Comics : Marvel Team-Up #107

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Year of the Woman

This review was first published on: 2003.

Background...

The Year of the Woman continues with two female opponents for the web-slinger. The Man-Killer is the villain of the piece but it also features Spidey's first meeting and obligatory battle with the She-Hulk.

All of you who have been reading Scott's Marvel Team-Up Lookbacks know that the Man-Killer first appeared in MTU #8 (featuring Spider-Man and the Cat), that Scott gave the issue a more-than-generous rating of one web and called it, "the single worst Spidey story to date". All of which sounds like the Man-Killer is a surefire "one and done" opponent, right? Well... wrong. First she shows up working for Hydra along with Silvermane, Blackwing, El Jaguar, the Dreadnought, and Jackhammer in Daredevil #123 (July 1975), then joins up with Justin Hammer's Super-Army in Iron Man #126-127, September-October 1979, until she finally returns to face Spider-Man nearly one hundred issues after her first MTU appearance.

In Detail...

"This Rumor of Revolution!"
Marvel Team-Up #107
Jul 1981 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man & She-Hulk (vs. Man-Killer)
Editor:  Denny O'Neil
Writer:  Jim Shooter, Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Herb Trimpe
Inker:  Mike Esposito
Cover Art:  Herb Trimpe
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Review
Articles: Daredevil, Glory Grant, Jameson, J. Jonah, Man-Killer

The cover shows Spidey and She-Hulk (in her early "torn nightie" phase) being attacked by a flying tank and it promises "163 more pulsating panels on the inside"! Wait a minute! One hundred and sixty-three? Is it too late to switch to a different issue to look at? Guys? Hey! Anyone? Hello?

Hildy Dawes, the "Leftist Underground Revolutionary" who "made the Weathermen look wimpy" has surrendered to authorities... just like Abbie Hoffman!... and the press has convened at the "Federal District Courthouse in Manhattan" to witness the event. Daily Bugle photographer Peter Parker is in the crowd as Hildy gets out of a car, wearing a pink dress, green cape, and sunglasses. With her, is a woman in a green tweed skirt, white blouse with scarf and carrying a briefcase. Peter Parker assumes that this woman must be Hildy's lawyer, Jennifer Walters.

As Hildy makes her way through the crowd, one young sympathizer yells out, "What a fox! If that's what revolutionaries look like, sign me up!" (For those still clinging to the past, that remark has to signal the absolute end of the sixties.) Peter also notices Hildy's beauty but he also thinks she "looks so weary, as if she's been carrying the weight of the world for a long time". When Hildy requests "no questions" from the press, our sensitive hero thinks, "I know how she feels". (And that's only two panels! One hundred and sixty-one to go!)

Attorneys Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson stand at the top of the courthouse steps observing Hildy's approach. (Each in their own way.) Foggy fears that violence will follow Hildy and tells Matt, "It could get dangerous around here!" Matt promises to take a cab home right away. Foggy tells Matt to "be careful" even as Matt thinks about how he's going to get into his Daredevil costume and take on the Kingpin. (And what is the point of this exchange? Well, it plugs the latest Daredevil issue and it fills up three panels! What more could you want?)

Back in the crowd, Jennifer Walters finds herself surprised that "a nice person like Hildy could be on the FBI's ten most wanted list". On the other hand, Jennifer reflects, it's hard to believe that "a typical Los Angeles lady lawyer can transform herself at will into the Savage She-Hulk!" Even though she doesn't agree with Hildy's politics, Jennifer identifies with her. She thinks back to the moment that she received a letter from Hildy. Impressed by Jen's handling of "the Michael Morbius case", Hildy asks for a meeting at a "secluded farmhouse outside of LA".

Before we go any farther... sorry, no, I don't know anything about Jennifer and the Michael Morbius case. I was never much of a fan of She-Hulk and can't tell you much. I can say that Jennifer Walters is Bruce Banner's cousin, that she gained her powers when Bruce gave her a blood transfusion (because, you know, Bruce Banner is the Hulk) and that she ran around in a frayed one-piece blouse/hot pants kind of thing and was generally royally pissed off during the run of her original series (#1-25, February 1980-February 1982). This story takes place in the middle of all that and can take care of itself without any of us knowing any more than that, I think.

