Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #81

 Posted: 2004


Spider-Man is on the trail of a madman who seems to be methodically shaking down every hood and two-bit crook in the city. Spidey's about to get involved in a circle of intrigue and treachery (so what else is new?) when he goes up against the mysterious man known only as "Cat"!

Story 'Shadow of the Cat'

Peter and MJ are kicking it at home when Betty Brant calls with a hot lead. Peter turns on the news to see a story about a high-profile kidnapping. Betty has a connection at the hotel, and is standing at the Parker's front door, talking on a cellular phone to Parker.

Peter and Betty show up at the high-rise, where it seems as though a minor war had broken out. They maneuver their way up to the penthouse, where a woman stands, dressed in a scanty robe, looking out over the city. Hers is the boy who was kidnapped. Her husband, she tells the two Bugle employees, is Shen Kuei, also known as 'Cat'. He is a martial arts master who has recently gotten into some shady dealings. She had left him to keep their son safe, but obviously that didn't work. Now Cat is on the rampage, whipping up on every lowlife until his son is found. Peter takes the cue and books, switching into the ol' red-and-blues.

Spidey finds out by shaking down some thugs that Cat is headed out to the pier, where he believes his son is being held. Cat and Spidey meet up, and they do the obligatory "stay-out-of-my-way/I'm-here-to-help-you" dialogue, the web-head dodging everything Cat throws his way. Their little dance is interrupted by an energy bolt. Two villains, Razorfist and Shockwave, are holding Cat's son captives. Cat offers to give his life in exchange for the boy's but Spider-Man won't have any of that. Razorfist jumps down to confront Shen Kuei. They fight, exchanging insults and taunts. Seems as though Shockwave and Razorfist have a mysterious employer (who doesn't these days) who wants Cat out of town, and so they kidnapped the boy to get Shen to leave. Shockwave is watching the fight, which leaves him totally open for Spidey, who snuck around during the confusion, to take him out. Cat realizes that his son is safe, and breaks Razorfist's mechanical hands.

Peter figures that he just helped someone that he might have to face down later, but doesn't mind as long as he's got his kids. Spidey goes home and hugs his wife.

General Comments

This was an EXTREMELY generic story. Cat was okay, except for the Iron Fist-ish chest tattoo (does everyone have those?). I thought it was a pretty thin plot line, and the villains just plain sucked. Spider-Man is always caught playing "goodie-two-shoes" around these tougher guys, and in a lot of cases it makes him come out looking like a wuss. This was no exception.

Overall Rating

Two webs. Boring and not really compelling. Maybe we'll see more of Cat and he'll redeem himself, but for now, he's a putz. But at least he's better than those dorky villains!

 Posted: 2004