Spider-Man Tangled Web #11

Background

It's Valentine's Day, and what's a lonely single man like Peter Parker to do? Well, if you have Peter's luck, you make two dates for the same night and miss both because the Vulture is cleaning your clock. Better luck next year, Petey.

Story 'Open All Night'

The Amazing Spider-Man is not on top of his game. In front of the Daily Bugle, Spidey is unable to subdue the vicious VULTURE, who has stolen The Heart of Romania, a large diamond ring that was on display at Tiffany's. Snagging Vulchy with his web, Spidey is unceremoniously flung into a large smokestack, which has a bomb attached to it. "Farewell, Bugboy!" BOOOM! With a *WHOMP*, *KLANG*, *WHACK*, and *CRUNCH!* Spidey tumbles into a nearby alley and passes out.

At the Bugle, two women are getting ready for a date. One of them is a feisty blonde named Jill. The other, a more demure yet equally attractive woman named Miss Kay. More on them later. And then there is Spence Williams, an intern on a coffee run. Heading into the Coffee Bean (just past an unconscious Spidey), Spence orders the java and starts talking with a blue-haired girl named Jenny. The man behind the counter, Angus, gets mad at Spence for "trying to pull my girl." Jenny shoots him down cold, and Angus takes revenge by dumping laxatives into J. Jonah Jameson's coffee.

Meanwhile, the women are getting ready for their dates. Jill puts on a dress that would interest a dead man, while Miss Kay opts for a more reserved look. She heads down to the Coffee Bean (again, passing Spidey's limp body), and is promptly hit on by Flash Thompson. "Sorry Flash," she replies, "I already have a date. With a guy who has a job. And a personality." Flash storms off just as Jill saunters in. Just in time to hear that Miss Kay's date is with Peter Parker. Unfortunately, so is Jill's.

Back at the Daily Bugle, Jonah is ranting and raving his head off, per usual. He is interrupted by his wife, with whom he has a big date. He tells her he'll be ready in a few minutes, and goes off to yell at a couple more people. Marla Jameson eyes his cup of coffee.

At the Coffee Bean, things are quickly deteriorating. Miss Kay and Jill are fighting over Peter, and envisioning a future together. Miss Kay sees Peter as a quiet, intellectual type, Jill sees them as dashing reporters leaping into the fray. The two continue to catfight until Flash points out the obvious: "Ol' Parker stood you both up!"

Jonah's night isn't going much better. His $500 opera tickets will not be used, as poor Marla is not feeling well. "It came on suddenly... oh... oh my!" *SLAM!* Jonah notices that she's taken a drink of his coffee, and calls Spence in to ask him what he knows. Spence tells him that Angus said he was making a "special" cup of coffee. Jonah allows as how he never liked Angus, and that Angus had tried to get Spence's job. "Makes you think, doesn't it?" Spence nods, then leaves the Daily Bugle to go spend the night by himself. A valentine in his pocket changes his mind. Just as Miss Kay and Jill are leaving for Peter's building--escorted by Flash Thompson who is all too happy to help--Spence arrives at the Coffee Bean to find Jenny ready to go. And just when you think Angus' life couldn't get any worse, J. Jonah Jameson arrives with his cup of coffee. "She couldn't finish it, and I thought that it would sure be a shame to waste it. Then I thought of you. Drink up, Angus."

At that moment, Spider-Man finally wakes up to find himself staring at a homeless man. Trading his costume for some warm (yet fragrant) clothing, Peter lurches home only to find himself at the mercy of two VERY angry young women. That is two much for poor Peter, who passes out at their feet.

Across town, an old man is knocking on somebody's front door. The woman who answers is startled to see him. "Twenty years to the day, my dear," says the old man, none other than Adrian "The Vulture" Toomes. "I know how this must seem, to have been gone so long without a word. I know I've no right, but I've come to beg your forgiveness... and to announce my intentions!" He hands her The Heart of Romania. The woman brings him in with a kiss on the head. "Adrian Toomes, let's make LOVE!!" Fade out (thankfully!)

General Comments

Ahhhhhh... 'bout time we had a good laugh around here. This is a story that refuses to take itself seriously and is all the better for it. It's also a story that fits Peter Parker to a "T"; whom else would make two dates for the same night and then spend it lying in an alley somewhere? Only the original "hard luck Charlie," to use Stan Lee's expression. The subplot with the intern and the laxed coffee was a lot of fun, too. Although you hate to see something like that happen to poor Marla.

The biggest surprise in this book is the art. Except for one panel, the whole story is drawn in a simple, cartoony style that looks like something straight out of the "Powderpuff Girls." The surprise is that it really works with the story. Had Cooke and Bone drawn this particular style for, say, "Kraven's Last Hunt," it would be terrible. But for a story this light-hearted, it works. Moreover, it reinforces the underlying theme of "have fun and don't take this seriously." Why else would the Vulture win, not to mention get some for his troubles? And Peter's dates looked cute, too. How does this guy FIND these women? Sigh....

Hey, it's not Shakespeare or even "Death of Jean DeWolff," but it's a fun story and well worth the cover price. And it's probably the last light-hearted comedy we'll see in Spider-Man for awhile, so enjoy it.

Overall Rating

Anyone who's ever had a bad Valentine's Day experience will get a kick out of this story. Three and a half webs.

Footnote

Miss Kay's name was revealed to be Ksitigarbha Cohn in the Spider-Man Back in Black Handbook (2007) in the Daily Bugle profile. Also, Jill's last name is Brythe.