You may have noticed that Spiderfan has changed its mission, focusing on the first 50 years of the wall-crawler. That leaves this strip story out. So, this may be the end of the line for reviews of the current newspaper stories. If so, do we go out with a bang or a thud?
Let's get started. You may recall that, having just spent over six months in and under Los Angeles dealing with the Mole Man, Tyrannus, and Kala, Peter and MJ headed to Miami.
November 6, 2017
“Los Angeles International Airport…” as Peter goes through the full body scan machine, assuming the position with his hands above him. (We see his image printed twice on a monitor while three or four bystanders mill around in the background.) “Can’t believe Robbie Robertson said Jonah Jameson’ll be in Miami the same time MJ and I are,” he thinks, “Thank heaven it’s a big city.” In panel #2, he waits for his carry-on bag, which looks like a cushion. “Good!” he thinks, “My carry-on bag went through without being spot-checked this time. Sooner or later, I’ll run into a TSA guy who won’t believe my Spidey outfit’s just for a costume party!”
And, right off the bat, I have issues. First, I “can’t believe” Peter bought a ticket from LA to Miami the day before the flight. How much did that set him back? Second, forget about “Thank heaven it’s a big city.” Putting Jonah Jameson in Miami is like Anton Chekhov’s gun. “One must not put a loaded rifle on stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” Third, does Peter only have a carry-on bag? What happened to all that stuff that they had in the rental car? And fourth, does the Strip-Verse have incompetent TSA guys? They aren’t going to find his web-shooters to be a little bit suspicious? I once accidentally left a Swiss Army Knife in a carry-on and the guy found it immediately. I ended up having to check the bag. Sure wish I’d had one of those Strip-Verse TSA guys.
November 7, 2017
Today’s strip begins with a caption in all caps that says “EYE ON MIAMI.” Actually, I think that’s supposed to be a sign at a TV station. MJ and Jacky (yes, Jacky, MJ’s PR man from the last story) walk away from it. “You did great in that interview M.J.!” says Jacky. “I’m glad, Jacky – ‘cause I sure don’t feel great,” says MJ. Panel #2 is a close-up of MJ and Jacky. “How come? Is there anything I can…” begins Jacky. MJ cuts him off with “Thanks, but I’m afraid not.” “Anything I can do, lady?” asks an off-panel person. And panel #3 reveals that person to be Peter, who has made record time from LA and known just where to find MJ. They give each other a big hug as Jacky watches from the background. “I guess there’s some things beyond even a top PR man’s pay grade!” says Jacky.
November 8, 2017
It’s Jacky, MJ, and Peter, from left to right. MJ has her hand on the back of Peter’s neck. “We’re due in Chicago in three days for its ‘Marvella II’ opening,” says Jacky. “Anything you feel like doing in Miami for two days, Tiger?” asks MJ. Panel #2 is a close-up of Peter as he strokes his chin. There is a palm tree behind him. (So, I guess that means they’ve gone outside.) “Well… I haven’t seen my old mentor Dr. Curt Connors for a while,” says Peter, “His wife died a few months back…” Panel #3 shows Peter from behind as Jacky and MJ look at him, both looking half-stunned. “…and I’d like to look in on him…see how’s he’s doing,” Peter finishes. I don’t think this is what MJ had in mind when she asked what Peter would like to do in Miami for two days. Also, has Curt Connors appeared in the Strip-Verse previously? If so, did his wife die in that story? Or is all of this something Stan and Larry are concocting right now? And finally, in case all of this didn’t give you a clue as to whom the next villain will be, the panel finishes with a caption that reads “Curt Connors – once A.K.A. the Lizard!”
Do you get the feeling that the "two days" in Miami are actually going to last about six months?
(Note from May 13, 2018: Yup, it lasted over six months.)
November 9, 2017
While Jacky climbs into a taxi, Peter and MJ hang back. MJ clearly didn’t read yesterday’s caption (or maybe she did!) because she says, “Dr. Connors? He’s the one who mutated into that dangerous Lizard guy!” “That phase of his life is behind him, honey,” says Peter (ho ho). In panel #2, Peter either tries to flag down a limo or he’s waving at the limo because he knows the people in there. “But – I’m being selfish,” he says, “You’ve gotta be tired after this publicity trip…” “What I’m tired of is crowds – and microphones in my face,” says MJ. (Have there been that many microphones? We’ve barely seen them.) Panel #3 shows MJ and half of Peter head on. “Where does Dr. Connors live?” asks MJ. Oh oh, with Dr. Connors recently losing his wife, I can see where this is going. Time for another villain to fall in love with her.
November 10, 2017
Peter opens the limo door for MJ. (So, it is Peter’s limo! How did he swing a limo?) “I’m sure we can get your limo to take us to Doc Connors’ place!” says MJ. From off-panel, someone calls out, “Hey Jasmine – isn’t that -?” In panel #2, three MJ fans, all young women, rush the couple. “It is!” says the one that probably spoke off-panel, “It’s Mary Jane Parker!” “Can we have your autograph?” asks (possibly) Jasmine. “I need two of ‘em,” says (maybe this one is) Jasmine. Now in the limo in panel #3, Peter turns to MJ and says, “I’m proud of you for signing for your fans, honey.” MJ leans back and says, “By any chance, does Dr. Connors live in a gated community?” I’m still trying to figure out how MJ has fans in Miami. She has been in Broadway and Off-Broadway shows but that doesn’t usually create fans for you outside of New York City. And didn’t her previous move go straight to video?
November 11, 2017
Peter and MJ whisper in the back of the limo so that the driver, whose head fills up the right side of the panel, cannot hear. (This isn’t Boris, the chauffeur from the last storyline, is it? Did he drive all the way from LA?) “I get so tired of signing autographs! How do you survive being mobbed as Spider-Man?” whispers MJ. “Hey, half the time I’m web-swinging over their heads,” Peter whispers back, “And at day’s end, I can take off my mask.” Panel #2 is a close-up of MJ and Peter as MJ whispers, “You’re lucky! I’m stuck with this face!” “Most of the females in the world should be so lucky,” Peter whispers back as he kisses MJ on the cheek.
November 12, 2017
It’s our first Sunday of the new storyline and MJ and Peter are still in the back of the limo but they’ve given up on the whispering. “When did you last see Dr. Connors?” asks MJ. “I forget,” says Peter “but it was the last time he had one of his – attacks.” (I don’t know when this was either. I can’t think of a time that the Strip-Verse Spidey fought the Lizard. Can anyone remember a time?) In panel #2, Peter’s dialogue is conveyed in a caption because a big thought balloon showing Spidey fighting the Lizard is filling up all the space next to his head. “He gave me a rough time –because he wasn’t himself,” says the caption. Panel #3 pulls back to include MJ. “Yeah, and I’ll bet I know just who he was,” she says, “But you said he’s all cured of that now?” Panel #4 is an establishing shot, showing the limo driving down a palm tree-lined street. The driver is visible and there are about four bystanders on the sidewalk and, because this is Alex drawing this, some birds in the sky. Unseen in the back seat, Peter says, “That’s what he told me in his last email. That wasn’t long before his wife passed away.” Panel #5 moves the camera into the back seat, looking over Peter and MJ’s shoulders. The limo driver looks back at them (and us). Five bystanders are visible though the windshield. “We’re here, folks!” says the driver. In panel #6, the limo drives off, leaving Peter and MJ on the sidewalk. They face an abandoned building with broken windows, boards hastily nailed up across them and trash strewn about outside. “How long ago was that email?” asks MJ.
Our “Next” caption is “What Lurks Within…?” and I can’t wait to find out. Hope it doesn’t take several weeks. Last week’s caption is serving as the title of this story: “Miami-Bound - & Danger-Bound!” We got the Miami part. Now all we need is the danger!
November 13, 2017
“Miami, Florida…” and Peter and MJ stand outside the damaged residence of Curt Connors. “This is where Dr. Connors lives?” asks MJ, pointing at it. Peter cups his chin in his hand. “Well…maybe he’s been away for a while,” he says. But in panel #2, someone is inside, tossing equipment out a window with a KRASSH THWAMM. “Then who’s that inside his house?” asks MJ. “Whoever it is,” says Peter, “sounds like he’s the one who’s been trashing stuff!” Brilliant deduction, Pete!
November 14, 2017
Peter grasps the front door’s knob. (The back of MJ’s head peeks into the panel on the lower left.) “The door’s not locked,” says Peter. In panel #2, Peter and MJ fill the open doorway. “…So let’s find out who the intruder is!” says Peter. “Oh, Peter – please be…” begins MJ. “…Careful!” she finishes in panel #3, her hands to her face, as some metallic thing hits Peter in the face with a WOMP.
November 15, 2017
Peter crouches on the ground as a figure stands over him in the darkness. (We only see the figure from the waist down.) “That’ll teach you to invade my home!” says the figure. “Invade - ? But – that means you must be…” says Peter. In panel #2, the figure turns on the light, revealing himself. Peter and MJ look surprised as Peter says, “Dr. Connors!” and Dr. Connors says, “Peter Parker!?”
November 16, 2017
Now things get wordy. Peter and MJ face Connors. “When MJ and I heard someone trashing your place,” says Peter. “You can be forgiven for thinking it probably wasn’t me,” says Connors. Panel #2 is all Curt as he says, “But it was, as you can see. I’m afraid that since my wife’s recent death…” In panel #3, the camera pulls back and up to look down on Curt as he puts a hand to his forehead and says “I’ve been feeling I’ve nothing to live for – not even my research work!”
November 17, 2017
Lots more words. MJ has moved up so she is directly in front of Curt. Peter is off to the side. “We were so sorry to hear about your wife’s passing, Dr. Connors,” says MJ. “Is that why you destroyed all this equipment?” asks Peter. Panel #2 is a profile shot of Curt as he puts his hand to his forehead again. “Admittedly – I wasn’t thinking straight,” he says, “But I’ve got another lab – in the Everglades…” Panel #3 is a straight-on headshot of Curt. “And that’s where I’m heading now,” he says.
November 18, 2017
More words but not as many as yesterday. It’s MJ, Peter, and Curt, from left to right. Peter cocks his thumb at the destruction in the room. “Your main lab in the Everglades,” he says, “Are you planning to trash it like you did this one?” “No, I’m going to resume my former experiments…” says Curt. In panel #2, he holds the empty sleeve where his right arm should be. “…to see if I can restore the arm I lost years ago!” he says. (And we all know how well those experiments have gone in the past, don’t we?)
November 19, 2017
Sunday…and an opening caption. “Peter and MJ confront Dr. Curtis Connors in his Miami home…” We can now see that the place is mostly a lab and that it is really trashed. “Did I hear you right?” asks Peter, “You’re resuming your attempts to regrow your right arm?” Panel #2 is a Curt-Peter two shot. “You used to be a whiz-kid science student, Peter,” says Curt, “You of all people know that restoring lost bone and tissue isn’t as crazy as it sounds!” (But it’s still pretty crazy.) In panel #3, Curt grabs his empty sleeve and says, “With all the scientific breakthroughs of recent years…” MJ interrupts with “But – don’t forget what happened the last time you tried that…” (Does Curt even know who MJ is?) In panel #4, MJ says, “You became a human lizard and a menace to society!” A thought balloon fills up the right side of the panel, showing Spidey fighting the Lizard. MJ, on the left side, seems to look at it and point at it. In panel #5, a two shot of MJ and Curt, she continues, “It took Spider-Man to bring you back to normalcy!” Curt glares at her. “Normalcy? Normalcy?” he says. And in panel #6, he slams his fist on a table, breaking it with a SMASSH. Peter and MJ recoil in surprise. “Do I look normal to you?” yells Curt. Well, yeah, except you keep smashing things.
The “Next” caption is “The Rages of Grief!” which I think we’re already seeing. Last week’s was “What Lurks Within…?” and the answer is…Curt Connors!
November 20, 2017
Peter and MJ gape at Curt Connors. “You can’t be serious, Dr. Connors!” says Peter. “I’ve never been more serious in my life, Peter,” says Curt. Panel #2 is a Curt close-up as he says, “I plan to find a way to restore the arm I lost in an accident years ago.” From off-panel, Peter (or maybe MJ) says, “You did restore it once –briefly…” Panel #3 is yet another flashback of Spidey fighting the Lizard as the person who was speaking off-panel continues in a caption, “…but only by changing your entire form – and becoming the monstrous, inhuman Lizard!”
November 21, 2017
Curt is grabbing his empty sleeve again as MJ and Peter look on. “I wish we could talk you out of this crazy experiment,” says Peter. “I can’t have my wife back,” says Curt, “but at least maybe I can grow a new arm.” Yeah, if you can’t have a wife, you might as well get an arm. Panel #2 is a Curt solo as he looks back at the couple and says, “This time without turning into a reptile on two legs!” (But since he’s in a Spider-Man comic, I sincerely doubt that’s the way it’s going to happen.) “But, if you really want to help me,” says Curt. He finishes off-panel in panel #3 with “I could use a talented assistant for a few days!” The Parkers’ heads wobble and they both say “!” Maybe they’re trying to figure out which “talented assistant” Curt is talking about.
November 22, 2017
Peter puts his hand up to his ear as if he can’t hear. MJ puts her hand on Pete’s shoulder. Behind them are a couple of broken windows with boards hastily hammered up over them. It occurs to me that if Curt wants to trash his lab and home, he probably wouldn’t bother to hammer boards up after he smashed the windows. Peter says, “Sorry, doc, but I can’t get involved in your wild experiments.” But MJ says, “Maybe you should, Peter.” In panel #2, Peter looks back at MJ and says, “Huh? What do you mean?” “Dr. Connors needs a helper with your scientific know-how,” she replies. And in panel #3, she puts her hand up to Peter’s ear so she can whisper, “And if anything goes wrong again – Spider-Man will be there to set it right!” MJ needn’t have bothered with the whispering. Curt is in his own little world of feeling his empty sleeve again.
November 23, 2017
MJ, Peter, and Curt seem to be surrounded by an ink blot as Peter puts his hand on Curt’s shoulder and says, “All right, doc, I’ll come with you to the Everglades – just for a few days – to see if maybe your experiments might succeed.” “They will,” says Curt, “I’m right on the verge – I can feel it.” In panel #2, MJ says, “Okay then, guys –what’re we waiting for?” Peter and Curt’s heads both wobble and they both say “?” In Peter’s case, this may mean, “I know your movie promotional tour has made no sense so far but…aren’t you supposed to be on a movie promotional tour?” In Curt’s case, this may mean, “And who are you again?”
November 24, 2017
Peter confronts MJ who stands her ground with her arms crossed. “Honey – you can’t accompany us to some lab in the middle of the Everglades,” he says. “And why not, pray tell?” asks MJ. In panel #2, Peter appears to have walked around MJ so that he is now behind her. “Well…for one thing, your publicity tour…” he says. Hallelujah! Someone remembered the publicity tour. “… doesn’t pick up for several days, as you well know!” finishes MJ. This is truly one of the wackiest publicity tours of all time. In panel #3, with MJ looking on and smiling, Curt leads Peter away, saying, “C’mon, Peter! This is an argument you won’t win. My wife was a redhead too!” Uh, no she wasn’t, Curt. Except maybe in the Strip-Verse, I guess.
November 25, 2017
Now outside, Peter, MJ, and Curt look at Curt’s minivan. “So, this is why we didn’t know you were home, doc!” says Peter, “You had your vehicle parked on the far side of the house.” Well, that and the fact that the windows are boarded up (as seen again today) and there is trash all over the sidewalk. Also, I don’t think I’d call this a house. It’s a big square brick building. Also, that minivan looks hard to miss. Is there a driveway in back of the “house?” Does the “house” take up the whole block?
In panel #2, the camera is inside the minivan looking out at Peter and Curt who look in. “Wow! This minivan is loaded for bear!” says Peter. “I kept the equipment I figure I’d need – to see my experiments through to success!” says Curt. The rest of the stuff I either threw around the house or dumped in a great pile of trash on the sidewalk!
November 26, 2017
Alex shows us three cars on the highway (perhaps so he can draw some birds…which he does). Curt’s minivan is blowing a lot of exhaust. From within, Curt says, “We’ll be on the outskirts of the Everglades in another hour, folks.” Either Peter or MJ ask, “Then what?” Panel #2 moves the camera onto the hood of the car. We can see all three of our players within. (We can also see the windshield wipers, since we are still on the outside.) Curt says, “We’ll have to proceed the rest of the way by motorboat.” (Oh, this just sounds better and better.) “I built that remote lab because I wanted no prying eyes around…” he continues. Panel #3 finally moves us into the van. We are on Peter’s right and we see Peter, MJ, and Curt in profile as Curt continues with “…while I did tests on the possibility of growing a new arm!” (Peter and MJ look perfectly calm as if conversations about growing new arms happen every day.) In panel #4, the camera moves over to Curt’s side. Peter, wedged between Curt’s hand, MJ’s head, and a word balloon, is barely there. Curt says, “But tell me, Mrs. Parker, why did a movie star want to come with us?” “It’s MJ, Dr. Connors,” replies MJ, “ and I’m hardly a big star.” (No kidding! She’s done two Marvella movies. One went straight to video, the other isn’t even out yet!) In panel #5, the camera moves right in on MJ’s face. It fills the left side of the panel while the right is filled with a thought balloon showing MJ signing autographs for seven excited fans who are also taking pictures. “Well, not yet,” she continues, “though I’ll admit that’s my goal. But I’m already weary of being mobbed by celebrity hounds.” (Again, she’s made two Marvella movies. Why are people mobbing her?) And in panel #6, the camera moves behind them. We see the backs of their heads and the road ahead. “I figure a few nice, quiet days in the Everglades will do me good!” she says, as if she’s not married to Spider-Man.
