“To Judge a Nighthawk!”
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Jerry Bingham
Inker: Mike Esposito
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Originally published: January 1981
The art in this is a really mixed bag. A lot of panels are very uninteresting, especially the backgrounds, and look like they’ve been crapped out really quickly. Some, though, are surprisingly bad-ass. Most of this bad-assedness seems to be coming from Esposito’s inks, which are really picking up the slack from Bingham and Sharen.
Kyle Richmond, a.k.a. Nighthawk, gets mixed up with a robot version of his dead girlfriend. It’s all some elaborate revenge plot masterminded by the actual dead girlfriend. See, everyone thought she died when Kyle was drunk driving 12 years earlier. It turns out, though, that she had just been paid off by Kyle’s dad after the accident and had been plotting this elaborate, dumb revenge ever since.
Unlike most of these issues, Nighthawk and Spider-Man don’t have a misunderstanding and fight. Instead, Spidey is just kinda helpful and they actually work together the whole time. The issue wasn’t especially good, but at least this change was refreshing. It made the whole thing a lot more readable.