Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #76

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This story is part of an Arc: "Octopus and Owl"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Doctor Octopus and the Owl started a gang war between each other for a neutron bomb. The Owl wanted to use it to blackmail the city, Doc Ock wanted to use it to blow up New York to prove that he's the most dangerous man alive.

Spider-Man, with the aid of the Black Cat, who was revealed to be still alive, stopped Doc Ock from detonating the bomb. However Ock gave Black Cat a severe beating for her interference.

In Detail...

"At Death's Door!"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #76
Mar 1983 : SM Title
Summary: Black Cat Wounded
Arc: Part 4 of "Octopus and Owl"
Editor:  Tom DeFalco
Writer:  Bill Mantlo
Pencils:  Al Milgrom
Inker:  Jim Mooney
Cover Art:  Al Milgrom
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 Reprinted In: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #4
Articles: Black Cat, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)

As Spider-Man and Black Cat hug each other, they suddenly find themselves under attack from Owl and Ock's henchmen. Black Cat is still weak from the beating Ock gave her, so Spider-Man dives head on and tackles them. Meanwhile Black Cat notices Ock's severed tentacles are still moving, and he is willing them to go over to the activator for the bomb. Black Cat dives over and grabs the activator before the tentacles can reach it. She then smashes the activator on the floor. Ock is furious, and says Black Cat will pay for that. He then wills his tentacles to ensnare Black Cat, pinning her against a wall. The Henchmen notice that Ock's tentacles have trapped the Black Cat and take advantage of her helplessness. They open fire on her with their guns, and impale her with spears. Black Cat falls to the ground in a battered and bloody heap.

Spider-Man sees this, and shouts "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO", as he takes out each of the henchmen in an angry frenzy, as he runs towards Black Cat. Spider-Man rips Ock's arms off Black Cat and webs them up, he then tosses them out of the aerie and into the ocean. Ock howls again in pain at this. Spider-Man sees that Black Cat's pupils are dilated and her heartbeat is weak. He then picks her up in his arms and swings out of the aerie and towards a hospital. The best hospitals are across the river, but it's his only hope of saving her.

At Columbia Presbyterian hospital, Spider-Man bursts into the emergency room holding Black Cat's bloody body in his arms, shouting for someone to help the Cat. The doctors try to take Black Cat off Spider-Man, but he refuses to let her go. A nurse tells him to let them do their job or he'll kill her. Spider-Man apologizes and hands the Cat over, who is immediately spirited away on a gurney. I.V. tubes are inserted into her, and a respirator is placed over her mouth to help her breathe. Black Cat's heart is stopping, so she is taken to surgery. Spider-Man waits outside the surgery theatre. He eventually falls asleep in a chair, until he is awoken by a nurse. She tells him that Black Cat is still critical, but she's stable. It'll be a while before they know if there's any brain damage due to the loss of oxygenated blood. The nurse urges Spider-Man to go and get some rest as it's sunrise, and he's been here all night.

Spider-Man realizes his final exams are today, and so he leaves and heads straight for college. In the examination hall, Dr Sloan awaits Peter's arrival, and thinks he may be afraid to come. Suddenly Peter arrives just in time. As he sits down and holds up his pen, he sees images of the surgeon holding up the scalpel who operated on the Black Cat. Peter takes his exam under the shadow of the injured Black Cat. He finishes just as the exam time runs out. Outside the exam hall, Peter's classmates ask Peter if he wants to join them for lunch. But Peter doesn't hear them as he runs by, as he's eager to go and see the Black Cat. As he runs by Dr Sloan, he asks Peter how he thinks he did. Peter claims he doesn't know or care, as he runs past.

Outside, he changes into Spider-Man, and hitches a ride on an ambulance back to the hospital. He then sneaks into the hospital by crawling along the ceiling, and is unnoticed by the staff. Suddenly he spots Captain Jean DeWolff. He asks her what she's doing her, and she says they know all about what Spider-Man and the Black Cat did last night because one of the Owl's henchmen squealed. She then hands him some papers. Spider-Man asks what they are, and Captain DeWolff says they're amnesty papers for Felicia Hardy, after Spidey had tossed the last batch in the river when she was presumed dead. Spider-Man realizes that if Felicia needs amnesty papers, then that means she's going to live. He runs towards the Cat's room, and asks the nurse if he can see her. She says she's under sedation, but he can go in. Spider-Man sits beside Felicia's bed, as she lies unconscious. Spider-Man says he's useless because despite all his power, he could not protect Felicia, just like with Uncle Ben. Suddenly he starts weeping. Then the Black Cat awakens, and asks are those tears for her. Spider- Man is overjoyed that she's awake, and looks up and says "Thank you!. Thank you!".

Meanwhile at a secret hideout, we see surgeons in a dark operating room reattaching Doc Ock's mechanical arms to his body. The doctors are trying to insist that that they sedate Ock so the process will be less painful. Ock refuses, saying he wants to feel the pain. He wants to know how Spider-Man and Black Cat will feel when he tears them limb from limb.

In General...

Well Black Cat paid a deadly price for ruining Ock's scheme. Seeing Spider-Man frantic to save her, and being haunted by her image during his exam was great. Mantlo also went into great detail of the extent of Black Cat's injuries. You could almost feel her pain.

Spider-Man was pushed to the edge in this one. But so was Doc Ock. His impending revenge is going to be great.

Overall Rating...

Feel Black Cat's pain, witness Spidey's anguish and torment, shudder at Ock's vicious thirst for revenge.

Great stuff. Four webs