Our “Next” caption is “Into the Swamp Sinister,” which doesn’t sound at all good. Last week’s was “The Rages of Grief” and I guess we got a lot of that.
And, hey, kudos to Alex for keeping the “camera” moving and making this bland conversation between Curt and MJ into something somewhat interesting.
November 27, 2017
Sometimes it takes forever for things to happen in the Strip-Verse and sometimes they happen very fast. Peter, MJ, and Curt are already in the boat. We sit behind all three of them, as we did in the last panel yesterday. The swamp is all around. Curt says, “This boat’ll get us to my lab in an hour or so.” The camera moves to the side in panel #2 as Curt looks back at MJ and Peter, who sit behind him. “Having second thoughts about spending a few days in the Everglades, MJ?” asks Curt. “None, Dr. Connors,” says MJ. But Peter thinks, “But I am! If Doc can’t find a way to grow his arm back – I’m worried he might go off the deep end!” I’m surprised Peter isn’t thinking, “Am I still here?” No one has talked to him in ages.
November 28, 2017
And again, things speed along. As we watch them from the front of the boat, Curt says, “My lab’s right around the bend.” Panel #2 moves back to show a cozy-looking cabin on the edge of the water and the boat holding our three participants. (But there’s no dock. Are they going to drive that boat right up on the shore?) “Wow! That’s quite a setup for the middle of the swamp!” says Peter. “I’ve put every penny I had into this place,” says Curt.
November 29, 2017
And now they are inside. (So, we never got to see what they did with the boat.) The cabin is filled with all sort of impressive-looking equipment. “Wow!” says Peter (two days in a row), “This lab’s got enough equipment to outfit Dr. Frankenstein!” In panel #2, Peter puts his hands up to his face and says, “Uh…sorry Doc. Guess that wasn’t the most tactful comparison.” Curt looks back at him and says, “You mean because I once turned into a murderous human lizard? Don’t worry. That can never happen again!” Ha ha ha. That Curt is such a kidder. And, just in case we’re inclined to take him seriously, there is a big thought balloon next to him with an image of the Lizard! No, he can’t turn back into that! Of course not!
November 30, 2017
Peter leans over some piece of equipment while Curt speaks to MJ. “Well, Peter and I must begin our experiments, MJ,” he says, “Brought some eBooks to catch up on your reading?” (EBooks. That Curt is so up-to-date. Stan too!) In panel #2, MJ heads for the door as she says, “In the midst of all this beautiful nature? I want to go for a walk – take it all in!” Oh, yeah. A walk in the middle of nowhere in the Everglades. Good idea! By panel #3, MJ is already outside. Peter leans out of the door and calls after her. “Okay, honey, but keep to the path! Don’t forget – besides alligators, the Everglades are infested with pythons now!” Neither of which will care whether you are on a path. Besides, seeing as Curt built in a remote spot to keep prying eyes away, I very much doubt there is a path!
December 1, 2017
As Peter continues to look outside, Curt pours some liquid into a beaker. “I’ve eliminated the ingredient in my old formula that turned me into the Lizard,” he says. (There was only one ingredient? Why was it in there in the first place?) “Now, I’ve got to find the right component to replace it so that…” In panel #2, Curt stops his pouring and looks over at Peter. “Peter? Are you listening?” he says. “Sorry, Doc, I was just worried about MJ doing her walkabout,” he says. Panel #3 shows MJ fiddling with her camera. She has only gone about ten feet. We can still see the lab behind her. From within, off-panel, Curt says, “Don’t worry about her, son. She’ll be fine!” Yeah! She’ll be fine! What could possibly happen?
December 2, 2017
Curt is back to pouring more liquid into a beaker. Peter is bringing some test tubes over to him. (So he can pour liquid into them?) “Have you ever considered going back into science, Peter?” asks Curt, “You were such a brilliant student – and the best assistant I ever had.” “I appreciate that, Doc,” says Pete. But in panel #2, he looks whimsical and says, “But I’m afraid that, somewhere along the line, I developed different interests.” To illustrate that, there is a thought balloon next to Pete showing Spider-Man web –slinging. So, that’s Pete picturing Spider-Man, Curt picturing the Lizard and MJ picturing her fans surrounding her. Too much of a good thing?
December 3, 2017
Another outdoors shot of Curt’s cabin to begin a Sunday but no birds this time; just a lizard clinging to a tree. Our opening caption says, “In a secluded part of Florida’s Everglades…” and within the cabin, off-panel, Curt says, “Without its radioactive element, my original formula won’t work.” (This is not what he said two days ago…and when did radioactivity enter into this?) “If I injected it, I wouldn’t become the lethal Lizard…” Panel #2 moves us inside as Curt holds up a beaker and Peter looks on. “…But neither would it regrow the arm I lost,” Curt finishes. “Doc,” says Peter, “What if it turns out there’s no way to achieve the formula’s good effects without the bad ones?” In panel #3, Curt freaks out, smashing his fist down on the table, sending his equipment flying. Peter looks appropriately stunned, as Curt yells, “No I won’t accept that! I won’t!” The camera moves behind Pete in panel #4 as he looks at the shaken Curt and thinks, “This is what I was afraid of since his wife’s passing! If Doc’s experiments fail, he may become unhinged and do himself harm.” And speaking of doing yourself harm, panel #5 takes us to MJ in the Everglades. A caption says, “While, not far away…” (but farther away than ten feet from the cabin which is where we last saw her). MJ stands by the water in silhouette, holding her camera. “Such beauty!” she says, “And the tranquility…” Panel #6 shows MJ from the front as she says “…it takes my breath away!” Behind her, unseen by her, an alligator approaches.
The “Next” caption is “Lots of Things Can Take Your Breath Away, MJ!” which seems a bit too cruel, if you ask me. Last week’s was “Into the Swamp Sinister” and MJ has sure done that! Good going, MJ!
December 4, 2017
Curt Connors slumps over his bottles and beakers as Peter looks on. A caption says, “While Peter assists Dr. Connors in his Everglades lab…” and Curt says, “I’ve brought a number of potential new ingredients along. One of them will help restore my lost arm! It must!” In panel #2, MJ still has her back to the gator as the caption finishes with “…MJ is photographing the sights.” “I almost don’t care if I ever get back to the city!” she says. Yeah, MJ, it’s looking that way.
December 5, 2017
MJ puts her camera on a rock. “Peter showed me how to set up this camera…” she says. In panel #2, she poses in front of the camera, her hands on her hips. “…so I can get a much better shot than a plain old selfie,” she says. Except, in panel #3, the alligator attacks with a GRONNK. The camera gets knocked off the rock and takes a picture with a KLIK. And MJ recoils and cries out “OHHH.”
December 6, 2017
It gets worse. MJ runs from the gator. “Got to get away from that gator!” she says, “Surely it won’t follow me far on dry land!” But, in panel #2, a python wraps itself around her. “No…” she feebly says. (Didn’t stay on the path, did you, MJ?) But in panel #3, off-panel, she gets out an “EEEEE” heard by the men in the cabin. “That’s MJ!” says Peter. “But it sounds – so far away!” says Curt. It can’t be that far away! She barely got out of sight of the cabin!
December 7, 2017
Peter and Curt leave the cabin, looking around. “Which direction did MJ’s scream come from?” asks Peter. “No way to know – unless she yells again!” says Curt. (Yeah, what was it you said six days ago, Curt? “Don’t worry about her, son. She’ll be fine!”) Panel #2 is a close-up of MJ being crushed by the python. “So – hard – to – breathe,” she murmurs. In panel #3, a man, carrying a very big knife, emerges from behind a tree. “I didn’t want to reveal myself,” he says, “But I can’t stand by – while she dies!”
December 8, 2017
The hapless Peter and Curt gape into the forest. “Why doesn’t MJ call out again,” says Peter, “so we can locate her?” (Well, Pete, considering she came out with an EEEEE the last time and nothing now, what the heck do you think?) In panel #2, the python is still crushing MJ but now she is quiet, her eyes closed. It doesn’t look good. Except in panel #3, a hand holding a big knife cuts the python’s head off with a SWIISSH.
December 9, 2017
The mystery man pulls the decapitated python off of MJ. Still alive, she says, “Uhh…” “Don’t try to talk. You’re all right,” says the man. And panel #2 shows the mystery man from the eyes up as he says, “Nothing’s going to hurt you now!” Except, behind him, that gator is making his move again.
December 10, 2017
Peter and Curt run through the swamp in an apparent panic. “MJ! Where are you?” yells Curt. “She screamed once – then nothing!” says Peter. The camera moves in on Curt and Peter in panel #2. “Maybe she just got startled by something,” says Curt. “And now she’s too embarrassed to want us to find her.” (Oh yeah, that makes sense, Curt.) In panel #3, the camera swings around in front of Peter who has that half-mask Spider-Man look with spider-sense bolts coming off of it. (And is that a slew of bugs swarming around Curt?) “MJ isn’t that way, Doc,” says Peter, as he thinks, “I’d bet on that – even if my spider-sense weren’t throbbing to beat the band!” The top tier was all Peter and Curt. Now the bottom tier is all MJ and the mystery man. “While, still some distance away…” (Last week, with MJ in the same location, the caption read “While, not far away…” Are Peter and Curt running in the wrong direction?) The mystery man supports MJ as she starts to come to. “Ohhh…wh…who…” she says. In panel #5, the camera closes in on MJ’s face as the man says, “Don’t try to talk. You’re safe now.” Except in panel #6, the gator attacks again with a GRONNKK. The man turns and sees it, saying, “Holy Hannah!”
The “Next” caption is, “Will the Gator Get the Mystery Man – Before We Know Who He Is?” I doubt it. (Dang but these “Next” captions are getting so chatty these days.) Last week’s was “Lots of Things Can Take Your Breath Away, MJ!” And you can say that again!
December 11, 2017
This strip moves back in time about ten seconds from yesterday’s. The mystery man puts his hand on top of MJ’s head. The dead python is behind them. “Wh-who are…?” says MJ. “No worries, the python’s dead,” says the mystery man, “You’re safe, so don’t…” But the gator is making his move. His GRONNNCKK now covers both panels. In panel #2, the mystery man recoils from the gator and says, as he did yesterday, “Holy Hannah!”
December 12, 2017
More GRONNNK from the gator as it charges the mystery man who wields what I thought was a big knife but what MJ calls a machete. “Stay back!” says the man, “I won’t let it get you!” “That machete won’t…” says MJ. Then, in panel #2, Curt rushes in and shoves the man and MJ out of the way. In case you didn’t get it from the artwork, Curt says, “Get out of the way – both of you!” “HNNNH,” says the mystery man.
December 13, 2017
Back to Peter who has lost everyone, in spite of having a spider-sense. He looks around from side to side. So much so that he is drawn with two faces like Janus. “Dr. Connors?” he calls out, then thinks, “Now where’s he gone? We’re hunting for MJ – I turn my back for a second, and he…” In panel #2, someone off-panel yells “YYAAAA.” “Doc -!? says the clueless Peter.
December 14, 2017
The gator approaches Curt who yells out “YYAAAA.” In panel #2 (in which only Curt’s leg is shown along with the gator), Curt says “?” as the gator is pulled backward. The gator is surprised too. He says RRONGK? And what has pulled the gator away? The Hulk! He holds the gator in his hands and bellows, “Hulk will smash!” Curt lies on the ground, looking up at the Hulk. And Peter arrives on the scene in time to say “!?”
So, the mystery man is Bruce Banner! I didn’t expect that!
December 15, 2017
Peter joins MJ. “Honey, are you…” he starts to ask. “I’m all right,” she finishes for him. The Hulk throws the gator away (left-handed). As the gator soars away, he says RONNK. Panel #2 is a solo of Curt lying on the ground. From off-panel, MJ says “But Dr. Connors is hurt bad.” Doc is indeed hurting. He holds his leg, which looks ripped up. Beads of sweat stand out on his forehead and he says “AAGHHH.” (I guess Curt hurt his leg yesterday. Looking at it again, I think the gator may have bitten him but it’s not all that clear.) In panel #3, Peter and MJ (in her back-of-the-head-Cousin-Itt mode) watch the Hulk approach them. “And now the Hulk’s headed for us!” says MJ. “HRRRR,” says the Hulk.
December 16, 2017
The Hulk menaces Peter, MJ, and the wounded Curt. “Hulk will crush you!” he says. “You’re not crushing anybody,” says Peter. Panel #2 is only the Hulk and Peter who gets that half-Spidey mask and the spider-sense bolts. “…unless you muscle your way past Spider-Man,” says Peter. (He does know that Curt can hear him, doesn’t he?) The Hulk leans down and says “HRRRR” again. Peter thinks, “Which, come to think of it, he just might!”
December 17, 2017
We begin with a close-up of the Hulk’s face as he rages and yells “Hulk will smash!” In panel #2, the camera pulls way back to show the Hulk with Peter standing between him and MJ and Curt. MJ is protecting Curt who is still on the ground. “Hulk will smash all of you!” yells the Hulk. “Not if Spider-Man can stop you!” replies Peter. In panel #3, the camera moves behind Peter, now showing just Peter and the Hulk, who looks around and yells “Where? Where is the spider man? Hulk knows the spider man! He’s not here! Now, in panel #4, the camera moves behind Hulk so that he looks back at us. Peter thinks, “Managed to distract him for a second. But this is hardly the time to worry about protecting my so-called secret identity.” The camera moves behind MJ and Curt in panel #5 as Peter looks back at them and thinks, “MJ knows it! Dr. Connors is in too much pain to notice – and the Hulk doesn’t care about anything but totaling stuff!” So, in panel #6, Peter peels off his shirt to reveal his Spidey costume. “So – might as well give him a fresh target,” he thinks. “Okay, jade-jaws,” he says, “let’s get this over with!” “RRR,” says the Hulk.
The “Next” caption is “Abomination vs. Arachnid!” which, I assume, refers to the Hulk and not the Abomination himself. Last week’s was “Will the Gator Get the Mystery Man – Before We Know Who He Is?” and, as expected, the answer to that was “No.”
December 18, 2017
Peter and the Hulk face off. “Hulk will crush the spiderman!” says Hulk. “Recognize the shirt, huh?” says Peter, now looking like he is ripping his outer shirt off. “No sense trying to be a quick change artist, then,” he says. In panel #2, he rushes the Hulk, saying, “We’ll settle this right here!” MJ, still helping Curt (who looks wide awake and aware of what’s going on), calls out,“Peter – nooo.”
December 19, 2017
Peter is still rushing the Hulk. “This ends now!” he yells. In panel #2, he runs right into the Hulk with a THWAMM. The Hulk doesn’t budge as Peter is knocked backwards. “But maybe – not that way I wanted it to!” he thinks. (That probably should be “not the way I wanted it to.”) Panel #3 looks down at Peter on the ground as the Hulk screams at him. “Now Hulk will smash!” he says. “Might almost be worth getting’ squashed – just to escape your limited vocabulary!” says Peter.
December 20, 2017
Peter is back on his feet. He faces the Hulk who bellows “Hulk will finish web-man!” “Found a couple more words in the old mental thesaurus, huh?” replies Peter. In panel #2, he motions at Dr. Connors who is now flat-out unconscious on the ground. The panel extends a bit on the bottom right in order to fit in Doc’s head. MJ, who was so carefully tending Curt before, is nowhere to be found. “But I don’t have time to waltz around with you,” says Peter, “That guy may be dying – and I can’t help him…” In panel #3, he leaps at the Hulk and socks him right in the jaw with a left-hand and a KRAKK. “…Till I take care of you!” he finishes. “ARRRR,” says the Hulk, doing his best pirate imitation.
December 21, 2017
The Hulk rubs his jaw while Peter rubs his hand. “That hurt!” says Hulk. “Tell me about it!” says Peter. The Hulk has his back turned to Peter in panel #2 for some reason but he looks at him over his shoulder and says, “Now – Hulk’s turn to hurt you!” “Guess I can’t stop you from trying!” says Peter. But someone off-panel yells “No!” and since Curt is unconscious, it must be MJ. Sure enough, she leaps between the Hulk and Peter in panel #3 and says, “Both of you – stop!”
