Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #10

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This story is part of an Arc: "White Tiger"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: 2005.

In Detail...

"Tiger In A Web!"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #10
Sep 1977 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "White Tiger"
Editor:  Archie Goodwin
Writer:  Bill Mantlo
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Frank Giacoia, Mike Esposito
Cover Art:  George Perez
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 Reprinted In: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1
Articles: White Tiger

Spidey leaps into Professor Vasquez' office at ESU to find the White Tiger's hands at the professor's throat. The White Tiger's response to this discovery: "Pero, usted no comprende! You don't understand!"

The two commence fighting, with Spider-Man being quite impressed with the martial artist's fighting skill. In fact it doesn't even seem to be the same person he fought earlier. Both White Tiger and Professor Vazquez try to talk some sense into a fighting-mad Spidey, but our hero isn't interested in reason. White Tiger breaks away and Spidey follows, leaving us to discover that Vasquez actually has the Erskine Manuscripts that have caused so much trouble.

That trouble includes a near riot between students at ESU and the police brought in by school president Dwyer. The students wanted Dwyer to sell the Erskine Manuscripts to help keep the night school open. The president's reaction when he sees the gathering police force: "Do you hear that, brats? You wanted an education and now, by God, you're going to get one."

The super heroes bring their fight to the heart of the trouble, with White Tiger again eluding Spider-Man, even as the two opposing sides below seem to come to an understanding.

Meanwhile, White Tiger's erstwhile friend Black Byrd literally drops in on the costumed henchmen who also tried to steal the Erskine Papers, a group he recognizes as the Black Hand. Black Byrd's a little too heavy though and falls through the skylight, gun blazing.

Spidey manages to stop White Tiger with a web which the martial artist unceremoniously chops in two. Says Spidey, "My webbing's held everyone from Doc Ock to the Rhino..." Their brawl finds them falling onto a Bronx-bound truck.

Back at ESU, Professor Vazquez admits that it was he who stole the Erskine Manuscripts while dressed as White Tiger (!?). And elsewhere, Black Byrd's gun jams and he takes out the lights with a well-aimed throw, hurling himself onto the gang in the darkness.

Spider-Man and White Tiger end up in the Bronx where cheering from neighborhood residents makes Pete think that maybe he and White Tiger are on the same side. "...I'm starting to realize how alike the Tiger and I are! I've been framed before - had every hand against me! What if the same has been done to him?"

Spidey tries to stop him but their continuing battle threatens a handball court wall. White Tiger tries to get some kids out of the way while Spidey pulls the falling debris back toward himself. He's all right and the two new friends scamper back to ESU while the Bronx gives them both a cheer.

Vazquez' act has made the president realize how important the school is and he promises to find a way to keep the night school open. At the same time, Black Byrd and some cops arrive with the Black Hand in tow. Their appearance had been just an unhappy coincidence foiled by the real White Tiger and had nothing to do with Vazquez.

As the student body celebrates, Spidey and White Tiger shakes hands and call each other "friend" in each other's language.

In General...

In general, this was another disappointing end to a two-parter. While introducing and maintaining White Tiger as a hero whose potential for power is as great as Spider-Man's rescues the story, the various plot holes certainly hinder it.

Some of these include...how was Vasquez able to get a White Tiger costume anyway? Why did White Tiger have his hands around the throat of a well-meaning individual, even if he was trying to get him to confess to a crime? Why did Vasquez seemed surprised to have the book in the previous issue? How could such an utter Fascist as Dwyer become a school president anyway and then make a complete turnaround? How long could White Tiger and Spider-Man really fight on top of a truck? How could Blackbyrd really take on a whole gang by himself? Well, I suppose these are just nitpicking.

Peter (via Bill Mantlo) must really like his "high school French" joke because he uses it for the second straight issue when talking with the decidedly Spanish-speaking White Tiger.

Overall Rating...

Great action and fight scenes between Spider-Man and a well-portrayed White Tiger help rescue a plot with more holes in it than "queso suizo" - Swiss Cheese!

Footnote...

According to our friends at the Marvel Chronology Project, Spidey appears in this issue right after the previous one, issue nine. He then has more martial arts fun as he takes on the Steel Serpent with the help of Iron Fist and the Daughters of the Dragon in Marvel Team-Up #'s 63 & 64, part of the famous Claremont/Byrne run on that title. He then takes on Medusa in our next issue, issue 11.

Interesting ads include the Spidey Utility Belt, Super Beach Towels (including the famous Jack Kirby "Madbomb" image of Captain America and the Falcon), a Starlord full-page ad (with art by Byrne and Austin) and Hostess baseball cards (with Jim Palmer, Joe Morgan and Reggie Jackson).

Items on the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins board include adaptations of upcoming movies including The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Deep and Close Encounters of the Third Kind ("the movie about UFOs that we think is going to hit the seventies with the same kind of impact 2001: A Space Odyssey struck the sixties."), details of upcoming annuals, tidbits on work by Jack "King" Kirby and the premiere of the Human Fly comic.