So, Jennifer meets Hildy in that farmhouse. Hildy sits at the kitchen table and wears the same outfit she is now wearing to the courthouse. When she removes her sunglasses, tears come pouring out of her big blue eyes. She tells Jennifer she is "tired of running and hiding" and has a "gnawing emptiness" now that she sees that her life "has been in vain". She puts her head down on the table and sobs. She now knows that, though her dreams "were so noble", she was "wrong to use violence and terrorism, wrong to harm innocents! Wrong!" (So, do you think she was... wrong?) She is ready to pay her debt to society and then later, she hopes, "work for change from within".

After talking to Hildy, Jennifer calls Buck Buckowski, an LA prosecutor who was featured in the She-Hulk's own mag, to ask for a "postponement on the Abel murder trial". (The solution to that is easy... Cain did it. Ouch. Sorry.) Buck, who seems to wear ski goggles even when he's on the job, replies, "Sure, doll. Ol' Buck'll give you a break. But why don't you just admit that you need more time to prepare cause you know you're gonna get trashed in court by a legal genius like me!" (See, you don't need to read the She-Hulk book. Just one panel here and you know that Buck Buckowski is a jerk. And speaking of panels, that's fourteen down and one hundred and forty-nine to go.)

The next day in LA District Court, Jennifer petitions to have Hildy surrender in New York "where the charges were first filed against her" (and where Spider-Man lives, seeing as this is a Team-Up story). The judge agrees and arranges for "Federal Marshals to take custody of Hildy" in Manhattan. Jennifer and Hildy fly cross-country and are now climbing the steps of the courthouse in New York City. Jennifer is just explaining to Hildy that she isn't licensed to practice law in New York and is recommending "the firm of Nelson and Murdock" when a cop at the entrance points to the sky. Speeding in is a red armored hovercraft with a laser on the roof. The cop doesn't know what it is but "it sure ain't the Love Boat!"

That's one way of putting it. The caption calls it, "a massive, highly sophisticated armored combat vehicle whose sole purpose is destruction" which is a much better way of putting it. (And it looks just like the one Manny used in MTU #8 except she's changed the color.) The craft zooms down at the courthouse firing its laser and scattering the crowd. ("Holy spit!" says one fleeing bystander, "I thought it was a publicity stunt for the next George Lucas film! Boy, was I wrong." Heh. "Holy spit." I always get a kick out of that.) The craft circles around and takes a shot at Hildy. Jennifer dives and knocks Hildy down to the ground. Hildy thinks, "they must be enemies seeking revenge, trying to kill me" but Jennifer thinks "they're here to kidnap you". She hopes the police can handle the situation but is willing to expose her secret identity by becoming the She-Hulk if need be.

But don't forget there's another super-hero in the crowd. Peter Parker makes for an alleyway, "doffs his shoes and skitters up a sheer wall". Once on a roof, he changes into his reds and blues. He checks his camera and notices that he's out of film. So, he ignores the tank, heads to the newest camera shop and picks up a couple rolls of film! No, I'm just kidding. Even though he knows he could sell photos to J. Jonah Jameson, the web-slinger heads out to do battle without his camera because that's just the sort of guy he is.

Back on the street, the hovercraft has landed and one cop is surprised to discover that the occupants are "Women! They're all women!" (Of course they are! This is The Year Of The Woman in Spider-Man Lookbacks!) Leading the group is the Man-Killer who announces that "We strike for the glory of feminine superiority" and that they are there "to rescue Hildy Dawes from your repressive clutches". She goes on to say that "My women warriors and I will demolish you and your sexist society" and just to prove it she takes out three cops at once; one with each hand and the third with a kick to his jaw. Her women warriors are kicking some butt, too, but the odds change in a hurry when Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man swings down and joins the action. The Man-Killer is unimpressed with the wall-crawler's appearance. She tells him "You may have beaten me once before but I've increased the power of my exo-skeleton, the source of my super-strength". (Ah, I love it when they talk "exposition".) And proclaiming herself "stronger, faster, and far more deadly than ever before", Man-Killer throws... something that hits a cop full in the chest. While falling the cop thinks, "Ufff. I'd be dead if not for my bullet-proof vest!" which strikes me as a desperate last second word balloon by one of the writers after seeing the art, because God-forbid the reader sees that and assumes that somebody named Man-Killer had just actually killed a man.