December 22, 2017
Having run between the two combatants, MJ now turns her back on them. With hands out, they both appeal to her. “Why did girl jump between Hulk and web-man?” says the Hulk. “You could’ve been killed, MJ!” says Peter. Panel #2 is all MJ as she says, “The human being inside that monstrous risked his life to save mine. I had to hope he’s still in there!” (That should probably be “inside that monster.” That’s the second lettering mistake in 4 days. Who’s doing the lettering, anyway?) Panel #3 shows MJ in the foreground, Peter in the middle and the Hulk in the background. “A dangerous risk, honey,” says Peter, “but it might just be working!” And the Hulk says, “What – is – happening?” as different man-shaped outlines demonstrate that he is turning into Bruce Banner once again.
December 23, 2017
Hulk shrinks down to Bruce Banner (in three head installments). “Hulk feels – strange,” he says. Peter holds MJ back as he says, “You did it, honey! He’s changing back into…” “…Dr. Bruce Banner,” he finishes in panel #2 and Bruce, who now has a day-old growth of beard where the Hulk did not, says “Wh-where am I?”
December 24, 2017
We’re still in the swamp where the Hulk has just become Bruce Banner and Peter is wearing his shirt again so that it covers his Spidey costume. Curt Connors, who is supposed to be near death from lack of blood, is sitting up watching the proceedings. (MJ is there too.) The opening caption reads, “As the last vestiges of the Incredible Hulk fade…” and Peter says, “Glad to have you back, Bruce.” Panel #2 is MJ, Peter, and Bruce from left to right. “Peter? Peter Parker?” says Bruce, “Now I remember! I saved MJ from a python.” “You sure did,” says MJ. (Should Bruce know MJ’s name?) The camera moves in for Bruce’s close-up in panel #3. “And then – a big gator rushed me – and – and…” (A thought balloon next to Bruce’s head shows the Hulk tossing the gator away.) In panel #4, Bruce shakes it off. “That’s all I can remember,” he says. “And now that my shirt’s closed – let’s keep it that way,” thinks Peter with a hand up near his collar, “We’ve got more important things to worry about.” In panel #5, he joins MJ who is again holding Curt who has again lapsed into unconsciousness. “How’s Dr. Connors?” asks Pete. “He’s lost a lot of blood from that gator bite,” says MJ. (So Curt was actually bitten by that gator?) Curt says, “OHHHH.” In panel #6, Curt is suddenly drenched in sweat. MJ turns to look at Peter and says, “We’ve got to get him back to the city – fast – or he’ll die!”
The “Next” caption is “Race Against Time!” Last week’s was “Abomination vs. Arachnid” which happened for a little bit.
December 25, 2017
Merry Christmas! But you’d never know it from this story. Stan begins with a caption: “The Hulk is gone – and only Bruce Banner remains.” Bruce sits on a log and holds his head in his hands. “What happened? Can’t remember,” he says. Behind him, Peter carries Curt Connors to the boat. “Right now, all that matters is Doc Connors,” says Peter. “He’s lost so much blood,” says MJ. In panel #2, Peter puts Curt into the boat as MJ puts a hand on Peter’s shoulder. “We’ve got to get him to a hospital – fast – or he’ll die!” she says.
December 26, 2017
In the foreground, MJ cradles Curt’s head in her left arm. In the background, Peter talks to Bruce. “Probably best if you stay here, Bruce,” says Peter, “You’re a wanted man, now that the whole world knows you’re the Hulk.” (Not sure when that happened in the strip-verse but the Hulk has appeared in the series a couple of times before. Another reason to leave Bruce behind is that he is only wearing pants.) But Bruce objects. “But I’ve got to come back with you. You see…” he says in panel #1 and continues in a close-up in panel #2. “Curt Connors is the reason I came to the Everglades!” And Peter, off-panel, says “?” which, I guess, needs no explanation.
December 27, 2017
Peter and Bruce chat as MJ comforts Curt in the background. “You say you came here because you read about Dr. Connors’ experiments?” asks Peter. “He and I even have the same super-rare blood type,” says Bruce, which is a plot point if I’ve ever seen one but I’d like to know how Bruce even knows that. In panel #2, Bruce puts his hand to his forehead and says, “I hoped he could prevent me from ever turning into the Hulk.” From off-panel, MJ says, “If you meant that about the blood type, Dr. Banner…” In panel #3, still holding Curt, MJ continues with “…we’re liable to need you for a transfusion when we get to Miami!” Oh, good idea! Get a blood transfusion from the Hulk! Haven’t you ever heard of She-Hulk, MJ?
December 28, 2017
Now, all four of them are in the boat. Bruce is driving! “Hopefully,” says Peter, “the hospital can find a different rare-blood donor.” MJ says, “But if they can’t – you’ll be the only chance Dr. Connors has.” “I want to help him!” says Bruce, “You both know I do!” In panel #2, Bruce gets the close-up as he says, “But – once the authorities learn who I am – they’ll lock me up – vaporize the key!”
December 29, 2017
Panel #1 brings us close-ups of Peter, Curt, and MJ. “Doc’s unconscious…his breathing’s shallow,” says Peter. “If only this boat could go faster!” says MJ. In panel #2, MJ and Peter’s heads in the foreground bookend Bruce in the background. Bruce is still driving the boat. “This makes me realize the limits of my spider powers,” says Peter, “I can’t speed up this boat – or web-swing him to a hospital.” Panel #3 is a solo close-up of MJ as she says, “It’s all my fault. If you two hadn’t gone searching for me – Dr. Connors wouldn’t be fighting for his life!” And, you know what? MJ is absolutely right! Remember November 30th where MJ decided to take a walk in the swamp even though Peter warned her about gators and pythons? Yeah, good one, MJ!
December 30, 2017
Again, it’s Peter, Curt, and MJ with Curt looking like he’s lying in his coffin. Peter tells MJ “What happened to Doc isn’t down to you, honey,” but he’s lying because it is absolutely down to her. MJ doesn’t buy it either. “Keep telling me that, Peter…” she says and gets the solo close-up in the final panel two days in a row. “…and maybe – just maybe – I’ll begin to believe it!” she says. No, don’t believe it, MJ. Don't drink the Kool-Aid. It is all your fault.
December 31, 2017
“Peter, MJ and Bruce Banner are racing against time…” according to the opening caption. Bruce is expertly driving the speedboat through the mangrove trees. “Just a few more minutes to the pier, people!” he says. (Not sure how Bruce knows where the pier is when he walked into the Everglades.) “Great!” says Peter. Panel #2 shows Peter, MJ, and the unconscious Curt with speed lines behind them showing that they are really moving. “As soon as we dock, we’ve got to get Dr. Connors to a hospital,” says MJ, “if he’s to have any chance of surviving!” Panel #3 is all Peter as he pounds his fist into his palm and says, “Right! And we can’t wait for an ambulance to wind its way through Miami traffic.” (No kidding, Pete, considering you’re nowhere near Miami or have you forgotten the drive on November 26th when Curt said, “We’ll be on the outskirts of the Everglades in another hour, folks” after you’d already driven for a while?) Panel #4 is still Peter, MJ, and Curt but from a different angle. “You’re not saying what I think you’re saying!?” says MJ. Panel #5 is again Peter, MJ, and Curt from yet another angle as Peter starts to open his shirt even as he leaves his jacket on. “Doc’s gonna need high-speed transportation to get him where he needs to go…” says Peter. In panel #6, he tears his shirt open (the shirt that he tore open before and that somehow became whole again) with his jacket still on, revealing his Spidey shirt. “…and his life’s a thousand times more important than my secret identity!” Peter says.
The “Next” caption is “Decision at the Docks!” which may be Stan’s decision to ignore the long car ride and act like they’re already in Miami. Last week’s was “Race Against Time” which was fast but has taken all week.
January 1, 2018
Happy New Year! And Bruce Banner is all alone in the first panel as he says, “Dock’ll be in sight any second, guys! Have we got a plan to get Connors to a hospital fast?” Off-panel, Peter says, “Yes we do, Bruce…” Panel #2 shows Spidey standing in full uniform, his hands on his hips and lines emitting from his body. Behind him, MJ holds Curt by the head, which is a bit odd. On the right side of the panel, Bruce’s head recoils in shock. “And I’m it!” says Spidey. “What in blazes?” says Bruce.
January 2, 2018
Curt Connors is dying and has to go to a hospital fast! But Spidey takes time to raise his mask to reveal his face and he and Bruce have a little chat. (Behind them, MJ is still holding Curt by the head.) “You’re telling me Peter Parker – is Spider-Man!?” says Bruce. “There’s only four of us on this boat,” says Peter (and one is dying and another is a woman…though Mattie Franklin pulled that off in the comics), “so once you saw the outfit, you’d know the truth.” In panel #2, it looks like Bruce has slowed the boat way down. In fact, it looks like it’s sinking. “Having lived two lives myself for years, I know how hard it was to give up your secret!” says Bruce. “I’d give up a hundred secrets to save Curt Connors’ life!” says Peter. (But…I have this vague recollection that Bruce learned Spidey’s secret identity in one of the previous Hulk appearances in the Strip-Verse. Am I right? Does anyone remember?)
January 3, 2018
We didn’t see the docks on the trip down but it turns out to be a pretty elaborate affair with a big building right next to it. As the boat nears, Spidey says, “So – are we all clear on everything?” “Check,” says MJ, “You’ll take Dr. Connors to Miami Metro Hospital.” “And we’ll follow along as fast as we can!” says Bruce. (Uh…guys? Remember that you’re at least an hour’s drive from Miami. Anybody remember?) In panel #2, Spidey takes a leap from the boat while it’s still a ways from the dock. His leap makes a noise. SPPROINNGG. Which is kind of weird. He carries Curt Connors. “Bingo!” he yells as he is about to land on the dock.
January 4, 2018
So, it looks as though Spidey leapt right over the docks and high over the highway in panel #1 (where there is nothing from which to web-sling) only to land in Miami in panel #2. Quite a trick. All this while carrying Dr. Connors who says “Ohhh…” in panel #1. “Easy, doc. I’m taking you to where you can get help,” Spidey replies. He is on the ground in panel #2 with a taxi behind him. (Do they have yellow cabs like this in Miami?) “Only – it’s more complicated than I thought. I don’t have a GPS on me, so…” Spidey says aloud. The cabbie behind him says, “Spider-Man? Down here in Miami?” In panel #3, Spidey turns to the cabbie and says “Quick! Which way to Miami Metro Hospital?” The cabbie points and says “Thataway! You can’t miss it!” Oh, and his cab number (454) has a rectangle around it in panel #2 that is gone in panel #3.
But that is the least of our problems here. This one strip has three major mess-ups. First, how does Spidey travel the distance to Miami that took at least an hour in the car when Curt drove them to the Everglades? Second, how does he get so high over the highway while carrying Curt with no tall buildings from which to web-swing? And third, why do Spidey, Bruce, and MJ agree to go to Miami Metro when they don’t know where it is? Shouldn’t they just go to the nearest hospital?
January 5, 2018
Now, Spidey is leaping over cars with silhouetted drivers inside. “Hey!” yells one of the drivers. “Sorry, people!” says Spidey, still carrying Curt. In panel #2, he leaps off a car hood as he arrives at Miami Metro Hospital. “I’ve got a guy who’s lost a lot of blood and that hospital’s his only chance!” he says. “Go for it, web-slinger!” says the driver of the car on whose hood he jumped. (He may not be so excited once he looks at the dent Spidey must have made.)
January 6, 2018
Inside the hospital, Spidey carries Curt to an orderly making a bed. “Quick! This man needs a doctor!” he says. “You’ll have to take him to reception,” says the orderly. But in panel #2, Spidey grabs the orderly by the collar (still carrying Curt?) and shakes him so hard that motion lines appear around his head. “This. Man. Needs. A. Doctor,” says the web-slinger. “This way, sir!” says the orderly, in panel #3, running to the right. “That’s more like it,” says Spidey, again carrying Curt with two arms.
January 7, 2018
Did the orderly take Spidey to an operating room? In panel #1, he kicks his way into an OR prep room with doctors putting on scrubs. “What’s going on? You can’t come in here,” says one doctor. “Ohhh…” says Curt. “We’re in!” says Spidey. FWAMM says the kicked-in door. In panel #2, Spidey presents Curt to the doctors. “This is Dr. Curt Connors, the eminent scientist,” he says, “He’s lost a lot of blood from a gator bite.” Two of the three doctors are so shocked, they pull their masks down in order to gape. In panel #3, they set Curt on a gurney. “We’ll take it from here,” says one, “First we have to determine his blood type.” “It’s AB-Negative,” says Spidey, “Fewer than 1% have that, I know…and the way he tells it, his blood has a few special peculiarities as well.” (Waitaminute, what about the operation for which these guys were preparing?) In panel #4, two of the doctors roll Curt on the gurney to someplace far from where they were suiting up. Spidey goes along with them. “It’s going to be hard to find a donor quickly,” says one doc. (Don’t you have a supply on hand? Even of AB-Negative?) “Don’t worry about that, doc,” says Spidey. He finishes in the caption for panel #5. “The donor’ll be here any second!” The panel shows MJ rushing Bruce Banner through traffic. So, how did they get to Miami when the swamp was an hour’s car drive away? Did they take Curt’s car? If so, then why not drive it right up to the hospital rather than walking through traffic? “Bruce – hurry!” says MJ. Bystanders look on. A car gives out a HONNK. A guy leans out of his car, points a finger at Bruce (wearing only the purple pants…he has apparently run barefoot for miles and miles) and says, “Look where ya goin’, ya bum!” But in panel #6, Bruce decides to stop hurrying, go up to the guy in the car and say, “Don’t make me angry, man! Your widow’s not gonna like it if I get angry!” The stunned driver gets some motion lines around his head and says, “Y-yessir!”
The “Next” caption is “Blood is Thicker…” Have I mentioned what a bad idea it is to give anyone Bruce Banner’s blood? Last week’s was “Decision at the Docks!” which, as I said last week, was probably Stan’s decision to ignore the long car ride and act like they’re already in Miami.
January 8, 2018
Todays’ strip pretty much recaps yesterday’s strip. See all of my objections in that description. They are still my objections today. First, a caption: “Dr. Connors has been rushed to a Miami hospital…” Spidey runs along with the two doctors who are pushing Curt on a gurney, taking the long way to the OR. Two doctors and a nurse look on. (And some guy, whose legs poke out from beneath Spidey’s word balloon has no interest. He is walking away. “Spider-Man in the hospital? Nope. Not looking. Don’t care.”) “He’s lost a lot of blood – it’s the rare type AB-Negative,” says Spidey. The doctor says, “We know! We know! You told us!” No, he doesn’t. He says what he said yesterday. “We’ll need to find a donor fast!” Panel #2 gives us a little Spidey head in the upper left corner as he speaks through a caption at the top. “Don’t worry, Dr. Pittman – he’s on the way,” he says. Panel #2 also shows us MJ and Bruce surrounded by cars. Two drivers look really angry. A third one seems to not care at all. (Perhaps he’s related to the legs in panel #1?) “Hurry, Bruce. Miami Metro’s just across the street!” says MJ.
I apologize for saying that the strip just recaps yesterday’s strip. We did get a name for one of the doctors here. Dr. Pittman.
January 9, 2018
Now we are in the OR with Spidey and only one doctor. This is apparently Dr. Pittman who turns out to be a woman. She says, “But before I can operate, we need blood of Connors’ rare type – But some recent disasters have left us short of AB-Negative.” Thank you, Stan, for answering one of my questions. In panel #2, Spidey says, “Well, I’m O-Negative…what they used to call ‘Universal Donor’.” (I suspect Spidey is only O-Negative in the Strip-Verse.) “That might work,” says Dr. Pittman, “and we don’t have much choice, unless…” An off-panel voice says, “Your choice just walked in, doc…” In panel #3, Spidey and Dr. Pittman turn to see Bruce and MJ coming in through a regular wooden door. (Are they still not in an actual operating room? Do operating rooms have regular wooden doors?) “Bruce Banner at your service,” says Bruce.
Now, you may be asking what’s worse…to use Spider-Man’s blood or the Hulk’s blood? But I’m asking how MJ and Bruce knew where in the hospital to go to arrive at the right room so quickly. I’m also asking what Dr. Pittman was going to says when she said, “we don’t have much choice, unless…” Unless what? Unless Bruce Banner walks in?
January 10, 2018
It’s Spidey, Dr. Pittman, Bruce, and MJ in the OR. “Are you that Bruce Banner,” says the doctor, “the one who turns into the so-called Hulk?” “Do you want my autograph?” says Bruce. He continues in panel #2. “Or do you want my blood to save your patient?” Dr. Pittman turns to the nurse and says, “Nurse, take blood from this man – and fast!” Waitaminute! There’s a nurse? Oh yeah, over on the right, there is a nurse!
January 11, 2018
Dr. Pittman has disappeared as the nurse takes blood from Bruce with Spidey and MJ looking on. “Did you have to give your real name, Bruce?” asks Spidey, “Don’t you at least have a fake ID?” “What am I –a 15 year old trying to buy beer?” says Bruce. In panel #2, the nurse says, “I’ve taken all the blood I dare, Mr. Banner.” (She holds a tiny vial in her hand. That’s all the blood she can take? I don’t think that little bit will help Curt much.) “You may feel weak for a time,” she says. “That’ll be a switch,” says Bruce.
