The Brand Corporation is up to it's nose in dirty deeds. The Daily Bugle can blow the lid on their operation but Nose Norton, the underworld informant with the 411 on said sinister business operation, has gone into hiding after an encounter with the Cobra in Amazing Spider-Man #231. Just what is the Brand Corporation up to and how does Tarantula fit into all this?
|Pencils:||John Romita, Jr.|
|Cover Art:||John Romita, Jr.|
|Reprinted In:||Spider-Man Megazine #5|
J. Jonah Jameson is furious because no one knows where Nose Norton is. He was about to spill the details on the Brand Corporation to Marla Madison and Ned Leeds but was interrupted by an unplanned meeting with the Cobra. Jameson thinks Spider-Man is involved somehow (and is more than likely looking for yet another chance to smear the web-head's already bad rep) but Ned, Robbie, and Marla all think otherwise.
Speaking of webs, he's making his way to the Bugle. Changing into Peter, he's about to enter through the roof's emergency exit when he sees that the doors are fitted with alarms. So Peter just rips up the cheap steel that Jameson has covering the elevators and makes his entrance that way. Waiting for a chance to talk to Jameson, Glory informs him that he's in a special meeting with Ned, Marla and Robbie. Once Jonah comes out, he tells the entire Bugle staff that he'll reward whoever finds Nose Norton with a bonus of $1500. Peter bolts for the exits, thinking that Spidey will have a better chance of finding Nose than anyone else. He runs into Amy Powell and avoids a collision thanks to his spider-sense. Impressed, Amy immediately begins to conjure up some plans that involve Mr. Parker.
At a billiards bar, a man named Frank is about to take his shot when he says he knows where Nose Norton is. Spidey dangles upside down above the pool table, causing everyone to scatter. Webbing three of the four men, Frank moves for the exit, but it's already been webbed shut. Spidey takes Frank outside and asks where Nose is. Frank was bluffing. He only said he knew because he's an undercover cop trying to get the info on the network that Nose was a part of and Spidey just screwed everything up. Whoopsy.
Miami Beach. A fancy restaurant. A Mr. Valdez is meeting with a Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith wants Mr. Valdez who is actually Miguel Rodriguez to terminate Nose Norton and he's offering him $250,000 for the job. Days pass and Nose Norton becomes one of the most wanted men in New York but no one seems to know where he is.
Nose has been in his apartment for a whole week hiding out. He picked a really bad time to come out for a beer because someone recognizes him. Nose's whereabouts are then leaked to Rodriguez who turns out to be (surprise) the Tarantula.
Ben Urich is having coffee when he gets a call, informing him where Nose is. Taking off, he can almost smell that $1500 bonus. He's being watched by our friendly neighborhood web-slinger. On the Staten Island ferry, Ben is thinking about what he could do with that money when Peter comes up to him. Ben tries to play dumb, but Peter says he'd be willing to accept half the bonus. Ben reluctantly allows Peter to come with him.
As Peter and Ben enter the bar where Nose is, Peter gets a buzz form his spider-sense. They're about to leave with Nose when Tarantula makes his entrance through the window. He belts Ben and darts off with Nose in tow. Ben gets up and takes off after them while Peter changes into his alter ego.
Tarantula questions Nose about the papers he promised to sell him, to which Nose has no clue what he's talking about. Knowing that they are being watched, this is exactly what Tarantula is counting on. Ben is listening and thinks that something isn't right. Just then, Spider-Man appears, grabs Tarantula and hurls him into a nearby garbage scow. Spidey leaps over to where he threw Tarantula, the later attacks with his pointy-tipped shoes. Spidey evades him easily and then webs up his feet.
Nose knows he's being set up by the Brand Corporation. Ben spots him and thinks that he could go to him for help. Nose quickly pulls out his gun, thinking that Mr. Urich could be on the Brand's pay roll. A voice behind Ben tells Nose to "freeze!"
Tarantula attacks Spidey with razer blades in his gloves. Spidey grabs his hands before he can cut him and slams Tarantula into the garbage. Hearing gunshots, Spidey quickly makes his way back to the docks. Both Nose and Ben are down. Ben isn't hurt since he hit the deck the second the shots were fired. Nose on the other hand, isn't looking too well. The two men in the shadows turn out to be private investigators and they say Nose fired first. They say they've been looking for Nose for a while. He had secrets to the Brand Corporation and that some third world group wanted those papers, which is probably why Tarantula was after him. That's what the P.I.'s say, anyway. "Too bad" he's dead, they also say. Spidey thinks it all sounds a little too convenient. Ben checks on Nose and finds out that he's alive.
Spidey remembers that he left the Tarantula in the trash (where he belongs, I might add) and jumps over to get him, only to discover that he's gone. Trouble is definitely a foot. Changing back to Peter, he meets Ben and tells him that he got some pics of the action. Ben quietly asks if he got any photos of the P.I.'s shooting first.
By the end of this issue I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know more details. Just what does Nose Norton know that's made him become a walking target?
I liked Gerry Conway's work on Spidey but I've never liked the Tarantula. He's the definition of "loser super villain." The fact that Spidey actually had trouble with this clown on Conway's run is something that's never set right with me. When I saw Tarantula on the cover when I read this story years ago, I cringed. It was a real treat to see Spidey actually acknowledged Tarantula for the poser that he is, give him the butt-kicking he deserves, and telling him in his own words "You should feel right at home in the garbage!" Bravo, Spider-Man, Bravo.
Solid artwork, an intriguing mystery, and Spidey treating Tarantula like the D-lister that he is. This issue has made me a happy Spidey fan.