Web of Spider-Man #81

Story 'Living In Fear'

  Web of Spider-Man #81
Summary: Bloodshed
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Steven Butler
Inker: Chris Ivy, Don Hudson
Cover Art: Sal Buscema
Articles: Bloodshed

We start with a two-year ago flashback. Spider-Man stops two crooks stealing a car. The younger one runs for it while Spidey webs the other one up. The older one hurls insults at his fleeing brother - Ricky. After the police arrive, etc the older one (Wyndell) says he's going to skip town and if he gets caught, he'll take it out on the younger one.

Ricky does well in the next few years, becoming a bond trader. At his apartment one day, Wyndell is waiting for him in an armoured suit and calling himself Bloodshed. He is a drugs runner but had to dump his cargo when his ship was boarded by the coastguard. He needs to get $1million in three days.

He tells Ricky he must get it for him through his job or else. Out on the street, Ricky sees Spidey swinging past and calls to him. Bloodshed is watching on though and thinks Ricky is telling Spidey what's going on. He swoops down and starts a fight with Spider-Man.

Spider-Man doesn't want to fight in such a populated area so gets a tracer on Bloodshed and hides away. Bloodshed trashes Ricky's apartment and the tracer falls off. Spidey follows the tracer to Ricky's building and recognises his name in the hallway. At the Bugle, Pete uses the microfiche to trace the name and comes to the wrong conclusion that Ricky is Bloodshed.

Spidey goes to Ricky's work, where Bloodshed is waiting. Spidey realises he is wrong. Bloodshed gets the upper hand but, after Ricky intervenes, Spider-Man fights back and knocks Bloodshed out ready for the police.

General Comments

Usually, this is the type of story I really don't like. The difference here is that the pacing and storytelling is spot on. It is the first of three Kurt Busiek stories that bridge the gap between Terry Kavanagh and (shudder) Howard Mackie.

Bloodshed is quite a weak villain but, from the perspective of Ricky, the story works in any case.

There's no major developments storyline-wise but what is shown is the development in Peter as a character himself. It's good to see Pete doing some detective work and also a greater maturity in that, as Spider-Man, he no longer feels it's right to get involved in big fights in a populated area.

Overall Rating

Surprisingly good. A nice little in-betweener tale.