January 12, 2018
The nurse pokes her head in the room where Spidey, MJ, and Bruce still are. “They’ve begun the operation, using Mr. Banner’s donated blood,” she reports. (Please, nurse! It’s Doctor Banner!) Bruce puts his hand to his head. “G-Great!” he says, “But – how come I feel – so…” In panel #2, Bruce falls out of his chair. “He’s collapsing,” MJ informs us. The nurse and Spidey rush up to him. “I took a lot of blood from him – but it shouldn’t have caused this!” she says. (You took a lot of blood from him?! All I saw was one tiny vial.) In panel #3, Spidey cradles Bruce as the alarmed nurse and MJ look on. “You know, he moonlights as the Hulk,” says Spidey, “Maybe he needs more of his blood than we do – just to stay alive!” So, is that your scientific opinion, Spidey?
January 13, 2018
They have gotten Bruce up on a gurney. The nurse checks him out with a stethoscope. “Is he gonna be okay, nurse?” asks Spidey. “There’s no way I can be sure,” she replies, “But I suspect that – if Mr. Banner’s going to live…” Panel #2 is a close-up of the nurse, Spidey and MJ as the nurse finishes with “Now he’s the one who needs a blood transfusion!” Spidey and MJ get those motion lines around their heads because they’re probably thinking what I’m thinking. The Lizard will get Hulk powers and the Hulk will get Spider powers. I can see it coming a mile away.
January 14, 2018
Spidey and MJ are still in the room with Bruce on the gurney but the nurse has transmogrified into a totally different person. “You’re telling me Bruce Banner needs a blood transfusion?” says Spidey. “But he just gave blood – lots of it – to Dr. Connors!” says MJ. (Thank you, MJ, the nurse already knows this. She’s the one that took it from him. Unless she’s a totally different nurse as she looks to be.) In panel #2, the nurse confers with Spidey and MJ. “You said he might need more blood than the rest of us in order to live!” she says, “What did you mean by that?” (And where does he keep it?) In panel #3, Spidey imagines the moment when Bruce Banner first became the Hulk (shown on the right side of the panel) and says “Just an educated guess.” (I think you can take “educated” out of that sentence.) He continues, “But the first time he ‘Hulked out’ was after exposure to gamma radiation.” Panel #4 shows an unconscious Bruce with the nurse and Spidey looking down on him. “As a guy who likewise got radiated, I know my blood now has some weird properties – so I figure his might, too.” (Giving away all the secrets, aren’t you, Spidey?) The camera moves up to the ceiling in panel #5 as we look down on MJ, Spidey, and the nurse surrounding Bruce. The nurse takes Bruce’s pulse and says, “You told me your blood is O-Negative.” (Actually, Spidey told Dr. Pittman that he is O-Negative. Whatever happened to Dr. Pittman, anyway? Has the nurse transmogrified into Dr. Pittman?) The nurse continues, “That, plus whatever other strange properties you say it has…” And, in panel #6, for the second day in a row, the nurse says something that puts wiggle lines around the heads of Spidey and MJ. “…might make you the ‘Universal Donor’ who could save his life!”
The “Next” caption is “Overdrawn at the Blood Bank!?” which is kind of cute. Last week’s was “Blood is Thicker…” and we’ve certainly dealt with plenty of blood in the past week.
January 15, 2018
“While a doctor is operating nearby on Dr. Curt Connors…” says the caption, perhaps explaining what has happened to Dr. Pittman, the nurse (who seems to have transmogrified back to the one from Saturday) says, “He isn’t reacting like a normal man who just gave blood,” as she looks down at Bruce Banner. Spidey and MJ look down too. “Bruce Banner isn’t a normal man. He’s the part-time Hulk!” says Spidey. Panel #2 is a close up of the nurse as she says, “And you’re Spider-Man – with Universal Donor blood. Are you willing to give some of it to save him?” Panel #3 is all Spidey as he says, “Just tell me which sleeve to roll up!” Those sleeves roll up? This I’ve got to see!
January 16, 2018
The nurse takes blood from Spider-Man. (Look at that! The sleeve rolled up!) MJ stands by the unconscious Bruce in the background. “I should’ve called in a doctor before I took blood from you,” says the nurse. (No kidding!) “You know there wasn’t time, nurse!” says Spidey. In panel #2, MJ looks down at Bruce and thinks, “Spider-Man’s blood going into the body of the man who becomes the Hulk! Will it save Bruce – or do something strange and terrible to him?” I vote for the latter.
January 17, 2018
Meanwhile, in the OR, Dr. Pittman and another doctor work on Dr. Connors. “There! That’s the last of Dr. Connors’ wounds,” says Dr. Pittman. “Dr. Pittman, look,” says the other doctor. Panel #2 shows Dr. Pittman looking at a monitor with a bunch of squiggly lines heading up at a 45-degree angle. She is so startled that he gets motion lines. “I see what you mean,” she says, “His vital signs are off the charts!” Off-panel, the other doctor says, “No! I meant…” And he is still off-panel in panel #3 as he continues with “Look at his missing arm! I think it’s growing back!” And, yes, it sure looks like it from the panel illustration. Oh oh.
January 18, 2018
Dr. Pittman looks down at Connors’ arm. “You’re right!” she says, “Connors’ missing arm is growing back! But – the new arm is covered with scales!” And, yes, in panel #2, that scaly arm grabs the other doctor. “And why shouldn’t it be…” says “Connors” off-panel as the doctor says “Urrggk.” (Urrggk. Love that one.) And panel #3 reveals that Connors is gone even as it reveals that the arm now holds onto Pittman instead of the other doctor. A neat trick. “…when it belongs to the Lizard!” says the Lizard.
January 19, 2018
Back in the other room, Bruce Banner comes to. “Wh-what happened to me?” he says. “I had to give you an emergency blood transfusion courtesy of Spider-Man,” says the nurse. There’s a bag of blood almost completely full hanging there. Looks like overdid the blood draw from Spidey to me. Spidey rolls his sleeve down as MJ looks on. But panel #2 is all Spidey and the door as he hears from outside a cry of “Look out! He’s escaping!” “What in the…?” he says with motion lines around his head.
January 20, 2018
Someone yells,“Watch out!” from the hallway. Spidey, MJ, and the nurse look at the door. “What’re those people yelling about!? asks MJ. In panel #2, someone outside yells, “Watch out for his tail!” and Spidey sprints toward the door. “All of a sudden – I’m afraid I know what they’re yelling about!” he says.
January 21, 2018
Spidey is still reaching for the door. Bruce is still unconscious and MJ is still looking after him. But, now the nurse has transmogrified into a man! (Is Alex playing tricks on Larry?) From the other side of the door, someone yells, “His tail – it’s going to…” and Spidey says, “If that’s what I think it is.” In panel #2, he opens the door to see the Lizard on the rampage. One nurse is on the ground. Three other hospital staffers are fleeing. “It is,” says Spidey. (Well, really…”His tail…it’s going to…” what else could it be?) Panel #3 shows Spidey confronting the Lizard. “Dr. Connors – it’s me –your pal Spider-Man,” he says. “No human being is a friend of the Lizard…” says the Lizard, proving to be another of those villains who speaks of himself in the third person. In panel #4, the Lizard’s tail knocks Spidey against the wall with a THROOM. “Oooph!” says Spidey. “…Least of all Spider-Man,” finishes the Lizard. In panel #5, Spidey is down for the count but suddenly Bruce Banner is not. He looks through the door to see the Lizard moving in for the kill. “The web-spinner’s down!” he says, “As much as I hate it – I don’t have much choice!” In panel #6, Bruce clenches his fists and gets motion lines around his head (aping the motion lines around the Lizard’s tail) as MJ and that male nurse look on. “I’ve got to become the Hulk!” says Bruce.
No, you don’t, Bruce. That’s why the “Next” caption is “Riot in Ward 11!” You don’t want to be a part of that! Last week’s caption was “Overdrawn at the Blood Bank!?” Fair enough since there was some blood exchanging hands in the past week of strips.
January 22, 2018
It’s another wasted Monday…unless you didn’t read the strip on Sunday. In panel #1, the Lizard knocks Spidey against the wall with a THROOM and Spidey says, “Oooph.” Sound familiar? Two staffers flee the scene. The caption starts with, “When Spider-Man fails to stop the rampaging Lizard…” and finishes in panel #2 with “…somebody else is ready to try!” Bruce winces with motion lines around his head. A surprised MJ has those motion lines too. “I hoped I’d never again have to do this, but I’ve got to become – the Hulk!”
January 23, 2018
Whoa! Wait! Spidey was unconscious on the floor with the Lizard standing over him. Now, he’s conscious and helping Dr. Pitman with the Lizard standing in the background. “How could it happen?” asks the Doc, “We were operating on Connors – when he suddenly turned into that monstrosity!” “Don’t look now, Doc,” says Spidey, “But when it comes to monsters…” And now in panel #2, they are inside the room along with MJ and Bruce, who is crouching and glowing all over. “…I suspect you’re about to get two for the price of one!” says Spidey. And I suspect this has turned into an utter mess.
January 24, 2018
Now, Spidey and Dr. Pitman have disappeared. Bruce is still glowing though. “MJ,” he says, “I’m trying to turn into the Hulk – but nothing’s happening!” “Don’t you have to get mad in order to ‘Hulk out’?” asks MJ. In panel #2, the Lizard has either gotten really big or he’s sneaking up behind them or the perspective is completely screwed up. “You think all the destruction the Lizard’s causing isn’t making me furious?” says Bruce, “Still – I’m not changing.” “And I don’t intend to give you time to figure out why,” says the Lizard.
January 25, 2018
Still no Spidey and Dr. Pitman. Still, Bruce clenches his fists and glows. The Lizard runs toward him, definitely in front of him this time. “Got to become the Hulk fast or else,” says Bruce. “Too late, Banner,” says the Lizard as he swats Bruce with his tail just as he swatted Spidey. This time, he gets a THRWAKK when Bruce hits the wall. This time Bruce says “Hnnnh.” Way down in the lower right corner, MJ pokes her head up, as if emerging from a pool to take a breath. “No!” she says down there.
January 26, 2018
Here’s a quickie. In panel #1, the Lizard’s tail sends Bruce flying through the air with a THWAKKK. In panel #2, Bruce is out in the hallway. Spidey leaps up and grabs him, with three hospital staffers looking on. (I thought they all ran away.) “G-got you!” says Spidey. (I don’t know why he’s stammering.) But did he get him? There’s a sound effect of SLAMM which implies that Bruce smashed into the wall even as Spidey grabbed him.
January 27, 2018
An even quickier quickie. Spidey and Bruce land on the floor with a WHOMPF. In panel #2, they appear to be back in the room again. Bruce leans against a desk, Spidey is flat-out on the floor. The Lizard is nowhere in sight. MJ looks down at them and says, “Peter – Bruce – they’re both lying so still!”
January 28, 2018
Yep, they are definitely back in that room. MJ looks down on them as she did yesterday. The caption reads, “Spidey intercepted Bruce Banner in mid-hurtle – but now…” and MJ says, “Neither of them is moving.” But that crisis ends pretty quickly. Both come to in panel #2. “I’m lucky Bruce hadn’t changed to the Hulk,” says Spidey, “or we wouldn’t have stopped till we reached Daytona!” Yeah, Spidey, I figure, if he had changed to the Hulk, you wouldn’t have bothered to grab him.” Dr. Pitman reappears in panel #3 as MJ looks down on Spidey. “Thank heaven you’re both okay!” says MJ. Dr. Pitman says, “But – when you called out – I thought I heard you call him ‘Peter’.” (No, Dr. Pitman, you couldn’t have heard that because you had disappeared.) Panel #4 is the same trio except the camera has moved to Dr. Pitman’s left shoulder. MJ looks up at her and says, “All the noise must’ve affected your hearing, doctor. I said ‘Spider’ – it’s got a lot of the same letters.” In panel #5, Dr. Pitman contemplates this and decides, “Yeah, I guess it does!” Spidey whispers to MJ, “And if we’re both lucky, she won’t Google you and find out MJ Parker’s husband’s name is Peter!” (But does she even know who MJ is? I can’t remember.) In panel #6, Bruce rejoins the trio and points out, “But right now, we’ve got more important things to worry about. The Lizard –he’s escaped!”
The “Next” caption is “The Lizard’s Tail – the Lizard’s Trail!” which is nowhere near as clever as Stan thinks it is. Last week’s was “Riot in Ward 11!” when it should have been “Who Made This Mess?!”
January 29, 2018
“Spider-Man and Bruce Banner have just had a close encounter with the Lizard…” says our caption. Bruce is still holding his head, Spidey is scratching the back of his head, and MJ has her hand to her mouth. (And is that Dr. Pitman in the background? Sure doesn’t look like her.) “Thank heaven you’re both okay,” says MJ. “Define ‘okay’,” says Bruce. In panel #2, Spidey starts to run off. “I’ve gotta catch the Lizard – Dr. Connors – before he kills somebody!” he says. “Just make sure it isn’t you!” says MJ.
January 30, 2018
So, is that Dr. Pitman or is that the nurse, now turned back into a woman? She’s in the background as MJ puts her hands on Bruce’s shoulders and says, “Relax, Bruce. Let Spider-Man handle the Lizard.” “Yeah, sure,” says Bruce, “Just like he ‘handled’ him here.” Panel #2 subtracts a character to bring us Bruce and MJ. “But – why can’t I become the Hulk?” asks Bruce. “I thought that only happens when you’re angry,” says MJ. “Right, but like I once told the Avengers, MJ…” Panel #3 subtracts a character to bring us only Bruce as he finishes with “I’m always angry!” Isn’t that from one of the Avengers movies?
January 31, 2018
It’s 2018 but Spidey still finds buildings with windows that open. I suspect that’s the case here here because he is perched on the side of the building pondering, “Now where would I go – if I suddenly turned into a monstrous man-Lizard in the middle of a hospital?” and I doubt he went all the way to the ground floor, exited through the door and then climbed up the side of the building. In panel #2, he races even more up the side of the building. “Answer,” he says, “I’d probably head for someplace where I’d be unlikely to run into people…” “Like the roof!” he finishes in panel #3 as he reaches the roof and finds the Lizard. “You!” says Liz.
February 1, 2018
Spidey and the Lizard face off on the hospital roof. “Dr. Connors,” says Spidey, “You’ve got to gain control of this thing you’ve become!” “Dr. Connors is a weakling,” says Liz, “I never want to revert to him again!” In panel #2, Spidey and the Lizard continue to face off on the hospital roof. “You remind me of the Hulk,” says Spidey, “when he raged about ‘puny Banner’.” “Hulk – Spider-Man, if either of you defies me,” says Lizzie. And in panel #3, he leaps at Spidey and calls out “You die!”
February 2, 2018
Spidey struggles to hold off the Lizard, grabbing him by the wrists. “You seem – even stronger than when we fought before!” says Spidey. “Perhaps you are merely weaker!” says the Lizard. The camera moves in panel #2 so we see Spidey straight on and only see the Lizard’s struggling hands. “No!” says Spidey, “It must be because you received blood from Banner. Which is like getting a transfusion from the Hulk!” (Only figuring that out now, Spidey? I told you it was a bad idea.) In panel #3, the Lizard picks up Spidey and throws him off the roof. “I need nothing extra to destroy you!” he cries. Spidey, doing his best pirate impersonation says “Arrrr.”
February 3, 2018
Spidey plummets down toward the ground. (There are a few bystanders down there.) He sees a flagpole sticking out of the building because the same buildings that still have windows that open also have flagpoles sticking out in spots where nobody would be able to reach to hang a flag. “Gotta grab that flagpole or else,” he thinks. (Or else you’ll use your webbing?) In panel #2, he grabs the head of the flagpole, which bends. “Unggn,” says Spidey.
February 4, 2018
The Lizard looks down from the roof and gloats. (And there are birds in the sky in the first two panels so we know this is Alex Saviuk illustrating.) “With the Man-Spider hurled to his death, there is nothing to concern me here,” he says, “I must launch upon humankind – the reptilian revolt!” (We know the Lizard speaks perfectly good English and we know he knows Spidey is “Spider-Man,” so what is up with this “Man-Spider” business? Is this supposed to be a burn?) Spidey, hanging from the end of the flagpole in panel #2 has heard what the Lizard said. “”Reptilian revolt? I don’t much care for the sound of that!” he thinks. The camera looks up from behind Spidey, showing the Lizard up above. In panel #3, the camera switches and looks down at Spidey, with a whole bunch of bystanders in the street below. “Right now, though, I’m just lucky I grabbed this flagpole,” he thinks, “and that he didn’t notice or he’d have finished me off before I could catch my breath.” (What? Did the infusion of Bruce’s gamma-irradiated blood ruin the Lizard’s eyesight? How could he not notice? Oh, and there’s something somewhat phallic about that flagpole that is unnerving.) Panel #4 is a close-up of Spidey and the end of the flagpole as it starts to break with a KKCRR (which finishes in panel #5 with a AAAKK). “All I’ve got to do is…” thinks Spidey in panel #4. The camera again takes the panel #3 view in panel #5 as the flagpole cracks and breaks. “…fall right on my head!” he thinks as he falls while the bystanders below now look up and point at him. Panel #6 is a cool panel. We move inside where Bruce and MJ are still hanging out. “Shouldn’t you see if Spider-Man is all right?” asks Bruce. “I’m sure he can handle the Lizard,” says MJ. Behind them, unseen by both, Spider-Man falls past the window.
