Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #172

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Man vs. Puma"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

Puma has challenged Spider-Man to a duel to the death in the New Mexico desert.

In Detail...

"Savage Showdown"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #172
Jan 1991 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Spider-Man vs. Puma"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Sal Buscema
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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Review
 Reprinted In: Complete Spider-Man (UK) #12
Articles: Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Puma

This review is gonna be a pretty short one, I'm afraid. Basically, it's just an extended fight scene between Spider-Man and Puma.

The story begins with our hero perched upon a rock outcropping, wondering whether he'll survive this ordeal. Suddenly jumps up from underneath and lunges towards him. Of course, our hero's spider-sense allows him to dodge the attack and Puma falls off the other side of the rocks and disappears.

Then we're treated to a two-page recap of last issue. Let's skip that, shall we, and move on to the next encounter...

Spidey's investigating a dried up creek bed, looking for Puma's trail. Puma is hiding in the mud, however, and manages to swipe the Webhead on his shoulder before disappearing again. Unfortunately, Puma's claws were poisoned, and Spidey has to sit down before he gets too dizzy.

Eventually, he finds a cave where he can rest, but Puma has been shadowing him, waiting for the poison to take effect and then swoop in for the kill. Spidey figures this out however, and tries to snag him with a web. Puma catches it, though, and pulls Spider-Man towards him. They both go tumbling down a hill, punching each other all the way down.

At the bottom, they both stop to catch their breathes, before leaping at each other again. Puma gains the upper hand, and starts choking Spidey. Spidey kicks Puma into a cactus, which buys him enough time to find another cave and hide. Puma chases him, but our hero has laid a little trap for him...

As Puma is crawling along a narrow ledge, a web noose slips over his neck and Spidey has his foe hanging over a chasm by his neck. For a quick second, Spidey considers dropping him, but then decides to do the heroic thing and release Puma.

They have a nice talk about honor, and they both agree they have too many people depending on them to engage in childish vendettas. They part ways not as friends, but no longer enemies either.

Meanwhile, intercut with all this macho posturing, is M.J.'s dilemmna concerning Jason Jerome, a fellow actor that has been trying to seduce her for months. It finally comes to a head when she tells him to get lost.

So, all and all, a happy ending for everyone involved.

In General...

We are now coming to the end of Gerry Conway's very long run on this title (as well as Web of Spider-Man). As such, he is tying up loose ends and finishing long-running subplots. He does this reasonably well. For all my gripping about not a lot of action in the last few issues, this story makes up for it.

Overall Rating...

Footnote...

Despite the rather definitive ending, Puma shows up in this title again relatively soon, appearing in Spectacular Spider-Man #191-193 for a three-part story arc by J.M. DeMatteis.

Jasone Jerome, thankfully, is never heard from again.