For those of you who haven't read Scott's MTU #8 Lookback, the Man-Killer is Katrina Luisa Van Horn. She wears a brown costume with a large white belt that has the symbol for "female" hanging off of it. And, look, just read Scott's Lookback, all right?

Spider-Man, who seems to enjoy calling the Man-Killer "Manny", leaps down at her but the Man-Killer ducks out of the way. "Now, while you're off-balance" she tells Spider-Man, "I shall pulverize you as I shall one day destroy this entire male-dominated culture!" And she levels a karate chop at the web-slinger that he barely dodges in time. Somehow he ends up on the other side of the street where he hangs from a tree branch. The Man-Killer throws another one of those... "whatever they ares" at Spidey but he lifts up his feet and evades it. Then he pushes himself off the branch, feet first, and kicks Manny right in the head. "Lighten up, lady," he says, "Society isn't all bad! You don't have to destroy everything! Just get rid of the I.R.S. and I'll applaud!" Man-Killer replies by calling Spidey an "Ignorant Chauvinist" and kicking him right back. The web-spinner ends up on the ground right next to the hovercraft. His head is spinning from the kick ("She definitely added to her super-suit's power", he thinks.) and decides to set up an alternate plan in case Manny should evade capture this time around. And so, he plants a spider-tracer on the armored car just before he has to roll out of the way of another of those "something or others" that Man-Killer throws at him.

Over on the courthouse portico, Hildy and Jennifer stay low and watch the battle. Jen decides that the She-Hulk is not needed after all but Spider-Man's demeanor puzzles her. "He seems to possess tremendous powers" she thinks, "but he's not taking any of this seriously".

Back at the battle, the Man-Killer catches on that Spidey is engaging in a delaying tactic and that "soon this entire area will be flooded with police reinforcements". So, trying to end the fight quickly, she goes over to a yellow van parked nearby, lifts it over her head and throws it at the web-slinger. Spidey dodges the van with ease. Confident that he has "blown Manny's cool", he jumps over to an old parked car and plans to bounce off its roof, using it as a springboard. Too late his spider-sense warns him that his plan is a bit flawed. The web-spinner never notices that the car is an old wreck on which the owner has written "Lemon" and painted a lemon on its side. The roof is too rusted-out to support the wall-crawler's weight and Spidey falls right through, taking himself out of the fight. Over at the courthouse, Jennifer Walters can't believe what she's seen. "That jerk!" she thinks, with her hand to the side of her head, "That yo-yo!"

All of a sudden, as if Spidey's presence was the only thing holding all the attackers back, the three Man-Killer assistants race onto the portico and nab Hildy Dawes. Jennifer knows that her secret identity will be blown but she doesn't care. "I can't let them take Hildy" she thinks, and then concentrates on turning into the She-Hulk. But one of the revolutionaries smacks her on the head with a rifle butt before she has a chance to change. She hits the deck, unconscious.

In seconds it is all over. The Man-Killer and her women take Hildy to the hovercraft "before the police can amass a concentrated assault". (Where are the police, anyway?) Then they all climb in and fly off in the armored vehicle. And it is only after they escape that Spidey starts to extricate himself from the rusty car. But does he just open one of the doors and get out? Nooooo. For some reason, he comes out of the same hole in the roof in which he went in. And so he finds himself only halfway out (from the waist up) and muttering about "If my adoring public sees me now, I'm gonna look mighty silly" just when Lance Bannon of the Daily Globe, calls out for him to "Hold that pose" and then snaps a somewhat embarrassing picture. But Spidey is more concerned with Jennifer Walters heading his way and looking very displeased with the situation. The wall-crawler climbs out of the car, jumps to the sidewalk, shoots out a web and swings away. Jennifer goes from holding her aching head to shaking her fist at the departing webster and yelling, "You could have prevented Hildy's abduction if you hadn't been clowning around!"

The result is two heroes with guilt complexes. Spidey realizes the Jennifer is right and promises, as he exits, to find Hildy for her. (And he calls Jen "Dollface" as he leaves since he is, as Manny put it so well, an "ignorant chauvinist".) Jennifer is mad at herself for not immediately becoming the She-Hulk. She isn't interested in Spidey's promise to find her client. She plans to go out and do it alone.