Our “Next” caption is “What is the Reptilian Revolt?” Uh…a revolt by reptiles? Last week’s was “The Lizard’s Tail – the Lizard’s Trail!” and I still don’t know what that means.
February 5, 2018
Spidey falls past the building as a few bystanders mill around below. He shoots out some webbing with a FWIPT that adheres to the building. (Why didn’t he do that before?) “The nice thing about being a Spider-Man in free fall from a roof top…” says the panel #1 caption. “…is that you’ve always got your ever-trusty weblines to bail you out!” finishes the caption in panel #2. The panel shows Spidey upside-down, with spider-sense lines coming off his head and webbing in his right hand, but it doesn’t show us that the webbing is safely attached to anything. This is also true in #3, a close-up of Spidey’s upside-down head only inches from the pavement (with three bystanders behind him, staring). “That was cutting it close, though!” he says as if he has heard Stan’s captions and is replying to them.
February 6, 2018
Spidey swings back up to the roof. “You’ve gotta still be here, Lizard!” he calls out. “You haven’t had time to get away!” Panel #2 shows Spidey, turning in surprise as, off-panel, the Lizard yells, “And what makes you think…” He finishes in panel #3, emerging from behind the roof doorway, “…I would flee from the likes of you?” (What, is he hiding up there? I thought he was leaving to start the Reptilian Revolt.) He has gotten even larger and scarier.
February 7, 2018
Spidey looks up at the Lizard and tells him, “You’ve grown a lot since I took my fall off the roof. It must be the effect of the Hulk’s blood.” In panel #2, he puts out his hands in a calming gesture as Lizard’s big teeth and tongue stick out at him from the other side of the panel. “Just calm down, and we can turn you back into Curt Connors,” says Spidey. “Connors?” says the Lizard and in panel #3 uses his tail to smash something with a WHRAMM. (I don’t know what it is. A piece of the roof, I suppose but it looks like a big thumbnail.) “You think I want to be that weakling – ever again!” says Liz. Spidey recoils. “Yeeesh! Now he even talks like the Hulk!” he thinks.
February 8, 2018
Spidey leaps away from Lizzie’s tail. “My spider-sense won’t let you tail-zap me a second time!” he says. In panel #2, the Lizard has grabbed both of Spidey’s arms. (Why didn’t his spider-sense prevent that?) “Good!” says the Lizard, “I prefer to destroy you in hand-to-hand combat!” “And now that he’s gone Hulk-size on me – he just might!” thinks the web-slinger.
February 9, 2018
The Lizard lifts Spidey up in the air. “By sheer brute strength – he’s forcing me back – toward the roof’s edge!” thinks Spidey. (Here we go again.) Panel #2 is a weird shot of Spidey’s left hand with the Lizard’s right hand holding the wrist with a little piece of Spidey’s mask shown over on the side. “And his grip – has damaged both my web-shooters!” he thinks, “This time I won’t be able to break my fall with a webline!” (And the flagpole is broken, too!) In panel #3, Bruce and MJ have finally figured out that they can watch what’s going on from their window. (Although I’m not sure how they can see anything on the roof from that angle.) “Gotta go help him!” says Bruce. “No, Bruce! Unless you can become the Hulk – you’ll stand no chance against that brute!” says MJ. Yeah, MJ! Better to let Peter die!
February 10, 2018
The week ends with a placeholder strip. Bruce and MJ start to climb the stairs to the roof. “I’ve got to reach the roof – before that monster kills Spider-Man!” says Bruce. “I’m right behind you!” says MJ. (And she is.) Panel #2 is an MJ close-up as she thinks, “But what can we do – against the power of the Lizard?”
February 11, 2018
Bruce and MJ are “Responding to the sounds of battle on the hospital roof…” according to the caption. They run up the stairs with Bruce saying, “I’m going up there!” and MJ saying “But since something’s stopping you from changing to the Hulk…” Panel #2 closes in on MJ and Bruce as she finishes with “…what’re you gonna do when you get there?” In panel #3, the Lizard still holds Spidey by his wrists. (And there are birds in the sky! Hello, Alex!) “I’ve stopped you before, Lizard and I’ll do it again!” says Spidey. Panel #4 is a close-up of Lizzie and Spidey. “That was before my reptilian powers were augmented by the Hulk’s blood!” says Liz. In panel #5, he smashes Spidey up against a bunch of metal pipes that seem to have magically appeared on the roof. “I can feel gamma-induced power surging through my body!” says Liz, “Now, more than ever before, I am…” “…Invincible!” he finishes in panel #6, throwing Spidey, not off the roof but against the shattering metal pipes. The door to the roof opens and Bruce peeks out. MJ’s head is below, wedged between Bruce’s arm and the “Next” caption. It is an inadvertent (I assume) very humorous image.
So, what is that “Next” caption? “The Lizard Triumphant?” Note the question mark at the end. We all remember last week’s caption, right? “What is the Reptilian Revolt?” Whatever it is, it hasn’t gotten underway at all.
February 12, 2018
Bruce and MJ start to come out on the roof. “We’ve reached the roof!” says Bruce. (Yeah! We know! We know!) “Now to see what I can…” In panel #2, he steps past the door only to collide with the flailing Spider-Man with a WHOMPF. “Hnnhh,” says Bruce. MJ watches from the doorway.
February 13, 2018
The impact knocks both Spidey and Bruce off the roof. “Quick! Shoot out your webline to stop us!” Bruce yells while falling. “My web-shooters got crushed!” says Spidey “But I’ve still got…” He finishes in panel #2 with “…a good strong grip!” as he adheres to the wall with his right hand as he grabs Bruce by the arm with his left hand.
February 14, 2018
For all the moments when details are repeated over and over, there are these moments when details are skipped altogether. So, how does Spidey climb back up to the roof with Bruce Banner occupying one hand? Very carefully. It isn’t shown. Instead, we see Spidey snagging the edge of the roof with Bruce still in his left hand. “Can’t let Lizard get away!” he says, “Besides, MJ’s up there, and he might…” In panel #2, Spidey somehow swings himself and Bruce over so that they appear to be falling down toward the roof. MJ is waiting there and she says, “Not to worry, Tiger. Dr. Connors’ scaly other self had no interest in me.” So, wait! No details? Did the Lizard even see MJ? Panel #3 is a very odd one, showing clouds and buildings and MJ’s pointing hand as she says, off-panel, “But he did say he’s got major business back in the Everglades!” So, he did see MJ but he pretty much ignored her except he told her his business? And he didn’t leave the last time Spidey fell off the roof but he did this time? And how did he leave? If we can believe MJ’s finger, he jumped off the roof to another roof? Or what?
February 15, 2018
MJ, Spidey, and Bruce stand around on the roof. “Well, Bruce and I will just have to track the Lizard back to the ‘Glades,” says Spidey. “What good would I do you back there?” asks Bruce. He gets panel #2 all to himself as he says, “That transfusion I got from you did something to me. I can’t become the Hulk now – and maybe I never will again.” Back to MJ, Spidey, and Bruce in panel #3 as Bruce says, “And, Lizard or no Lizard – far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing!” He’s got a point, you know.
February 16, 2018
Hold it! Wait! Birds in all three panels! And it’s Larry, not Alex! MJ and Spidey face each other in profile. MJ points a finger at him and says, “So why does a transfusion from you stop Bruce from Hulking out – while Bruce’s blood made the Lizard bigger and stronger?” Panel #2 is all Spidey (and some birds) as he replies, “Bruce and I barely understand what radiation did to our blood.” (And yet you were both willing to give transfusions without a second thought!) “There’s a big difference between being bombarded by gamma rays…” He finishes in panel #3, joined by Bruce. “…and getting bitten by a radioactive spider.” “At least I’ve always liked to think so!” says Bruce with a slight smile.
February 17, 2018
MJ, Spidey, and Bruce are still on the roof. (But, now, no birds.) “Maybe you can’t become the Hulk to help me overpower the Lizard,” says Spidey, “but I’ll need your help to restore him to being Doc Connors.” “Okay… you talked me into it,” says Bruce. In panel #2, all his, he shakes his fists in the air and says, “Actually, it’s good to remember I can do something beyond ‘Hulk smash’!” Well, we'll see.
February 18, 2018
Still up on the roof (with birds in the sky), MJ, Bruce and Spidey head for the exit. MJ says, “”Well, let’s track down the Lizard before he causes any more trouble.” In panel #2, Bruce replies, “Whoa! It’s too dangerous for you to go, MJ.” “I’m going!” replies Mary Jane. “Let me try, Bruce!” says Spidey. In panel #3, MJ turns her back on Spidey and crosses her arms. “Honey, you know there’s nobody I’d rather have backing me up,” “But…?” replies MJ. Panel #4 is just Spidey and MJ. “But your contract says you start another round of personal appearances tomorrow…or the studio’s lawsuit will sting you a lot worse than the Lizard’s tail would!” (Does the Lizard’s tail sting?) Panel #5 is all MJ as she puts a thumb up to her lower lip and says, “Okay, Tiger…point taken.” In panel #6, they finally enter the stairwell and start heading downstairs as Bruce says, “I wish I had your way with women, Parker!” “MJ was born with stars in her eyes, Bruce…movie stars!” replies the web-slinger.
The “Next” caption reads, “Evil in the Everglades!” which is just vague enough to be accurate no matter what happens. Last week’s was “The Lizard Triumphant?” and that question is yet to be answered.
February 19, 2018
So, how do you get from Miami to a dock in the Everglades when one of you is in a Spidey costume and the other is wearing torn purple pants with no shoes, no socks, and no shirt? Don’t worry about it! That stuff is all ignored as Spidey and Bruce stand on a dock in the Everglades. “Now that I talked MJ into resuming her publicity tour – you and I can hire a motorboat and go after the Lizard.” That I’d like to see. Spider-Man and a man in torn pants with no shirt hire a motorboat. Sure they do. But we don’t have to worry about that, either. Because Bruce says, “Not to disparage your powers of persuasion…” and panel #2 shows MJ driving a motorboat as Bruce finishes, off-panel, with “…but don’t we know that boat pilot?” “Hop in, guys!” says MJ. Spidey, off-panel, says “!”
February 20, 2018
So, now, here they all are in the motorboat. Bruce, I guess, called “shotgun” because Spidey is in the backseat. Spidey says, “I wish you’d stay in Miami, honey!” MJ says, “You need me! In my modeling days, I learned to handle a boat like this.” Because all models need to drive motorboats, right? Bruce looks back at Spidey and says, “Quit while you’re behind, web-man.” Now, before we move on to panel #2 and a change of scene, I’d like to mention that MJ is hanging with Spidey so much these days that the whole world must have caught on that Spidey is her husband. There is one guy in particular who, you’d think, would catch on. He’s in the second panel. “While, not too far away…” J. Jonah Jameson sits in the back of a boat, swatting a mosquito on his cheek with a SLAPPT. There are two men in the front of the boat with their backs to us. “How many billion mosquitoes are there in this swamp, anyway?” asks JJJ. “Did we have to bring Jameson along?” asks one of the men.
February 21, 2018
And, suddenly, it’s the Jonah Jameson show. He sits behind the other two guys in the boat and asks, “Hey, guys – how long before we can turn around?” The boat’s driver says, “Jameson, we all agreed to get away from that stodgy business conference for today” and the other guy says, “Right! Get back to nature!” But panel #2 shows us JJJ looking out at 3 pythons and 3 alligators swimming alongside the boat. “Nature?” says Jonah, “You mean – like that? A whole bunch of alligators – and pythons – all headed in the same direction?”
February 22, 2018
The other two men look at the swimming creatures (I count 4 pythons and 8 alligators in this panel). “That can’t be!” says the co-pilot, “Pythons and gators are natural enemies!” The zoology expert. “But they’re swimming side by side,” says the driver, “like to some common destination.” Jonah looks forward, wide-eyed, and points. “And there it is!” he yells. Panel #2 shows the Lizard on the shore, his hands up like he’s orchestrating the arrival of the creatures. “I recognize that guy!” says one of the guys in the boat. “In the Bugle, we used to call him the Lizard!” says JJJ.
February 23, 2018
JJJ is clearly terrified. “Turn this boat around – fast!” he says. “We’re headed straight for that monstrosity!” The other two men now look like twins. Both wearing the same kind of hat with their eyes shaded, making them look more like stereotypes than characters. “Don’t worry!” says the driver, “I can make this baby turn…” Panel #2 shows the boat from up above as the driver finishes his thought, “…on a dime!” The turn throws Jonah off the boat amidst 7 alligators and 2 pythons. “Unnhh,” says Jonah. “Man overboard!” says the co-pilot.
February 24, 2018
The two men in the boat look less sinister and more like individuals again. Now they are clearly panicked. “Jameson fell out of the boat! Turn around!” says the co-pilot. “With those reptiles all over the place? Are you crazy?” says the driver. Panel #2 shows Jonah in the drink beside 4 gators and 4 pythons. Off-panel, the driver says, “Jameson’s on his own!” Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s three of us rent a boat and drive into the Everglades than only two of us will come back! Why not? Nobody’s going to ask any questions, right?
February 25, 2018
And so, “J. Jonah Jameson is man overboard in the Florida Everglades…” He stares at a gator that swims right by him in the water. “Sput. H-HELP…sputter,” he says. His two companions are cruising away but one of them says, “Turn around! We’ve got to go back for him!” Panel #2 gives us a close-up of the two men as they look back and see the Lizard doing his thing with two gators swimming to join him. “Are you kidding?” says the one who doesn’t want to turn around, “With gators and pythons all around him headed for that scaly guy with the tail!?” Panel #3 is a drone shot of the boat with snakes and gators swimming all around it. “This boat isn’t stoppin’ till we hit civilization!” continues the against-turning-around guy, “Jameson can take care of himself!” Panel #4 is back to JJJ. It sits right below panel #1 with Jonah in the water. Now he emerges onto some land with 6 gators and 2 pythons pursuing him. “Sputter. M-made it to shore,” he says. Panel #5 reflects panel #2 above it. In #2, the two men on the boat look to the right to see the Lizard. In panel #5, JJJ looks to the right to see all the snakes and gators coming after him. “But I’m still between all those beasts,” he says. “And the Lizard!” he finishes in panel #6 as he and the pursuing gators are pushed to the background so that the Lizard, glowing with force lines, can take the foreground.
The “Next” caption is “Publisher – Perish?” which is a great pun. Last week’s was “Evil in the Everglades!” which could just as easily refer to the two guys on the boat as the Lizard.
February 26, 2018
The first two panels repeat the last three panels from yesterday. In panel #1, JJJ emerges from the water with four gators right behind him. “Managed to get to shore,” he says this time, “But now I’m caught in the middle between those things…” Panel #2 shows the Lizard in the foreground (no force lines this time) with JJJ behind. “And…ulp! That one!” he says. “Elsewhere…” says the helpful caption in panel #3, Spidey, Bruce, and MJ come upon the boat with the two fleeing guys. “Hold up!” orders Spidey. “Hey, is that the costumed crook Spider-Man Jameson warned us about?” says one. (So, wait. Did someone named “Spider-Man Jameson” warn them about a costumed crook?)
February 27, 2018
The two guys try to blow their boat right past Spider-Man. “Slow down!” says Spidey, “Have you seen…” “Get out of our way!” yells one of the guys, off-panel, in panel #2 as the boat passes Spidey. But he snags it with two “FWIP”s of his webbing. “You guys need to learn some manners…” he says. “And I guess I’ve been elected teacher,” he finishes in panel #3. The webbing snags the bow of the boat, stopping it so that the two guys are thrown backwards. “Hey!” one of them yells.
February 28, 2018
Spidey leaps over to the boat, joining the two guys. “Now, tell me what you guys were running from,” he says. “You’d never believe us!” says one of them. In panel #2, Spidey stands with his hands on his hips and says, “How about a man who looks like a human lizard – complete with tail?” (So, if you knew, why did you ask?) One guys says, “How’d you know?” while the other says, “But do you know about all those pythons and gators coming this way?” (I don't know if Spidey knows about them but I'm getting tired of hearing about them.)
March 1, 2018
The two guys and Spidey confer. “Pythons and alligators? Sounds like the Lizard’s up to his old tricks,” says Spidey. “Jonah Jameson never stood a chance,” says the guy who didn’t want to leave. “Shut up!” says the guy who did. In panel #2, Spidey lifts the guy who did up in the air and says, “Did he say ‘Jonah Jameson’?” “Yeah,” says the guy, “He – he fell overboard –but it wasn’t our fault!” That may or may not be true but ditching him was your fault.
