, that'll stop the lovely Gwendolyne from ever making any further enquiries again.

As it turns out, the Schemer's hiding in his car which is buried under a handy snow drift. Personally, I have my suspicions about a master of a criminal empire who lives in his car. Regardless, he's fed up of waiting. He hits the heater. Instantly all the snow on the vehicle melts and he drives off. As the police are after him and the Kingpin's after him and Spider-Man's after him and there's a reward for his capture, you might think he'd want to keep a low profile but his car looks like something from Thunderbirds. He finds some of the Kingpin's men, smacks them around a bit and tells them to tell their boss that his day's as the city's number one crime czar are over. From now on, the Schemer's in charge.

Spider-Man's turned up at one of the Kingpin's warehouses. He's hoping he'll be able to learn something there. He overhears the men inside talking about the Schemer's car and how it can be spotted from half a mile away.

So, Spidey goes in search of that car.

He finds it. He has a fight with it. The Schemer drives it straight into the river - with Spider-Man clinging to it. The Schemer's OK. As it turns out, his car doubles up as a submarine. And then it doubles up as a plane as it shoots up out of the water and drives off.

As for the Schemer, he's through messing about. He's arrived at the Kingpin's house and, there, confronts the overlard of crime. Kingie's wife Vanessa intervenes. She tries to get the two of them to see sense and stop this idiotic feud.

But then she looks into the Schemer's eyes and she starts to act all funny. Before her husband can find out why, Spider-Man bursts in. He's had no trouble following the tracks left by the Schemer. Kingie and Spidey start fighting.

But then the villain spots something.

Vanessa's gone.

Losing interest in his fight with the arachnid avenger, he presses a button and steps into a glass elevator hidden in a cupboard. He departs, out to destroy the Schemer for taking his wife.

All of which leaves Spider-Man no better off than he was at the start of the story. He's still not got any money, he's still not got his man - and all he has to show for his endeavours are the usual lumps, bumps and bruises.

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