Just then, on the west side of town, the hovercraft lands in a warehouse used by Man-Killer as her "operational headquarters". Hildy is free to walk around and she asks Manny why she has been abducted. Man-Killer introduces herself and informs Hildy that she intends to use her to further her goal "to obliterate the male-dominated system". She karate-chops something wooden into kindling (I challenge you to determine what it is that Katrina karate-chops. Is it a barrel? A picnic table? What?), then removes her glove and shows Hildy her scarred hand covered in the metal exo-skeleton. (Man-Killer was scarred and crippled while skiing against a male chauvinist pig. It's all in Scott's MTU #8 review.) She tells Hildy that "men did this to me" and that she is committed to the idea that "they must suffer as I do". Hildy pronounces her "quite mad" but Manny isn't concerned about that. All she knows is that "thousands will join my cause once I've convinced the world that Hildy Dawes supports me". Hildy may not be interested in joining but Katrina assures her that she has no choice.

That afternoon, Peter Parker wends his way to the Daily Bugle offices. He stops and chats with J. Jonah Jameson's secretary Gloria Grant, telling her that he has some "pix to peddle". But, just then, Jonah comes out of his office with Lance Bannon. Lance has decided to free-lance at the Bugle as well as the Globe and he has brought Jonah a photo that has the publisher salivating. It shows Spidey up to his waist in the roof of the old car. Just the sort of "shot of that web-headed fool proving that he's a web-headed fool" that Jonah is looking for. When Pete tries to sell his photos of Hildy, JJJ blows him off. "Every camera jockey in town has shots of Dawes" he says, then he puts his arm around Lance and leads him away, instructing the photographer in the ways he wants to be photographed when he receives the "Good Citizenship Award at the New York Civics and Racquet Club banquet tonight". A spurned Peter realizes that "Bannon's after my job!"

Across town, Jennifer Walters is busy examining property records of "local militant feminist organizations with ties to Man-Killer". She is hoping to find "a secluded site where Hildy might have been taken".

Back at the warehouse, Hildy slides out from under a truck that has been wired "so that it's one huge incendiary bomb". Man-Killer has shown this to Hildy because she "knew someone with [Hildy's] experience would appreciate [her] work". Hildy wipes grease off her hands (her pink outfit is spotless and I'm surprised she could see anything under that truck while still wearing those shades) and asks Manny how she is involved. Katrina promises that she will learn "soon enough" as will "the entire country". (But, of course, we never do.) Then she orders her "Task Force Alpha" to move out.

Soon after, the wired-up truck exits the warehouse, followed by a van carrying Man-Killer and Hildy.

In his apartment, Peter Parker changes into his Spider-Man duds. It is time to track down the spider-tracer he planted earlier in the day.

Jennifer Walters gets out of a cab at a warehouse whose address she picked up in her research. This is the eighth place she's looked (we're told just so we don't think she hit it in one shot) and she's finally struck paydirt. She peeks into a window and witnesses three women working out (one is lifting a barbell, one is walking on her hands, one is climbing a rope). This is apparently enough for Jen to assume that this is "an armory and training center for Man-Killer's goons". So, she clenches her hands into fists and concentrates. After a few moments, the pain hits and she falls to the ground. She begins to grow (even her hair grows!) and turn green, her green tweed skirt and brassiere disappear into thin air, and her white blouse becomes a torn (from the neck to the sternum exposing some very impressive cleavage) one-piece short-shorts outfit as if her shirt melded seamlessly with her panties. (Wow! That gamma radiation is really amazing!) She has also gotten extremely savage. When she rises, she actually roars and bellows, "I've had enough of looking in stupid books and sneaking around! It's time for the power of the She-Hulk!" And so introducing herself, she bursts through the wall of the training center to confront the three women who are working out. (That's eighty-five panels down and seventh-eight panels to go. More than halfway, folks.) They clearly have never seen anything like the She-Hulk before. The one with the barbell asks, "What is that?" but the one with the rope declares, "Who cares! It's an enemy! Destroy it!" "Yeah I'm an enemy, and you're trash," replies the eloquent She-Hulk as she knocks both women flying. The third woman instantly produces a big gun, which she calls an "electro-magnetic discharger" that "can total a charging bull elephant". She fires it at She-Hulk, achieving a direct hit. But the green goliath is unfazed. Her attacker is so rattled by this that she drops her weapon and allows She-Hulk to lift her off the ground by her shoulders. She-Hulk demands to know where Man-Killer has taken Hildy. When the woman refuses to say, She-Hulk decides she must resort to more extreme tactics.

