Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #21

Background

Last issue, Spider-Man recovered from his transformation into a giant spider, but was left with dumb new powers like organic web-shooters and insect telepathy. This issue, he plays poker against the forces of evil...

Story 'Read 'Em An' Weep'

This issue opens with the X-Men's Angel joining a poker party late. It seems that the heroes play an annual poker game with an upper limit of twenty dollars each, with all proceeds going to the winner's charity of choice. This year's game features Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Thing, Doctor Strange, Black Cat, Angel, and your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. They play for a little bit and we discover the extent of Doctor Strange's poker ineptitude, when there's a knock at the door. The Invisible Woman opens it, and the Kingpin comes strolling in.

It seems the Kingpin wants to join the game, and he's willing to significantly up the stakes. He's offering to give $50,000 to each player, and if one of the heroes wins, then that hero is free to give the Kingpin's money to charity. But if the Kingpin wins, which he fully expects to do, he says that he'll buy a boat and name it the "Heroes' Folly". The heroes confer and decide to let Kingpin join the game.

The game goes on, and the heroes are defeated one by one until only Spider-Man and the Kingpin remain. They each go all in, and just when the Kingpin thinks he's won, Spidey snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. The Kingpin is furious, but he leaves without incident. Spidey asks Reed Richards to deliver his winnings to the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation in Kansas. The wall- crawler does take a twenty from his winnings, though, which he uses to buy roses for Mary Jane, and as he web-swings home, he laughs the whole way.

General Comments

This is a nice, fun little story. Paul Jenkins' idea of having all the heroes sit down for an annual poker game is a good one, and it's presented well. And the art by Talent Caldwell and Robert Campanella is very solid.

Overall Rating

No mention of organic web-shooters or insect telepathy! Four webs!