Slingers #3


Spider-Man investigated why his former identities were involved in the death of a teenage girl and pursued Ricochet. The mystery man that was directing Prodigy turns out to be a former film actor that played a hero called The Black Marvel. Dusk was at her parents house when the police was breaking the news that they may have found Cassie's body. Prodigy, Hornet and Ricochet investigated a construction site being being built by the Maggia and found an underground train carrying barrels of biohazardous material. Hornet and Ricochet were chased out of the tunnel by giant mutant rats and after the tunnel collapsed, Hornet was buried. Prodigy escaped from a group of gun toting Maggia goons and abandoned Ricochet and Hornet despite learning of the cave-in.

Story 'With Friends Like These...'

Inside the tunnel, Johnny has been digging at the rubble for hours to free Eddie. Hornet is unconscious in his suit, which is starting to lose power. That's when Dusk arrived.

The Black Marvel's name is Dan Lyons, who fondly remembers his days as a crimefighter, terrifying criminals. The studios even made a film about him. (Okay, I guess he wasn't an actor.) He's watched the film a thousand time, obsessing over it. A couple of young people came snooping around the warehouse making Lyons hide, but hid as The Black Marvel. They fled when they saw him.

Inside the tunnel, Johnny gave up digging, hating himself for trying to do good but failing again. The next her knew, Eddie was standing in front of him, telling him he was never a nothing. Johnny hugged him, then agreed they'd keep that to themselves. In the distance, Dusk teleported away. Eddie had no idea what happened but felt a presence that seemed familiar. Johnny just then felt something on his back, which turned out to be a spider-tracer. Spider-Man was watching them from above, saying they needed to talk. Ricochet tried to hit him with a disk but was webbed before he could move. Hornet flew off but was hit by a web, which didn't work as well as Spidey had hoped. He was soon being towed through the sky. The commotion caused a driver to become distracted and nearly hit a tanker truck, which flipped onto it's side. Ricochet and Hornet immediately moved to save the drivers, with Spider-Man focused on stopping the tanker. Hornet pulled out the driver and Spidey's webbing stopped the truck from going over a bridge.

Still holding the truck from falling onto traffic, Spider-Man chewed the kids for being thrill seekers and punks. At a loss for words, Ricochet offered him his spider-tracer. They fled on top of a bus, swearing they needed a better way to travel. (Wait, why didn't Hornet fly them out?) At the Empire State library, Eddie was looking into the original Grande Royale Hotel, the inspiration for the Maggia's new building. He found it had been the scene of a fire in which people were killed, which was the basis of a movie. As he left the library, he dropped his books after being run into by Susan, the girl he saved from her boyfriend. She apologized for running into him but was dragged away by Bryan, who asked if she was suddenly into gimps.

At his dorm room, he found himself faced by a black specter, asking him to not be afraid of her. He immediately knew it was Cassie and was speechless as she touched his face. He felt warm, she said. She felt cold. He asked if this was real and she didn't know but didn't want him to be afraid of her. She teleported away, letting him sob on the floor as she sat cold and alone on the roof.

In Brooklyn, Kathy was coming to visit Johnny at his video rental store job. (Wow. This book was published in 1999. Anyone born that year won’t know what a video store is.) She woke him from his sleep, muttering about Spider-Man and giant rats. She mentioned that she had been attacked a few night ago, and was saved by some superhero wannabe. The guy was about his height, walked like when his pants shrank in the drier and talked like Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments. Snatching his backpack from him, she reminded him it's his favorite movie. She opened it and found a copy of The Black Marvel Strikes. He snatched it back, telling her to mind her own business. They apologized awkwardly and she left.

At the film studio, Black Marvel was grilling Prodigy on his antics at the Maggia building. He sheepishly explained that his cover had been blown and had no reason to think the others were alive. Marvel could tell his protégé was trying to squash his feelings, which he approved of. Feelings were useless to him now and his heart had to harden. Prodigy didn't understand why Black Marvel had chosen the others when they were so weak and lacked heart. Marvel, doing some acrobatics, said he always knew Prodigy was the right man to win praise and adoration. Surprised, Prodigy asked if he meant to say to fight evil. Marvel paused and agreed. Marvel told him to leave, as he'd had a busy day. A busier day than he knew.

General Comments

We see the plot points set up in the previous issue pay off in issue three. I loved seeing Spidey act like a frustrated teacher as he instructed the duo on the freeway. Ricochet getting tongue tied every time he tried to talk to the professional superhero was awesome. I liked that Kathy has a brain, she's much more astute than old timey superhero girlfriends were. I've been looking forward to seeing Dusk let her team mates know she's back. I'm looking forward to Prodigy and Ricochet's reactions. Black Marvel is shaping up to be an interesting obsessed bad guy. Even Prodigy had small character developing moment: actually being shamed by the Black Marvel. He's unstable and untrustworthy, but he does genuinely want to fight evil.

Overall Rating

Drama, excitement, character development. What's not to like?