Gang War, Shmang War! What I Want to Know is…Who the Heck is Hammerhead?
Script: Gerry Conway
Art: John Romita
Art assists by: T. Mortellaro, J. Starlin
Lettered by: Artie Simek
Originally published: November 1972
Picking up where the last issue left off: Doctor Octopus is unconscious (or at least defeated) on the ground, Spidey is standing over him, and Hammerhead and his men have just shown up to try and shoot the crap out of them both.
I have a problem with this panel. I recently read that the quality of swiss cheese is determined by the number and size of holes it has, with more/bigger holes being better. So “as fulla holes as a crummy swiss cheese” would be without any holes whatsoever. So…yeah, that crook is dumb.
Right after this Spider-Man punches Hammerhead in the top of the head. It’s pretty cool, but he hurts his hand, commenting that “even with my power heightened by Doc Ock’s harness– that felt like I slammed into a brick wall!”. Pardon me? Did we not just learn last issue, to my infinite annoyance, that the harness was out of batteries or something? That Spider-Man’s strength was not augmented? If stupid-ass Gerry Conway is going to go out of the way to piss me off like that in one issue, it would be nice if he remembered it and stayed consistent in the next.
Hammerhead then shoots Spider-Man in the head. Lucky for Pete, none other than Dr. Octopus comes to his rescue, causing the bullet to simply graze him. To piss Hammerhead off even more, Doc Ock kills some of HH’s goons and declares an all-out gang war. As Ock takes off, Spidey is unconscious and at Hammerhead’s mercy. Since this is a Gerry Conway story, Pete obviously falls into a dream JUST LIKE IN EVERY OTHER ISSUE THIS GUY WRITES.
On to the Hammerhead origin story: some insane doctor that like to perform human experiments found a mob gunman beaten and near-death in an alley. He brought the man home and replaced his bones with steel. The end. Some other things we learn are that the Kingpin has been arrested in Vegas, leaving the town’s crime scene open for a new leader, and that Doc Ock is living in a house in Westchester with “some old broad”, possibly Aunt May.
Spider-Man ends up heading along to the house with the baddies. He breaks in, but his spider-sense doesn’t alert him to any danger when Aunt May cracks a vase over his head. He passes out…from a vase. Come on. This is Spider-Man and a piece of cheap china has taken him down. Give me a break.
The issue ends with Aunt May summoning Doc Ock to see what she’s done.
This issue was a slightly better than Conway’s normal fare, but I don’t think it was good enough to get up to three stars. So many things annoy me about this guy. Ugh.