Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #47

 Lookback: Filling Gaps
 Posted: 11 Sep 2022
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)

Background

While Spider-Man brooded over Harry Osborn's betrayal before his death, Jason Macendale was brought to the former apartment of Sergei Kravinoff. Macendale's source had informed him that Kraven's journal had been found there and there was a code inside it meant for Kraven's son. Macendale killed the informant and planned to use the journal as leverage to force Kraven's son to teach him the source of his father's power. He was delayed by Demogoblin, who had business to settle with it's former host. Spider-Man arrived and saved Macendale's bacon, leading to a fight. In the end, Macendale escaped to Russia and Spider-Man captured Demogoblin.

Story 'Old Habits...'

  Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #47
Summary: Son of Kraven
Arc: Part 2 of 'Beware the Rage of a Desperate Man' (1-2-3-4)
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Writer: Howard Mackie
Pencils: Tom Lyle
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Art: Tom Lyle

In the Ural mountains, Jason Macendale was enjoying his journey through the frozen terrain. He hadn't felt so good in years and wondered if he had let himself get soft. He needed to walk the harsh landscape to toughen himself. He had been a great mercenary and he would be again, with or without the help of Vladimir Kravinoff. At that moment, he was surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves, and he happily dared them to attack.

At Ryker's Island prison in New York, two guards were discussing their new captive. A guard named Mikey was creeped out by the demonic creature, and the number of people it had killed. He started to say that they weren't equipped for him when the other guard interrupted, saying that Guardsmen from the Vault were coming to take him away. Meanwhile, his restraints would keep him under control. In his cell, Demogoblin wondered how hw had fallen so far from his path. He had allowed himself to be restrained and held in a den of sinners. He had become obsessed with Macendale and each step took him away from "the path of the righteous," the death of all sinners. He had sinned and was being punished but he decided that the moment of redemption had arrived.

Two hours later, Spider-Mann arrived at the prison after hearing about Demogoblin's escape and mass murder of inmates. He was exhausted and too tired to even feel angry but duty called.

Back in the Urals, Macendale buried his equipment before approaching the Kravinoff mansion. A guard let him in after he explained that he had the journal, and Vladimir pounced on his as soon as he entered. He held a knife to Macendale's throat and threatened to cut it and take the journal himself. Macendale also had a razor bat at Vladimir's throat, saying he wouldn't have it for long. Macendale had half of the journal with him and the other half elsewhere. Vladimir agreed to talk.

Spider-Man slowly made his way through the prison, the emergency lights the only source of illumination. The quiet was unnerving and he saw prisoners hiding under their bunks. In his state of mind, he didn't empathize with them. He quickly spotted Demogoblin as the monster called out to the prisoners, that salvation could be theirs through death. He would help them. Before he could lunge at him, Spider-Man was surprised by a kick from behind. He saw that he had been surprised by the man that had posed as Richard Fisk. Spider-Man didn't have time for him, as he dodged a pumpkin bomb.

In Russia, Vladimir demanded his father's journal but Macendale wasnt going to give it to him until he got what he wanted. Vladimir ordered a servant to get Macendale cash, gold and jewels but Macendale said he wanted Kraven's strength enhancing elixir. Vladimir was insulted that Macendale would come to his home and try to sell him his legacy and wanted to know why he couldn't just take it. Macendale doubted he could do it. Fed up, Vladimir threw a spear at him but Macendale dodged. Vladimir promised that he wouldn't miss twice but he was stopped by his guard. Soon Vladimir said that the guard had suggested that they come to an agreement.

At Ryker's, Demogoblin took a moment to explain something to Spider-Man. He held Fisk's stand-in by the throat as he explained that they had the same goals. Demogoblin only wanted to rid the world of evil permanently, because evil keeps coming back. Once all wickedness had been eradicated, all of Demogoblin's sins would be forgiven and he would be saved. He asked to demonstrate on the man in his hand. Spider-Man told him to stop and Demogoblin ask if the man was his enemy. Spider-Man agreed. Demogoblin asked if he was evil and Spider-Man couldn't answer that. Demogoblin replied that he was indeed evil, he could smell it on him. Demogoblin said that if he didn't kill the man, he would continue to be evil and would try again to kill Spider-Man. Spider-Man agreed and Demogoblin concluded that he must die.

At the Kravinoff mansion, Macendale was strapped to a surgical table as Vladimir explained that they had been working on recreating his father's serum for some time. His father's version's effects had always been temporary but they wanted to fix that. Vladimir whispered to the guard his doubts about the wisdom of the plan. He didn't want this man to get his power and he was promised that Macendale would not survive. None of the other test subjects had survived, and Macendale was just another subject. If he did somehow survive, he'd soon have a bullet in his head. Macendale knew a set up when he saw one but he was willing to take the risk. If he couldn't defeat his enemies, then he didn't want to live. Besides, he had a surprise for the Kravinoffs outside of the mansion.

At the prison, Spider-Man naturally declined Demogoblin's offer and webbed his eyes. He told the prisoner to escape before he beat Demogoblin into submission. He did ponder the idea. It would mean no more Doctor Octopus, or Venom or goblins. It would be so easy to start right there, Demogoblin wasn't even human. Demogoblin told him that he would be chased by his enemies until dying day and Spider-Man already knew it. Demogoblin escaped as Spider-Man said that people like the demon would never rest until everyone is dead. Demogoblin agreed, saying only the pure would live, if such people existed. He then pumpkin bombed the roof, causing it to collapse as he flew away. Spider-Man webbed the destroyed ceiling and shoved the guards away from the other bombs. The webbing held but before he left, Spider-Man told the Fisk impersonator that he knew he'd be back but warned him to stay away for a while.

In Russia, the experiment on Macendale was causing him intense pain as Vladimir coldly asked if it was another failure. The guard said it was too soon to tell and Macendale realized they knew this would happen. He wouldn't die alone, as his glider rose from the snow carrying pumpkin bombs.

General Comments

As I said previously, Demogoblin was a one note character so it's strange to say that he's the most interesting character in this story. He wonders how he went so wrong and has a philosophical debate with the hero. It's not an original debate at all, it's a tired one that Spider-Man has dealt with since the very beginning.

Demogoblin was at least an interesting looking character, and he is imposing in some of his scenes.

The scene were Macendale faced the wolves made me roll my eyes. How corny can you get? This comic does feel like it was written for a young audience.

Overall Rating

There isn't much "there" there.

 Lookback: Filling Gaps
 Posted: 11 Sep 2022
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)