March 2, 2018
Hey, remember that MJ and Bruce are there too? They finally show up again in this panel. Spidey confers with them while the two guys hang out in the background. “MJ, while Bruce and I go after Jameson and the Lizard, you’ve got to pilot these guys back to Miami,” he says. “Afraid you’re right,” replies MJ, “That panicky jerk would steer the boat into a cypress!” “A few miles distant…” in panel #2, JJJ runs for his life with a gator in pursuit. “HELLLP!” he yells.
March 3, 2018
Now, JJJ has shimmied up a tree. (Who knew he was capable?) The gator below snaps its jaws with a SNAPT. “It missed me – just barely!” says Jonah, “But – I should be safe up…” In panel #2, he looks up the tree to see a python slithering down, giving out a HSSSS. “…here?” says Jonah weakly, his head projecting motion-panic lines. I don’t think he could have stayed in that position for very long anyway.
March 4, 2018
Right. So back to Spidey and Bruce. They head their boat toward the Lizard (with Bruce driving) as the boat with MJ and the two guys heads off in the background. “MJ will steer Jameson’s buddies back to Miami,” says Spidey. “Fess up, Spidey,” says Bruce. He continues in panel #2, a close-up of his and Spidey’s heads. “You’d have just disabled their boat and let them float around till we came back – if you hadn’t wanted an excuse to get your wife to safety,” Bruce says. Panel #3 is still the two of them but from a different angle. “MJ’s brave, Bruce,” says the web-slinger, “but when we find the Lizard, she can’t Hulk out or call on spider-powers!” “Hey, don’t count on me becoming the Hulk,” says Bruce. In panel #4, he conjures up a mental image of the Hulk as he says, “That blood transfusion I got from you might just mean – that my days of going green are finished!” Panel #5 brings us back to Jonah, the python, the gator, the tree, and a caption that reads, “Meanwhile, J. Jonah Jameson is caught between two evils…” The caption continues in panel #6 with “And neither of them is a lesser one!” The python starts to circle around Jonah’s neck. “YYAAAA,” says Jonah.
The “Next” caption is “Death by Coil – or Doom by Fang?” One of those “question mark” captions that tell us nothing. Last week’s was the delightful “Publisher – Perish?” (another “question mark” caption) to which the answer was “no.” But it’s not looking good for him.
March 5, 2018
Sort of a recap strip this time. The caption says, “As the Lizard mentally summons a horde of deadly reptiles…” with the panel showing the Lizard with his arms outstretched as six gators and two pythons are drawn to him. Panel #2 finishes the caption with “…J. Jonah Jameson is caught right in the middle!” Jonah is up the tree with the gator below him but the python has moved from his neck to his chest. The snake says, “HSSSS.” Jonah says, “YYAAAA!”
March 6, 2018
Now, Jonah is on the ground with the python wrapped around him. Did he fall? Was he hurt? What happened to the gator? “C-can’t breathe,” says Jonah. In panel #2, two web-covered gloved hands reach in and pull the python off of him. (Since the python was wrapped around him, this has to be harder than it looks.) The hands say, “I never thought I’d hear anybody actually say that!” You!?” says Jonah. In panel #3, Jonah rubs his neck, even though the python was around his chest. Spidey holds the python in two hands and says, “I mean – if a guy really can’t breathe – why would he waste a precious breath to say so?” Good point, Spidey!
March 7, 2018
Now here comes the gator finally. Where the heck has he been? He approaches Spidey who is still holding the python. “You want a piece of me too, luggage-jaws?” asks Spidey. In panel #2 he tosses the python at the gator. “Here! Waltz around with him instead!” he says. In panel #3, the python wraps itself around the gator. Jonah looks up at Spidey and says, “Have I really sunk this low – to be rescued by you?” “Hey, man, I can always throw you back!” replies Spidey. Another good point, Spidey!
March 8, 2018
Spidey starts yanking a tree out of the ground as JJJ looks on. “What’re you doing in the Everglades?” asks Jonah. “Much as I’d love – hnnh – to be interviewed for the Daily Bugle right now,” says Spidey. In panel #2, he has pulled the tree out and hits a gator with it with a THRAK. “…I’ve got more important things to do!” he says.
March 9, 2018
Now, Spidey is carrying Jonah under one arm as he runs towards Bruce Banner who is fending off the gators with a big stick. (Did we skip a strip? What happened to the tree Spidey took time to uproot? When did he pick up Jonah? How did they find Bruce?) Bruce says, “You shouldn’t have come back for me! There’s too many of these things!” In panel #2, Spidey has set Jonah down, allowing him to hold his head with both hands. Spidey has grabbed a gator by the tail. “Can’t you web-swing us out of here?” asks Jonah. “In case you hadn’t noticed, Jameson,” says Spidey, “there’s no skyscrapers in this swamp.” In panel #3, he uses the gator he has grabbed to club another gator with a SWATT. “…just a living carpet of pythons and alligators!” he says.
March 10, 2018
Spidey is still swatting gators and pythons with his own personal gator. Bruce Banner looks on. “You’re amazing, Spider-Man,” he says, “You’re batting ‘em away like foul balls.” But, in panel #2, JJJ points at the Lizard who is still standing there with his arms outstretched, attracting alligators and pythons. “But that thing’s calling more of ‘em – every second!” says Jonah.
March 11, 2018
There are gators and pythons all over the place as the Lizard continues to attract them. JJJ and Bruce each have a stick to fend them off. Spidey is just standing around. “Why’s that so-called Lizard summoning so many gators and pythons?” asks Jonah. In panel #2, Spidey kicks a gator knocking him into another gator and a python. “Maybe he’s just lonely,” says Spidey, “But right now his motives are the least of our worries!” In panel #3, JJJ and Bruce are using their sticks. One of them gives off the sound effect SMAK. “And you – aren’t you Bruce Banner?” asks JJJ. (Do you think it was the purple pants and the lack of a shirt that tipped him off?) “What’s it to you?” replies Bruce. Panel #4 is a closer shot of Bruce and Jonah as a gator gets a hold of Jameson’s stick and shatters it with a SNAPP. “You’re the Hulk, right?” says Jonah, “So do your green thing – and get us outta here!” Bruce tells him, “I can’t change to the Hulk anymore.” Panel #5 is an even closer shot of Bruce and Jonah as Bruce continues, “And even when I did, I only changed when I was angry.” “Yeah? So what are you now?” asks Jameson. In panel #6, Bruce gives his answer. “Scared!” he says. He and Jonah are in the background and Jonah has a stick again. (Where did he get it?) Spidey is in the foreground, back to using a gator as a club.
The “Next” caption reads, “Ring of Fear!” Beyond being a “Ring of Fire” take-off, I’m not sure what it means except that maybe our heroes will spend the whole week being scared. Last week’s was “Death by Coil – or Doom by Fang?” And the answer to that question was “Neither.”
March 12, 2018
It seems like the terrain keeps shifting. Now Spidey, Bruce, and JJJ are on a plot of land right next to the spot where the Lizard is. A small channel of water separates them. (They may be on an island.) Twelve gators and nine pythons approach them from the water. “Now that the Lizard’s gathered every python and gator in the Everglades,” says Spidey, “He’s sending them against us.” Panel #2 is a wide-eyed Jonah, his left hand perched on his brush hair-cut. “We’re surrounded! We’ll never get away!” he says.
March 13, 2018
Is this the same plot of land as yesterday? Now Spidey bends a tree way down so that its top nears the ground. A python and gator have made the mistake of climbing onto the tree. “Don’t know how much longer I can keep this up,” says the web-slinger. In panel #2, he releases the tree and it acts as a catapult, sending the gator and python flying. “But we’ll go down fighting,” says Spidey. What happened to all the other gators and pythons? Are they coming in single-file? At the bottom of the panel, one gator has obligingly approached JJJ with its mouth open so that Jonah can put a stick in it, hoping to trap the mouth open. “Hey, look! I stopped one of ‘em,” says Jameson. In panel #3, the gator crushes the stick with a SNAPT. Off-panel, in very small lettering, JJJ says, “For a second.”
March 14, 2018
And now we’re in even different terrain with a big tree and lots of ground vegetation. Jonah is back to wielding a big stick and Bruce has returned, also using a big stick. Spidey is crushing a gator and python with the base of a tree trunk. “Both of you – risking your lives to save mine,” says Bruce. “Don’t make a big deal out of it,” says Spidey. (Especially since it appears that they are all risking their lives to save themselves.) “We’re every bit as scared as you are!” says Jonah. Panel #2 is Bruce swinging his stick and saying, “But that’s just it! Seeing you two do that – I’m not scared anymore…” Panel #3 is a close-up of Bruce as he declares, “I’m mad!”
March 15, 2018
Spidey swings on a tree to avoid an alligator. Bruce knocks a python over the head with a stick. Jonah also has a stick although he’s not hitting anything. “If Banner’s angry, why isn’t he turning into the Hulk?” asks Jameson. “That blood transfusion I gave him – somehow it’s inhibiting the change,” says Spidey. “Right! And you know what?” adds Bruce. “That just makes me even madder!” he says in panel #2 as he breaks his stick over a gator’s head. Jonah puts his hand up so that he can speak an aside to Spidey. “Wall-Crawler – do you think maybe?” he says. Meaning what, Jonah?
March 16, 2018
The camera pulls back to show that Spidey, JJJ, and Bruce are on an island. We see all the gators and pythons swimming toward them and we see the Lizard directing it all. “That Lizard creep knows something’s up with Banner,” says Jameson, “He’s sending all his reptiles against us at once!” In panel #2, Spidey holds a python that gives out a HSSS. He kicks a gator with a GRONK. Off-panel, JJJ says, “Even you can’t handle them all!” “Tell me about it,” says Spidey.
March 17, 2018
The Lizard and his gators and pythons are in the background. In the foreground, Spidey talks to Bruce who is holding his head. “The Lizard’s sending out ‘kill’ commands to these reptiles!” says Spidey. “I know! I can feel his murderous thoughts in my brain!” says Bruce. Panel #2 is all Bruce as he grits his teeth and clenches his fists. “If only my anger – could make me become the Hulk,” he says, “But it can’t – and now it’s too late!”
March 18, 2018
It’s a drone shot of the island with JJJ, Bruce, and Spidey back-to-back-to-back defending themselves against all those gators and snakes. (Yes, this is still going on.) There’s an overly-long caption to start us off. “In the Everglades, the monstrous Lizard mentally commands his reptilian army: ‘Destroy Them!’.” Bruce says, “For years – any time I got angry – I turned into the Hulk!” In panel #2, the drone moves in for a closer look. Spidey looks up at a python in a tree. (There is only one little leafless tree and they decide to stand right under it.) “But now, when only the Hulk can save us – Spider-Man’s blood keeps me from changing!” continues Banner. “Sorry about that, Bruce,” says Spidey. In panel #3, the python drops down on Spidey but he snags him with his arm. “UNNH – got ‘im!” says Spidey. “You mean, he’s got you,” says Bruce as the snake coils around Spidey. By panel #4, the drone has landed. From ground level, we see Jameson defend Bruce by shoving his stick in a gator’s mouth. “Watch out!” he says. “Thanks, Jameson,” Bruce says. In panel #5, the drone takes off again, as the gator snaps JJJ’s stick with a SNAPT. “…for trying,” says Bruce as Spidey becomes completely wrapped up by the python, “You guys – both risking your lives to save mine!” In panel #6, Bruce grimaces, his eyebrows thicken, and a green glow surrounds him. “But all of a sudden – I’m starting to feel – like I might be able to return the favor!” he says.
Our “Next” caption is “Hulking Out?” I guess we’ll find out. Last time it was “Ring of Fear!” which I suppose refers to the ring of reptiles surrounding our trio. And yes that lasted all week long.
March 19, 2018
A caption tells us “The Lizard has sent his reptile legions against his pursuers…” (We know! We know! It’s been going on forever!) Spidey says, “Maybe I could fight off one python – but three!” (When did he get squeezed by three pythons?) JJJ has a stick again and he sees a gator…well, let’s let him tell it. “Banner – watch it! That gator’s going for your leg!” In panel #2, the gator has chomped on Banner’s leg with a SNAPTT. Off-panel, Jonah says, “Banner!?” But the leg on which the gator chomped is now green. In panel #3, the Hulk lifts the gator up, turns to Jonah, and says, “Don’t mention puny Banner – to Hulk!”
March 20, 2018
The Hulk tosses the gator far away. Spidey, still grappling with the snakes, says, “Bruce – you did it! You managed to Hulk out!” “Hulk has nothing to do with weakling Banner,” says Hulk. In panel #2, Hulk grabs two of the pythons, allowing Spidey to deal with the third one. “Could Banner do this to big snakes?” asks Hulk. “Not – that I recall,” replies Spidey.
March 21, 2018
So what happened to the dozens of snakes and gators surrounding our group? (For that matter, what happened to the Lizard?) In panel #1, just one gator who says GRONNNK chases Jonah. (Jonah says “YYAAAAA.”) Jonah has plenty of room to run away. In panel #2, the Hulk steps in and grabs the gator. “Why do little humans run from beasts?” he says. In panel #3, he throws the gator at another gator. “Can’t they just throw them back into the swamp?” he asks. “Now, wh-why didn’t I think of that?” says Jonah.
March 22, 2018
In a double-sized panel, Spidey throws a gator and the Hulk throws some snakes he has knotted together. Two other gators make for the swamp as JJJ watches. “Way to go, big fella!” says Spidey, “We’re whittling down this reptile army!” “Won’t quit – till all gone!” says Hulk. “You must’ve broken the Lizard’s spell,” says Jonah, “They’re scattering in every direction!” But in panel #2, the Lizard still stands on the shore, looking very confident, with his hands on his hips. Hulk’s face appears in the lower left corner as he says, “But – not safe – while monster-man with tail lives!”
March 23, 2018
Now, the Lizard is in the lower left corner while the Hulk, silhouetted, stands on the shore. “Scaly man tried to kill Hulk,” says Hulk, “Now Hulk will smash scaly man!” In panel #2, the Hulk leaps toward panel #3. Spidey and Jonah are in the lower left corner. “Banner – no!” says Spidey. (Shouldn’t he say “Hulk – no!”) Jonah looks back at Spidey. “Don’t we want the Lizard stopped?” he asks. Panel #3 is a Spidey headshot. “But Hulk means to kill him!” he says, “And if the Lizard dies – so does Curt Connors!” So much for Curt’s secret identity!
March 24, 2018
Four panels this time. In the first one, JJJ and Spidey are squeezed together into a Loony Tunes spotlight. Their word balloons extend into panel #2, which shows the Hulk leaping down at the Lizard. “Nothing can stop the Hulk from reaching the Lizard!” says JJJ. “I’ve gotta hope that one thing can,” says Spidey. Panel #3 shows Spidey running and panel #4 is Spidey leaping as his word balloon extends into panel #3. “Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!” he cries. But, really, the Hulk is about five feet above the Lizard in panel #2. There is no way Spidey should be able to stop the Hulk from reaching the Lizard.
March 25, 2018
Even though it looked like the Hulk was going to land on the Lizard in yesterday’s strip, he actually lands in front of him, with Spidey and JJJ way in the background. “Get back, you misbegotten monstrosity,” says the Lizard. The camera moves behind Hulk in panel #2. “Scaly man can’t stop Hulk with big words!” says Hulk. Panel #3 returns the camera to behind the Lizard as Spidey leaps between them. “Don’t kill him, Hulk!” says Spidey (doing his MC Hammer impression?) In panel #4, the camera turns around again. It is behind Hulk, who rises up as a menacing silhouette blocking out half the panel. Spidey faces him, his hands up, pleading with him. The Lizard stands behind Spidey. “I won’t let you kill him!” says Spidey. “If you stand in Hulk’s way, puny spider,” says Hulk. He finishes in panel #5, a close-up of a very menacing Hulk. “…Hulk will crush you both!” Panel #6 pulls back to include JJJ as he watches Hulk attack Spidey, who evades him. “It’s the battle of the century – right here in the middle of the Everglades,” thinks JJJ, “and no worthless Peter Parker to snap a picture of it!”
The “Next” caption is “Three Way Battle!” Last week’s was “Hulking Out?” And the answer to that is, “Yeah!”
March 26, 2018
Spidey is back between Liz and Hulk. Spidey turns toward Lizzie as Lizzie says, “Get out of the way, Spider-Man!” “Stop! Banner, I won’t let you hurt this man!” says Spidey. (Hey, Spidey, have you forgotten which one is Banner? You’re looking at the Lizard!) “Who are you, little spider,” says Hulk. “…to say what Hulk does!?” says Hulk in panel #2 as he swats Spidey away with a SWATT. “HNNHH,” says Spidey.
(I'm doing my best to keep this interesting but it really has gotten old, hasn't it?)
March 27, 2018
Apparently, Spidey lands in the water. Jonah comes up to him and says, “Are you all right, Spider-Man?” “Nothing – that a few weeks in traction – wouldn’t cure!” says Spidey. In panel #2, he looks back as the Hulk and the Lizard begin fighting. “But by then, either Bruce Banner or Curt Connors – or both of them – would be long dead!” he says.