But just then, Spider-Man web-slings into the vicinity of the warehouse. He has picked up the signal from his spider-tracer, which is on the hovercraft, which has been left behind. When he gets closer, he notices the hole in the wall that She-Hulk put there. He creeps up, clings to the wall above the hole and sneaks a peek inside. What he sees is a big green woman in torn white underwear wrapping a steel bar around the three women and threatening to wrap it around their necks unless they cooperate. Spidey has never seen this giant green woman before. "Nobody told me the Hulk had a sister", he thinks. Deciding that "a shrinking violet she's not", Spidey figures the She-Hulk (who he refers to as a "babe"... that ignorant chauvinist) is someone he should attack. So, he shoots some webbing and attaches it to She-Hulk's wrist, in an attempt to prevent her from taking a poke at her captives. She-Hulk turns to see where this "sticky substance" came from and spots Spider-Man. Still angry at the way the wall-crawler screwed up at the courthouse, Shulky bellows, "How dare you show your worthless face?" grabs the webbing and yanks the web-slinger right off the wall and through the hole. She swings him around and around in a big arc. Spidey, still unclear on the concept, calls her "sweetheart" and tells her, "You're moving too fast for a first date." Bad move. She-Hulk gets riled enough to let go of the webbing (which was stuck to her wrist and we never saw her remove it but never mind). The centrifugal force sends Spidey crashing into a whole row of file cabinets. (Weren't they in a training center? Where did the files come from?) She-Hulk follows that up by throwing... something at Spider-Man (the top of a file cabinet maybe?) but the wall-crawler surprises her with his quick recovery and his speed. "I'm a lot tougher than I look!" he tells her. He leaps over her, shooting a web net down on her as he passes by. Shulkie rips the webbing apart but admits to herself that the webbing is strong and that she "had to strain to rip it". She figures she'd better avoid being covered with any webbing in the future.

Having freed herself, She-Hulk takes a leap at the web-spinner but Spidey easily ducks under that attack. He turns and punches She-Hulk right in the mouth but only succeeds in hurting his hand. (Just like his first punch against the Incredible Hulk way back in ASM #14 (July 1964).) She-Hulk has had enough. She calls Spidey "Bugman" and rips up the whole floor underneath him. The wall-crawler gets flung along with the fragments of floor but soon regains his balance. He notices that the She-Hulk just happens to be standing next to a "wall of crates" that reach all the way to the ceiling. (Which weren't there before, as far as I can tell.) He hits one with a web and yanks it out, which sends the whole wall of boxes falling down on the She-Hulk, burying her. For a moment, all is quiet and Spider-Man starts to worry that he may actually have hurt her. But then she comes bursting out of the boxes, bragging that "Nothing can hurt the She-Hulk!" This is the first time Spidey has heard her name and he thinks she's "got to be kidding!" "Are you a blood relation, or are wedding gifts in order?" he asks.

The obligatory team-up fight has gone on for two pages and it isn't over yet but first we segue to three panels of Hildy and Man-Killer. Manny's assistants provide the necessary exposition. They have parked the "incendiary truck" in the "garage beneath the hotel" that houses the New York Civics and Racquet Club. "With one daring stroke" says Manny, "we can eliminate the city's most prominent male business leaders!" (And we know who's getting the Good Citizenship Award there tonight, don't we?) Hildy tries to tell Katrina that "Nothing is solved by the shedding of innocent blood" but to no avail. "I need you now", Man-Killer tells Hildy, "But my patience grows thin!"

