Characters like the Prowler, Mysterio, and others who have little or no real superpowers, have always been my favorite kind of Marvel character. They rely on pluck (or foolhardiness) and ingenuity, and because they don't have godlike powers, have to think their way through situations to win, which makes for much more interesting plots and storylines than ones in which the reader sees splash pages of gods blasting each other, with as much interest to readers as characters in a videogame.
For those not familiar with this character, the Prowler is very similar to a young Batman but without the cash; he is intelligent and inventive, but doesn't have the billions Batman does to create superweapons, which makes him even more interesting; how could he ever compete (or survive) in a world with the likes of the Hulk, Thor, or Doctor Doom?
He started out at a villain (see review of origin elsewhere on this site), but was convinced to change by Spiderman. In this series, his origin is more or less rewritten as he is asked by Spiderman (in a cameo appearance) as to why he decided to become the Prowler, and it takes him a while to answer this question for himself; his original criminal intentions seem to have been forgotten in this version.
Our story begins with a streetfight where not one, but two apparent Prowlers in different parts of the City, are mixing it up with dopeheads who are heavily armed. (Luckily for our heroes, being heavily stoned makes for poor marksmanship). The real Prowler is careful not to kill or maim anyone, but the other "Prowler" is only too happy to kill thugs with his jet-propulsed razor darts.
After the fight, Hobie returns home to his wife; they live in a small apartment, are newly married, and he has finally gotten a decent job that allows him to earn a living and use his engineering skills to develop pneumatic contraptions (his specialty) for his company, while developing better gear for his Prowler outfit.
Note: At this point, he is only a little more powerful than in his rare appearances in Spiderman; he now has pneumatic jet boots that allow him to make short "hops" out of danger but not fly, his cape allows him to glide from building to building for short distances, and his wrist weapons shoot improved missiles of various sorts; enough to take out street punks, but no real threat to super-types. Oh yes, and he is still a green belt in Tae Kwon Do at this point, even after all this time! However, he seems to kick pretty good butt with his green belt, which underscores the quaint over-estimation of how much martial arts is able to do, that Marvel writers have always had.
His wife Mindy is a saint, patient with her new husband who she almost never sees (a full-time job, his night forays as the Prowler, and night school; no wonder they don't have kids yet! Does this guy ever sleep?). They have the usual plot device conflict; she has an offer to work in California, he has just started a great job in New York that allows him time off for school, etc. During this argument he sees a report of how "the Prowler" has just murdered three thugs across town. He leaves in the middle of his argument to run out and investigate as the Prowler.
While hanging around the rooftops waiting for the police to leave, Spiderman pops up asking what the hell is going on. He believes Prowler when he says he didn't kill these thugs, and Spiderman agrees someone seems to be impersonating him. He reminds Prowler that it wasn't the brightest idea showing up in his Prowler costume after being identified by the Police as the "killer". Later, Hobie goes to his office at night and runs smack into the imposter, standing over the dead body of the company chairman. A huge fight ensues, wherein the "Imposter" gets the upper hand looks ready to shred a trapped Prowler.
Carry on reading the review of Part 2, and we'll leave the analysis until we finish the series.
Three webs for now. Judgement deferred.