March 28, 2018
Spidey leaps back in between them. “Keep back, monster!” says the Lizard who lunges at Hulk. “Who is scaly man calling ‘monster’?” replies Hulk as he moves his head away from the attack. “Hold it! You’ve got to stop!” says Spidey. This doesn’t work. In panel #2, the Lizard whacks Spidey with his tail. The impact makes a WHAMM. Spidey says “ARRRRH.” No, no, the story is not repeating itself. Two days ago, it was Hulk who hit Spidey with a SWATT and Spidey said “HNNHH.” It’s totally different!
March 29, 2018
This time, we see Spidey land on his back in the water with a SPLOOSH. JJJ stands nearby. “Are you trying to get yourself killed, man?” he says. In panel #2, Jonah helps Spidey up (about the nicest thing he’s ever done for Spidey in the stripverse). “I’m – trying to stop Banner and Connors from murdering each other!” says Spidey. “You mean the Hulk and the Lizard!” replies Jonah. Panel #3 is a JJJ/Spidey two-shot. “No!” says Spidey, “There are human beings trapped inside those grotesque forms – I’ve got to save them both, or die trying!” Good plan, Spidey!
March 30, 2018
This is a familiar layout. JJJ and Spidey in the lower left corner while the Hulk and Lizard fight in the background. “Just keep out of it – and let the Hulk and the Lizard fight it out!” says JJJ, with whom I agree. “No way!” says our stubborn web-slinger. The camera flips so that JJJ and Spidey are in the background while Hulk and Lizard fight in the foreground. “The Lizard’s strong – but anger only makes the Hulk more powerful!” says Spidey, “I can’t have Connors’ death on my conscience!” Another panel #3 two-shot of Spidey and Jonah as JJJ says, “Those two monsters don’t have a conscience! What if they kill you?” You know, I’m starting to like Jameson more and more.
March 31, 2018
So, yeah, Spidey leaps back into the fray. Hulk and the Lizard’s right arm are in the lower right corner. Jonah stands behind, his hands on his hips. “Well – wish me luck!” says Spidey. “I never thought I’d hear myself say this,” says JJJ, Panel #2 is all Jonah as he finishes, “…but with the Hulk and the Lizard on the verge of wasting each other – I’ve gotta root for Spider-Man to come out on top!”
April 1, 2018
And, wham! Just like that! The storyline is over with this strip! Naw, not really. April Fool! So, it’s back to Spidey leaping at the fighting Hulk and Lizard. JJJ gets quite militant, shaking a fist and yelling, “Give it your best shot, wall-crawler! I can’t believe I said that.” Now a worried-looking Jonah head guest-stars in the caption of panel #2 as the caption continues his thoughts, “But who else could stop the Lizard and the Hulk from killing each other?” In the panel proper, Spidey is again facing off against Hulk, saying “Chill, you two! Banner – I know you’re buried deep inside the monster. But you’ve got to…” He doesn’t finish as, in panel #3, the Lizard tries to whack him with his tail (and with a SWOOSH). Spidey leaps away, saying, “Oh no you don’t, Lizard!” In panel #4, Spidey lays a haymaker on Liz with a SWOK. “Maybe it’ll be easier to lay you out first!” he says. “UNNH,” says the Lizard. But, in panel #5, Hulk knocks Spidey aside with a FRAKK so he can take on the Lizard. “Nuts! It’s like I’m just some bug – to be swept aside!” says Spidey. In panel #6, he lies on the ground, watching the Hulk and Lizard battle, having gotten nowhere in this story for the entire week. “And now they’re going at each other again – to the death!” he says. (Yeah, to the “bored to death!”)
Our “Next” caption is “Rage in a Small Place!” which has been going on for weeks. Last week’s was “Three Way Battle!” which feels like it’s been going on for months!
April 2, 2018
So, here we go yet again. (Sigh.) Spidey leaps in and thumps Hulk in the chest. “Got to stop the Hulk from killing the Lizard – Doc Connors,” he says. In panel #2, the Lizard whacks Spidey with his tail and with a THLAPP. “Or maybe vice versa!” says the wall-crawler. Panel #3 is all Jonah as he says what we’re all thinking at this point. “How did I wind up having to root for the wall-crawler?”
April 3, 2018
So, here we go YET again. Hulk and Lizard face off. “Stupid Lizard hit Hulk with tail!” says Hulk, “Makes Hulk madder than ever! Hull will…” But, Spidey leaps in between the two for the umpteenth time. (Is this supposed to be entertaining or excruciating?) “No! Cool it with the ‘Hulk smash’ bit!” he says, “I’m gonna keep you apart – or die trying!”
April 4, 2018
Hey, guess what? Spidey is in between Hulk and Lizard! Wow, what a plot twist! Lizard says, “Move out of my path, Spider-Man – or else!” Spidey says, “You’re crazy if you think even you can stand up to the Hulk!” (Everyone has forgotten that the Lizard is Hulk-powered after getting that blood transfusion from Banner…even Stan, it seems.) “Stand aside –or Hulk will crush you!” says Hulk. (Just do it, Hulk, and end our pain!) In panel #2, Spidey leaps right up at Hulk, holding onto his shoulders. “Okay, then – crush away!” says Spidey. Hulk says, “?” which probably means, “Is Stan really going to let me do this?” or maybe “Huh? Is the weeks-long stand-off actually going to end?”
April 5, 2018
Panel #1 here looks like panel #2 from yesterday. “You get in the way – even if Hulk can squash you?” asks Hulk. “You’re not the Hulk – not really!” says Spidey. Panel #2 is a close-up of the two of them. (What is the Lizard doing in the meantime?) “Deep inside you’re Bruce Banner – who doesn’t want to kill anyone!” continues Spidey. “Banner? Hulk hates puny Banner,” says Hulk. Panel #3 is almost the same except that there is very little of Spidey in it, as Hulk says, “But – you say – Hulk and Banner same?”
April 6, 2018
More of Spidey hanging onto the Hulk’s shoulders. “Little spider makes sense!” says Hulk, “Maybe – Hulk and Banner same! Maybe…” and Spidey thinks, “I’ve reached him! He’s starting to calm down!” In panel #2, Hulk turns back into Banner. In case you didn’t get it, Spidey, off-panel, thinks, “He’s changing back to Banner!” “What’s – been happening…?” asks Bruce. But in panel #3, the Lizard attacks again. “What is happening, whoever you are – is your doom!” he says. (Don’t you remember, guys? This is why you wanted Bruce to change into Hulk in the first place!) The Lizard attacks with his tail. Spidey leaps away but Liz catches Bruce with a SNAPPT. “UNNNH,” says Banner.
April 7, 2018
So, good job, Spidey. Bruce Banner is unconscious on the grass. The Lizard is looking very buff and formidable. “The Hulk turned back into Bruce Banner – and you still assaulted him!” says Spidey. “In any form – that one is my enemy,” says Lizzie. In panel #2, he faces off against Spidey. “…and my enemies must die!” he says.
April 8, 2018
An unconscious Bruce Banner lies in the lower left corner of the panel as Spidey faces the Lizard. The caption reads, “His rage subsided, the Hulk has become Bruce Banner, but…” “Death to all who oppose the Lizard,” says guess who. In panel #2, Spidey socks Liz in the jaw with a SOKT. “Does that include me?” he asks. Another camera angle as the two oppose each other in panel #3. “You first – then the one who was the green monster!” says Lizzie. Yet another angle of Spidey and Liz opposing each other in panel #4. “Who’re you calling a ‘green monster’?” asks Spidey, “Have you looked in the mirror lately?” Panel #5 shows Spidey and Lizard grappling hand to hand. “I found a way to make the Hulk change back,” says Spidey, “Now I’ve got to find the better angels of your nature.” Panel #6 finally pulls back to show Spidey and Lizzie grappling with Banner on the ground and JJJ watching from across the way. (JJJ’s there, remember?) “The web-head’s locked in a life-or-death with that creature,” says Jonah, “and he’s quoting Lincoln?” (It’s in Lincoln’s first inaugural address!)
The “Next” caption is “A Balance of the Scales!” which is a clever pun. Last week’s was “Rage in a Small Place!” and, boy, did we ever get that.
April 9, 2018
In case you haven’t been reading the strip for the last few weeks, Stan gives you a caption: “Spider-Man interposes himself between the Lizard and Banner…” Now, it looks like Bruce is sleeping as Spidey and Liz grapple. “You’re not really a human reptile!” says Spidey. Panel #2 is a close-up very similar to the one with Spidey and Hulk when the web-slinger talked Hulk into Bruce Banner. “You’re Curt Connors – a man of science,” says Spidey. “Connors? Why does that name – sound so familiar?” asks Lizard.
April 10, 2018
Banner’s legs protrude into the panel from the left. Now it looks like Spidey is on his knees as he grapples with the Lizard. “Connors! Curt! I know you’re in there,” he says, “just beneath the surface of the Lizard!” Panel #2 shows Liz and just a bit of Spidey like the one with the Hulk in panel #3 of April 5. “No! I’m not Connors!” says the Lizard, “And yet – I …” Now, in panel #3, we can see that Spidey is on his knees. The camera pulls back to show the combatants and JJJ watching from afar. “Spider-Man’s spiel is working!” he thinks, “That reptilian’s rage is subsiding!”
April 11, 2018
It’s the same panel as yesterday’s panel #2. This time, the Lizard says, “I – don’t want to change back.” “Oh, yes, you do!” says Spidey. Another close-up in panel #2 from a slightest different angle. “Because Dr. Curt Connors is who you really are!” says the webster. “N-no…” says the Lizard but you know it’s a losing cause because he repeated the “N” in “No.” Panel #3 is a close-up of the Lizard with a ghostly image of Curt Connors next to him. “Yes!” says the Lizard. “Keep fighting, Doc!” says Spidey.
April 12, 2018
Now Larry’s drawings get really weird. He superimposes Curt Connors profile over the Lizard’s profile in panels #1 and #2. “Must – fight on!” says the Lizard lunging at Spidey. But, in panel #2, he pulls back, “N-no! Don’t want to fight!” “Welcome back, Doc!” says Spidey. Panel #3 shows JJJ celebrating on the other shore. “Yahoo! It must be true what they say! ‘A soft answer turneth away wrath’!” he says. (That’s the first line of Proverbs 15.)
April 13, 2018
So that worked and the Lizard is Curt Connors again. Now, we all know that the Lizard is not the Hulk and has never changed back by calming down as the Hulk does. But this is the stripverse, so maybe that’s what happens here. Plus, he has the Hulk’s blood in him now so maybe that has something to do with it. (Though I doubt Stan and Larry considered that.) Curt lies on the grass with Spidey looking down on him. “I’ve – lost my arm again – but it is worth it – to be rid of that Lizard persona,” he says. (I suppose we should be thankful that Stan and Larry remembered to take Curt’s arm away again.) In panel #2, Jonah runs over from the other shore. “I must be the greatest newspaperman in the whole Western world,” he says. “How do you figure that, Jameson?” asks Spidey. Panel #3 is a grinning JJJ all on his own. “How else? I went off into the Everglades – and came back with the biggest scoop in years!” he says.
April 14, 2018
Spidey, hands on hips, looks at Jonah. Curt Connors, still lying on the grass, looks at Spidey. “What ‘scoop’ are you talking about?” says Spidey, “Everybody on Earth knows Bruce Banner is the Hulk!” Panel #2 is JJJ and Spidey in profile, facing each other, as Jonah holds a finger in the air and says, “Not that! I know a secret that’s really a secret!” And Spidey thinks, “What if he’s learned Peter Parker came here with Dr. Connors…and deduced that I’m him!”
April 15, 2018
JJJ exults in a long shot that shows him with his arms up, Spidey standing next to him, and Bruce and Curt sitting on the ground. “Yessir, I’m the greatest newspaperman ever to come down the pike,” he says, “Drop me in the middle of a swamp – and I come up with a scoop!” In panel #2, Spidey seems to be helping Bruce up. Jonah’s profile fills the entire left side of the panel. “What are you blithering about, Jameson?” asks Spidey. “You won’t get much mileage – out of ‘revealing’ that I’m the Hulk!” says Bruce. Panel #3 is JJJ and Spidey shot from behind Spidey’s left shoulder. Jonah looks gleeful. He holds a finger up in the air and says, “Of course not! That secret got blown ages ago! I’m thinking about a secret that’s still a secret!” Panel #4 is only Spidey with jagged spider-sense lines shooting off his head. “He must’ve learned Peter Parker came to the ‘glades with Dr. Connors – and reasoned out my secret identity,” Spidey thinks. Panel #5 is another angle on the four of them as JJJ says, “Just wait till the Daily Bugle comes out tomorrow morning – and the world reads the headline…” In panel #6, JJJ whirls around and points at Curt, announcing, “World’s top scientist is monster known as the Lizard!” Spidey and Bruce share a word balloon that says “!?” Curt gets a balloon that says “!?” all of his own. Maybe Spidey and Bruce are saying, “Curt’s one of the world’s top scientists?” and Curt is saying, “I’m one of the world’s top scientists?”
The “Next” caption is “A Life in Ruins?” and I’ve been doing this long enough to not fall for any of these captions that end in a question mark. Last week’s was “A Balance of the Scales!” and I still think it’s a clever pun but I don’t think it has anything to do with the last week of strips.
April 16, 2018
JJJ faces Curt and Spidey and repeats pretty much what he said on Sunday. (Oops! That's Bruce and Spidey. Can't keep these shirtless former monsters straight.) "Leave it to the Bugle's peerless publisher to ferret out a king-size scoop in the middle of the Everglades!" he says. In panel #2, he turns to Curt and says, "World's top scientist is monster known as the Lizard!" "No Jameson! You can't divulge that secret!" says Spidey.
April 17, 2018
Now, JJJ gets right up into Spidey's face. He has motion lines around his nose and his thumb so we know he means business. "Nobody tells me what headlines my paper can print!" he says. "You can't reveal Connors was the Lizard," replies Spidey. Bruce, standing to the right, puts his hand up to his head and says, "I've been a fugitive ever since I was outed as the Hulk!" Panel #2 is Spidey and Curt as Spidey says, "Don't you have anything to add, Dr. Connors?" Curt puts his hand to his mouth and replies, "Well, I don't mind that part about me being the 'world's top scientist'."
April 18, 2018
It's another panel of Spidey with Curt. "Do you want the world to learn you're the Lizard?" asks Spidey. "The notoriety might bring in some money for my research," Curt says. Panel #2 is all Curt as he puts his hand on the top of his head. "But - no! My son Billy's at college! My late wife and I managed to keep my secret from him all these years!" Panel #3 is Curt in profile as a tight-lipped JJJ looks at him out of the corner of his eye. "He'd be devastated if he found out his father turns into a monster!" Curt says.
Don't you love the strip-verse? Not only is Billy alive but he's in college! And he doesn't know Curt is the Lizard! Too bad the mainstream universe didn't go in this direction.
April 19, 2018
So Spidey confronts JJJ. "You'll ruin Dr. Connors' life if you expose his secret!" he chides. Jonah turns away and crosses his arms on his chest. "The people have a right to know!" he says. In panel #2, Curt sticks his finger in Jonah's face causing Jonah to lean back. "The public won't care," says Curt, "because I'll make sure the Lizard's never seen again!" (Sure you will, Curt.) "You can't stop me from publishing," says Jameson. In panel #3, Spidey, with his back to us, says, "Actually - I think we can!" Jonah, Curt, and Bruce all look at Spidey and us and they all say the same thing..."?" meaning "Huh? We can?"
April 20, 2018
Profiles in panel #1, as JJJ looks at Spidey and points his motion-lined finger at Spidey's jaw. "You're bluffing!" he says, "I know you won't harm me just to protect Connors' secret!" "Who'll you print your scoop for, Jameson," replies, Spidey, "out here in the Everglades?" In panel #2, Spidey picks up Curt and Bruce and leaps over a creek, away from Jonah. "You think alligators and pythons can read?" says the departing Spidey. Jonah holds his hands up as if to grab hold of him and yells, "Hey - wait!"
April 21, 2018
We stay behind with Jameson as Spidey, Curt, and Bruce spring away into the distance. "Come back here!" yells JJJ, "You can't leave me here to die!" Panel #2 focuses on Spidey, Bruce, and Curt as Bruce says, "You won't really let him perish out here, will you?" "Don't tempt me!" says Spidey.
Whew! A whole week of this stultifying conversation. Can we get to the end of it, please?
April 22, 2018
We begin with a strange "below JJJ's pointing arm" angle as he yells "Get back here, you web-headed hoodlum!" (And since it's Sunday and Alex is on the art, there are a couple of birds behind him.) In panel #2, Spidey has now taken to the ground and is running with Curt and Bruce under each arm. Jonah waves his arms behind him. "Sorry, Jameson," says Spidey over his shoulder, "but in case you didn't know, I'm not a real spider. I can only carry two people at a time!" Panel #3 is a close-up of a terrified Jameson as an off-panel Spidey says, "After I get these guys back to civilization, I'll be back for you - if there's anything left to find!" "Ulpp!" says Jameson. Down to panel #4, a close-up of Curt and Spidey. Curt whispers, "You won't really let the gators and pythons have him, will you?" Panel #5 pulls the camera back a bit to show Curt, Spidey, and Bruce as Spidey whispers back, "No. So the real question is - will he tell us what we need to hear..." And panel #6 is a close-up on Spidey's mask (with a little blob that is JJJ in the background) as Spidey says, "...before I have no choice but to turn around and rescue him?"