Now, back to the warehouse! She-Hulk is throwing more... something... and Spidey is still evading it. It has finally occurred to the web-slinger that this whole fight is stupid. "The She-Hulk's obviously after Man-Killer, too!" he thinks. Now he just needs a way to convince her that they're "on the same side". Just as the She-Hulk hefts a forklift over her head with the intention of flinging it, Spidey webs her feet to the floor... just to get her attention. Then he dangles upside-down from a web right in front of her and apologizes for "acting like a bonehead". Shulky is completely flummoxed by this. "No one has ever apologized to the She-Hulk before" she says. With this pause in the fighting, Jennifer Walter's logic asserts itself and She-Hulk sees the wisdom in Spidey's proposal that they "stop fighting and make nice". Shulky dumps the forklift on the ground and pulls her feet free of the webbing (and the fact that she is strong enough to do this impresses the heck out of Spider-Man). Now that they are best buds, She-Hulk tells Spidey that she knows where Man-Killer is, having coerced it out of the three women around whom she wrapped the steel bar. Spidey figures they need "some fast transportation" and comes up with the idea of copping the hovercraft.

So, off they fly, though the driver is a bit unsteady and the hovercraft keeps rocking back and forth. (And it is typical of this somewhat sloppy story that it is a bit difficult to figure out whether Spidey is driving or She-Hulk... but if you look closely through the windows of the craft, it appears that She-Hulk is in the driver's seat.)

Meanwhile, at the Civics and Racquet Club, J. Jonah Jameson arrives with Lance Bannon in tow. Jonah is led to the dais to meet "the other gentlemen" who, he is told, want to meet him. "Of course they do!" he replies, "This is a great moment for them!"

Like a ping-pong ball, we bounce back again to Spidey and Shulky. The jade giantess lands the hovercraft right in front of the hotel... in a tow-away zone. Spidey gripes about her choice of parking places until She-Hulk starts to threaten him, then he backs off, saying, "Gentle down, Hulkikins!" and "I'll stake you for half of the parking ticket."

Across the street, Man-Killer notices the two heroes enter the hotel and is struck by the fact that "that woman is green!" She doesn't know why a sister would help Spidey but she can't let the heroes interfere with her plans.

Inside the hotel, the web-slinger's spider-sense starts screaming and he tells the She-Hulk to "get down"! The Man-Killer has entered the building with a few of her goons and she has thrown five of those... somethings... that she likes to throw. Before She-Hulk and Spidey can recover fully, the revolutionaries rush them. Man-Killer barrels into Spider-Man but it isn't long before She-Hulk claims the right to fight the villain. She punches Katrina in the snoot, leaving Spidey to cling to the ceiling and use his web to disarm the Man-Killer's assistants. In the space of one panel, Man-Killer goes from being punched by She-Hulk to being across the room from her. With this sort of space, she is free to throw another one of those somethings even as she declares She-Hulk "a traitor to your sex" and extending her an invitation to "join me in my crusade against the male oppressors". She-Hulk avoids the "something" and tells Manny, "I wouldn't join you if you were falling apart!"

On the other side of the room, the women have forsaken their weapons and turned to their martial arts abilities. Spidey thinks of them as "Kung Fu Cuties", proving him to be completely hopeless, even as he dodges all of their moves.

Back with the super-women, She-Hulk rips an elevator door off its hinges and throws it at Man-Killer. She asks Manny what she envisions for her new society and Manny replies, "A paradise where woman rule and men are helpless slaves who obey our every whim!" (She gets this all out before getting slammed across the room with the thrown elevator door.) She-Hulk is not impressed. "I'll stick with the E.R.A.!" she says. (Ulp! Sorry, Shulkie!)

Back across the room again, the wall-crawler has resorted to swinging around on his webs and singing his own version of "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" as two women fire their guns at him. "He must be rattled," says one, "he's singing!"

In the Grand Ballroom, J. Jonah Jameson is introduced to the assemblage as the "recipient of our Outstanding Citizenship Award". He receives a plaque and prepares to give his acceptance speech. But there is such "a commotion out in the hall" that he asks for someone to quiet it down before he begins. Which is when all hell breaks loose. The She-Hulk punches the Man-Killer so hard that her reeling body smashes down the doors to the ballroom. Spidey swings in with a couple of tumbling revolutionaries. A third assistant continues to fire her gun at the webhead. Amidst all the chaos, the web-slinger's spider-sense has led him to this room. He knows that the planted bomb "must be near".

We're almost there, gang! One hundred and forty panels down and twenty-three to go. Here comes the big, bumbling, overwrought finish!

As panicked people stream out of the ballroom, Hildy Dawes, working her way against the tide, runs in. She thinks about the number of times she was "the one responsible for such panic" and vows that "the madness must end".

