Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #198

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: Sep 2011.

Background...

Spidey teams up with the original X-Men and Professor Power is out for revenge.

In Detail...

"Castles In The Air!"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #198
Mar 1993 : SM Title
Summary: X-Men, Professor Power
Editor:  Rob Tokar
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Sal Buscema
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man & Uncanny X-Men (TPB)

When we last left our villain du jour, Professor Power, he had just defeated the X-Men and Spider-Man. While he’s gloating over his triumph, New York’s finest show up and try to arrest him. Needless to say, that doesn’t work out that well. Professor Power doesn’t want to hurt any innocents, however, so he is content to let the police’s bullets bounce off his armor.

Then… remember how I said last issue that things get crazier? Well, a flying castle shows up and Roman Legionnaires fly out! I’m not making this up, I swear. It rates a full one page splash with people running to get out of its way before it lands.

Anyway, the Legionnaires bring the X-Men inside, but Professor Powers tells them to leave Spider-Man, since he doesn’t have a grudge against him personally.

The X-Men (Archangel, Beast, Cyclops and Iceman for those not paying attention last issue) wake up in an energy cage suspended in the air. Cyclops tries to use his eyebeams to bust out, but finds out that causes a painful feedback. Then Professor Powers communicates with them via a holographic image and says that he plans to kill them one by one in order to get revenge on Professor X (whom he blames for his son’s death). The X-Men are not happy with this, naturally.

Meanwhile, we see a Legionnaire walking down a hallway, and meeting with two other guards. The lone Legionnaire looks at the guards and they fall down. Then he enters the room that holds the X-Men. But before he can do anything sinister, Spider-Man grabs hold of him. Yes, Spider-Man. It seems he recovered from Professor Power’s attack quick enough to shoot a webline onto the floating castle, and managed to stow away on it.

Now, the astute reader may have asked long ago… If this is truly a team-up with the original X-Men, then where the hell is Marvel Girl (aka Jean Grey) all this time? Well, it turns out that the Legionnaire that took out the other guards is Jean Grey in disguise. She transforms and tells Spidey that she was shopping while the others were fighting Professor Power, and got onto the scene just as the flying castle was leaving.

Anyway, she tells our hero that she thinks she can free the other X-Men, but she needs Spidey to buy her some time by fighting off all the guards. So off he goes. Of course, her efforts sets off the alarms, and a hundred or so Legionnaires come rushing out.

So a rather humorless Spidey fights off the horde of Legionnaires (not a single pithy quip is uttered) while Jean Grey frees the X-Men. Then, Professor Power finally appears. Spidey tries to talk him into surrendering, but Professor Power just zaps him with his finger lasers.

Then the X-Men show up. The guys hit him with everything they got, and then Jean Grey steps in and gives him a telepathic whammy. She reveals the truth about his son’s death, and how Professor Power actually drove his son away. Unable to deal with the mental anguish, his android body shuts down. Unfortunately, he seemed to be the only thing keeping the castle afloat (don’t ask me how that works out). So now the assembled heroes are in free fall.

In General...

Given how easy Jean Grey took out Professor Power only illustrates what a one-note villain he really is. It also tells me that this story could have been done in one issue if she had only appeared on the scene earlier in the first part of this story arc.

Overall Rating...

I don’t understand why DeMatteis is bringing back these lame villains. And I really don’t understand why he thinks they can sustain a three issue story.