The "Next" caption is "Publisher - or Perish!" which I just love, but I feel like it's been used in this series sometime before. Last week's was “A Life in Ruins?” and we still don't know if Curt's life will be in ruins...but we've got a pretty good idea which way that is going to go.
April 23, 2018
From off-panel, JJJ yells "Helllp!" as Spidey runs through the Everglades, carrying Bruce and Curt. (He's back on the ground so I think he can let go.) "We're almost out of earshot of Jameson!" says Bruce. "I know," replies Spidey, "In a moment, I'll have to go back, even if he doesn't..." But in panel #2, a close-up of Jonah, the publisher yells, "All right wall-crawler - you win! I promise I'll keep Connors' secret!" In panel #3, Spidey raises his arms in triumph. (Curt and Bruce look back at him. Apparently, he finally set them down on the ground, seeing as they aren't falling over.) "Bingo!" thinks Spidey.
April 24, 2018
So, Spidey leaps back to get Jameson. Just in time. Two alligators are heading toward him. "Help! These things are about to devour me!" yells Jonah. "Don't worry, man," says the wall-crawler. In panel #2, Spidey picks up one gator and uses it as a club to clobber the other gator with a SNAPT. "I wouldn't want 'em to get indigestion!" he jokes.
April 25, 2018
The two gators have returned to the water and are in the process of attacking each other. JJJ and Spidey stand in the background. "Th-thanks for coming back for me!" says Jonah. "Break your promise about Connors - and I'll bring those gators to your New York office," says Spidey. In panel #2, Spidey takes to the air, carrying JJJ tucked under his right arm. "I'll keep my word," says Jonah, "but how'll Connors and Banner get back? Like you said - you've only got two arms." "Yeah..." says Spidey. In panel #3, Spidey and JJJ start to land. "...but the Hulk has two more!" says Spidey, as the Hulk looks back at them landing.
So...what? They talked Bruce into turning into the Hulk to help? I thought he couldn't just turn into the Hulk at will, especially with a blood transfusion from Spidey. Isn't that a big part of what this story was all about? And now that he's the Hulk, is he trustworthy? After all of that, they just say, "Hey, Hulk, carry Curt Connors for me, will you?" and he does?
April 26, 2018
Seeing the Hulk, JJJ gets snippy again. "You tricked me!" he tells the wall-crawler, "You knew Banner would become the Hulk - and carry Connors to Miami!" The Hulk dominates panel #2. He sneers at JJJ who stands with Spidey in the background. "Actually, Banner's never certain he'll be able to 'Hulk out' on command. Still, if you'd rather he carry you than me..." says the web-slinger. (Nice try explaining how Banner became the Hulk so easily, by the way.) In panel #3, JJJ puts his hand on Spidey's shoulder as he recoils from the Hulk. "Just forget I said anything, okay?" he says.
April 27, 2018
So, Spidey has JJJ under his arm and the Hulk has Curt under his arm but they seem to be just standing around. "It'll take us hours to get back to civilization this way!" says Jonah. (Yes, because they seem to be just standing around.) "Actually, I'm expecting - Yes! There it is!" says Spidey. "Our ride home!" he says in panel #2 as MJ shows up in the boat. "Spider-Man! Over here!" she calls out.
So, if Spidey was counting on MJ returning with the boat, why did he get Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk?
April 28, 2018
This is a completely useless and nonsensical strip today. Spidey, still carrying JJJ under one arm, leaps into the boat. (Jonah can't get into the boat by himself?) He says to MJ, "Thanks, Mrs. Parker! I figured you'd come back after us!" "But where's Banner and Dr. Connors?" asks MJ. In panel #2, the Hulk, still carrying Curt, lands in the water with a SPLASSH, just behind the boat. "I think that's them now!" says Spidey. So...what? MJ couldn't bring the boat up to the shore? The Hulk wants to take a bath? He and Spidey both like carrying people rather than let them climb into the boat on their own? What is the point of all this? Okay, I'm sorry, I know what the point is. It's the Saturday strip. It's just filling space until Sunday.
April 29, 2018
It's Sunday, it's Alex, we're in the Everglades. Where are the birds? No birds this time as we pick up right where we left off, complete with the SPLASSSH (which gets an extra 'S" here). The boat tilts way up from the impact of the Hulk hitting the water (which it didn't do yesterday). "Look out! That wave'll swamp the boat!" says MJ. (See, MJ? You should have pulled the boat closer to the shore.) "Maybe not!" says Spidey as he shoots out webbing with a FWIPP! The webbing attaches to something as MJ, in panel #2, says, "You stabilized us - just in time! But what did you find to anchor it to - that was strong enough to stop the boat from..." We find out in panel #3 as the angle shows us that Spidey has stuck his webbing to the Hulk's chest. (And the Hulk, still holding Curt, now appears to be on dry land. That or the water is really shallow there. In which case, what's with the big wave?) "Oh. I see," says MJ as she sees. Panel #4 is a drone shot of the boat and the five members of our cast. "But I thought Bruce Banner only became the Hulk when he was angry!" says MJ. "Man behind you - he makes Hulk mad!" says Hulk, referring to JJJ. (Again, nice try here but there's no way he became the Hulk because JJJ was yelling as Spidey, Bruce, and Curt web-swung away.) In panel #5, JJJ cowers behind Spidey. "K-keep him away from me!" he says. "Don't worry, Jameson!" says Spidey, "I won't let the big bad green-skin hurt you..." Panel #6 looks over Hulk's shoulder as he looks down at Spidey, JJJ, and MJ. "...as long as you keep your promise about Dr. Connors," Spidey finishes. "I'll keep it!" says Jonah, "I'll keep it!"
Can we just get out of the swamp and get this over with, already?
Our "Next" caption is "But For How Long?" referring to Jonah keeping his promise. Good question! Last week's was "Publisher - or Perish!" which I still love but was never in doubt. JJJ is still with us.
April 30, 2018
In the boat, JJJ comments to MJ with the comment that we all want to comment. "I don't understand what you're doing way out here, Mrs. Parker," he says. "I had to come looking for..." says MJ. In panel #2, she turns to Jonah and finishes with "...for Dr. Connors! Peter asked me to look in on him - so when I heard he'd split for the Everglades..." To her left, Spidey leans in and whispers, "Nice save, MJ!" but he has his hand up on the wrong side of his mouth if he's trying to block his comment from JJJ. Even if Jonah can't hear him, he has to wonder why Spidey has bothered to whisper to MJ after her lame explanation.
May 1, 2018
And now it's May. You may recall that this storyline began back in early November.
Again, it's JJJ and MJ in the boat (with Spidey behind them). "I could have used your husband back there," says Jonah, "to take photos of me helping Spider-Man and the Hulk rescue Dr. Connors!" But in panel #2, Spidey cuts in. It is a two shot of the wall-crawler and Jameson with Spidey's thought balloon in between showing JJJ stuck on a tree with a python above and an alligator below. "I can think of some other pics he could've taken, like maybe..." Jonah cuts Spidey off. "Zip it, wall-crawler!" he says.
May 2, 2018
And, again, a shot of JJJ and MJ in the boat with Spidey behind. "Where is Peter, Mrs. Parker?" asks Jameson. "Flying back to New York," says MJ, "so he can shoot more pictures for your paper." In panel #2, Spidey moves up to whisper to MJ as Jonah turns his back on them. Where is Jonah going? For a walk? It's not all that big a boat and Curt and the Hulk should be in the back of it. "What if Jameson checks on where Peter flies from?" whispers Spidey. "He's a publisher, Tiger, not an investigative reporter?" whispers MJ. Of course, he can still check on from where Peter is flying without being an investigative reporter. What MJ should have whispered back is, "Don't end a sentence with a preposition."
May 3, 2018
Jonah has moved to the back of the boat. He sits with his head in his hands and moans, "Spider-Man - Hulk - the Lizard - and me - all in the same swamp - and I've got no photos to prove it - and I can't reveal the Lizard's true identity." In panel #2, the Hulk looms up behind him. "If you do - Hulk stomp!" he says. "I know! I know!" Jonah blurts.
May 4, 2018
Now, Jonah approaches Curt. "Dr. Connors...you sure I can't interest you in selling your secret to the Bugle for big money?" he says. "Sorry," says Curt, "I can't put my son through the trauma of learning his dad is - was - the Lizard." In panel #2, Jonah sulks, his chin resting on his fists. "Yeah, I know," he says, "Sometimes even I'm amazed at how low I'd stoop for a scoop!" Curts looks over at him, apparently amazed by this admission.
May 5, 2018
Now that JJJ has moved to the back of the boat, Spidey and MJ are free to whisper about things they still shouldn't be discussing. Again Spidey puts his hand up, accomplishing nothing except possibly letting Jonah know that he's whispering something to Mary Jane. "I'm sorry I won't be able to join you on the rest of your publicity tour," he whispers. (That's right! There was a publicity tour! That was so long ago, I almost forgot it.) "Yeah, you've gotta make sure you're in New York when Jameson gets there!' MJ whispers back. In panel #2, the whispering continues with Jameson looking forlorn and inattentive in the background. "But, hey, after two more cities - it's home for me, too!" whispers MJ. "I'll have champagne bottles hanging by webs from the ceiling!" whispers Spidey.
May 6, 2018
By God, if they haven't managed to milk one more week out of this. Now what?
Panel #1 shows us JJJ, Hulk, Curt, and MJ from left to right. (And birds in the air! Hi, Alex!) "Okay, I'll keep my word about not revealing Dr. Connor's secret!" says Jonah. "Or Hulk will stomp!" says Hulk. MJ and Curt smile over this threat of violence. Panel #2 is Hulk, JJJ, and Curt from left to right. "But I won't get any publicity out of arriving in civilization with a genetic biologist in tow!" says Jonah. "Sorry about that," says Curt. In panel #3, JJJ and Curt continue to chat as Hulk turns back into Bruce behind them. "Still - surely the world will notice - when I show up alongside Spider-Man and the Hulk!" says JJJ. But in panel #4, Bruce says, "Hulk? What Hulk? I don't see any Hulk!" Jonah, looking back at him, says, "Banner! You're back!" Panel #5 is a full shot of the boat with Bruce, Curt, JJJ, and MJ. (And birds behind!) "Where's the wall-crawler?" asks Jonah. Panel #6 (just JJJ and MJ...and birds) has MJ reply, "I think he said something about having a hot date with the Black Widow." His hand over his mouth, JJJ says, "Give me strength!"
That's got to be the end of this story, doesn't it?
The "Next" caption is "Homecoming!" which must mean we've come to the end of this story, mustn't it? Last week's was "But For How Long?" which referred to something about which we no longer care...that is, whether Jonah would keep his promise to keep the Lizard's identity secret. Ho hum.
May 7, 2018
MJ, Curt, and JJJ are still in the boat but Bruce has jumped out and is swimming to shore. Jonah points at him and says, "No Lizard - no wall-crawler - and now Banner's swimming off before we dock! Guess any photogs will have to settle for pics of me with a Broadway - slash - movie actress!" But in panel #2, MJ puts on a brunette wig and sunglasses. "Huh?" says Jonah, looking at her. "Sorry, Mr. J!" says MJ, "My PR man would kill me if he knew I'd skived off to the Everglades!" But where did that wig come from? Did she have it before? It's been so long that I can't remember.
May 8, 2018
The boat heads in to a dock. "So here I am," says JJJ, "the conquering hero back from my amazing adventures in the perilous swamp - and nobody here to photograph my safe return!" Panel #2 is MJ and a grimacing Jonah. "Spider-Man said you mostly got chased by alligators and pythons," says MJ. "Lies - all lies!" rants Jonah, "I heroically lured them away so they wouldn't harm anyone!"So...wait. Did Spider-Man tell her that? When was this?
May 9, 2018
The boat is still coming in to the dock but now the dock has JJJ's two pals there. The ones who ditched him, left him to die. And they're...what? Hanging around the dock to see if he comes back? "Aren't those your publisher pals, Mr. Jameson?" asks MJ. "They sure are," he replies. In panel #2, MJ and Jonah, apparently, get off the boat. One of the two "pals" says, "Glad you're okay! What happened out there?" "I helped Spider-Man and the Hulk stop the Lizard and his reptile army!" says JJJ. In panel #3, the two "pals" yuk it up. One slaps Jonah on the back. "Good old Jonah! Always joking!" he says. "Save it for the next meeting of the liars' club, old buddy!" says the other. And Jonah doesn't say, "You two left me to die! I'm pressing charges against you!" or anything at all like that. It seems more like, "They left me to die! What a couple of kidders!"
May 10, 2018
As MJ adjusts her wig, Bruce Banner peeks around the corner of some metal thing on the dock and whispers "Psst...Doc Connors - over here!" Curt turns and says, "Bruce? So you stuck around after you jumped ship!" In panel #2, it is Bruce and Curt alone. (MJ, JJJ, and the two "pals" no longer seem to be around to witness this.) "Wanted to see if we might pool our resources," says Bruce. "Great!" says Curt, "You want to see the end of the Hulk - me of the Lizard." In panel #3, the two shirtless men walk off into the distance just like Louie and Rick at the end of Casablanca. "Y'know," says Bruce, "this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Did you just make that up?" says Curt.
May 11, 2018
Today, MJ walks all alone in Miami. And no one else is around anywhere. (Did the bomb drop?) MJ thinks, "Bruce Banner and Curt Connors, back to their test tubes. Jonah Jameson's carousing with his publisher friends. (The friends who left him for dead.) Peter'll soon be web-swinging in Manhattan..." Panel #2 is an MJ close-up as she thinks, "...and little MJ will be ordering hotel room service tonight. All by her lonesome. Let's see...what was it again that I found glamorous about being an actress?"
May 12, 2018
And, sure enough, JJJ is carousing with his "friends" even though they were willing to let him die. They are hanging around at some outdoor bar (with five silhouetted people behind them), having a drink. JJJ says, "I tell ya, guys, it's true! It was me, the Hulk, and Spider-Man against..." Panel #2 is a close-up of the three as Jonah sees the dubious looks on the others' faces. "You're not buyin' it, are you?" says JJJ. "Nope," says one. In panel #3, Jonah puts his arms around them and says, "Okay, I'll tell you what really happened. I ran into this redhead with her own boat..." "Now this we can believe!" says one of his would-be murderers.
May 13, 2018
Peter is also in Miami, standing on a street corner. There is a "Lost" poster with a kid's picture on it in three different panels but I don't think this amounts to anything. "This bill MJ slipped me will let me beat Jameson back to New York," he thinks, but he loses his grip on it and it floats away. "Oops! Wind caught it - but I'll snag it with my web-shooters," he thinks. But, in panel #2, a homeless kid with his homeless mom snags the bill. "Look mommy! Some money flew into my hand!" says the kid. "This...this would get us a room for several weeks!" says the mom. (Really? It's clear in panel #1 that it's a $100 bill. Several weeks? And 100 bucks was going to help Peter to get back to New York fast?) Peter sees and hears this and so he hides in panel #3 as the mother says, "We - should really give it back - but to who?" The kid says, "There's nobody around." With a caption of "Soon..." the scene shifts in panel #4 to MJ in her hotel room, which apparently has a doorbell because there is a RRIINNG! and an off-panel voice yells out "Room service!" "Coming!" says MJ and she thinks, "Another lonely night in another lonely town." In panel #5, MJ opens her door to find Peter hanging upside down on a web, holding a pizza. "I remembered you like jalapenos with your pizza," he says. "Peter!" calls out a happy MJ. In panel #6, MJ puts her arms around Peter and gives him a big kiss. "Hey! I didn't know you liked 'em that much!" says Peter.
Our "Next" caption reads, "Fury of the Iron Fist!" which is our cue to jump to the General comments. Last week's caption was "Homecoming!" which didn't actually happen yet.
This story went on for over six months and I am in no mood to go back and refresh my memory on it. But I have this vague recollection that Peter and MJ went to the Everglades with Curt Connors. (What could go wrong?) That MJ took a walk alone in an alligator infested area and had to be rescued by the Hulk. That there was a long segment in a hospital where Curt needed a tranfusion from the Hulk and the Hulk needed a transfusion from Spider-Man. This gave the Lizard some Hulk-like powers that were pretty much forgotten and prevented Bruce Banner from becoming the Hulk, which was pretty much forgotten. That MJ took a wig with her into the Everglades and everyone ditched the boat at the end. (Where did that boat come from? I can't remember.) It was a stunningly simple story stretched far beyond any real interest. The best thing about it is that it's over.
If the purpose of the strip is to fill a spot in the newspaper day after day, then this story did a great job for over six months but if the purpose is to tell good stories, then we just wasted half a year. One-half of a web.