Inside, Spidey tells the She-Hulk that his spider-sense has pinpointed the bomb. It is right underneath them. The She-Hulk pounds on the floor, using her great strength to smash through. She and the web-slinger jump down into the parking garage. (Man-Killer stands above them and yells "Stop! Don't go down there! You two will ruin everything!" Good strategy, Manny!) It isn't long before Spidey locates the truck that is carrying the bombs. He stands on top of it and beckons to the She-Hulk. "But how will we move it" he wonders, with no keys? The solution is easy if you have the strength of the She-Hulk. She lifts the truck, carrying it over her head, and runs for the exit with Spidey leading interference. (The ever-sensitive web-slinger calls her "Gorgeous" along the way.) When they get to the street, the She-Hulk uses all of her strength and throws the entire truck into the East River where it goes off like a nuclear bomb. (But of course no one happens to be on the river at the moment so no one is hurt.)

Back at the hotel, the Man-Killer has made her way to the garage as well. There, she punches a hole in the wall so she can enter the "utility tunnel which borders this underground garage". She vows to return someday, "stronger and more deadly than ever"! That's when Hildy Dawes steps into the picture. (Now, I can accept that Man-Killer has leapt the fifteen feet or so from the ballroom to the garage but did Hildy do this, too?) Announcing that, "You and I are anachronisms" and that "our way of life, of revolution has long since passed", Hildy reaches into a hole in the wall and grabs a handful of high-tension wires. Man-Killer is, apparently, so stunned by Hildy's actions that she stands there like a lump and lets Hildy shove the high-tension wires right at her. She-Hulk and Spidey just happen to show up again at this time but they are too late. With a "Bzzt!" Hildy and Man-Killer both go up in an electric flash, killing them instantly. Spidey and She-Hulk stand shaken by this double death. "What a waste" says Spidey, "a freaking lousy waste". "She wanted to pay for her past sins" says She-Hulk, "But the cost shouldn't have been so high!" But, alas, it is. And so, Jennifer Walters goes back to Los Angeles. Peter Parker goes back to his college classes. But this scene, says the final caption, "Will haunt their dreams for many days."

Okay that's 153 panels down and ten to... wait a minute! That's the end of the story! We got shorted 10 panels! I don't know whether to be angry about that or grateful.

Don't you love it when great sacrifices are reduced to empty gestures in comics? Here is Hildy Dawes, sacrificing her life even as she kills Man-Killer because she's "going to end this madness once and for all" and it is later revealed that Man-Killer isn't even dead. In fact, she's been appearing fairly regularly, I've been told, in the pages of Thunderbolts, these days calling herself "Amazon". So much for Hildy's vow that "Never again will you or I menace an innocent life!" Better luck next time, Hildy!

Think Spidey and She-Hulk care? Yeah, sure, it haunted their dreams for days but then they have other fish to fry. She-Hulk goes from Savage to Sensational, gets a real costume (or, at least, a leotard) and goes on to join the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Spidey's too busy teaming up with other heroes and having unnecessary slugfests with them, to worry about it.

In General...

So, exactly what is the deal with this issue? What is it trying to tell us? That violent revolution is not recommended? Or is it that women should just shut up and strive for a staple in their navel? I'm sure it's supposed to be something like the former but it smells suspiciously like the latter. What else can you conclude when it is apparently significant that Hildy Dawes is "a fox", as one bystander calls her, and when Spidey spends the issue calling women "dollface", "sweetheart", "babe" and "Kung Fu Cuties"? On the other hand, Spidey is the one who looks like a fool falling through the rusty car roof while She-Hulk saves the day by throwing the truck into the river and Hildy sacrifices her life to eliminate Man-Killer so who knows? Add useless scenes like the appearance of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, add plot threads that go nowhere like J. Jonah Jameson being the keynote speaker at the Civics and Racquet Club, add all the inconsistencies and gaps and murky scenes and you have one heck of a schizophrenic comic book script. Little surprise, then, that the story is credited to both Tom DeFalco and Jim Shooter (who was Marvel's Editor-in-Chief at the time). I don't know what the development of this script was like but chances are good that the process was bloody. It's a little bit bloody for the reader, too.

Overall Rating...

One and a half webs.