The Vengeance Gambit!
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Co-Plotters: Marv Wolfman, Steve Leialoha
Layouts: Steve Leialoha
Finished Art: Alan Gordon
Letterer: M. Higgins
Colorist: B. Sean
Originally published: July 1980
Wings of Fire, Wings of Fear
Writer: Roger Stern
Penciler: Marie Severin
Inker: Steve Mitchell
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Originally published: August 1980
Winter in New York. Spidey is swinging about NYC and witnesses an important-looking funeral procession. What Spidey doesn’t realize is that it’s a mob (or some kind of gang) funeral. At the funeral, this one jerk who is in charge — Malachai — is mouthing off about how his uncle is taking over the city’s crime scene, and how the dead guy shouldn’t have listened to the uncle, and how the uncle is now giving all these other gangsters a chance to prove themselves by stealing certain things.
The next day one of these hoods, a Harry Dolenz, is in Chinatown to try to get the item requested of him. It’s Chinese New Year. He gets killed. At the same time Spidey has been swinging around taking pictures of the New Year celebrations for the Globe. When he gets home, he doesn’t discover that he inadvertently captured the dude’s murder on film, but we do. The next morning he turns them into Barney Bushkin and they eventually notice that shot.
Ok…then basically some uninteresting gang struggle stuff happens for a bit, some of which involves Spidey. Eventually we find out that the Vulture — Adrian Toomes — is behind everything. He’s Malachai’s uncle. Spidey shows up to the funeral home (I think?) where the baddies are all holding out, but he ends up getting chained down inside a coffin that’s heading towards cremation.
The next issue begins with Spidey again en route to a firey demise. He, of course, gets out in pretty short order. He gets the toughs, but the Vulture and Malachai escape. Ah, but so did Black Alfred, a gangster with ambition, and he’s none too happy with the Vulture. Alfred shoots at the old man, but Malachai jumps in the path of the bullet. Vulture wails on Black Alfred like crazy, but then Spidey shows up again and stops Vulture from killing the guy. When the cops show up, the Vulture takes off again and Spider-Man pursues.
Mid-air fight! They wind up crashing through some windows into Grand Central Station. Vulture ends up taking himself out by flying hard into a glass panel. So Spidey kinda wins I guess?
These issues were kinda dry and boring. Not terrible for any specific reason, but they just really didn’t hold my interest.